Contra Costa Lawyer May 2016

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Contra Costa

LAWYER Volume 29, Number 3 | May 2016

Immigration Law

My Cup Runneth Over: The Intersection of Immigration Law and Other Bodies of Law page 8

Lessons Learned from Super Bowl 50: Human Trafficking page 15

Exiles Electing the Suitcase over the Coffin Encounter Reluctant Hosts page 25

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MAY 2016


Contra Costa  2016 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Elva Harding President Philip Andersen President-Elect James Wu Secretary Michelle Ferber Treasurer Nicholas Casper Ex Officio Ericka Ackeret Dean Barbieri Mary Carey Steven Derby Oliver Greenwood Renée Welze Livingston

David Marchiano Wendy McGuire Coats Dorian Peters Laura Ramsey Summer Selleck Katherine Wenger

LAWYER Volume 29, Number 3 | May 2016

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The Contra Costa Lawyer (ISSN 1063-4444) is published 12 times a year - six times online-only - by the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA), 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. Annual subscription of $25 is included in the membership dues. Periodical postage paid at Concord, CA. POSTMASTER: send address change to the Contra Costa Lawyer, 2300 Clayton Road, Suite 520, Concord, CA 94520. The Lawyer welcomes and encourages articles and letters from readers. Please send them to The CCCBA reserves the right to edit articles and letters sent in for publication. All editorial material, including editorial comment, appearing herein represents the views of the respective authors and does not necessarily carry the endorsement of the CCCBA or the Board of Directors. Likewise, the publication of any advertisement is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product or service offered unless it is specifically stated in the ad that there is such approval or endorsement.


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INNS OF COURT: ANIMAL LAW | by Matthew Talbot






ow beneficial and realistic would building a border wall and removing millions of undocumented immigrants really be?

Erika Portillo

Immigration has been a top issue in the 2016 presidential race. In particular, the top contender for the Republican Party nomination, Donald Trump, has been very outspoken about illegal immigration. He has proposed the creation of a “Great Wall” that he plans to build between the United States and Mexico, and the removal of the approximately 11.3 million undocumented people living in the U.S. Trump’s controversial comments about Mexican immigrants during his June 16, 2015, campaign announcement caused outrage among the Hispanic community, and many corporations decided to end their business relationships with him. In that speech, Trump said Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems” to America including rapists, drug runners and other criminals. Although during his campaign, Trump has never provided data to support his allegations and proposals, the number of his followers has increased, according to the polls. The undocumented people who are living in the U.S. are not only from Mexico, but also from Central and South America, Asia and Europe. Many of them have overstayed their visas, meaning they came to the country legally. Executing Trump’s proposal of sending undocumented people to their countries of origin may not be as easy as proposed. There are a few things that Trump and other candidates appear to have not taken into consideration. For instance, many undocumented immigrants own businesses, have entered into contracts and have applied for loans to purchase houses, vehicles, services and such. If they were going to be removed from the U.S., what would happen to the American citizens that have a right to collect money on those loans and services? What would happen with the job vacancies and their muchneeded contributions to the Social Security Administration, which are being used to pay pensions to American citizen retirees? Who would fill those jobs? Many U.S.


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citizen children would be left behind for our foster care system to care for. As a result, many of the public services costs would significantly increase. The costs related to the transportation of those immigrants to their countries of origin would be burdensome to our economy. According to a report from the conservative American Action Forum, headed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of undertaking such an operation would be absurdly high. More precisely, removing 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in two years would require: • Increasing the number of federal immigration apprehension personnel from 4,844 positions to 90,582 positions. • Increasing the number of immigration detention beds from 34,000 to 348,831. • Increasing the number of immigration courts from 58 to 1,316. • Increasing the number of federal attorneys legally processing undocumented immigrants from 1,430 to 32,445. The report concludes, “in just two years it would shrink the labor force by 10.3 million workers and reduce real GDP by $1 trillion.”

A system allowing people already here to obtain a work permit with a path to citizenship would be more beneficial than removing law-abiding families who are contributing to our economy and our society as a whole. It would not only benefit the immigrants by improving the quality of their lives, but it would also benefit the country. People would be able to come out of the shadows and have normal lives without fear. Integration would be easier. As a result, crime would decrease and our society would prosper. As for that “Great Wall” proposal, is it really feasible to build such a wall? There are millions of men, women and children who live in communities that fall on both sides of Mexico and the U.S. There are many tourists, workers, students and entrepreneurs who cross the border each day. There are billions of dollars that the trade between the two countries provide to our economy, which sustain millions of U.S. jobs. The two countries are economically and socially integrated. Trump’s plan would severely damage that relationship. According to the fact sheet released by the Americas Society/Council of Americas Integration and Immigration Initiative: • The total value of U.S.-Mexico trade is more than $1 billion every day. • More than 13 million Mexicans traveled to the U.S. in 2010, spending $8.7 billion. • Roughly 6 million U.S. jobs are sustained by trade with Mexico.

tion reform. As proposed previously in Congress, it will strengthen our communities, our economy and our country’s future. Comprehensive immigration reform would provide undocumented immigrants with a legal way to earn citizenship; improve family-based and employment-based immigration systems (e.g., currently spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents must wait more than two years to reunite with their families, while adult children of green card holders may wait more than 10 years); provide visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in the U.S., creating job opportunities for U.S. citizens; help foreign graduate students stay in this country after graduation; give law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime; enhance our infrastructure and technology; and strengthen our ability to address threats to our national security. Establishing a system to enable much-needed unskilled workers to come to the U.S. legally by applying overseas and increasing the number of skilled worker visas, including visas for highly educated professionals, are among other changes that would produce greater benefits to the U.S. than what Trump is proposing. s Erika Portillo is a partner at Guichard, Teng and Portello with offices in Walnut Creek, San Francisco, Davis and Willows. She practices immigration law exclusively and is fluent in English and Spanish.

• More than 20 percent of all U.S. jobs are tied in some way to trade along the border. As we can see, a wall may not be the best solution. What we need instead is infrastructure upgrades for ports of entry, and intelligence-driven law enforcement operations that target criminal organizations, as Republican Congressman Will Hurd addressed recently at a panel discussing hosted by the Brookings Institution, titled “A complex reality: Security, trade, and the U.S.Mexico border.” If we really want to solve the problem without building a wall and removing law-abiding families, we should focus our efforts on comprehensive immigra-

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t the April meeting of the CCCBA Board of Directors, the board considered and approved the request from a group of local immigration attorneys to establish an immigration law section. Flavio Carvalho presented the application on behalf of the attorneys and explained the great need for immigration attorneys, not just in Contra Costa, but around the country.

Immigration issues often arise in the employment, business, family and criminal law context. With immigrants comprising 14 percent of America’s population and growing,1 it is clear that the need for attorneys with immigration law knowledge is essential. The economic benefits of immigration can be significant. As an economic leader, the United States is able to attract well-educated and exceptionally qualified professionals, scientists, innovators and artists from around the world. These highly educated individuals are in great demand by American businesses. They bring not only their knowledge, but also help us to expand our reach in the global economy. In my March column, I wrote about the benefits of diversity in the workplace.2 You will recall that McKinsey and Company reported that diverse companies tend to experience greater financial success, which was attributed, in part, to better connections with other diverse companies and communities. In a global economy, where markets and opportunities reach beyond borders, the same arguments apply to immigration. Companies that have better connections and


MAY 2016

understand local cultures and laws, both here and abroad, will likely achieve greater success. Here are just a few statistics demonstrating the role of immigrants in creating a healthy American economy: • Eighteen percent of all small businesses are owned by immigrants. • In 2007, immigrant-owned companies employed 4.7 million people and generated income of more than $776 billion.3 Immigrants aren’t just contributing through small businesses. Google was founded by an immigrant. Microsoft, Oracle and Google are all lead by foreign-born CEOs. In fact, Forbes reports that about 43 percent of recent Silicon Valley startups had at least one foreignborn founder.4 Even those immigrants who come to the United States fleeing war, famine and human rights violations have something to contribute. In a recent article, the New Yorker reports that Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which cumulatively had taken in about 4 million Syrian refugees as of 2015, had all experienced economic growth over this period. Turkey’s economy grew by 3 percent last year and is expected to grow by 4 percent this year.5 Not bad, compared to the United States’ approximate 2 percent rate of growth in 2015.6 Of course, there are challenges, too. Language can be a significant barrier to assimilation. Often, immigrants are vulnerable to discrimination and exploitation in housing and employment. They may not understand how to access services

Elva Harding CCCBA Board President or seek assistance. The challenge of dealing with individuals who don’t speak English is a real concern for our courts and schools. In this edition of the Contra Costa Lawyer, local attorneys thoughtfully introduce us to some of the legal aspects and challenges of immigration, and how immigration intersects with other areas of the law. I invite you to dig in! s Elva D. Harding is a real estate and business attorney and founder of Harding Legal, dedicated to providing efficient and effective legal service to individuals and small, mid-sized and family-owned businesses. Elva currently serves as CCCBA’s Board President. Contact Elva Harding at (925) 215-4577, or visit 1

http://www.pewhispanic. org/2015/09/28/chapter-2-immigrationsimpact-on-past-and-future-u-s-population-change/.


The Value in Diversity, Contra Costa Lawyer, March 2016. http://cclawyer.


4 gregoryferenstein/2015/08/14/ceosof-silicon-valleys-top-firms-are-oftennon-white-immigrants-or-women-in1-graph/#751f15d7324c. 5 6



3 blog/2012/07/12/ten-ways-immigrantshelp-build-and-strengthen-our-economy.


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My Cup Runneth Over The Intersection of Immigration Law and Other Bodies of Law

by Flavio Carvalho, Esq.


egardless of what happens in the elections later this year, immigration law is here to stay. According to the Migration Policy Institute, approximately 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States in 2013. That same year, the U.S. was the final destination of about 20 percent of the world’s international migrants.

Since immigrants marry, have children, divorce and die, immigration law brushes shoulders with family and probate/estate planning law. Since immigrants commit crimes or are victims of crime, immigration law interacts with criminal law. The list goes on.

Immigrants accounted for 13 percent of the 316 million people living in the U.S. When U.S.-born children of immigrants are added, the number balloons to about 80 million people, or 25 percent of the population.1 With numbers like this, we can say that the cup of immigration law is truly running over.

A potential client came in for a consultation. We will call him Carlos. He was a foreign national from Honduras, legally living and working in the U.S. under a Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS is available to eligible foreign nationals when the Secretary of Homeland Security designates a country as “temporarily unsafe� because of conditions in that country which make it dangerous for their nationals abroad to return home. This typically happens during times of civil unrest or natural disaster.

Yet, immigration law is about more than simply providing visas for foreign nationals wanting to visit, study, do business or live in the U.S. Since immigrants start businesses, higher and fire employees, and are hired and fired themselves, immigration law overlaps with labor law.


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Many of these overlaps have significant consequences. Consider the following real-life cases:

While holding his TPS, Carlos was charged with a felony (first offense, no injuries or casualties). He was ap-

pointed a public defender and later offered a plea deal that included a fine and probation, but no jail time. Under advice of counsel, He accepted. It seemed like a good deal until, one year later, when his TPS expired and he applied for renewal, his petition was summarily denied because of the felony conviction. In another case, a client (we will call her Jane) had a temporary green card. Temporary green cards are issued to a foreign national when the marriage to the U.S. citizen is less than two years old. Within 90 days from the two-year anniversary, the couple must jointly file a Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. The foreign national then receives his or her permanent green card. But Jane was persuaded by a divorce attorney to withdraw her adjustment of status claim based on her marriage, because her spouse was now divorcing her. However, apparently unknown to the divorce attorney, Jane had better options. One of them was the filing of a waiver petition to the joint filing requirement. If Jane could prove that hers was a bona fide marriage, she had a good chance of getting the waiver and successfully filing the removal of conditions individually. In yet another case, the wife was a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR)—a foreign national with a valid permanent green card. LPRs may apply for citizenship after five years or remain LPRs for 10 years, then apply for renewal. In this particular situation, she neglected to apply for citizenship. She was married to a very wealthy U.S. citizen. Upon his death, she and her family were upset to discover that the unlimited marital deduction did not apply to her. Under this deduction, any asset, regardless of worth, left to a surviving spouse is exempt from federal estate tax. However, the spouse must be a U.S. citizen in order to qualify. She wasn’t, so she didn’t. The point of citing these incidents is not to suggest that public defenders, family law attorneys, or probate lawyers are incompetent or uncaring for not knowing the intricacies of immigration law, any more than immigration attorneys are incompetent for not being familiar with the complexities of, say, tax law.

However, every attorney should be aware that immigration law is a lot more than simply providing visas for foreign nationals. The cup of immigration law runs over and spills into many other areas of law, and often with serious implications. More and more people, in and out of the legal profession, are finally understanding this. For example, since March 31, 2010, criminal defense attorneys are required to inform immigrant clients that by pleading to criminal charges, they may be subject to deportation. This was the ruling of the Supreme Court in Padilla v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), recognizing the intersection of immigration and criminal law. In short, in a nation that is the final destination of one in every five international immigrants and where first generation immigrants account for 13 percent of the population (and rising), law practitioners should know that immigration law is likely to overlap into their practice. Consequently, it may be a good idea for every attorney to have the name and number of an immigration attorney on speed dial. s Flavio Carvalho is an attorney with offices in Walnut Creek and San Francisco. He practices immigration and family law and is a graduate of JFK University College of Law. 1

Batalova, J. Z. (2015, February 26). Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States. Migration Policy Institute: article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states?gclid=CNmFkcXv2csCFZSGfgodB5AOzA.

Check out CCCBA’s event on immigration crossover on May 19. Details on page 37.

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In Court and in Trouble:

Humanitarian Immigration Issues in Contra Costa County by Peggy J. Bristol

to obey him and she could not leave him. He could track her down, and the police did not protect her. Finally, to save her life, she had to leave her children with relatives and escape to find her family in California. Edwin was repeatedly beaten and harassed by gangs because they could tell he was gay. The abuse escalated into death threats. When he reported it to the police, they ridiculed him and did nothing. Finally, after an assault where several men beat him and tried to rape him, he fled from the country.


ancy and her 11-year-old cousin David were walking home from school when gang members pursued them. Nancy outran them, but David was not so fortunate. His family searched for him until it was too dark to see. The next morning, they found his stabbed, mutilated body half-buried by the river. Devastated, his grandmother had to pay the mortuary to


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re-attach David’s severed head and limbs. This murder was so senseless and barbaric that it not only made local news but was reported in the Christian Science Monitor. Nancy and three cousins had to escape from death threats. Blanca’s partner brutalized her and tried to drown her in a laundry tub in full view of the neighbors. As his “woman,” she was his property, the same as a horse or dog; she had

These are just a few of the stories of children and young adults who have been fleeing from Central America in record numbers since 2014. When detained at the border, they are placed in removal (deportation) proceedings before an immigration judge. As priority cases, some have been ordered to hearings in as little as 60 days after being released from detention. In fiscal year 2016 alone, 86 children were released to relatives in this county.

Families are under pressure to find legal representation quickly; immigration courts are considered administrative, not criminal, so respondents—including children— do not have a constitutional right to pro bono counsel.

best-kept secrets until 2014, when the numbers of unaccompanied minors fleeing to the United States reached record numbers and many immigration attorneys had to learn, for the first time, how to appear in Superior Court.

Children of all ages are in removal proceedings. In San Francisco, an immigration judge may have as many as 40 cases to hear in an afternoon. Despite the small stuffed animals and books that some courtrooms offer, the children are shy, eyes downcast, voices barely audible, except for infants and toddlers, who feel free to raise a ruckus no matter where they are.

Contra Costa County’s courts and attorneys play a crucial role in helping children and adults find a safe haven in this country.

Some of us are still debating how, under any circumstances, due process is satisfied when a child is served with a Notice to Appear, the charging document that orders an immigrant to appear before an immigration judge to explain that deportation is not necessary because he or she can qualify for some kind of immigration relief. Many immigrants are eligible for humanitarian forms of relief— if they can connect with an attorney or organization to help them. Adults as well as children may be eligible for asylum. For minors who cannot reunify with one or both parents due to abuse, abandonment or neglect, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) was one of Immigration’s

• SIJS cases require custody orders and specific factual findings from judges in probate, family law, juvenile dependency and adoption courts; an unusual crossover for immigration law. The Superior Court’s role is of paramount importance; as the “make or break” requirement, SIJS factual findings made by judges in Contra Costa County have literally saved lives. • Padilla v. Kentucky requires that non-citizens must be advised of the potential immigration consequences of a guilty plea. Many public defenders now have inhouse immigration counsel. Juvenile dependency courts also consider a minor’s immigration status in adjudicating cases. Family law attorneys must consider the potential immigration consequences for clients who want to marry—or divorce—their U.S. citizen partners.

The importance of the CCCBA, pro bono and private attorneys, nonprofit agencies and judges in this county cannot be over-emphasized, and the results are rewarding beyond words. Some clients are now in college; one student has just been accepted to four universities, including UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine, where she plans to major in sociology. LGBT clients are now able to breathe free. Children are safe. Women are becoming empowered. s Peggy Bristol is an immigration attorney with special emphasis in humanitarian forms of immigration relief including asylum, SIJS and the U visa. Her first case was a pro bono referral from the CCCBA in 2011. Since then, she has represented clients in SIJS cases in Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and San Joaquin Superior Courts. In 2015, Peggy was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame for her work representing immigrant children and families. Peggy earned her J.D. from John F. Kennedy University College of Law.

• Adopting a foreign child does not automatically confer U.S. citizenship, and adoption attorneys of-

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U Visas: A Potential (but Long) Path to Citizenship by Eric Husby While issues with individual jurisdictions persist, the processing itself is a growing problem. As recently as 2012, there were same-year decisions in U visa cases, and conclusions to such cases were within at least one year of filing. That is no longer the case.


anaging client expectations is fundamental for all attorneys. However, in immigration law, our task is more difficult due to the one great unknown: Government processing times. Take, for instance, adjudications on U Nonimmigrant, or U visa, petitions. The U visa was an outgrowth of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2000. This allows nonimmigrants and the undocumented to apply for a visa if they have been the victim of certain enumerated crimes. They also must show that they are helpful to law enforcement, and that they suffered substantial harm due to their victimization. Domestic violence and armed robberies are some of the most common types of criminal activity. This program has become extremely popular and potential clients are numerous. Initially, many of the issues with the program revolved around the cooperation of law enforcement in providing Law Enforcement Certifications, which are required in order to file a petition. An excellent 2013 study by the University of North Carolina School of Law illustrates the uneven treatment across the nation. Here in California, SB 674, which became law on January 01, 2016, has created a rebuttable presumption of helpfulness which encourages law enforcement to provide victims with the needed certification.


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The slowdown at the Vermont Service Center, where U visas are adjudicated, is the result of the tremendous growth in demand for, and awareness of, this visa category. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides a list of the processing times for various forms. U visa petitions are submitted using Form I-918, which currently shows the date for the most recent cases being processed as May 07, 2014. Data from USCIS shows that in fiscal year 2009, just under 7,000 petitions were received; by FY 2015, this number had climbed to over 30,000. Just in the last quarter of FY 2015, which ended on September 30, 2015, over 8,000 petitions were filed. Today, more than 110,000 petitions remain pending. USCIS may issue no more than 10,000 U visas per fiscal year. For the current fiscal year, the cap was reached on December 29, 2015. In an effort to address the delay, USCIS has been issuing Deferred Action Letters, indicating that petitioners appear to meet the eligibility requirements, but were barred by the cap from receiving a visa. In these cases, the Deferred Action determination allows petitioners to apply for employment authorization, but even these determinations are regularly taking over a year. Many of the cases submitted will hit over two years of processing this summer. These long delays have profound effects upon people’s lives. Many of the petitioners are women and are

often single mothers. A determination allowing for employment authorization, at the very least, would allow them to bring stability to their lives, as many struggle to overcome the trauma of domestic violence. As the timeline is stretched out further and further due to processing delays and the low quantity of visas available, it also becomes increasingly difficult for attorneys to manage expectations. The U visa itself is a four-year visa: After three years in U visa status, visa holders become eligible to apply to become a legal resident. However, cases may now be pending for over two years, and even after the two years of processing time, a petitioner may only be granted Deferred Action due to the statutory cap on U visas. Because of the long waitlist for a U visa, they’re likely to be in Deferred Action for many years. So a process that took only eight months as little as four years ago can now possibly stretch on for four to five years. There have been attempts to improve this process: The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 included an increase of the annual limit to 18,000 and a process for providing employment authorization within 180 days of filing the petition. Additional attempts were made in 2012, with the reauthorization of VAWA, but none of these propos-

als have become law. In the absence of reforms, the backlog only continues to grow. One concern is that eligible victims simply won’t apply, believing the U visa program to be another in a long line of schemes through which their communities have been taken advantage of. The entire theory for the program’s existence is based upon the need to provide support to law enforcement. Immigrant communities, regardless of legal status, should not fear reporting crime to law enforcement or fear cooperation in the prosecution of criminals, who sometimes live within their own communities. This purpose is undermined when the program moves at an ever more glacial pace. Clients must be advised that the petition will be a multi-year process. While the benefits are not immediate, they are profound, as for some the petition represents the only potential pathway to citizenship. Attorneys and clients should be ready for the frustrations and the extra services these cases will require, and be prepared for the long haul. s Eric Husby has practiced immigration law since 2011, and is an Associate Attorney at Surowitz Immigration P.C. He is a dual citizen of the United States and Ecuador. Eric is fluent in Spanish and may be reached at



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MAY 2016

Lessons Learned from Super Bowl 50:

Human Trafficking by Renzo F. Manay


t was not too long ago that the San Francisco Bay Area hosted the biggest sporting event in the United States—Super Bowl 50. It was reported that at least 1 million people participated in the activities and events leading up to the big game.1 Although the commercial success of Super Bowl 50 attracted visitors and revenue to the Bay Area, the magnitude of the event also provided an ideal setting for human trafficking to take place. In the midst of crowds getting ready for frenzied fun, the atmosphere created a prime ground to force victims into coerced prostitution and slave labor without anyone taking notice.

law enforcement, local organizations and federal law enforcement agencies.2 For example, the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition held a Freedom Summit at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara to find ways to raise awareness about the issue and fight against human trafficking.3 The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign, also held informational events about human trafficking, including how to identify possible victims and what resources and immigration benefits are available to them. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as part of the National Johns Suppression Initiative, also conducted a nationwide cooperative in conjunction with local and federal enforcement agencies to combat human trafficking.4

Unfortunately, many do not realize that mass human trafficking happens every day and not only during major sporting events.

The FBI reported that the twoweek operative in the Bay Area alone resulted in 85 arrests for solicitation, the apprehension of 12 pimps and contact with 129 adult sex workers.5

In anticipation of Super Bowl 50, there were several campaigns, trainings and operations against human trafficking that involved

Now that Super Bowl 50 is in the past, we must reflect on our increased awareness of human trafficking and our role as advocates

moving forward. Human trafficking does not end with the conclusion of a major sporting event; in fact, it is a revolving and persistent problem in the Bay Area that calls for increased efforts year-round. Many human trafficking victims go undetected because we are not aware that these inhumane practices are happening in our own backyard. The fact is that many victims are immigrants who are transported from their home communities to unknown destinations without any source of protection or support. They are left defenseless and afraid to come forward and identify themselves to law enforcement. Unfortunately, many of these victims are not aware that they could potentially qualify for an immigration benefit called a “T” visa that was specifically created to protect them.

T Visa Overview In October 2000, Congress created the “T” nonimmigrant status by passing the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA). The stated purpose of this legislation was to combat the trafficking of victims who are forced into the sex trade, slavery and involuntary servitude.6



Human Trafficking, continued from page 15

The T visa allows victims to remain in the U.S. to assist in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking. The T visa not only provides victims with lawful status in the U.S. for four years, but it also provides a path for lawful permanent residence as well as U.S. citizenship in the future. The basic requirements for T visa eligibility are set forth in Section 101(a)(15)(T) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. A noncitizen is eligible if it is determined that he or she: 1. Is or has been a victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons;7 2. Is physically present in the United States,8 American Samoa, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or a port-of-entry to thereto, on account of such trafficking, including physical presence on account of the alien having been allowed entry into the United States for participation in investigative or judicial processes associated with an act or a perpetrator of trafficking; 3. Either: • Has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the federal, state or local investigation or prosecution of acts of trafficking or the investigation of crime where acts of trafficking are at least one central reason for the commission of that crime; or is unable to cooperate with a request described due to physical or psychological trauma; or • Has not attained 18 years of age; 4. Would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm upon removal.9 Although the statute’s basic eligibility requirements for a T visa appear simple, it is a complex process that places the burden on the victim to prove that he or she is eligible for a T visa.10 The first major hurdle is proving that the


MAY 2016

noncitizen was a victim of “severe form of trafficking in persons.”11 This is defined as: • Sex trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or • The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery. To prove that a person was a victim of “severe form of trafficking,” he or she may submit either an endorsement of a law enforcement agency, evidence that continued presence has been arranged to assist in the investigation or prosecution of traffickers in persons or by submitting sufficient credible secondary evidence describing the nature and scope of any force, fraud or coercion used against the victim.12 Unless the victim is under the age of 18 (for a commercial sex act),13 showing that the victim was specifically forced, defrauded or coerced into performing either commercial sex or labor could make it challenging to be classified as a victim. For example, if an alleged victim escapes before being forced to engage in any act or if the individual was never forced to engage in a commercial sex act, then it becomes even more difficult to show that trafficking took place.

This is just one of many hurdles that could be the difference between obtaining lawful status through a T visa and being denied such a benefit outright. For this reason, victims of human trafficking should never navigate this form of relief without adequate legal representation and advocacy.

Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-386, 114 Stat. 1464.

T visas are an avenue for relief and a source of hope for those seeking a way out of human trafficking. There are still many unidentified human trafficking victims that will never get a chance to apply for a T visa. This is why we must have increased awareness and involvement in helping identify these victims, whether it be during major sporting events or not. s




22 U.S.C. Sec. 7102 (9)(A-B).


8 U.S.C. Sec. 1101(a)(38).

9 8 C.F.R. Sec. 214.11.


22 U.S.C. Sec. 7102 (9)(A-B). 12

8 C.F.R. Sec. 214.11(f).



Renzo F. Manay, Esq., is a board certified legal specialist in immigration and nationality law in El Sobrante. His solo practice focuses on all aspects of immigration law, including family immigration, naturalization, removal/deportation defense, VAWA, DACA, TPS, criminal post-conviction relief and expungements. Renzo is a graduate from the University of California, Davis School of Law and received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and his master’s degree from Ohio State University. You can reach Renzo at

30 years experience Probate-Trust Paralegal 3445 Golden Gate Way Lafayette, CA 94549 (925) 283-6998


Super Bowl 50 Sets Records Across the Board (Feb. 10, 2016).


San Francisco Collaborative Against Human Trafficking – 2016 Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign Calendar.

Elder Law is


Lapchick, Richard E. (Feb. 5 2016), Human trafficking is the Super Bowl of suffering. id/14720095/the-scope-human-traffickingcontinues-grow-awareness.

Until there’s a cure, people with the disease will need caregiving and legal advice. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately one in ten families has a relative with this disease. Of the four million people living in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease, the majority live at home — often receiving care from family members.


Salonga, Robert (Feb. 9, 2016). Super Bowl 50: Human trafficking crackdown yielded dozens of arrests, citations. San Jose Mercury News. sports/ci_29495319/super-bowl-50-humantrafficking-crackdown-yielded-dozens.

If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s, call elder law attorney

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Lybager, Jeremy (Feb. 10, 2016). FBI releases Post-Super Bowl trafficking stats, but says it doesn’t track the number of prostitutes arrested. SF Weekly. http://www.

The average survival rate is eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — some live as few as three years after diagnosis, while others live as long as 20. Most people with Alzheimer’s don’t die from the disease itself, but from pneumonia, a urinary tract infection or complications from a fall.

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INTRODUCING CCCBA’s New Immigration Law Section


mmigration law is here to stay. According to the Migration Policy Institute, in 2013, more than 40 million immigrants lived in the United States and it is estimated that one in five of the world’s international immigrants choose the U.S. as their final destination.

A group of local immigration attorneys has recently formed an immigration law section within the CCCBA to support the work of Contra Costa’s immigration attorneys and promote the best possible immigration services in our county and beyond. The section will provide continuing education, training and mentoring for immigration attorneys. It will also inform attorneys practicing in other areas of the law of the overlap between immigration law and their areas of practice, e.g., employment, juvenile, family, criminal, business and estate planning and probate. The section will work to promote events and programs that make immigration law accessible to those who need it. Dues will be $25 per year. The next section meeting will be held on Monday, May 16, 2016, at noon at the CCCBA office. At this meeting, the bylaws will be finalized and the calendar for the year will be set. For more information about CCCBA’s new Immigration Section, contact Section Chair Flavio Carvalho at or (415) 448-6529. To join the section, either log into your CCCBA profile or contact Jenny Comages, Membership Coordinator, at or (925) 370-2543. Immigration Section Board Chair: Flavio Carvalho Vice-Chair:

Peggy Bristol

Secretary/Treasurer: Jon Ishibashi At-Large:

Marco Garzon


Spojmie Nasiri

CCCBA holds monthly immigration workshops at local libraries. If you are interested in volunteering for one of the workshops, contact Anne Wolf, Education & Programs Coordinator, at or (925) 370-2540.


MAY 2016

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Judge Arnason Memorial Thank you to the following companies, law firms and individuals who generously donated toward the Judge Arnason Memorial, which was held on March 10, 2016. We appreciate your support in honoring an icon in Contra Costa County’s legal community.

Contra Costa County Bar Association Criminal Conflict Program of the CCCBA Chef’s Touch Catering PDQ Printing San Ramon Police Officers Association Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss, Markowitz & Raines Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook Turner, Huguet, Adams & Farr CCC Prosecutors Association Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office Hon. David Flinn (Ret.) Hon. Garrett Grant (Ret.) Hon. Harlan Grossman (Ret.) Hon. Douglas Swager (Ret.) Hon. Barbara Zúñiga (Ret.) Daniel Cabral Gerald Chang Angelo Costanza Nancy Georgiou Thomas Kensok Mary Knox Doug MacMaster Dirk Manoukian Joseph M. Tully Arnason Memorial Planning Committee: Hon. Steven Austin, Hon. Terri Mockler, Robin Lipetzky, Mark Peterson, Theresa Hurley and Elizabeth Alvarado.


MAY 2016

Martinez Police Department Honor Guard and Hon. Steven K. Austin

William Gagen

Robin Lipetzky

Mark Peterson

Hon. James J. Marchiano

Virginia Nelson

For more photos, visit our Facebook page at!



U.S. Expands Restrictions on Visa Waiver Program for Visitors by Spojmie Nasiri


he Department of Homeland Security (DHS) oversees the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State. This program was created in 1989, and allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for tourism and business for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. Most of these countries are in Europe and also include Australia, New Zealand, Chile, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Brunei and Singapore. Per the VWP, these 38 countries must also permit U.S. citizens to travel to their countries for the same amount of time without a visa for tourism and business related purposes. The VWP uses complex methods to detect and prevent terrorists and criminals from traveling to the U.S. This approach utilizes national level assessments concerning the impact of each country’s participation in the VWP on U.S. national security concerns. According to the Department of Homeland Security, under the VWP, approximately 20 million people visited the United States.1 In the aftermath of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, lawmakers in Washington passed a bill called the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. Implementation of this program began on January 21, 2016, and under this bill, nationals of


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VWP who have traveled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria on or after March 1, 2011, are no longer eligible to travel or be admitted to the United States, with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country. In addition, this bill denied visa free entry into the U.S. to foreigners who are dual nationals of Sudan, Iran, Iraq or Syria. Being removed from the VWP does not mean a person is banned from traveling to the U.S. Instead, these individuals will still be able to apply for a visa using the regular process at a U.S. embassy or consulate.2 The new visa waiver restrictions have been implemented for the purpose of safeguarding people with ties to countries who pose a terror threat from traveling to the U.S. However, the negative consequences of this bill affects a large

number of people who have never traveled to Iraq, Iran, Syria or Sudan and who have absolutely no ties to terrorist groups. Controversially, these drastic changes in this bill also apply to dual-national individuals who are both citizens of the VWP country and of Sudan, Iran, Iraq or Syria. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has opposed this bill and has shared its concern that some dual national citizens of Sudan, Iran, Iraq and Syria may have status through their parents and may have never visited any of these countries. In a letter to Congress in December 2015, ACLU stated “It is wrong and un-American to punish groups without reason solely based on their nationality, national origin, religion, gender or other protected grounds.�3 Nationals of Syria, Iran and Su-

dan inherit their nationality from their father rather than one’s country of birth, and thus, even those individuals who have never traveled to any of these countries lose the privileges afford under the visa waiver program, according to the ACLU. Overall, this bill, as a hasty response to the Paris terrorist attacks, does not make the United States any safer. Millions of people who use the VWP everyday do not pose a threat and travel to the U.S. for legitimate purposes. Since the implementation of this restricted bill, several of this author’s clients from Syria, Iran, Iraq and Sudan have been tremendously impacted by this bill. One client in particular, who was born in Iraq and holds dual citizenship in Australia, was unable to travel to the U.S. through the VWP solely because she was an Iraqi national. As a result of these new restrictions, she was required to apply for a visitor visa using the lengthier immigration process at a U.S. embassy in Australia. Another client from Britain had his VWP privilege revoked because he visited his mother with cancer six months ago in Iran. Since the implementation of the new bill, thousands of individuals who either visited or are nationals of one of these four countries have been restricted from taking advantage of the VWP. Ambassadors to the U.S. from European Union member states expressed concern about the implications of the proposed VWP changes. They have cautioned against “introducing elements of rigidity or automaticity” into the program. “A blanket restriction on those who have visited Syria or Iraq, for example, would most likely only affect legitimate travel by businesspeople, journalists, humanitarian or medical workers while doing little to detect those who travel by more clandestine means overland,” the

diplomats wrote. “European Union citizens who are dual nationals of a proscribed country would also be disproportionately and unfairly affected.”4

created two classes of American passport holders that is extremely discriminatory, unfair and unAmerican. s

Reciprocal actions among European nations and other countries eligible for the visa waiver program could bar Americans. Since the inception of this bill, various countries have raised concerns about their citizens’ inability to benefit from the VWP.

Spojmie Nasiri exclusively practices immigration law at the Law Office of Spojmie Nasiri. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Davis, and her Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law. Spojmie is a member of the California State Bar and is admitted to practice before the California Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court for the Northern California. She is currently a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and was selected by the National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers for 2015 and the American Society of Legal Advocates Top 40 Lawyers Under 40 in 2015. Spojmie was also selected as a Northern California “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine

Based on the fact that the visa waiver program operates on reciprocity, the visa waiver program countries are likely to respond with reciprocal measures that could render Iranian, Syrian, Sudanese and Iraqi nationals with dual U.S. citizenship ineligible for the visa waiver program, effectively creating a second tier of American citizens traveling abroad. The end result of this restricted bill is that in essence, Congress has

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Visa Waiver Program, continued from page 23

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MAY 2016

Exiles Electing the Suitcase over the Coffin Encounter Reluctant Hosts


he tumult that is rocking the political world is also creating fault lines in the terrain of refugee resettlement. Thousands of women and children fleeing horrific gang violence in Mexico and Central America have brought to light the risky conditions in those countries. One of the most distressing incidents was the appearance of the lifeless body of three-year-old Syrian migrant, Aylan Kurdi, wearing a red t-shirt, discovered by a policeman on the beach in Turkey. The toddler (as well as his mother and sister) drowned after the boat in which his family sought to escape capsized en route to Greece. The image of the solitary, listless corpse washed up on shore signified much about the global community’s response to the refugee crises. Representing the plight of roughly 50 percent of the Syrian populace that has fled that country’s armed conflict, Aylan’s family’s refugee application had been rejected in Canada, and they sought a path to safety from that brutal quagmire. Their flight terminated tragically, but could it have had another ending? The waves of Central American and Syrian refugees followed on the heels of years of shipwrecks and mass drowning deaths of hundreds of African refugees at the hands of unscrupulous human traffickers. Meanwhile, the exodus of Jews fleeing an increasingly hostile Europe represents a growing intolerance and religious strife on the continent itself. If it seems like it was an especially dangerous year for refugees, that’s because it was one of the worst years in recent history, according to Amnesty International. The human rights group’s most recent annual report confirms that more people are currently displaced (60 million) and seeking refuge worldwide than at any point since World War II.

by Daniel Roemer

What recourse is there for those who are fleeing repressive governments, failed states controlled by war lords and the strife of civil wars? The United Nations 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1984 Convention Against Torture and myriad other agreements that have been adopted and incorporated into the asylum and refugee law of various countries, comprise the main legal framework allowing displaced persons to ask for safe haven. The Convention and Protocol, signed by over 140 countries, provide that a person who has a wellfounded fear of persecution in his or her home country on the basis of the person’s political opinion, religion, ethnicity, social group or national origin must be given sanctuary and not be returned to his or her home country. The response to this burgeoning asylum and refugee crisis is as varied as the character and nationality of the refugees asking for help. Germany, hungry for young, well-educated workers and anxious to set the bar for other European countries, was initially welcoming, accepting over a million refugees last year alone. However, it soon became clear that Germany was the sole beacon in the night for asylum seekers, and had to



Suitcase over the Coffin, continued from page 25

More recently, the endeavor of “nation-building” has emerged as a means to address the issues of reconstructing failing polities. Presently, there seems to be a low appetite for any of these solutions, which, as we have seen in the cases of Iraq and Egypt, carry unpredictable and often counterproductive consequences.

backtrack amidst an influx of refugees and combustible domestic political backlash. The U.S. offered to resettle a more modest number (10,000) of Syrian refugees, but was met with similar resistance: 26 state governments quickly opposed Syrian resettlement on security grounds—and equally quickly saw those objections slapped down as discriminatory, by at least one district court judge, who found that the state of Indiana’s justifications did not pass either the strict scrutiny or rational basis tests. Canada has sought to increase its refugee and immigration quotas by 20,000 or so. Meanwhile, financially bankrupt Greece has demonstrated its well-deserved reputation for hospitality by providing a soft landing and safe passage to thousands of migrants who have transited from Syria through Turkey in search of safety in Germany and other European destinations. Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary, both of which have almost exclusively Caucasian and non-Muslim populations, have steadfastly refused to share the burden, citing fears of cultural and religious disparities. Overall, the response by wealthy and stable countries has been wholly inadequate to absorb the growing numbers of displaced persons. Suspicions of the migrants’ mixed (economic) motives, coupled with anti-immigrant, and Islamophobic sentiment and security fears, have put the brakes on the mechanisms of an already clogged and outdated refugee admission system. European borders are closing at an alarming rate, putting in question not only Europe’s adherence to its obligations under the Protocol


MAY 2016

Carol W. Wu, Esq., CLPF Lori Hefner, MBA, MA in Gerontology & CLPF


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and Conventions, but also raising questions about its commitment to the humanistic values upon which the EU is founded. There is no easy answer to reducing the multi-dimensional “pushfactors” that propel political diasporas. Their resolution is politically challenging in the best of economic times, requiring consensus and collaboration among domestic and international entities. The current climate of economic uncertainty has made the protection of refugee interests even more difficult. In previous times (the ‘50s and ‘60s), there was interest in and the political will to provide financial aid as a way of solving problems in distant countries. In other periods, military intervention or “hard power” was deemed to be the appropriate way of providing assistance in troubled regions.

Undoubtedly, repressive governments, failed states, warring factions and other agents will continue to displace vulnerable populations. Asylum law provides a stop-gap mechanism for protecting those who are forced to opt for the “suitcase over the coffin.” However, the current resettlement process is not a sufficient response to the massive numbers of exiles who cannot remain in their country of nationality because they face persecution on account of one of the enumerated grounds. Stable nation-states with the means to do so need to step up and make good on their obligations under the Convention and Protocol, as well as on their pledges of liberty, equality and humanitarianism, by devoting resources to resettle and assimilate refugees like Aylan Kurdi’s family. s Daniel Roemer practices immigration law in Walnut Creek, focusing on business and family visas. He is a certified specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law by the State Bar of California, and is currently serving as chair of the California State Bar’s Immigration and Naturalization Law Advisory Commission (INLAC). He has served as the liaison to the San Francisco INS/USCIS Asylum Office, and is a volunteer mentor attorney with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, supervising volunteer attorneys pursuing asylum applications and appeals.

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Call for Board Nominations You can be a leader in our legal community as a Director on the CCCBA Board. The Board seeks candidates who agree to meet the following expectations: • To possess or acquire a basic understanding of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA) and its activities. • To commit to the mission and values of the Association. • To represent the CCCBA in a manner consistent with Board decisions. • To prepare for and regularly attend monthly Board meetings. • To attend additional meetings and bar-sponsored events as needed. • To participate on at least one committee or task force. • To participate in the annual Board Orientation and Training program. • Directors are selected for their experience and personal attributes. Active participation on a CCCBA committee or section leadership is a plus.

Nomination Process: To be eligible, nominees must be active attorney members of the Association. Any attorney member of the Association may self-nominate by June 30, 2016, for consideration by the Directors’ Nominating Committee at the regular October Board meeting, for approval by the Board. The Board may accept or reject any or all of the Committee’s nominations. The Board’s decision on the candidates for election as Directors may be supplemented by additional nominations made in writing by any member and seconded by four members of the Association, with the concurrence of the nominee, by September 30, 2016.

If you are interested in serving on the 2017 Board of Directors, submit your written nomination to: Theresa Hurley, Executive Director 2300 Clayton Rd., Ste. 520 Concord, CA 94520 | (925) 370-2548



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MAY 2016


Thank you to our Mock Trial Volunteers Volunteer Judges Hon. Steve Austin, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Barry Baskin, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Terence Bruiniers, California First District Court of Appeal Hon. Charles Burch, Contra Costa Superior Court Daniel Cabral, CCC District Attorney’s Office Patrick Cannon, CCC Public Defender’s Office Michael Chamberlain, California Department of Justice Aron DeFerrari, CCC District Attorney’s Office Hon. Jill Fannin, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. David Flinn, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Richard Flier, ADR Services, Inc. Barry Grove, CCC District Attorney’s Office Matthew Guichard, Law Office of Guichard, Teng & Portello Blair Hoffman, California Supreme Court Hon. John Kennedy, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Leslie Landau, Contra Costa Superior Court Robin Lipetzky, CCC Public Defender’s Office Hon. Clare Maier, Contra Costa Superior Court Dirk Manoukian, The Law Office of Dirk Manoukian Hon. Terri Mockler, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Dan O’Malley (Ret.), Law Office of O’Connor, Runckel & O’Malley Hon. Mary Ann O’Malley, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Lowell Richards, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Anita Santos, Contra Costa Superior Court Hon. Steve Treat, Contra Costa Superior Court Dominique Yancey, CCC District Attorney’s Office

Volunteer Scorers Phil Andersen, State Farm Insurance Legal Office Brooke Barnum-Roberts, Ferber Law Brian Baker, CCC District Attorney’s Office Tamara Bartlett, CCC District Attorney’s Office Maryanne Britten, Contra Costa County Office of Education Kristen Busby, CCC District Attorney’s Office Sarah Castelhano, Stubbs & Leone Law Office Greg Chiarella, CCC District Attorney’s Office Matthew Cody, Law Office of Dunn & Panagotacos Larry Cook, Law Office of Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook Angelo Costanza, Law Office of Angelo Costanza Kevin Cunnane, CCC District Attorney’s Office Donna Dell, Labor Commissioner of California (Ret.) Steven Derby, The Derby Law Firm Eric Dickson, CCC District Attorney’s Office Vanessa Efremsky, Law Office of Donnelly, Nelson, Depolo & Murray

Robert Ewing, City of Danville Jennifer Fiore, Mary Alexander & Associates Scott Fink, Law Office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher Jacqueline Forni, Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman, LLP Mark Freeman, Vendardi Zurada, LLP Amiram Givon, GCA Law Partners, LLP Jessica Graham, Law Office of Jessica Graham Fahnda Hashish Ann Johnston, Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP Marnie Jubelirer, Law Office of Marnie Jubelirer Kyle Junginger, Zeltiq Aesthetics, Inc. Kyle Kahan, CCC District Attorney’s Office Stephanie Kang, CCC District Attorney’s Office Nicole Hannington, McNamara, Ney, Beaty, Slattery, Borges & Ambacher, LLP Dodie Katague, CCC District Attorney’s Office Kelly Kraetsch, CCC District Attorney’s Office Angela Kreta, Law Office of Angela Kreta Evan Kuluk, CCC Public Defender’s Office Kevin Lally, Greenan, Peffer, Sallander & Lally, LLP Maria Lawless, Law Office of Evans, Latham & Campisi Doug MacMaster, CCC District Attorney’s Office Tara McManigal, Sacramento District Attorney’s Office Luz Mendoza, Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman Law Shelley Molineaux, Bowles & Verna, LLP Charles Nellari, Nellari Law Lewis Pascalli Jr., Law Office of Lewis Pascalli, Jr. Daniel Payne, Law Office of Daniel Payne Margeaux Pelusi, Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman Law Brianna Penna, CCC District Attorney’s Office Dorian Peters, Gagen & McCoy Law Marina Pitts, Stubbs & Leone Law Office Ray Robinson, Law Office of Ray Robinson Diane Rose Sandra Rosen, McKay Brothers, LLC Ralph Seuss, CCC District Attorney’s Office Richard Severy, Verizon (Ret.) Jeremy Seymour, CCC District Attorney’s Office David Simon, Simon Law Thomas Sponsler Irene Takahashi Stephenie Teichman, Stephenie L. Teichman, Esq. Saron Tesfai, CCC District Attorney’s Office Ron Tran, CCC District Attorney’s Office Ethan Weisinger, Walnut Creek Family Law Center Merrit Weisinger, Walnut Creek Family Law Center Lauren Whalen, CCC District Attorney’s Office Caleb Webster, CCC District Attorney’s Office Mary Whipple, Whipple, Mercado, & Associates, LLP Jonathan Wolff, California Attorney General’s Office Melanie Yabut, JFK University College of Law (Student)



inns of court

Animal Law by Matthew Talbot


n March 10, 2016, Judge Mockler’s pupilage group (starring Scott Reep, Susan Aglietti, Sarah Glueck, Dawn Ceizler, Jon Babione, Michael Davis, Tanya DeBorba, Marie Quashnock and Remsen Barnard) put on a rousing, energetic Jeopardy-like contest centered around animal law, which is a part of law few people know a lot about. What is animal law? Many people vaguely remember the criminal liability for dog bites (one free bite rule) from law school. Like the barren cow, it is one of those universal experiences that everybody only “kind of” remembers. In actual fact, it isn’t so much its own distinct field as it is intertwined through many different types of law, and we were about to learn how little we actually knew! Each pupilage group had to select one person as a “Hunger Games tribute” to go up and compete against the other groups in a trivia contest; think “Jeopardy,” but all the questions are about animal law. If you have never seen Jeopardy, let me explain the rules to you … but first, how have you never seen Jeopardy? Are you some sort of rabid Wheel of Fortune fan who


MAY 2016

wouldn’t cheat on Pat and Vanna with Alex? Do you find Jeopardy too beneath you and your extensive ascot collection? Back to Jeopardy … basically, there are a series of answers in increasing levels of difficulty organized around a theme (within the larger theme of animal law). Contestants buzz in with what they think is the correct question for each answer. If you get it right, you get points. If you get it wrong, you lose points. The player who successfully answers the question gets to choose the next question and the person with the most points at the end wins. Pretty straightforward, right? Except that instead of everyone showing off their vast knowledge of the law, every team almost immediately found themselves well into negative points. I guess we are not as good at animal law as we would all like to think we are. It got very raucous as people started yelling out answers to the contestants. Some of the more interesting topics focused on pets—what happens to them when we die or divorce? Some of these topics were easier than others, and it really depended on your field of practice. Take pet trusts … as a trusts and estates lawyer, this was something I had han-

dled before, and it was good to see other people dig into it. In California, pet trust law was updated in 2008. Pursuant to the new law (California Probate Code 15212), pet trusts are funds wherein people can place money for the care and well-being of their pet; these are enforceable under California law. I was feeling pretty good about myself, but then there were questions about splitting custody of pets in divorces. As a trusts and estates lawyer, I have never handled this ever and had no idea it was even a thing that existed. This may be why our team got so deep into the negative that we felt like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises. We were born into negative points. We did not see the light until we were already adults and by then it was nothing to us but blinding. As it turns out, there is a growing consensus amongst judges to view pets in divorces similar to children, not objects. California Family Code 6320 actually allows judges to provide protective orders regarding the care of pets. For example, if one party to the marriage is likely to harm the animal, the judge can grant custody of the pet to the other party. Overall, it was a really fun evening and we learned a lot about

animal law and how it intersects with so many other areas of practice. Even better, we really showed all those Wheel-thusiasts what is the best part of the ABC 7 p.m. hour!

ConServAtorShiPS & LitigAtion ProBAte/eStAte ADMiniStrAtion & LitigAtion

If you are interested in applying for RGMAIOC membership, please contact Patricia Kelly at s Matthew B. Talbot, Esq., is an elder law attorney in Walnut Creek. His practice specializes in estate planning, trust/probate administration, trust/probate litigation, conservatorships, guardianships, elder abuse and Medi-Cal matters. Matthew is on the Executive Board of the Inns of Court. You can reach him at matthew@matthewbtalbot. com or (925) 322-1763.

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How You Can Help Our Community:

Pro Bono in Contra Costa Are you interested in pro bono opportunities in Contra Costa County, but don’t know what is available? Join us for a Pro Bono Expo on May 25, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. at JFK University in Pleasant Hill. You’ll have the chance to speak to legal service providers from a host of local agencies and find out how you can help Contra Costans in need. Participating agencies include: • • • • • •

Bay Area Legal Aid Family Justice Center Contra Costa County Law Library Congress of Neutrals Social Justice Collaborative Contra Costa Senior Legal Services

To register or for more information, contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or


MAY 2016

• • • • •

CASA of Contra Costa Contra Costa Superior Court Richmond High School Law Academy California LAW - CCC Law Academy CCCBA’s Legal Workshops

What You Missed in April’s Online Issue Juvenile Law Edition Features: • Advocating for Youth and Children in Foster Care Gina Turturici • MCLE SELF-STUDY: Transgender Youth and the Juvenile Court System: How Compassion and Education Can Change Lives - Summer C. Selleck • Private Adoption’s Emotional and Legal Issues - Megan Cohen • What You Need to Know About Expanded Dependent Parent Protections in Juvenile Proceedings - Johanna Kwasniewski • Juvenile Dependency and Delinquency - Hon. Thomas M. Maddock • Tax Tips from the Tax Lawyer: Turning that Bundle of Joy into Dollars - Christina Weed

Columns: • Inside: Guest Editor’s Column, April 2016 - Rhonda Wilson-Rice • President’s Message: Civility - Elva Harding • Bar Soap, April 2016 - Matt Guichard • Inns of Court: Free Speech - Matthew Talbot

News & Updates: • Barristers Section Bridging the Gap [photos] • Hon. David E. Goldstein’s Induction [photos]

rticles, a r e h t and o o: e s e h t t To read go online a racost t n o c . www



The Women’s Section Annual

Wine Tasting & Silent Auction When: Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thank you to our sponsors:

Where: Contra Costa County Club 801 Golf Course Rd., Pleasant Hill

Time: Cost:

5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. $50 for Women’s Section members $55 for CCCBA members

Wineries pouring include: Bray Vineyards Lynmar Estate

GOLD Watson, Hoffe & Hass SILVER The Derby Law Firm Haapala, Thompson & Abern LLP Mora Employment Law BRONZE Aiken Welch Court Reporters Bond Services of California Law Office of Glicel Sumagaysay Law Offices of Matthew B. Talbot The Livingston Law Office

Register at:

Advertise in the Member Directory Reserve your spot by June 5, 2016


Full page 3/4 page 1/2 page 1/4 page 1/8 page

$1,650 $1,200 $ 900 $ 600 $ 425


Professional listings in the Services, Experts or ADR Directories are $175. With the purchase of a display ad, you receive one free listing. Additional lines are $50 each. Additional categories are $75 each.


MAY 2016

For more information, contact Dawnell Blaylock, Communications Coordinator, at (925) 370-2542 or


May 5 | Barristers/Young Lawyers Section

May 19 | CCCBA & Eastern Alameda County Bar Association

Meet the Board: Barristers Section

When Immigration Law, Family Law and Criminal Law Collide: What Immigration Law, Family Law and Criminal Attorneys Need to Know

more details on page 36 May 11 | West County Section

West County Spring Mixer more details on page 36 May 12 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

Mentoring Group Meeting more details on page 36 May 17 | Litigation Section

ABOTA’s Civility Matters Program: An Ethics Conversation (Over BBQ) more details on page 36 May 17 | Women’s Section

Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction more details on page 36 May 18 | Family Law Section

Meet Contra Costa County’s Newest Family Law Judges

more details on page 36

more details on page 37 May 25 | CCCBA

Pro Bono Expo more details on page 37 June 8 | Family Law Section

Evidence in the Family Law Court more details on page 37 June 9 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

Mentoring Group Meeting more details on page 37 June 9 | CCCBA

CCCBA Happy Hour Gathering more details on page 37 June 30 | CCCBA & Alameda County Bar Association

Barristers Night Out: Oakland A’s vs. SF Giants with ACBA more details on page 37

For up-to-date information on programs, please visit and/or subscribe to our weekly “Events & News” email. To subscribe, text CCCBA to 22828.



May 5 | Barristers/Young Lawyers Section

May 11 | West County Section

Meet the Board: Barristers Section

West County Spring Mixer

Join the Board of the Barristers Section for an informal no-host Happy Hour and get to meet and network with other young lawyers active in the Bar Association.

Put this event your calendar today! Join your fellow attorneys and some members of the local judiciary, including Judge Christopher Bowen, for an evening of fun and fellowship.

Time: 5:30 pm – 8 pm

Refreshments including beer, wine, sparkling water and appetizers will be served.

Location: OL Beercafe and Bottleshop, 1541 Giammona Dr., Walnut Creek More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Location: Law Office of Linda Fullerton, 54 Railroad Ave., Point Richmond Cost: Free for section members and law student members, $10 for CCCBA members and non-members

May 12 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

Mentoring Group Meeting On the second Thursday of every month, the section holds its monthly mentoring group open-discussion meetings where those new to the estates and trusts practice area, or those interested in making the switch to this area, can pose questions and engage in lively discussion with several experienced practitioners from the section. Each month we focus primarily on one or more announced topics, with freedom to roam into related topics if there is sufficient interest.

Registration: Online at

Please bring your brown bag lunch.

More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

Location: CCC District Attorney’s Office Community Room, 900 Ward St., Martinez

Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm

RSVP: Online at More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

May 17 | Litigation Section

May 17 | Women’s Section

May 18 | Family Law Section

ABOTA’s Civility Matters Program: An Ethics Conversation (Over BBQ)

Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction

Meet Contra Costa County’s Newest Family Law Judges

Many talk about how law is becoming a business rather than profession. Lawyers are leaving the profession because of it, and our reputation with the public has suffered as a result. ABOTA’s “Civility Matters” program is an attempt to do something about this by teaching lawyers how to recognize uncivil behavior, how to stop it and how to prevent it.

Please join the Women’s Section of the CCCBA at our Annual Wine Tasting and Silent Auction. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Hon. Patricia Herron and the Hon. Ellen James Scholarship Fund.

Please join us to meet the newest members of Contra Costa County’s distinguished Family Law Judiciary: the Honorable John Cope and the Honorable Terri Mockler.

Wineries scheduled to pour include Bray Vineyards and Lynmar Estate.

Location: Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill

Speakers: Hon. Jill Fannin John Dodd, Esq. Matt Haley, Esq. Time: 12 pm – 1:30 pm Location: Back Forty Texas BBQ, 100 Coggins Dr., Pleasant Hill MCLE: 1 hour legal ethics MCLE credit Cost: $20 for section members, $15 for law student members, $20 for CCCBA members, $25 for non-members Registration: Online at


MAY 2016

To sponsor this event, contact Mika Domingo at

Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm

MCLE: 1 hour general MCLE credit

Time: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Cost: $50 for section members and law student members, $75 for CCCBA members, $100 for non-members

Location: Contra Costa Country Club 801 Golf Club Road, Pleasant Hill

Meal Choices: Grilled Salmon, Roast Sirloin or Vegetable Risotto

Cost: $50 for section members and judges, $55 for CCCBA members, $60 for nonmembers

Registration: Please send payment to FLS, PO Box 5818, Concord, CA 94524

Registration: Online at More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

More Info: Contact Therese Bruce at (925) 930-6789 or

May 19 | CCCBA & Eastern Alameda County Bar Association

When Immigration Law, Family Law and Criminal Law Collide: What Immigration Law, Family Law and Criminal Attorneys Need to Know Speakers: Michael Markowitz, Esq. Spojmie Nasiri, Esq. Tammy-lyn Gallerani, Esq. Time: 12 pm – 2 pm Location: The Bridges Golf & Country Club 9000 S. Gale Ridge Rd., San Ramon MCLE: 1.5 hours of General MCLE credit Cost: $45 for CCCBA and EACBA members, $55 for non-members Registration: Online at by Wednesday, May 4

May 25 | CCCBA

June 8 | Family Law Section

Pro Bono Expo

Evidence in the Family Law Court

Interested in pro bono opportunities in Contra Costa County but don’t know what is available? Join our Pro Bono Expo!

Join Judge Christopher Bowen as he talks about the do’s and don’ts of evidence in family court.

You’ll have the chance to speak to legal service providers from a host of local agencies and find out about how you can help those in need in your community while you help yourself with valuable hands-on experience.

Speakers: Hon. Christopher Bowen

See page 32 for a list of participating agencies.

MCLE: 1 hour general MCLE credit

Time: 5:30 pm – 7 pm

Cost: $50 for section members and law student members, $75 for CCCBA members, $100 for non-members

Location: JFK University 100 Ellinwood Way, Room S209, Pleasant Hill RSVP: Online at More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

June 9 | Estate Planning & Probate Section

Mentoring Group Meeting On the second Thursday of every month, the section holds its monthly mentoring group open-discussion meetings where those new to the estates and trusts practice area, or those interested in making the switch to this area, can pose questions and engage in lively discussion with several experienced practitioners from the section. Each month we focus primarily on one or more announced topics, with freedom to roam into related topics if there is sufficient interest. Please bring your brown bag lunch. Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm Location: CCC District Attorney’s Office Community Room, 900 Ward St., Martinez RSVP: Online at More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

June 9 | CCCBA

CCCBA Happy Hour Gathering A casual, no host event, where CCCBA board members and section leaders will gather together with CCCBA members in a relaxed, happy hour setting. Don’t expect anything formal like name tags or check-in tables. Instead, come when you can, grab a beverage, and find us on the patio or in the bar area. A gathering of the CCCBA, big or small, is typically hard to miss. We can’t wait to see you. Time: 4:30 pm – 7 pm

Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm Location: Contra Costa Country Club, 801 Golf Club Rd., Pleasant Hill

Meal Choices: Poached Salmon, Chicken Provencal, Classic Caesar Salad (Vegan) Registration: Please send payment to FLS, PO Box 5818, Concord, CA 94524 More Info: Contact Therese Bruce at (925) 930-6789 or

June 30 | CCCBA & Alameda County Bar Association

Barristers Night Out: Oakland A’s vs. SF Giants with ACBA The Battle of the Bay, or Bay Bridge Series, is a great opportunity to socialize and network with your peers while enjoying a fantastic evening of baseball. Please join us for a pregame tailgate in the parking lot (exact location TBA) with food and drinks before the game. Tickets for the game must be purchased by 5 pm on Tuesday, May 3.

Location: Revel Kitchen and Bar, 331 Hartz Ave., Danville

Tailgate: 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm

More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or

Location: Oakland Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland

Game: 7:05 pm

Cost: $55 for CCCBA members Registration: Online at More Info: Contact Anne Wolf at (925) 370-2540 or




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in the Contra Costa Lawyer

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ONLINE AD RATE: $165/ month for members. Substantial discounts available for three or more insertions.


MAY 2016

Lisa M. West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Women’s Section . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Michael J. Young . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Youngman Ericsson Scott . . . . . . . 19, 27 Zandonella Reporting Service . . . . . 13

CLASSIFIEDS ONLINE: $50/ month flat fee. In addition to text, you may add photos or graphics at no additional charge.

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Call Dawnell Blaylock at (925) 370-2542 or email

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MAY 2016

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