Yesterday, the Supreme Court held that criminal defense lawyers must advise their foreign clients about the risk of deportation if they accept a guilty plea. The Court recognized that current immigration laws impose harsh and mandatory deportation consequences onto criminal convictions, and that Congress eliminated from these laws the Attorney General's discretionary authority to cancel removal in meritorious cases. The case, Padilla v. Kentucky, involved a Vietnam War veteran who resided lawfully in the U.S. for over 40 years. His criminal defense lawyer told him not to worry about the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a crime, but that advice was wrong. In fact, the guilty plea made Mr. Padilla subject to mandatory deportation from the United States. The state of Kentucky said that Mr. Padilla had no right to withdraw his plea when he learned of the deportation consequence. Today's decision reverses the Kentuc-ky court.
Those who pled guilty based on similar advice by a criminal defense attorney should call 954-385-0157. The Law Firm may be able to file a Motion to Reopen to change the immigration consequences of that plea.