“Padilla” Motions for Post-Judgment Relief

“Padilla” Motions for Post-Judgment Relief

In 2010, the United States Supreme Court heard a case entitled Padilla vs. Kentucky.  In that case, the Court ruled that criminal defense attorneys must advise noncitizen or immigrant clients about the deportation risks of a guilty plea to a criminal offense.  The case was about an immigrant named Jose Padilla who was charged with a crime in Kentucky, and he had agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a reduction in the charge which was negotiated by his criminal defense attorney.  However, the criminal defense attorney never advised Mr. Padilla that a guilty plea could still result in several immigration consequences, most especially, deportation.  The Supreme Court said that Mr. Padilla had a right to correct advice about possible immigration consequences of pleading guilty to a particular crime.

Important Decision

This was a very important decision that changed the law substantially in favor of immigrants who have been charged with crimes.  Now, any immigrant charged with a crime has a right to know that there may be certain immigration consequences when they plead guilty after an agreement with a prosecutor.  If immigrant defendants are not advised about potential immigration consequences, or if they are given wrong advice, it may be possible to “re-open” or “set aside” an earlier conviction because the immigrant defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights may have been violated.

Make an Appointment

Since Padilla v. Kentucky, our office has had great success reopening old convictions–after judgment has already entered–and assisting clients with protecting their Sixth Amendment rights.  The key legal fact of which to be aware after reading this, is that if you or someone you know is an immigrant who has pled guilty to a criminal offense after receiving bad advice or no advice about potential immigration consequences from a criminal defense attorney, please make an appointment with our office immediately to discuss what may be done.  Often times, there may be good options available, and depending on the nature of your conviction, there may only be a limited amount of time to attempt to address the situation.  

Lessons from the Past

The outstanding truths of life, the great and unquestioned phenomena of society, are not to be argued away as myths and vagaries when they do not fit within our little moulds. If necessary, we must remake the moulds.

Benjamin N. Cardozo

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