WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 2004 – LAWFUEL – Law firm, legal, attorney news – King & Spalding LLP, a leading international law firm, announced today that it has earned a victory in the U.S. Supreme Court for pro bono client Josue Leocal, a Haitian immigrant who was removed from the United States after serving a two and a half-year jail
sentence because the Immigration and Naturalization Service interpreted his
drunken driving conviction as a “crime of violence” under the law.
Mr. Leocal was a lawful, permanent resident of the United States who lived
in the United States for 19 years without incident before he was arrested. He
was deported after serving his jail sentence because the INS considered his
drunk driving conviction a “crime of violence” and therefore an “aggravated
felony” under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Mr. Leocal. The Court’s
11-page opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist states that a drunk
driving offense is not a “crime of violence” with intent to cause harm, which
can result in the deportation of a permanent resident. King & Spalding partner
J. Sedwick “Wick” Sollers argued Mr. Leocal’s case before the Supreme Court.
“We are obviously thrilled about the outcome of this case and are pleased
to be able to help Mr. Leocal get a step closer to returning to the United
States and reuniting with his family,” said Sollers. “The Supreme Court’s
ruling in this case is not just significant for Mr. Leocal, but it may also
have implications for future immigration cases involving other types of
A pro bono team of lawyers from King & Spalding’s Washington, D.C. office,
led by Sollers, has represented Mr. Leocal from the initial appeal of his
removal order from the Board of Immigration Appeals in early 2002, through the
proceedings in the 11th Circuit, to briefing and oral argument before the
“King & Spalding has always placed great importance on serving those who
could not otherwise afford legal representation,” said Walter W. Driver, Jr.,
chairman of King & Spalding. “We are proud of our pro bono team for taking on
such a critical case and congratulate them on their success.”
About King & Spalding LLP
King & Spalding LLP is an international law firm with more than 800
lawyers in Atlanta, Houston, London, New York and Washington, D.C. The firm
represents more than half of the Fortune 100, and in a Corporate Counsel
survey in October 2004 was ranked one of the top ten firms representing
Fortune 250 companies overall. For additional information,
visit http://www.kslaw.com .
King & Spalding Team – Leocal v. Ashcroft
J. Sedwick Sollers, Office Managing Partner, Washington, D.C.
Michael J. Ciatti, Partner-Elect, Washington, D.C.
Patricia L. Maher, Partner, Washington, D.C.
Augusta M. Ridley, Associate, Washington, D.C.
Jessica S. Champa, Associate, Washington, D.C.
Philip D. MacWilliams, Associate, Washington, D.C.
Kristen C. Limarzi, Associate, Washington, D.C.
Alfred B. “Ben” Gordon, Associate, Washington, D.C.
Osamudia R. Guobadia, Associate, Washington, D.C.
Robin L. Zimmerly, Associate, Washington, D.C.