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Publication Date

January 1992

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Introduction: An alien lawfully enters the United States in 1972. He gets a job, gets married, and becomes a productive worker in the community. He is subsequently convicted of a felony, such as making false statements on a loan application. As a result, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) brings deportation proceedings against him. The individual will seek any means possible to vacate the conviction, in order to stay in this country.' This Article explores whether the writ of audita querela. primarily used to provide post-judgment relief in civil cases at common law, can be used to challenge criminal convictions in these circumstances and others. At common law, audita querela provided post-judgment relief in two situations: first, it provided relief against the consequences of a judgment because of a defense or discharge that had arisen since the judgment that could not be utilized otherwise;' second, it provided relief when there were matters that had arisen before judgment that the defendant was prevented from raising in defense."