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The Champion

December 2010 , Page 7 

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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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