Summer 2013: Success Stories, Legal Update, and Core Values in Action

Case Victories

Immigration Case Victories

Champion GraphicMay 5, 2013 (DACA Case): Client and his brother were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. Client’s brother has a severe medical condition that requires 24/7 care. Client’s family members work while he cares for his brother. Client hired Peek & Toland Law Firm for deferred action for childhood arrivals. Client met all the requirements, however Client’s paperwork was sent back with a Request for Evidence for proof of Client’s presence in the U.S. for the past five years. Luckily Client was able to bring not only church records indicating he attended and helped out his Church regularly, he also was able to bring in a signed affidavit stating that he was the primary caregiver for his handicap brother. Client and his brother were both approved for deferred action for childhood arrivals.

May 29, 2013 (Cancellation Case): Client came to the U.S. from Mexico 1993. Client was arrested for a DWI in 2010. He came to our office seeking help with his criminal charges and with his immigration hold. Initially Peek & Toland Law Firm believed that Client was eligible for a U Visa because he was stabbed in 2007, however our immigration team and criminal defense team could not prove the requirements for a U Visa for the Client. However, Client’s daughter was a victim of a sexual assault when she was 17-years-old which resulted in the conviction of her perpetrator. The requirements for a U Visa state that a victim can include her Mexican citizen parents in a derivative petition for a U Visa if the victim was under the age of 21 at the time of filing the application. Thus, Client was able to qualify for the derivative benefits of a U Visa through his daughter who was a victim of a violent crime.

June 4, 2013 (Citizenship Case): Client became a legal permanent resident through 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. He sought Peek & Toland Law Firm’s services for his Mexican citizen mother who was in the U.S. on an expired visa. Client had attempted to apply for an adjustment of status for his mother years earlier but was denied because he failed to disclose a prior conviction on his record before he was a legal permanent resident. Peek & Toland advised Client to apply for U.S. citizenship to significantly speed up the adjustment of status process for his mother. Client agreed and Peek & Toland began the naturalization process for client, including his prior convictions with his application. Fortunately, Peek & Toland was able to show Client met all the requirements for naturalization and should be granted U.S. citizenship. Client’s mother is currently seeking an adjustment of status thanks to Peek & Toland Law Firm’s immigration team and her son’s persistence.

Criminal Defense Case Victories

May 30, 2013 (Theft Case): Client’s mother brought her to the U.S. as a baby. Client has never left the U.S. and is now an adult with a baby of her own. Client was arrested for petty theft and detained on an ICE hold, which could ultimately result in removal proceedings. Client hired Peek & Toland to represent her for her criminal case and immigration case. Peek & Toland argued that Client’s crime was for a small offense, that she’d never had an prior arrests or convictions and that a theft conviction would likely result in removal proceedings against client, a harsh offense for Client who was eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The prosecution agreed and dismissed the case. Client is now free to pursue legal status via Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals thanks to the help of Peek & Toland Law Firm.

May 23, 2013 (Assault-Family Violence): Client was arrested for assault-family violence. The court appointed Peek & Toland Law Firm to represent client for his case. On the recommendation of Peek & Toland’s criminal defense team Client enrolled in anger management classes and sought professional help for his bipolar disorder. At Court it became apparent that the prosecution was no longer in contact with the alleged victim and Peek & Toland’s criminal defense team requested that the case be dismissed for lack of evidence. The Court agreed and the case was dismissed.

April 24, 2013 (Sexual Assault): Client is a highly ranked military officer who was charged with sexual assault.  He hired Peek and Toland to represent him in his criminal defense case. In addition to facing serious felony charges, the case was further complicated when the lead detective for the Austin Police Department announced client’s arrest on the radio and he faced immediate discharge from the military. Peek and Toland’s criminal defense team successfully attacked the credibility of the state’s case by steadfastly obtaining all materials related to the military investigation and securing witness affidavits from military officers. The attorneys at Peek and Toland persuaded the state to eventually dismiss all charges against client.

Legal Update


Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013: The Immigration Reform Bill in Plain English

The U.S. Senate passed the immigration reform bill on June 27, 2013. Now that the Senate has passed the bill, it will be sent to the U.S. House where it will be debated and either pass or fail. However, many in the U.S. House of indicated that the immigration reform bill has little hope of making it through the next hurdles. U.S. House of Representatives Chief Deputy Whip Peter Roskam, (R-IL) stated, “The House has no capacity to move that bill in its entirety. It just won’t happen, so it is a pipe dream to think that bill is going to the floor and is going to be voted on.”

Needless to say, if the immigration reform bill becomes law, it will have a huge impact on many lives. The U.S. Senate’s immigration reform bill can be best broken down into four main pillars:

  • First, meet Border Security Goals, then employ a Pathway to Citizenship for Undocumented Immigrants
  • An Electronic Verification (E-Verify) system which indicates an individual is authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Improvement of Visa System for Skilled Workers (H-1B visa holders), and
  • An Admission System for Unskilled, Skilled and Farm Workers to enter the U.S. to work

Within the bill there are two main sections, immigration policies affecting legal immigrants and immigration policies affecting non-legal immigrants. The immigration policies affecting legal immigration include an increase in the number of skilled worker visas also known as H-1B visas and the creation of a W visa program geared toward unskilled labor and farm workers.

Alternatively, the immigration reform bill creates a system for including the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. a pathway to citizenship. The pathway to citizenship is contingent on reaching certain border security goals; however the main requirements are as follows:

  • He or she must be a resident of the U.S. prior to December 31, 2011 and be able to show continuous presence in the U.S.
  • He or she must pay a $500 penalty and will be assessed all taxes
  • An immigrant is automatically ineligible if he or she is:
    • Convicted of an aggravated felony;
    • Convicted of a felony;
    • Convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors;
    • Convicted of an offense under foreign law;
    • Unlawfully voted; and
    • Inadmissible for Criminal, National Security, Public Health and other morality grounds.

Immigration Reform 2013If the undocumented immigrant meets the above criteria, he or she will be eligible to apply for Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. After 10 years in RPI status, the immigrant may adjust his or her status to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Finally, the immigrant will be able to naturalize, or become a U.S. citizen, after he or she has been an LPR in good standing for 5 years.

To learn more about immigration reform, feel free to check out our new immigration reform website dedicated to providing our readers with the latest news and information on Immigration Reform. We have included a breakdown of the E-Verification System, more information on RPI status, what happens to DACA eligible young adults and much, much more. You can visit it at www.reforma2013.com.

Criminal Defense

Maryland v. King, 569 U.S. ___ (2013)(Slip Opinion).

The defendant was arrested for aggravated assault and taken into custody. Police performed a cheek swab pursuant to the Maryland DNA Collection Act to collect the defendant’s DNA. The defendant’s DNA was uploaded to the Maryland DNA database and was matched to a DNA sample taken from an unsolved 2003 rape case. The defendant was then indicted by a grand jury for rape. The defendant moved to suppress the DNA match on the grounds that Maryland’s DNA collection law violated the Fourth Amendment. The Circuit Court Judge upheld the statue as constitutional. King pled not guilty to the rape charges, but was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On certiorari the U.S. Supreme Court heard the appeal.

The U.S. Supreme Court held that police may perform a search in the form of DNA sampling for the purpose of identification from a charged suspect of a serious crime without a warrant. The Court reasoned that there was a significant government interest in performing the search without a warrant and that the intrusion on defendant’s privacy was minimal. The Court stated that the DNA sampling performed via a cheek swab was a minimal intrusion similar to fingerprinting a suspect. The Court also noted that a significant government interest alone does not justify a search where the defendant has an expectation of privacy. However, the Court reasoned that the defendant did not have an expectation of privacy because he had been arrested with probable cause for a dangerous offense in which he knew he would likely be detained. Thus, the Court held that an arrestee’s DNA identification is a reasonable search that can be considered part of a routine booking if the initial arrest was supported by probable cause and was for a serious offense.

Core Values In Action

Sowing GenerouslyResponding Graciously


Last month Peek & Toland Law Firm launched a website dedicated to covering the latest news and information on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, also known as the immigration reform bill. Offered in both English and Spanish, Reforma2013.com’s primary goal is to educate and inform the immigrant community on potential legislation affecting them directly. Reforma2013.com includes the information on the politics affecting the immigration bill, the proposed amendments, the requirements an immigrant must meet to qualify for a provisional registered immigrant status under the bill, and a simple plain language outline of the bill. Additionally, Reforma2013.com includes information on state proposed legislation that directly affects immigrants in Texas. To learn more about Reforma2013.com, please visit the website at https://www.reforma2013.com.

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