Practice Resources

November 2012

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From left to right: Immigration Law Section Chair Michael Greenberg and Vice Chair and Newsletter Editor Alan Pampanin.

Note from Immigration Leadership

Welcome to the Immigration Section newsletter.

This newsletter continues to provide practice alerts, timely articles and news of interest to practitioners in the area of immigration law. As a member of the Immigration Law section, feel free to contact me at [e-mail michael], with any suggestions or information which you think will be useful to your fellow practitioners.

Michael D. Greenberg, chair
Alan Pampanin, vice chair and newsletter editor
Immigration Law Section Council

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Upcoming Immigration section council meeting

As a member of the Immigration section, you are invited to attend the Immigration Law Section Council meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston.

Click here to R.S.V.P.

As a member of this section, you can keep abreast of the meeting dates and other important information here.


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Immigrants and the DPH Drug Lab Scandal

The DPH drug lab scandal has impacted many of our immigrant clients. If you believe you may have a client who could obtain immigration relief as a result of the issues at the DPH drug lab you should contact your client and see if they would like to pursue relief based on the problems at the lab.

If after meeting with your client you make the decision to pursue relief, the first thing you should investigate is whether or not the drugs were analyzed at the DPH Hinton Lab. If so, you most likely have an argument in the case. As of now, the only person who has been fired and is currently under investigation is Annie Dookhan, however more and more every day is being discovered regarding her malfeasance at the lab and how it could have affected all of the other drug testing that was being done there. The entire DPH Hinton lab has been closed, which is indicative of the depth of the issues there.

If the client is in immigration custody, you should check for an immigration detainer before arguing for release on bail because once they are in ICE custody it is more difficult (and sometimes completely impossible) to get them to state court to resolve the criminal case or argue a motion for new trial. Keep in mind that many judges are willing to waive the client's appearance if they are in immigration custody because the judges are aware of the difficulty of having clients brought in from immigration custody.

If your client is in removal proceedings, check to see if a Dookhan/Hinton lab drug case is the basis for removal or if it is a bar to relief from removal. If so, ask the immigration judge to continue the removal proceedings while the client pursues post-conviction relief. It is presently the posture of the immigration court that you need to show a Dookhan certificate to obtain a continuance.

If a client has a final order of removal and the order is based solely on Dookhan/Hinton conviction or if the conviction barred relief from removal, file a motion to reopen the immigration proceedings and request a stay of removal ASAP.  You may also want to contact the client's consulate and request travel documents not be issued until the motion for new trial or motion to vacate has been adjudicated.

It is important in all of these cases to be sure that on your filings you indicate that they involve immigration consequences for your client. Indicate to the clerk and to the court in the title of your motion and on your cover letter that it is a "DPH Drug Lab Case" and that your client is an immigrant with immigration consequences as a result of the conviction.

Special sessions are being heard in several courthouses throughout Massachusetts for these cases.  In some counties, attorneys have the option of either filing their Dookhan motions in a special session or sending them directly to the sentencing judge. In other counties, all Dookhan motions are being funneled into a special session, regardless of where the attorney tries to file them. We are learning more as each day passes in how these cases are being handled.


Click here to view the FREE MBA "Training Related to Dookhan and Other DPH Cases," available via MBA On Demand.


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Save the date: Immigration Law networking event

Mark your calendars! The Immigration Law section council will be sponsoring a networking event for section members on Wednesday, Feb. 13 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston. Look for further details on

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Pro Bono Opportunity: Dial-A-Lawyer

The Immigration Law Section Council will be co-sponsoring one of the monthly MBA Dial-A-Lawyer sessions in the spring.

The Dial-A-Lawyer program is held on the first Wednesday of each month from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the MBA, 20 West St., Boston.  Participation is limited to six/seven attorneys from the Immigration Law section.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Jean Stevens at [e-mail jstevens].  The exact date will be announced soon.

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Photograph by © MIKE RITTER 2012
2012 Access to Justice Award recipients.

Nominate a colleague for an MBA Access to Justice award

Submission deadline Monday, Nov. 26

The MBA is accepting nominations for the 2012-2013 Access to Justice Awards.

To nominate and recognize an unsung hero of the legal profession or a law firm that has made a significant difference for low income litigants interfacing with the justice system, submit your nomination by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26 to:

Massachusetts Bar Association
Access to Justice Awards
20 West St., Boston, MA 02110

We encourage nominations from local and affiliated bar associations, government agencies and/or legal services organizations.

Click here for a nomination form.




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Publication opportunities

The goal of section councils is to offer members opportunities for professional growth and development through participation in section activities. One opportunity available to section members is publishing articles which are of interest to fellow practitioners. The MBA provides several forums for articles by section members - Lawyers Journal and the Massachusetts Law Review.

If you are interested in writing an article for any of these publications or if you have seen articles which you think may be of interest to other Immigration Law Section members, please contact Jean Stevens for more information regarding this opportunity.

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The MBA is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Join the conversation today

The Massachusetts Bar Association now has a presence on three social networking platforms, including Facebook, launched in October 2010, LinkedIn, launched in January 2010, and Twitter, launched in July 2009. All three social media platforms feature information about the MBA including CLE, events and news.

As an MBA member, we encourage you to both post items of interest to you, and the greater legal community, on these pages and comment on items already posted.

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