The Law Office of Raphael M. Scheetz is Cedar Rapids-based and focuses on Immigration and Criminal Defense cases. We are passionate about protecting our client’s interests and delivering results while maintaining integrity and professionalism.
Mr. Scheetz has successfully represented hundreds of clients. The cases included persons who want to apply to become American citizens, and American citizens who want to petition for their spouse, fiancée, children, parents, or brothers or sisters that live outside of the United States.
Mr. Scheetz has also successfully represented hundreds of persons accused of Federal and State criminal offenses. He has been lead defense counsel in approximately hundred jury trials in State and Federal courts. He has won “not guilty” verdicts and had cases dismissed for clients accused of felonies and misdemeanors.
Our practice mainly focuses on the individual, providing a full range of legal services from naturalization and spouse visas for immigration cases to pretrial work all the way through to the appellate process for criminal defense cases. We have helped many customers over the years. Read just a few of our many success stories below.
IMMIGRATION SUCCESS STORIES
Ray Scheetz helped to petition for my spouse. My partner had an interview with the embassy yesterday. Everything went extremely well; in fact, the consular officer said it doesn’t happen very often that an applicant comes prepared with all the required documents! She told him he should have his visa within 10 days!
Thanks again for all of your help guiding us through this process.
Ray Scheetz helped my wife with her transition from being on a work visa in the US to a permanent resident. His expertise in the field and ability to thoroughly explain the steps of the process put our minds at ease during an already stressful time. His follow up kept us on task with regards to the timing of key dates in the process, and after she received her permanent resident card, he circled back to check on how we were, a very kind and personal touch we won’t ever forget.
I had at least a couple of experiences with attorney Scheetz. As a lawyer, he handled the visa process for my ex-wife, many years ago. It was done professionally and on time. It was done long time ago, so I can’t remember all the details. However, more recently, I had a chance to take a lady from Guatemala to his office and help as her interpreter, and in this case, Mr. Scheetz explained the possibilities about her nephew (who was already in jail ready to be deported) and he didn’t want to give her false hope (after she explained the specifics of this particular case). When a person doesn’t have a case, he will tell you. If he can really help, he will gladly also say so. The problem with many immigration attorneys is that they will just take your money and give you false hopes so they can get business, not so with attorney Scheetz. If you ask him, however, to delay a deportation, he will be able to do so by many years, but he will tell you that on front if you have a good case or not. In my opinion, he’s a young attorney from the “old school”, that is, with traditional ethical values, and that’s what matter at the end of the day.
My name is Anastasiya. I was Ray’s client in Cedar Rapids ,IA. I came to him all panicky and frustrated about my immigration case. I’ve been waiting to get my permanent green card and immigration was taken way too long without any explanation. I didn’t know what to do and where to go to get help. My good friend recommended Ray to me. At first I was hesitant as I’ve worked with other immigration lawyers before and no results. But I was desperate and needed to do something so I scheduled an appointment. When my husband and I canme to Rays office. He didn’t make us wait,but welcomed us to his office right away. He was very professional,polite,honest and straightforward which made me believe we got a good one this time. We had a great consultation where he explained the whole situation and gave us the best options possible to resolve the situation. He took his time to get to know us,the situation and made us feel at ease. In probably 3-4 months I’ve received my permanent green card! I was so pleasantly surprised how quick and professional he handheld my case. I had a great experience with Ray and would recommend him to everyone who needs help to resolve their immigration issues.
AMERICAN FATHER RE-UNITED WITH DAUGHTER AFTER EIGHT YEARS
Danny came to the United States eight years ago on a tourist visa. He had gotten recently divorced and he was looking for a place for a new start. He came to Iowa. Unfortunately his young daughter remained in the Philippines with her mother.
Danny obtained his permanent residence in the United States and then became a United States citizen. He longed to return to the Philippines to see his daughter, but his work schedule and salary did not allow extended travel. Danny hired Ray Scheetz to help Danny file a visa petition for his daughter, who is now seventeen years old. Mr. Scheetz assisted Danny with filing the petition with USCIS which was approved. Mr. Scheetz then helped Danny with filing the documents with the National Visa Center, which is often a burdensome and time consuming process. Danny’s daughter was approved for her green card.
After an eight year separation, Danny’s daughter came to Iowa and lives with Danny with her mother’s approval and blessing. Danny’s daughter plans on finishing high school and attending college. Danny is very, very happy that he and his daughter are re-united.
MARRIAGE FROM MEETING IN A VIETNAMESE MARKET
Dien was born in Vietnam. He came to the United States when he was a teenager as part of a large population of Vietnamese refugees. He and his family wanted him to marry a native Vietnamese woman. One day in a local Vietnamese grocery store in Iowa, he met a Vietnamese woman, Hang, who was in the United States visiting her family. Dien asked Hang for a date – she politely declined. Dien and Hang met again one month later at a birthday party. Again, Dien asked for a date. They began to date, and several months later, Dien and Hang married.
Dien and Hang came to Ray Scheetz for assistance with the green card application process. In six months, Hang became a permanent resident of the United States. Dien and Hang are happily married and are expecting their first child.
REFUGEE FROM IRAN NOW AMERICAN GREEN CARD HOLDER
Arman came to the United States as a young boy from a refugee camp in Europe. He was born in Iran, but his father had died and his mother was able to escape Iran. They lived in a refugee camp together for several years. He entered the United States from Europe as a refugee in 2000. In 2008 his mother applied for Arman’s green card. The application was denied due to failure to submit proof of proper vaccinations and failure to have a birth certificate.
Arman’s mother came to the Ray Scheetz to help Arman get a green card. After a several month process with USCIS, Arman is now a permanent resident of the United States and his mother is very happy.
AMERICAN MAN AND FILIPINO LADY MARRY AND LIVE HAPPILY IN IOWA
Mike had been divorced for many years. He wanted the companionship and intimacy of a wife, but he dated unsuccessfully for several years. A friend of Mike’s had a female family member who was also single, but she lived in the Philippines. The friend encouraged Mike to make contact with Irene. Mike and Irene first communicated by email, then text, and finally by Skype. After some time, they decided to meet in person in Phillipines. Mike traveled to the Philippines and met Irene. They had a wonderful time together. They fell in love.
Upon his return to Iowa, Mike came to Ray Scheetz to file a fiancee visa petition. Ray put together all of the necessary supporting documents, along with the visa petition. Within six months, Mike and Irene were together in the United States. Irene entered on the fiancee visa that was prepared by Ray Scheetz. Irene and Mike are now married and live happily together in Iowa.
CANADIAN MAN IN DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS MARRIES AMERICAN WOMAN AND RECEIVES GREEN CARD
Several years ago, John entered the United States from Canada to visit his American girlfriend Suzanne. He did not return to Canada deciding instead to stay in Iowa and live with his girlfriend. Nine years later, John was arrested for speeding (yes, a person can get arrested in Iowa for speeding) and taken to the county jail. He was interviewed by an ICE officer and he was placed in deportation proceedings.
Understandably, he and his girlfriend were frantic. They had built a life together in the United States, and it was being threatened by ICE deportation of John. John and Suzanne got married. Unfortunately, the current immigration law strongly presumes that if a person gets married while the person is in deportation proceedings, the marriage is fraudulent.
John and Suzanne came to Ray Scheetz to represent them in their efforts to keep John in Iowa and keep together. Although there were several tense months, USCIS granted Suzanne’s marriage petition and the Immigration Judge granted John’s application for permanent residence. The deportation proceedings were dismissed and John and Suzanne live happily together.
FROM RAGS TO RICHES – NATIVE CHINESE MAN OBTAINS AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP
Zheng came to the United States from China when he was seventeen years old. Both of his parents had died when he was young. His older sister raised him. When he arrived in the US, he had $51 in his pocket – that was everything that he possessed and owned.
For the first three months in the US, Zheng lived in a bus station. He found a job in a Chinese restaurant. Zheng worked 72 hours per week. He saved his money and purchased his own restaurant. Twenty five years later, he owns several properties in the United States and China. He owns several successful businesses.
Zheng came to Ray Scheetz for legal representation for his application for US citizenship. Zheng, a successful Chinese American businessman, trusted Mr. Scheetz with his case. Zheng needed to make sure there were no complications with his naturalization case, because he was starting a new business venture in which he needed to be a US citizen to obtain significant tax benefits. Mr. Scheetz successfully guided Zheng through the naturalization process. Now Zheng is a very happy and wealthy US citizen.
NEWFOUND LOVE IN HAITI
Laura was recently divorced. For the first time in many years, she lived by herself. Her children were grown up, she was in her early 50s. Laura was entering a new chapter in her life. Laura was a medical doctor in Iowa and had worked for over twenty years taking care of patients in Iowa. Laura wanted to do something new – she wanted to do something that would help people.
Laura learned that a group of American doctors were going to travel to Haiti and provide free medical services to the poor. Laura was very interested in this – it excited her to go to a different country where she didn’t know anyone, to travel to a new place, and most of all, to help people that really needed medical treatment. It made her feel very good inside that she could help people in need, as many people in Haiti can not afford health care.
Laura traveled with a group of doctors to Haiti. Because Haitians speak French, the doctors hired a translator that could speak English and French. The translator’s name was Phillip. Phillip traveled for three weeks with the doctors and translated for the doctors and patients.
During the three weeks, Laura and Phillip worked together. They enjoyed being with one another and became very good friends. Phillip also was recently divorced. Like most Haitians, he was a very happy person and had a very quick smile.
At the end of the three weeks, Laura and Phillip said goodby to each other. They promised each other that they would keep in touch. Laura and Phillip liked each other very much. “But what would come of it?”, Laura thought to herself. Laura lived in Iowa, and Phillip lived in Haiti. They were thousands of miles apart from one another, and from very different backgrounds and cultures.
When she returned to the U.S., Laura and Phillip kept in touch. Their relationship actually grew stronger during their frequent video chats. A couple of months later, Laura traveled again to Haiti with the group of doctors, to treat patients, and to see Phillip. Again, Phillip was the translator for the group of doctors. During this trip, Laura and Phillip spent a lot of time together. They fell in love.
After Laura returned to the U.S., she knew that she wanted to be with Phillip. After a couple of months, she traveled again to Haiti to visit Phillip. Laura and Phillip loved each other, and they got engaged.
But there was a problem – Phillip was not a US citizen, and, he had a son from his first marriage. He could not live with Laura in the US unless he got a green card, and he did not want to leave his son in Haiti. If the relationship was going to work, no matter how much they loved one another, Phillip needed to get a green card to be able to live in the US with Laura. And, Phillip ‘s son also needed to be able to live in the US with Phillip.
So Phillip came to Iowa to visit Laura. After a few weeks together, they decided to get married. In a nice ceremony, Phillip and Laura got married.
Laura and Phillip looked for an immigration lawyer. They needed a lawyer who could represent Phillip for his immigration case, and, more importantly, they needed a lawyer who could get Phillip ‘s son to the U.S. to live with Laura and Phillip.
Phillip and Laura hired Ray Scheetz. Six months later, in one of the happiest days of his life, Phillip got the green card. With the help of Ray, Laura and Phillip started the process to bring Phillip ‘s son to the U.S. In the meantime, Phillip has been able to travel back and forth to Haiti to visit his son.
Laura and Phillip together found happiness and love in Haiti. They are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Phillip ‘s son.
CRIMINAL DEFENSE SUCCESS STORIES
Attorney Ray Scheetz is an excellent attorney. He is very intelligent, personable, and most of all an expert at the law. Unfortunately, I had to utilize his services on two different occasions for a criminal case by trial. In both instances, I was found NOT GUILTY. I thank him so much but I definitely hope I don’t need him again under those circumstances. I highly recommend him in any situation.
POSSESSION OF A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE AND POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA CASE DISMISSED.
On an evening in October, Dale was driving to the grocery store when he was pulled over by an unmarked patrol car. Two police officers approached Dale’s vehicle and asked Dale to produce his drivers’ license. Dale gave the officers his drivers license and asked for the reason that he was pulled over. The police told him that his license plate lights were not illuminated in violation of Iowa Code.
While the police officers were checking Dale’s drivers’ license, the K-9 patrol officer showed up on the scene with his drug dog. The K-9 officer ordered Dale to get out of his vehicle so that his drug dog could make an “open-air” sniff around Dale’s vehicle. Dale complied and got out of his pickup truck. When Dale got out, the K-9 officer asked Dale if the officer could search Dale’s pockets for weapons for “officer safety.” Dale reluctantly agreed to the search.
When the police searched Dale’s pocket, the officer felt a small bulge of about one inch in the coin pocket of Dale’s jeans. The officer put his finger into the coin pocket and pulled out a baggie that contained a small amount of drugs. Dale was immediately arrested. Upon Dale’s arrest, police then searched Dale’s entire vehicle – the cab of the pickup truck, and everything that was contained in the bed of the truck. Purported drug paraphernalia was located in the console.
Dale was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He hired attorney Ray Scheetz to represent him. Mr. Scheetz reviewed the video of the arrest. He filed a motion to suppress the results of the search of Dale’s pocket and vehicle-based on the fact that the police search of Dale’s pocket was in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
At the hearing, the judge agreed. The court agreed with Mr. Scheetz that the police officer did not have the right to search the coin pocket of Dale’s jeans where it was impossible for a weapon to be located, particularly when the police officer told Dale that he was conducting a search only for weapons. If the officer believed that Dale possessed drugs in his jeans pocket, the officer needed to apply for a search warrant which the officer did not do. All evidence resulting from the search of Dale’s pocket and the truck was not allowed at trial.
The case was dismissed. A victory for an individual’s right to be free from an unreasonable search.
POLICE MISTAKE MAN’S CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS FOR IMPAIRED DRIVING FROM ABUSE OF PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS; LATER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES.
On March 28, 2018, a jury found Jacob Hartwell not guilty of (1) felony driving while impaired due to improper use of prescription medications, and, (2) carrying a concealed weapon
The evidence showed that prior to his arrest, Mr. Hartwell was involved in a traffic accident when he served to avoid hitting a deer. His car struck a pole, but Hartwell was able to drive away from the accident. Some time later, after concerned citizens called police to report Hartwell’s erratic driving, he was stopped and arrested. Police believed that Hartwell’s erratic driving and confusion was due to him being illegally impaired on prescription medications. Hartwell’s car was searched by police, who found a loaded handgun.
Many of Hartwell’s concussion symptoms (confusion, dazed, inability to clearly answer questions) were similar to the symptoms of an intoxicated person.
After a three day trial, where the defense presented the expert testimony of toxicologist Dr. Ronald Henson, the jury took less than one hour to find that Hartwell was not guilty of both charges. The jury agreed that Hartwell’s erratic driving was caused from the symptoms of a concussion, rather than his abuse of prescription medications. He was also found not guilty of carrying a concealed weapon, as he had a valid permit to carry, which police claimed was invalid due to Hartwell’s alleged impairment.
NOT GUILTY VERDICT IN CEDAR FALLS SEX ABUSE TRIAL
A former University of Northern Iowa student has been acquitted of sex abuse charges involving another student. A Black Hawk County jury deliberated Monday afternoon and part of Tuesday morning before finding Donghyuk “David” Kim, 25, not guilty of third-degree sex abuse.
Kim, a South Korean citizen who was studying accounting at UNI when he was arrested earlier this year, hugged his defense attorney, Ray Scheetz, after hearing the verdict. Read more
UNITED STATES V. DEMOCRUS BURSTON
United States v. Democrus Burston – instead of a police officer, police used a drug dog to go up to a window of the residence of Mr. Burston and sniff the window. The drug dog allegedly smelled marijuana coming from Burston’s window. Police then obtained a search warrant for Burston’s residence, and with a SWAT team, raided his residence. Mr. Burston was charged in federal court in Cedar Rapids with the crime of illegally possessing a firearm.
On behalf of Mr. Burson, Raphael Scheetz argued that police acted illegally when they used a drug dog to sniff around the residence window. The motion was first denied by the Chief Magistrate, and then denied by the Chief Judge. Burston was sentenced to four years in federal prison.
Ray Scheetz appealed the denials of his motion to the United States Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Three federal appeals judges agreed with Mr. Scheetz – using a trained police dog is the equivalent of using police officer. The police acted illegally when they used a drug dog without a proper warrant. Mr. Burston’s case was dismissed on December 21, 2015, and he was released from federal prison in time to be with his family for Christmas. See United States v. Burston, Case No. 14-3213.
STATE OF IOWA V. JEREMY GARVIN
State of Iowa v. Jeremy Garvin – Jeremy was a 22 year old from an excellent family in Eastern Iowa. He was charged with first degree kidnapping, first degree arson, conspiracy to commit a forcible felony, and willful injury causing serious injury resulting in an incident that occurred in Davenport, Iowa. While represented by a different attorney, Jeremy was convicted of all counts and faced a mandatory life sentence. Read Article.
Jeremy’s girlfriend had heard of Mr. Scheetz through a friend of hers that had been successfully represented by Mr. Scheetz. Jeremy’s family hired Mr. Scheetz to set aside Jeremy’s convictions.
Mr. Scheetz successfully argued to the Iowa District Court Judge that Jeremy’s prior attorney had not obtained critical evidence that would have helped Jeremy’s case. The Judge set aside all of Jeremy’s convictions and ordered a new trial. Instead of facing a mandatory life prison sentence, Jeremy will be released from jail soon.
UNITED STATES V. AMBE WODESSO
United States v. Ambe Wodesso – Ambe, who is African American, was stopped by law enforcement at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for having red shoe laces on his sneakers. According to law enforcement, red shoe laces was a sign a gang membership. Law enforcement surrounded Ambe and his luggage was searched. Inside of his luggage was a small amount of marijuana and United States Army stationary.
Ambe was charged in federal court, put in jail, and he faced a lengthy prison sentence. Mr. Wodesso’s family hired Mr. Scheetz to help Ambe fight against the acts of police. After legal proceedings that lasted almost eight months, Ambe was released from jail when the federal court determined that a person cannot be stopped and searched merely because of the color of his/her shoe laces.
UNITED STATES V. BRENT BEEBE
United States v. Brent Beebe – in one of the biggest and most publicized cases in the history of the federal court in Eastern Iowa, Mr. Scheetz settled a case which led his client a very short jail sentence. Brent Beebe was a manager of the Agriprocessors, Inc., plant in Postville, Iowa. He was one of two top assistants for Sholom Rubashkin, the owner of the plant.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raided the Agriprocessors plant. Hundreds of undocumented workers were arrested and charged with federal crimes. Several months later, Beebe and Rubashkin were charged with knowingly hiring dozens of undocumented immigrants. Rubashkin was also charged with bank fraud – the government alleged that Rubashkin committed fraud when he applied for bank loans and did not disclose that he was hiring and employing illegal aliens.
Mr. Scheetz was hired by Brent Beebe. Although Brent knew of the illegal hiring, he did not profit or benefit in any way. Beebe was threatened by the government with a ten year prison sentence if he did not plead guilty. Instead, Beebe fought his case until the eve of trial. Brent received a 10 month sentence. Rubashkin received a 27 year prison sentence.
UNITED STATES V. DOUGLAS BOUCHEY
United States v. Douglas Bouchey – in one of the biggest cases in the history of the federal district court in Eastern Iowa, and ground breaking in terms of internet crime, Mr. Scheetz represented Doug Bouchey who was charged with illegally dispensing prescription medications. Mr. Bouchey worked as a pharmacist in Dubuque, Iowa, where he lived with his wife and two daughters. Bouchey had been hired by a website pharmacy located in Miami, Florida, to fill prescriptions that had been purchased online.
In one of the first cases of its kind in the nation, Bouchey, several doctors, and the owners of the pharmacy website were charged in federal district court with conspiracy to illegally distribute controlled substances, and money laundering. Bouchey, who had never before been arrested, faced up to 40 years in prison.
Mr. Scheetz was hired by Doug Bouchey. Mr. Scheetz argued that the internet pharmacy laws were unclear; that Bouchey did not have notice that what he was doing was illegal.
Bouchey’s co-defendants received long prison sentences. Mr. Scheetz was successful in persuading the United States Attorney’s office to dismiss the felony charges. Bouchey pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and served no time in jail. Most importantly to Mr. Bouchey, Mr. Scheetz successfully negotiated with the DEA to allow Bouchey to keep his federal license to remain a pharmacist. Bouchey continues to be a pharmacist today.
STATE OF IOWA V. TAYZHA M.
State of Iowa v. Tayzha M. – Tayzha M. was married and a mother of two children in Eastern Iowa. Unfortunately, her husband physically abused their four year old daughter. He also had a history of physically abusing Tayzha.
Tayzha’s husband was charged and convicted of felony child endangerment due to the incident of spanking their daughter with a rod. However, even though she never abused either of her children, and tried to protect them, Tayzha was also charged with child endangerment because she did not call the police on her husband.
Mr. Scheetz believed it was wrong for the State prosecutors to charge Tayzha when she did everything she could to protect her children. The judge refused to dismiss the charge.
Mr. Scheetz represented Tayzha at her jury trial. A twelve member jury unanimously have a not guilty verdict on all charges – Tayzha did not act criminally when she failed to call police.
State of Iowa v. David Sailor – OWI (drunk driving) and possession of marijuana
State of Iowa v. Jacane Campbell – burglary in the fist degree, intimidation with a dangerous weapon with intent, assault of use by display of weapon, going armed with intent
*Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY
I was so lucky that Mr. Scheetz was my Immigration Lawyer. Everything seemed to turn from black to white after meeting with him. His immediate attention and action were extremely impressive. Thank you!
– Gina B.
I am so grateful for what Mr. Scheetz did for my cousin William J., he saved his life. And also he proved me wrong. My family and I are eternally thankful for all his efforts.
– Mike N.