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Charges Dropped Against Bonne Terre Woman Facing Deportation

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Dow Boyer with her husband and youngest child.

Charges were set aside earlier this week in a case involving a Bonne Terre mother who was facing deportation.

Komdown “Dow” Boyer legally came to the United States from Thailand when she was 9 years old. Her stepfather was an American soldier and she spent most of her life on military bases. When she turned 18 she could have applied for citizenship, but she assumed her parents had done that for her and therefore thought she was a U.S. citizen.

Boyer is a mother of four, two of whom served in the U.S. military. She was accused of skimming from her employer to make ends meet after her husband’s legs were broken during a work-related accident that left the family with tremendous medical bills.  

Willing to make things right, Boyer plead guilty without being aware that, in her case, this plea would automatically mean deportation. She was released and started her probation but several months later, the U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement came to arrest her.

The defense attorney in her immigration case, Javad Khazaeli of Khazaeli Wyrsch Stock LLC, explained that she was ordered removed from the United States to Thailand, a country she hadn’t seen since she was nine years old, did not speak the language and where she had no relatives.

Last June, while Boyer was in jail, the Department of Homeland Security took her to Chicago and almost deported her to Thailand. However, Boyer’s lawyers got them to review the case just minutes before takeoff. Boyer then had to wear an ankle monitor, preventing her from leaving her home and from working.

Khazaeli asked for Boyer’s criminal case to be reopened on the grounds that she should have been advised, before pleading guilty, of the immigration consequences her plea would have.

Khazaeli filed a joint motion with the local prosecutor, who agreed with the argument to vacate the plea of guilty and let Boyer withdraw it.

Earlier this week, Khazaeli received the good news.

“Her criminal conviction has been vacated and she’s been allowed to withdraw her guilty plea,”  Khazaeli said.

The next step will be to remove Boyer’s ankle monitor so she can go back to work and to use this new decision to review her immigration case.

“That’ll to allow me to file a motion with the Department of Homeland Security to reopen her immigration case,” Khazaeli said. “And because her immigration case was predicated on a guilty verdict that no longer exists, we believe that they will set aside her order of removal.”

Dow Boyer said she felt a huge relief after the decision was made to vacate her plea.

“It’s just something really big, I can’t really express how I really feel,” Boyer said.

After all her family have been going through, she now wants to go visit her mother after the removal of the bracelet to reassure her that all is well.

 

Marine Perot was a KRCU reporter for KRCU in 2014.