The Blog of Legal Times yesterday posted this entry about the "changing role of criminal defense lawyers" in view of the recent Supreme Court case, Padilla v. Kentucky that is imposing new obligations on lawyers to advise clients about the consequences of criminal convictions.
Padilla held that because counsel had to inform a noncitizen criminal client whether his plea carried a risk of deportation, that client would have sufficiently supported allegations that his counsel was constitutionally deficient under the Sixth Amendment's effective-assistance-of-counsel guarantee if not informed… whether that client is entitled to relief depends on whether he/she had been prejudiced against, a matter not addressed by that Court. BLT notes that that ruling has had repercussions not only for lawyers representing immigrants, but also has appeared in cases where guilty pleas have had consequences in areas such as employment, child custody and housing.
Earlier this week, the American Bar Association announced it's having established a task force aimed at answering questions and helping criminal defense lawyers understand and meet new responsibilities – including those broader implications -- to clients stemming from the decision.
The ABA has online resource materials on the Padilla decision and its implications posted on its website, including a 106-page "guide" titled, Padilla & Beyond. That guide has information on the "general implications of the Padilla decision and its impact on the treatment of collateral consequences, followed by separate sections for different members of the legal community: defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges." [ PDF text of Padilla & Beyond ]
Another resource we've come across that may help attorneys understand the process and implications associated with the decision is "Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions: Padilla v. Kentucky,” a 92-page monograph prepared by the Office of Immigration Litigation (“OIL”), part of the U.S. Department of Justice.
"OIL attorneys routinely litigate cases involving immigration statutes described in this monograph and are experts in interpreting and applying these statutes…. The Court's holding, however, affects not only defense attorneys, but also federal and state prosecutors and judges, as well as other interested parties. This monograph is intended to assist these parties in understanding the immigration consequences of an alien’s guilty plea in a criminal case."