Post-Conviction Relief for Immigrants

By: Norton Tooby and JJ Rollin

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To win post-conviction relief, it is necessary to convince the courts that the defendant in the single, unique case before the court is deserving of relief on a basis so narrow it will not result in a torrent of litigation.  The various vehicles, and the many grounds, by means of which post-conviction relief can be sought should offer hope that many convictions and sentences can be set aside, and their devastating effects avoided.


The chief value of this book is that it collects the widest variety of vehicles and grounds on which post-conviction relief may be sought.  While it has not proven possible to describe the law on each of these points in the 51 pertinent jurisdictions, nearly all of the bases for vacating a conviction as legally invalid that are described here are grounded on the United States Constitution, and thus may be applied in every jurisdiction. 



  • 2004 edition, with continuous free update service

  • 700 pages

  • Detailed information on how to obtain post-conviction relief to reduce or eliminate adverse immigration consequences of convictions

  • 40 constitutional and other federal grounds to vacate convictions

  • Federal procedures for obtaining relief, such a motions to vacate, habeas corpus and coram nobis




"All the men in Eloy tell me to tell you thanks all the time for your wonderful books. At least three men that I know have vacated their criminal convictions PRO SE with the use of your books. They are truly wonderful and have revolutionized the legal skills of the detainees."

- Holly S. Cooper, Florence Project


“Very comprehensive and easy to use”

- Dan Kesselbrenner, Director, Nation Lawyer’s Guild, National Immigration Project, Boston, Massachussetts. Co-author, Immigration Law and Crimes 


“This research is so very helpful. You continue to be a breath of fresh air! Thank you for always being there for the attorneys who reach out to you for your wisdom and experience.”

- Karen Hill


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Mr. Tooby’s Credentials


Norton Tooby graduated in 1967 with a B.A. from Harvard, and in 1970 with a J.D. from the Stanford Law School, where he served as President of the Stanford Law Review.  He is listed in BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA and BEST LAWYERS IN CALIFORNIA.  In 2000, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center awarded him its Philip Burton Immigration & Civil Rights Award for Immigration Lawyering for "his pioneering work in the field of post-conviction relief for immigrants."  His national practice is based in Oakland, California.  He obtains post-conviction relief from criminal convictions for immigrants nationwide, writes practice manuals for immigration and criminal lawyers, gives seminars, and maintains this legal research website. He also consults concerning immigration consequences of past and future criminal convictions.


Casework.   He a death penalty appeal, reversing all convictions, and setting the client at liberty.  People v.  Marks (1988) 45 Cal.3d 1335.  His published decisions relating to post-conviction relief for immigrants include People v. Totari (2003) 111 Cal.App.4th 1202 (reversing trial court’s order denying a motion to vacate a conviction under Penal Code § 1016.5); People v. Totari (2002) 28 Cal.4th 876 (denial of a motion to vacate a conviction under Penal Code § 1016.5 is appealable); In re Resendiz (2001) 25 Cal.4th 230 (defense counsel’s misadvice concerning actual immigration consequences of plea can constitute ineffective assistance of counsel)(represented amici curiae on the briefs and at oral argument); People v. Kim (2009) 45 Cal.4th 1078, 202 P.3d 436 (holding petitioner ineligible for a writ of error coram nobis on the facts of the case); consultant on merits and amicus briefing in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. ___, 2010 WL 1222274 (2010)(criminal defense counsel has constitutional duty to give affirmative, accurate advice on immigration consequences to noncitizen defendants as requirement of effective assistance of counsel).


Publications – TOOBY'S GUIDE TO CRIMINAL IMMIGRATION LAW: HOW CRIMINAL AND IMMIGRATION COUNSEL CAN WORK TOGETHER (2009); POST-CONVICTION RELIEF FOR IMMIGRANTS (National Edition 2004), CALIFORNIA POST-CONVICTION RELIEF FOR IMMIGRANTS (2d ed. 2009), CALIFORNIA EXPUNGEMENT MANUAL (2002), CATEGORICAL ANALYSIS TOOL KIT (2009); and, with J.J. Rollin, CRIMINAL DEFENSE OF IMMIGRANTS (4th ed. 2007), SAFE HAVENS: HOW TO IDENTIFY AND CONSTRUCT NON-DEPORTABLE CONVICTIONS (2005), CRIMES OF MORAL TURPITUDE (3d ed. 2009), and AGGRAVATED FELONIES (3d ed. 2006). He publishes a free monthly eNewsletter on criminal immigration law, and a premium monthly eNewsletter on California post-conviction relief for immigrants.


Seminars – For nearly 20 years, he has given day-long seminars in California and nationwide on criminal immigration law, in partnership with the finest immigration nonprofits, including the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild in Boston, the Immigrant Defense Project in New York, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Senter in San Francisco, and has spoken nearly every year since 1995 at the American Immigration Lawyers Association national conference.