Legal Updates

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Happy new breath. Happy new beginnings. Happy life. I’m grateful that Governor Brown granted me an unconditional pardon. It validates my transformation and rehabilitation, but it does not minimize the wrongs that I had done at age 16 and the trauma I had inflicted on my victims. I couldn’t have become who I am today and be in this special space without the continued support from my family, friends and community. Please continue to hold me accountable and inspire me to do better. On behalf of my family, my heart bows to you. –Eddy

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From my lawyer:

“Exciting news! On May 6, 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in a published precedent decision that Xiao Fei (“Eddy”) Zheng deserves a second chance to stay legally in the United States. The Court was reviewing the prior decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) which had found he should be deported to China because of his conviction for kidnapping at age 16 for which he received a life sentence with possibility of parole. The Ninth Circuit determined that the BIA decision against Eddy was incorrect and incomplete, because it failed to consider one of the most important factors in Eddy’s case – his value to the community, which has been outstanding.

The Ninth Circuit decision favoring Eddy quoted many community leaders, including Jake McGoldrick, then a Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and Jane Kim, then a Youth Program Director, who had spoken or written on Eddy’s behalf in support of his request for a waiver of deportation (called the § 212(c) waiver).

With the overturning of the BIA decision, Eddy’s case will now return to the BIA for a new decision. Given the passage of time, including Eddy’ release from immigration custody, it is likely that within a few months, the BIA will order a new hearing before the Immigration Court, so that the Court can have an updated evidentiary record on which to make the new decision. Eddy’s increased value to the community now that he has been a part of that community for several years will again play a prominent role in his presentation of the evidence and, hopefully, in the new decision from the Courts about whether he is allowed to continue to live and work in the United States.

The Court rejected Eddy’s appeal regarding his application for protection under the Convention Against Torture. The Ninth Circuit decision was published as a precedent which means it can also be applied to others in the Ninth Circuit as well.

Feb 27, 2007: Released into Limbo

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Eddy Zheng has been released! Unfortunately, he may still be deported.

This only means that he is no longer being held in immigration detention, while the government attempts to carry out his deportation order.

Eddy is challenging his deportation order in federal court.

If the government is able to carry out the deportation order before the court overturns it, he will be sent to China.

Although this final hurdle remains, his release is a HUGE victory — the first time Eddy has been on the outside in 21 years.

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The Board of Immigration Appeals rejected Eddy’s appeal of his deportation order. The BIA is a very conservative and unsympathetic board; Eddy and his lawyers will appeal this decision to the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals. Eddy is also challenging his ongoing detention at the Yuba County Jail and hopefully will be released from custody during the appeals process.

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The immigration judge ruled against Eddy Zheng and decided that he should be deported. In making his decision, the judge applied criteria that would be essentially impossible to meet. He explained that he would only stop Eddy’s deportation if it were a matter of national security, regardless of Eddy’s own rehabilitaton and community support.

Eddy and his lawyers believe that the judge incorrectly interpreted the criteria that should have been used to decide Eddy’s case. An appeal has been filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals, which usually gives its decision within 6 months. During this time, Eddy will remain in custody as an immigrant detainee at Yuba County Jail.

Eddy’s visitation hours at Yuba County Jail are now Sundays 7:45-8:45pm and Wednesdays 7-9pm.

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At the final hearing in Eddy Zheng’s deportation proceedings, the judge heard testimony to clarify specific questions he had about certain aspects of the argument Eddy Zheng presented against his deportation.

Apr 13, 2006: Immigration Hearing

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In this hearing, the immigration judge heard testimony about the conditions Eddy Zheng would face in China if he were deported there.

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Eddy Zheng has first hearing in his deportation proceedings in San Francisco. Nearly 60 supporters pack the court room, and Judge Michael Yamaguchi recuses himself from the case.

Mar 10, 2005: Transfer to Yuba

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Instead of being released, Eddy is transferred from Solano State Prison to the custody of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE). He is moved to Yuba County Jail in northern California.

Mar 08, 2005: Parole Approved

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Governor approves Eddy Zheng’s parole after serving 19+ years of a 7-to-life sentence.