About Us

Michael K. Mehr

Attorney
Michael K. Mehr is a nationally recognized expert in the field of immigration consequences of criminal convictions. He lectures widely to immigration attorneys, public defenders, and private criminal defense counsel. Michael has qualified to serve as an expert witness on the criminal immigration consequences of criminal convictions in Superior Court of California, County of Santa Cruz and County of Santa Clara. He has submitted numerous expert witness declarations about immigration and criminal law in Superior Courts throughout the State of California. Michael served as the expert witness in immigration law in the landmark California Appeals Court case of People v. Bautista (2004)115 Cal.App. 4th 229, which held that failure to defend against an aggravated felony can be ineffective assistance of counsel.

Michael is presently working with Monterey County to establish a policy similar to that of the Ventura County District Attorney's Office on collateral consequences and plea sentencing. Click here for a full description of the policy.

Michael prevailed in four published Ninth Circuit cases. In Covarrubias v. Holder, 623 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2010), the Court found that California Penal Code section 246 is not categorically a crime of violence. In Saavedra-Figueroa v. Holder, No. 05-75210 (9th Cir., November 5, 2010)the Court held that a misdemeanor conviction for false imprisonment under California Penal Code section 236 was not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude. In Sanchez-Avalos v. Holder, 693 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. 2012) the Court held that the age-neutral offense of sexual battery cannot be considered sexual abuse of a minor. Most recently, in Negrete-Ramirez v. Holder, the Court held that the prohibition on 212(h) relief for lawful permanent residents cannot apply to those who adjusted status within the United States.

Michael has also practiced bankruptcy law since 1977, helping relieve people of debilitating debt. He presented a lecture on the Nuts and Bolts of Lien Stripping to bankruptcy attorneys in January 2009.

Michael graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz with Honors, then received his J.D. from University of San Francisco in 1976. He began his career as the Directing Attorney at the Santa Cruz Law Center, a non-profit low-income legal clinic. Since 1979, Michael has been in private practice. Michael speaks Spanish.

Michael K. Mehr is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Michael is admitted to practice by the Supreme Court of California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States District Court of Northern California, and the Eastern District of California.

Michael has worked with several counties' DA's and sheriff's offices to develop their policies regarding immigration consequences and ICE holds.

Isabel Soto Wagner

Associate Attorney

Isabel Soto Wagner graduated from the Methodist University of Sao Paulo and Santa Clara University- School of Law. She has exclusively worked representing clients in removal defense and family-based immigration since joining the California Bar in 2012. 

As an immigrant, Isabel is passionate and dedicated to immigrants' rights and personally understands the challenges faced by the immigrant community.  As a result of her passion about immigration defense, she is constantly involved with her community and local organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She is the current Chapter liaison for the Executive Office for the Immigration Review (EOIR) for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Santa Clara Valley Chapter.  She is also the co-founder of CLARO, a non-profit organization located in San Jose, California, which promotes immigrants' right and education by providing pro-bono consultations and workshops for undocumented individuals. Isabel is fluent is English, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Isabel has made numerous television media appearances in English and Spanish, discussing immigration issues and developments with Telemundo, NBC Universal, and Univision. 

 

 

 

Michael’s Publications

  • Katherine Brady with Norton Tooby, Michael K. Mehr, and Angie Junck,Defending Immigrants in the Ninth Circuit: Impact of Crimes under California and Other State Laws (Immigrant Legal Resource Center, 10th Ed. 2008)

  • Hon. Dana Leigh Marks, Michael K. Mehr, and Norton Tooby, “Representing the Noncitizen Criminal Defendant,” Ch. 52, California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice, (CEB 2008)

  • Michael Mehr and Vicki Firstman, “Vacating Convictions Resulting from Guilty Pleas Based on Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Related to Immigration Consequencs,” for Sixth District Appellate Program Seminar 2005

Michael has prevailed in four published Ninth Circuit cases. In Covarrubias v. Holder623 F.3d 1094 (9th Cir. 2010), the Court found that California Penal Code section 246 is not categorically a crime of violence. In Saavedra-Figueroa v. Holder, No. 05-75210 (9th Cir., November 5, 2010)the Court held that a misdemeanor conviction for false imprisonment under California Penal Code section 236 was not categorically a crime involving moral turpitude. In Sanchez-Avalos v. Holder, 693 F.3d 1011 (9th Cir. 2012) the Court held that the age-neutral offense of sexual battery cannot be considered sexual abuse of a minor. Most recently, in Negrete-Ramirez v. Holder, the Court held that the prohibition on 212(h) relief for lawful permanent residents cannot apply to those who adjusted status within the United States.