Thursday, November 9, 2017
An Ad Hoc District of Columbia Hearing Committee approved a consent stayed suspension of 30 days for an attorney's mishandling of an immigration matter
Without requiring DHS to meet its burden, he summarily conceded that Mr. Bonilla-Garcia was convicted of an aggravated felony and was removable. Petition ¶ 5. He filed a petition for a writ of coram nobis in the Virginia Courts to get the criminal conviction vacated, even though Virginia law does not recognize that as a basis for the writ, and he misinterpreted the record in the underlying Virginia criminal proceeding. Petition ¶¶ 7-11. Lastly, once he withdrew the petition for a writ of coram nobis, Respondent failed to withdraw the prior admissions as to removability in the immigration proceeding and did not assert any other grounds to challenge deportation. Petition ¶ 13
These errors resulted in prejudice to Mr. Bonilla-Garcia. After many months of detention, the immigration judge ordered Mr. Bonilla-Garcia removed from the United States. Id. After successor counsel obtained reconsideration of the order, the removal order was revoked and Mr. Bonilla-Garcia was released after 18 months of detention. Petition ¶ 18.
The sanction is appropriate
This complaint involves a single instance of misconduct regarding Respondent’s representation of Mr. Bonilla-Garcia. The parties’ stipulations are supported by the record and Respondent’s testimony at the limited hearing. Disciplinary Counsel agrees not to pursue a lesser charge under Rule 1.2(a). See Petition at 10-11. (Respondent contests that charge, and Disciplinary Counsel finds his explanation credible. Id.) Respondent has no prior discipline.
The attorney must submit to probation for one year.
The case is In re Dominic Vorv. (Mike Frisch)