A surprising story has come to light, as recent events have started to unfold. Back in 1995 Shahram Sheikhan was convicted in Contra Costa County, California on charges of sexual battery and annoyance or molestation of a child. He spent 9 months in prison and was on probation for 5 years. On August 30, 2007 (12 years later), police went to Sean's Las Vegas home and arrested him. He was held in the North Las Vegas Detention Center for more than a week before posting a $10,000 bond.
Sheikhan is an Iranian born immigrant and professional poker player. He's most well known for his 11th place finish in the 2005 WSOP Main Event. When I think of "Sheiky", I smile and remember the infamous battle between him and Mike "The Mouth" Matusow that kept me entertained for hours. He also went deep in the 2006 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship where he scored a hefty $125,000 cash prize by making it to the final four.
So, if Sheikhan served his time 12 years ago, why is he being arrested again? There is a section in the The Immigration and Nationality Act that allows deportation for conviction "of two crimes involving moral turpitude not arising out of a single scheme of criminal misconduct."
Virginia Kice, a spokesman for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement commented on the case. "This individual was targeted for ICE arrest because of his criminal history. ICE has an ongoing initiative called Operation Predator targeting individuals, including foreign nationals, who prey upon and sexually exploit children."
David Chesnoff, Las Vegas attorney and professional poker player is representing Sean Sheikhan and says, "We're going to do everything in our power to prevent this". Chesnoff also represented Bruce Crispin Leyser last year in the controversial dispute between Jamie Gold over the $12 million prize Gold received for winning the 2006 WSOP Main Event.
According to Chesnoff, the child in question was a 17 year old girl that Sheikhan knew when he was in his 20's. He also believes that "Sheiky" may have received inadequate council in the 1995 court proceedings.
Sheikhan is 38 years old, immigrated to the United States when he was nine, is married to an American-born woman, and has a 9 year old child. It seems to me that due process was served 12 years ago when he went to prison and then successfully completed his 5 year probationary period. This doesn't matter to the ICE though, they are looking to have him deported from the United States and they are pulling out all the stops.
There will be an immigration hearing on October 23 in Las Vegas where both sides will be presented. Chesnoff will move for a dismissal, but if the judge decides that the case should be heard, then a new date will be set.