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Mass. SJC on Advisals; 'Eligible' for Deportation an Inadequate Warning: Commonwealth v. DeJesus

May 23, 2014 (1 min read)

"On Monday, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that a noncitizen received constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel where his attorney warned only that a plea to an aggravated felony would make him “eligible for deportation” and that he “face[d] being deported and being denied reentry into the United States.”  Commonwealth v. DeJesus, SJC-11392, slip op. (Mass. May 19, 2014).  Recognizing the fact-specific nature of the inquiry in these cases, the SJC declined to assign specific language or warnings to be given to noncitizen criminal defendants. ... In an excellent decision, the Court clearly explained why “eligibility” for deportation is inadequate language that fails to convey the inevitability of removal for those pleading guilty to aggravated felonies, and the foreclosure of relief resulting from such a plea." - Sarah J. Schendel, May 22, 2014.

- Sarah J. Schendel