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Expert: NY Court Notification Bill Will Improve Due Process

June 06, 2022 (1 min read)

Brian Lee, New York Law Journal, June 3, 2022

"Under a measure passed by the New York Legislature, judges would reinforce defense counsels' duty to provide individualized advice to their clients and an additional opportunity for individuals to become aware of possible immigration consequences resulting from a plea. The bill awaits the signature of Gov. Kathy Hochul. With Gov. Hochul’s signature, New York courts will be required to use uniform language in advising defendants about the risk of deportation. ... .New York courts already have to inform a noncitizen defendant that a guilty plea may subject them to deportation.  But there’s little guidance about what the language should be, and trial courts and prosecutors use differing language, prompting concerns about whether that inconsistency meets due process requirements, said Steve Yale-Loehr, co-chair of the New York Bar Association’s Immigration Committee, which supports the bill. ...The proposed law is structured so that the courts give the required language to everyone—they wouldn’t first find out whether they are a noncitizen or not.  “So there’s no discrimination in that sense,” Yale-Loehr said. ... Yale-Loehr noted that immigration law and criminal law are complicated, and advising people about the intersection of them makes it even more complicated.  “Many times people erroneously think that it’s only if they plead guilty to a felony crime that they might be deportable, but in many cases under federal immigration law, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor can also make you deportable,” he said."