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Justice Prevails With Supreme Court Decision on Immigration Counsel

by Mahwish Khan on 03/31/2010 at 5:58pm

The Supreme Court, in a vote of 7-2, has ruled that a lawyer for an immigrant charged with a crime has an obligation, constitutionally, to tell the client that a guilty plea carries a risk that he will be deported. 

In Padilla v. Kentucky, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Jose Padilla, a legal permanent resident and army veteran who has spent approximately 40 years of his life in the United States, could not take back a guilty plea – one that was made after counsel assured him that pleading guilty to a drug charge would not lead to his deportation.  

Needless to say, his trial lawyer was wrong. Padilla found a new lawyer who filed for an appeal, all while his client was facing deportation. According to the AP article:

His lawyer for the appeal told the Supreme Court that the incorrect information given Padilla was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to “effective assistance of counsel.”

The Supreme Court’s majority agreed.

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