Andrés Dae Keun Kwon

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
  • Sponsored by Anonymous
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Issue area Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

In Padilla v. Kentucky (2010), the Supreme Court required that defense counsel provide accurate advice on the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.  The Court recognized that removal has become virtually inevitable for a vast number of immigrants convicted of crimes.  Indeed, even minor misdemeanor offenses, such as turnstile jumping, can brand lawful permanent residents as so-called “criminal aliens” and bring to bear crushing immigration consequences. Nevertheless, seven years after Padilla, unconstitutional criminal convictions continue to seal the fate of thousands of immigrants in removal proceedings.  This problem is exacerbated in Los Angeles County, where barriers for indigent immigrants are compounded by public defender fees, in contravention of the promise of Gideon v. Wainwright.

Andrés enhanced access to effective counsel for indigent immigrants charged with crimes in Los Angeles County by partnering with directly-impacted communities and public defenders to ensure that their immigrant clients fully exercise their constitutional rights: (1) to criminal defense regardless of their ability to pay, and (2) to effective counsel.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Andrés has:

  • Partnered with directly-impacted individuals, public defenders, and community-based organizations to investigate and advocate around the issues of public defender fees and immigrant representation
  • Eliminated public defender fees assessed prior to representation
  • Authored the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU SoCal)’s Defend L.A. report and led the campaign that tripled the size of the Los Angeles County Public Defender (LACPD)’s Immigration Unit
  • Pursued post-conviction relief to vacate legally-invalid convictions

What’s Next

Now that the fellowship is over, Andrés plans to:

  • Continue efforts at the ACLU SoCal to further expand LACPD’s Immigration Unit and bring about broader holistic defense reform
  • Building on the work in Los Angeles County, engage other Southern California counties to comply with Padilla and related law

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