Attorney Neil Fleischer sucessfully argued that a guilty plea, whether followed by a conviction or not, does not qualify as an admission for inadmissibility purposes. Without a conviction, to be an admission, the plea would have to have been taken following detailed explanations of the crime and the purpose of the questioning. The record shows that this did not occur. In fact, the failure to explain the immigration consequences of the plea was the very reason that the conviction was vacated.
Attorney Neil Fleischer argued that A conviction vacated on the ground that the immigration consequences of a guilty plea were not explained to the defendant is vacated on the basis of a defect in the proceedings and may not be used for immigration purposes. See Matter of Adamiak, supra. Under the rule that where there has been a judicial criminal disposition regarding a particular act, an admission of that act cannot have any greater immigration consequences than the disposition itself, Attorney Fleischer client’s plea may also not be used for immigration purposes. See Matter of Winter, supra. As in Matter of Adamiak, Attorney Neil Fleischer's client conviction was vacated because the immigration consequences of his guilty plea were not explained to him, with the result that his conviction may not be used for inadmissibility purposes. Due to this, Attorney Fleischer's client plea may also not be used, because to do so would be to allow the plea to have greater immigration consequences than the criminal disposition.
Finally, Attorney Neil Fleische sucessfully argued the immigration court may not look behind the Ohio state court’s judgment vacating his client's guilty plea to make its own determination. Rather, under federal law, the immigration court must give full faith and credit to the state court’s judgment.