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Padilla v. Kentucky: The Right to Counsel and the Collateral Consequences of Conviction
By Margaret Colgate Love
On March 31, 2010, the Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky,1 surprising even those who had been following the case closely. In an extraordinary expansion of the Sixth Amendment rights of criminal defendants, the Court held that a defense lawyer failed to provide his noncitizen client effective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington2 when he did not warn him that he was almost certain to be deported if he pled guilty. It is the first time that the Court has applied the 1984 Strickland standard to a lawyer’s failure to advise a client about a consequence of conviction that is not part of the sentence imposed by the court.
While Padilla’s implications for cases involving deportation are clear, it may also require lawyers to consider many other legal implications of the plea.
Justice Stevens, writing for the five-justice majority, began his opinion by explaining that Jose Padilla, a native of Honduras, had been a lawful permanent resident of the Unit
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