Sean Sheikan Dealt Better Hand in Deportation Hearing

by Lou on November 20, 2007

As I reported on September 25, Poker player Shahram “Sean” Sheikhan, a regular on High Stakes Poker, was facing deportation to Iran because of a 1995 conviction for misdemeanor sexual battery charges that involved a 17-year-old girl. Sheikhan was in his early 20s at the time and served nine months for his offense.

Sheikhan, now 38, came to the United States when he was nine years old. He is married to an American-born woman and the couple has a young child.Pushing this case were the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), which seeks out foreign nationals convicted of sexual crimes against children and works to get them deported.
According to Sheikhan’s lawyer, David Chesnoff, “It’s not allegations involving a child in the actual meaning of the word; it’s a legal definition,” adding, “There’s a lot of work to be done on his behalf that’s going to be done. He’s a good husband and a good father, and a lot of people have problems when they’re young that shouldn’t follow them for the rest of their lives.”

Last week Harry Gastley, a U.S. Immigrations Court Judge, ruled that the Department of Homeland Security did not provide enough proof to decide if Sheikhan committed a deportable offense. This decision halted all deportation proceedings against the Nevada poker pro, although he is not completely safe from deportation as of yet. The Department of Homeland Security has until December 17 to appeal Gastley’s decision.

Here’s my take on this: While I’m no friend of Sean Sheikhan, ICE’s efforts to deport him amounted to piling on. After all, he served time for his offense. If deportation was deemed to be the thing to do, it should have been part of his original sentence. Sheikhan is no threat to repeat this kind of behavior.

He’s married, a family man, and has not repeated this kind of behavior in the nearly 20 years since his arrest and conviction.

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