Immigration Law

Padilla's Conviction Overturned, New Trial Granted

"A convicted drug trafficker from Honduras who won a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling will get a new trial after a state appeals court overturned his conviction because his attorney gave bad advice about deportation.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals on Friday ordered a new trial for Jose Padilla, a native of Honduras and permanent legal resident of the United States.  Judge Kelly Thompson wrote for a three-judge panel that Padilla's attorney improperly told him that deportation wouldn't be a concern when he pleaded guilty to transporting 1,000 pounds of marijuana." - Associated Press, Sept. 30, 2012.

"Accepting the plea agreement rendered Padilla mandatorily deportable.  If he had insisted on a trial, the Commonwealth would have had to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and Padilla would have a chance of avoiding a conviction that subjected him to mandatory deportation.  Moreover, had the immigration consequences of Padilla’s plea been factored into the plea bargaining process, trial counsel may have obtained a plea agreement that would not have the consequence of mandatory deportation.  Padilla, 130 S.Ct. at 1486.  In light of Padilla’s particular circumstances, taking such a chance would  have been rational.  There was substantial evidence that had Padilla been properly informed that if he pleaded guilty he faced mandatory deportation, he would have insisted on going to trial.  Under the circumstances, his decision would have been rational." - Padilla v. Commonwealth, Sept. 28, 2012.  [Hats off to Timothy G. Arnold!]

- Tim Arnold