In 2017 California created several state laws that will benefit our noncitizen population, including those who have contact with the criminal justice system. ILRC attorneys who worked on drafting many of the bills will discuss what the laws provide and how to use them in representing noncitizens. As of January 1, 2018, California will have true “pretrial diversion” for qualifying persons facing minor drug charges, in a program that does not require a guilty plea and thus is not a “conviction” for immigration purposes. See AB 208, amending Penal Code 1000. New laws will also help to prevent misuse of gang databases, pursuant to SB 90, which is critical to many young immigrants. The comprehensive California Values Act will limit the ways that the California criminal justice system can cooperate with federal immigration officials, pursuant to SB 54, while SB 29 and AB 103 will limit the growth of immigration detention facilities in the state. We also will discuss ongoing questions about last year’s amendment to Penal Code § 18.5, which makes the 364-day misdemeanor definition retroactive, and provides a way to reduce an imposed 365-day sentence to 364 days.
Kathy Brady is a Staff Attorney based in San Francisco. She has worked with the ILRC since 1987. Along with expertise in family immigration, immigrant children and youth, and removal defense, she is a national expert on the intersection of immigration and criminal law. She is a frequent speaker and consultant, and has co-authored several manuals including Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit (ILRC), California Criminal Defense of Immigrants (CEB), the chapter on representing immigrants in California Criminal Law – Procedure and Practice (CEB), and Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Courts (ILRC). She helped found coalitions and projects to address these issues, including as a co-founder of the Defending Immigrants Partnership and the Immigrant Justice Network. Kathy served as a Commissioner to the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration from 2009-2012. In 2007 she received the Carol King award of advocacy from the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
Before working at the ILRC Kathy was in private practice in immigration law with Park & Associates in San Francisco.
Kathy attended Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley School of Law, and has taught immigration law as an adjunct professor. She is a member of the California Bar and is conversant in Spanish.
Grisel Ruiz is a Staff Attorney in San Francisco where she focuses on the intersection between immigration law and criminal law. This includes advising attorneys and advocates on the immigration consequences of criminal offenses, training on removal defense, and supporting local and statewide campaigns to push back on immigration enforcement. In addition to technical assistance, training, and campaign support in these areas, Grisel also helps lead the ILRC’s state legislative work. Grisel is currently the detention advocacy coordinator for the Northern California Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and is the Board Chair for CIVIC, a nonprofit that advocates for detained immigrants.
Prior to working with the ILRC, Grisel was a litigation associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and a Stimson Fellow housed at the UC Davis Law School Immigration Clinic and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. As a legal fellow, she co-founded “Know Your Rights” programs at local immigration detention centers, for which she received an award from Cosmo for Latinas.
Grisel is an immigrant herself and earned her law degree from the University of Chicago where she received the Tony Patiño Fellowship. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, where she dual majored in Political Science and Spanish Literature. Grisel is admitted to the bar in California is fluent in Spanish.