New York Gov. Cuomo Pardons Ropes & Gray Pro Bono Client
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo granted a pardon to a pro bono client of Ropes & Gray, Gerardo Alvarez, on Dec. 31. Mr. Alvarez completed his sentence of community service on a minor drug conviction more than a decade ago. As Gov. Cuomo said about Mr. Alvarez and two other individuals receiving pardons: “These New Yorkers have paid their debt to society long ago, but have been prevented from having the same legal rights as others because of their past crimes. Each has shown themselves to be law-abiding citizens who have contributed to society, given back to their communities and are deserving of a second chance.”
Lawyers with the New York office of Ropes & Gray and The Legal Aid Society have been representing Mr. Alvarez in his immigration proceedings since 2010. Mr. Alvarez, a Mexican citizen, has lived in the United States since 1980, and has become an integral part of his New York community. Mr. Alvarez has been married for over 25 years, has two children born in and citizens of this country, and has worked for the same construction company for over two decades. Because of a minor drug conviction in 2002, Mr. Alvarez was placed in removal proceedings upon return from a trip abroad to commemorate his wedding anniversary in 2010. In July 2013, an immigration judge granted relief from removal, allowing Mr. Alvarez to remain in the United States with his family. He is looking forward to applying for naturalization. We are delighted that the governor has granted a pardon, and that he will now be freed of any remaining stigma from his long-ago criminal conviction.
Ropes & Gray lawyers working on Mr. Alvarez’s case include health care partner Stephen Warnke and litigation associate Meredythe Ryan, both based in New York.
Here is the announcement from Gov. Cuomo’s office about the pardon: