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Supreme Court frustrates Tampa immigrant's Bar petition

The long wait continues for a 26-year-old Tampa immigrant who six months ago petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for admission to the Florida Bar, even though he is not a U.S. citizen.

The Florida Supreme Court Thursday denied Jose Godinez-Samperio's motion, and said it can't rule on his admission until it first resolves the question of whether people who enter or remain in the U.S. without legal  permission can be attorneys in Florida. That decision is pending.

Godinez-Samperio's  parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a visitor's visa when he was 9. They overstayed their visas and never returned to Mexico. He graduated from Florida State University's law school and already has passed the Florida bar examination.

"It's  frustrating," said Godinez-Samperio's lawyer, Talbot (Sandy) D'Alemberte of Tallahassee. "We've got some rules that have been adopted  by the court to govern the Board of Bar Examiners, and those rules say that after he's done all the things he's supposed to do, he gets admitted. There's no rule that says undocumented immigrants can't get admitted to the Bar -- and by the way, he's not undocumented any more. He's got documents."

In the past few months, Godinez-Samperio has acquired a work permit, Florida driver's license
and Social Security card. In January, he was U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's guest for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

-- Steve Bousquet

 

 

 

 

 

 

attorneys in Florida. That decision is pending.

Godinez-Samperio's
parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a visitor's
visa when he was 9. They overstayed their visas and never returned to
Mexico. He graduated from Florida State University's law school and
already has passed the Florida bar examination.

"It's frustrating," said Godinez-Samperio's lawyer, Talbot (Sandy)
D'Alemberte of Tallahassee. "We've got some rules that have been adopted
by the court to govern the Board of Bar Examiners, and those rules say
that after he's done all the things he's supposed to do, he gets
admitted. There's no rule that says undocumented immigrants can't get
admitted to the Bar -- and by the way, he's not undocumented any more.
He's got documents."

In the past few months,
Godinez-Samperio has acquired a work permit, Florida driver's license
and Social Security card. In January, he was U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's
guest for President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

A  Tampa man brought into the country as a child on a visitor's visa has been denied a license to practice law in Florida. The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday denied Jose Godinez-Samperio's motion for admission to the Bar.

That's because the court can't rule on his admission until it resolves the question of whether people who enter or remain in the U.S. without legal permission can be attorneys in Florida. That decision is pending. Godinez-Samperio's parents brought him to the United States from Mexico on a visitor's visa when he was 9. They overstayed their visas and never returned to Mexico.

He graduated from Florida State University's law school and already has passed the Florida bar examination.

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