Immigrant’s Options when Facing Deportation Narrowed

By: Wallin & Klarich

The California Supreme Court ruled this month that immigrants who are facing deportation may no longer rely on two common post-conviction challenges. The court ruled in two separate cases that a writ of habeas corpus, or writ of error coram nobis, would no longer be available to a defendant once they had served a sentence and were no longer on parole or probation. The court’s ruling means that once the defendant is no longer “in custody,” it is too late for the state courts to entertain either writ.

In most states, immigrants have available to them procedures to clean their criminal record of deportable offenses. California however has no such procedure. The court ruled in a unanimous decision that only defendants who are still in state custody may use writs of habeas corpus.

In a second case, the court rejected the use of a writ of error coram nobis as a procedural challenge to deportation. The court acknowledged that other jurisdictions have broadened the scope for coram nobis so that it resembles a post-conviction remedy available to persons no longer in custody. However the California Supreme Court felt that any change needs to come from the legislature.

If you or a loved one is facing deportation as a result of a criminal conviction, you must contact California’s top criminal defense attorney immediately. Wallin & Klarich have been helping people with criminal cases for over 30 years. If you have any questions about deportation consequences, call Wallin and Klarich at 1-888-280-6839, or visit our website at

Posted In: Clearing Your Criminal Record