Florida Supremes asked to weigh in on whether illegal immigrants can be licensed lawyers

Apr 6, 2012

It’s now up to the Florida Supreme court to decide whether undocumented immigrants are allowed to be lawyers in the state. Regan McCarthy reports the Florida Board of Bar Examiners is asking the Court for its opinion.

Jose Godinez-Samperio  came to the United States on a visitors’ visa with his family as a young boy. When the visas expired, the family stayed. He became an Eagle Scout and graduated top of his class from high school.  Now, as a Florida State University law school graduate, he wants to be a lawyer, but there are questions about whether he can be granted a license. Sandy D’Alemberte is representing him in a case before the Florida Supreme Court.

“The Board of Bar Examiners has no authority to adopt a rule on their own. They have to go to the Supreme Court to have rules adopted.  And the Supreme Court has never adopted a rule against undocumented immigrants.”

Godinez-Samperio has already passed the bar examp, but the Board of Bar Examiners has declined to admit him and is asking the justices for an advisory opinion on the matter.