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.

Lily Ana W. Sturgis

Associate Attorney
Lily Ana W. Sturgis graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with bachelor’s degrees in Legal Studies and French and Francophone Studies in June of 2005. She spent one semester in Bordeaux, France studying French language and culture. There she solidified her dreams of combining her love of the law and international studies. She went on to pursue her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and graduated in May of 2009. While in law school she held executive officer positions in the La Raza Law Students Association for two years. She spent a summer studying abroad in Hangzhou, China and Nice, France. In Nice, she was the assistant to the Director of the TJSL Nice Study Abroad Program. She was a Legal Intern at Casa Cornelia Law Center for the Asylum, Unaccompanied Minor, and VAWA Programs from January 2008 until August 2008. She was a legal intern for California State Senator Denise Moreno Ducheny for two months before she returned to Casa Cornelia Law Center to complete a Pro-Bono Legal Internship from October 2008 to December 2008. Lily became a member of the California State Bar in December of 2012.                                                                                                                                                               After graduation, Lily moved back to her native Bay Area and began work with Rubicon Legal Services providing Social Security Advocacy doing appeal work from October 2009 to October 2011. In July 2011, Lily began providing pro bono services at the newly founded Catholic Charities of the East Bay’s Richmond Office. In her first year, Lily represented over 100 clients in their applications for Naturalization. In September 2012, she was appointed to the managing attorney role of Catholic Charities of the East Bay’s Concord office. There she managed a large and complex caseload while directing BIA accredited representatives, interns, and post-graduate fellows.                                                                                                                                                  Lily returned to her home-town of Santa Cruz, CA to raise her family and in July of 2016, she became an associate at the Law Offices of Michael K. Mehr. She specializes in the areas of family-based immigration including waivers, naturalization, and immigration relief for victims of crime (U Visa and VAWA).                                                                                                                                                                     Though born in the Unites States, Lily was a child of immigrants who fled Nicaragua during their civil war. As such, she is intimately familiar with the struggles the immigrant and indigent communities face and has committed her career to giving a voice to the voice-less. She is bilingual in Spanish and English.

Michael’s Publications

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  • 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

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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.