Criminal Pleas & Deportation

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court ruled that because of the clear and obvious possiblity of deportation following a conviction for a criminal offense (either by way of plea agreement or trial), the failure of defense counsel to properly advise a client about it can constitute ineffective assistance. The Court went on to note that for purposes of ineffective assistance claims, it does not distinguish between direct (or penal consequences) and so-called collateral consequences, such as deportation. The Justices noted that deporatation is now so routine that it has become a defacto direct consequence. Our New Jersey state Supreme Court has decided this issue in a similar way under the New Jersey Constitution last year in State v. Nunez-Valdez, 200 N.J. 129 (2009).

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