The question of whether the role of the criminal defense lawyer has been affected by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Padilla v. Kentucky, 08-651, will be the focus of a task force established last week by the American Bar Association’s criminal justice section.
The goal is to explore the obligations on lawyers to advise clients about the consequences of criminal convictions and help criminal defense lawyers understand and meet those responsibilities.
In Padilla, the Court found that a defense lawyer’s failure to advise a client that a guilty plea would have deportation consequences for the client amounted to “constitutionally deficient” representation.
The ruling has had repercussions not only for lawyers representing immigrants. It is being used in cases where guilty pleas have had consequences in other areas, including employment, child custody and housing.
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