Man stopped for illegal turn faces deportation

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

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GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - A local man says the attorney he paid skipped two of his hearings. Now he is facing deportation.

Ramiro Gonzalez is an undocumented immigrant who police arrested in August for driving without a license.

A Norcross police officer stopped Gonzalez man for making an illegal left turn on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

Because he does not have a license, procedure is he goes to jail. That triggered the potential deportation process.

He paid an attorney more than $1,000 to represent him. He said the Roswell attorney sent him a letter offering his services after he was released from the Gwinnett County jail.

Gonzalez spoke to Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh in Spanish. He said he has never once seen the face the attorney nor had any conversations with him.

The Mexican immigrant has lived and worked in metro Atlanta for 13 years. He said he has never been in trouble with the law, until the traffic stop in August.

Gonzalez showed Kavanaugh the receipt for the $500 deposit he paid in August. He later paid another $750 the day before his October court appearance.

He said he thought it was strange when his attorney didn't show up in court. But his assistant was there and the judge granted a continuance.

The second appearance was supposed to happen last week, May 14. But he says the attorney was the no-show and the judge ordered his deportation. According to his court records, he has until Sept.11 to leave the country on his own.

"In this case there was no justice for Mr. Gonzalez," said Detective Arelis Rivera, the officer who arrested him following the traffic stop.

"We built a rapport and I wanted to know what happened to him," Rivera said.

Rivera said she and the chief of Norcross Police Department contacted the attorney but never heard back.

Kavanaugh called the attorney Thursday. She also visited his Roswell office. The attorney called back and said we didn't have all the details, but that his office has offered Gonzalez a full refund.

However, the money does nothing for immigration status.

"Certainly he paid an attorney. Certainly he's expected to be defended. And if he's not, it concerns me," Rivera said.

The attorney says if Gonzalez waives his attorney client privilege, he will discuss this case in further detail.



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