Criminal defense lawyers in Tennessee and across the country are struggling with the fallout from the recent case from the U.S. Supreme Court.In Padilla v. Kentucky , a copy of the opinion is attached to the link, the court held the conviction was invalid based upon the criminal defense attorney’s representation of the effects of the plea bargain on his immigration status.Years ago, I learned of the collateral effects of a criminal conviction on one’s immigration status.Here is a few suggestions ;
1. For attorneys, place in bold print in your fee agreement that you will not give any advice on immigration issues.Divorce attorneys do this all the time on tax advice during representation in a divorce.
2. For clients and criminal defense attorneys , consult with your immigration lawyer or hire one for an opinion letter advising on the immigration consequences of a plea bargain agreement or guilty plea.
3. In the plea petition , write a sentence in the agreement that you are not making any representations of any collateral effect on the client’s immigration status as a result of the plea.
The Padilla case may have a more widespread impact on plea agreements that just immigration cases.My prediction is that the failure to advise of any collateral consequence of a plea bargain agreement or a trial may result in a finding of ineffective assistance of counsel. Criminal cases may impact numerous areas of one”s life from professional licenses such as a nurse or doctor to out of state driver’s licenses.Careful planning at the plea agreement may prevent a pound of cure.
I would like to invite any comments on how to deal with this issue.