ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Years of litigation has resulted in a court order erasing several 1990s misdemeanor convictions for an Albuquerque man from Mexico, a development that could help him remain in the United States.

The Albuquerque Journal ( ) reports that a District Court judge on Tuesday vacated Martin Ramirez's convictions for marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and concealing identity.

The judge acted in the wake of a June state Supreme Court ruling that said Ramirez could claim he had received ineffective legal representation when he pleaded guilty back in 1997.

A key issue is whether he was told of possible immigration consequences.

He now has a date before an immigration judge as he strives to remain in the United States where he married a U.S. citizen who has since died.