During the course of the last several months, there have been important U.S. Supreme Court case law decisions regarding the rights of non-citizen criminal defendants pleading guilty to criminal offenses.
In many cases, a non-citizen pleading guilty to a criminal charge has no clue that deportation may be a consequence of the conviction. Prior to these important changes in case law, the court nor the defense counsel was required to inform a defendant that deportation could be a consequence of pleading guilty to a serious criminal offense. Sometimes, a non-citizen may not realize this until they are in immigration (ICE) custody.
In the wake of thousands of deportations as a result of guilty pleas given by unknowing and misinformed non-citizen defendants, the supreme court held that (and I am summarizing) deportation is not a “collateral” consequence of pleading guilty for the legal permanent resident, green card holder, illegal alien, work visa etc. In fact, the court ruled, deportation is a direct penal consequence of a criminal offense and the defendant has the right to be informed of the possibility.
In light of these recent changes, I have filed numerous petitions for post-conviction relief in state courts all over New Jersey, including Essex County and the Newark area. As a result, I have successfully vacated the convictions of my client’s. In many instances, I have been able to renegotiate plea agreements that allowed my client to stay in the country.
This is a unique opportunity for those facing deportation as a result of a criminal conviction to challenge the underlying guilty plea. I have quickly latched on to this area of the law and learned its principles. If you have questions, I would urge you to call Todd Palumbo, Newark New Jersey post-conviction relief attorney.