On April 4, 2017, Alfonso Maldonado (’17) and Cristel Martinez (’17) became the first pair of Western State College of Law students to argue before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as students participating in the WSCL Immigration Clinic’s Ninth Circuit Project. Representing noncitizen Juan Beltran in his petition before the federal appeals court in Beltran v. Sessions, No. 16-70937, Alfonso and Cristel had researched and written Mr. Beltran’s opening brief in the fall, followed by a reply brief in the spring. They argued that their client’s waiver of his right to appeal an immigration judge’s order of removal against him was not considered and intelligent because the immigration judge had failed to properly advise Mr. Beltran of his eligibility for certain forms of relief from removal, and had also argued that the federal regulation addressing the finality of his order of removal was ultra vires of the federal immigration statute.

On May 8, 2017, the Ninth Circuit issued its opinion in the case. The court agreed with Alfonso and Cristel’s argument regarding the validity of their client’s waiver of his right to an appeal and remanded the case to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Prof. Andrew Knapp (a WSCL alum) supervised Alfonso and Cristel’s excellent work on behalf of Mr. Beltran. Congratulations to Alfonso and Cristel!

A video of the oral argument is available here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/view_video.php?pk_vid=0000011314.