Wisconsin Dad Who Faced Deportation for Possessing Pot When He was a Teen Can Breath Easy

After 16 months of waiting, the DA decided to vacate Alexander Timofeev's teenage drug convictions.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Matthew Benoit

In July AlterNet ran a story about Alexander Timofeev, a Wisconsin father of two who was born in the Soviet Union but has lived in the U.S. since 1992, when he was 14. In September 2013, officials showed up at his door in the middle of the night and took him to the Milwaukee ICE office in handcuffs. They informed him that he faced deportation for three marijuana possession convictions back when he was a teenager.

After a grueling 16 months of waiting, during which time he was unable to work or pay bills, Timofeev’s worries came to an end Monday evening. As Isthmus news reported, the Dane County District Attorney's Office agreed to vacate his three convictions for marijuana possession from the '90s. AsIsthmus first reported, “these convictions formed the basis for the federal government's efforts to deport him.” Timofeev can remain at home with his two daughters.

As reported in July, “By 19 he'd been convicted thrice in Dane County for marijuana possession. Each time he pled no contest.”

At the time, Timofeev's lawyers did not inform him that such a plea could result in his eventual deportaiton back to Russia. Timofeev's immigration attorney filed a motion in Dane County Court on Dec. 17, 2012 asking the court to vacate the no contest pleas from the '90s because Timofeev had not been properly informed  of the risks. In January 2013 a circuit court judge sided with Timofeev and after four months in custody, he was released. However, in the following months Dane County DA Ismael Ozanne nudged the state's Department of Justice to appeal the circuit court's decision and Timofeev was taken into custody to face deportation once again.

Now, thanks to the decision on the parts of both Dane County Judge Ellen Berz—who made the official ruling vacate Timofeev's convictions—and Assistant District Attorney Matthew Moeser—who also agreed to dismiss the charges altogether—Timofeev can continue to work, care for his children, and live without threat of deportation.

For additional details on Alexander Timofeev's case, read the story on Madison, Wisconson's localIsthmus news website. 

For a weekly roundup of news and developments in the drug reform movement and the injustices stemming from prohibition,  sign up to receive  AlterNet's Drugs Newsletter here. Make sure to scroll down to "Drugs" and subscribe. Also, please check out the new AlterNet Drugs page on Facebook. Thanks for reading!

April M. Short is a yoga teacher and writer who previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor. She currently edits part-time for AlterNet, and freelances for a number of publications nationwide.

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