McGeorge School of Law

Immigration Clinic Wins Asylum Case

August 21, 2018

 Laura Winterberger (3L), Leonardo Sandoval (4E), Jackeline Castro (2016), and Blake Nordahl.

Pictured from left: Laura Winterberger (3L), Leonardo Sandoval (4E), Jackeline Castro (2016), and Blake Nordahl, clinic supervising attorney

Fourth-year evening student Leonardo Sandoval successfully won asylum for a client in Immigration Court this summer.

Sandoval, a McGeorge Immigration Law Clinic participant during the 2017-18 academic year, argued the case at the San Francisco Immigration Court. The case involved a family persecuted by corrupt government officials who filed false criminal charges against members of the family and persecuted them when they attempted to defend themselves in court. Sandoval had a challenging task of understanding and then explaining a complex corruption scheme to the Immigration Judge.

"Sandoval worked countless hours with his client and on the case," clinic supervising attorney Blake Nordahl said. "He put together a great brief, obtained expert witnesses, and prepared his client along with five other witnesses for the hearing." Sandoval was able to persuasively layout the facts of the case along with the proper supporting documents. The Immigration Judge after reading Sandoval's brief only needed to hear from two witnesses to make her decision.

Other clinic students made significant contributions to the case in the preliminary stages including Jackeline Castro (2016), Isabel Blackburne (Glaese) (2017), as well as third year students Laura Winterberger and Elizabeth Ramirez.