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The 'Padilla' Decision: Was 2010 the Year Marking a Paradigm Shift in the Role Of Defense Counsel — or Just More Business as Usual? (Inside NACDL)
By Norman L. Reimer
As 2010 draws to a close, one cannot help wondering if the Supreme
Court’s landmark decision in Padilla v. Kentucky1 will usher in the new
era that some commentators predicted. The Court held that the
possibility of deportation is such an integral part of a penalty that in
determining if a defendant has received reasonably professional
assistance of counsel,2 there is no functional distinction between
whether it is a direct or collateral consequence. That holding seemingly
sent a powerful message to the nation’s criminal defense bar: the
accused are entitled to understand serious consequences of a conviction.
Never before had the Court ruled that Strickland could be violated by a
lawyer’s failure to advise a client about a consequence of conviction
that is not part of the court-imposed sentence. As one prominent lawyer
noted “[t]he Padilla decision promises to transform the landscape of
criminal representation in this country by requiring consideration of
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