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Conviction Reversed: Unknown Deportation Consequences Equals Relief

California v. Singh Docket: C093084 (Third Appellate District), Opinion Date: July 14, 2022. Defendant Pravindar Prem Singh, a noncitizen legal resident, was found guilty of various illegal substance charges. After serving his sentence for these convictions he was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He filed a motion under California Penal Code section 1473.7,1 seeking to vacate his conviction. He argued that, had he known of the immigration consequences of those convictions, he would have attempted to negotiate a plea to an offense or offenses that did not carry those consequences. The trial court denied defendant’s motion, finding he was ineligible because his conviction was the result of a trial, not a plea. Assembly Bill No. 1259 (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.) became effective while defendant’s appeal was pending and modified section 1473.7. The Court of Appeal concluded Assembly Bill 1259 made clear defendants whose convictions derived from a trial were eligible for relief under section 1473.7, so the trial court’s order was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings.

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