I am happy to report that over the course of a two-week period, I successfully obtained post conviction relief for two non-citizen clients, both of whom were incarcerated and awaiting deportation. Basically, if I had been unsuccessful with my arguments regarding the post-conviction relief and the grounds upon which we sought relief, my clients would have been ultimately deported from the United States, leaving their families, businesses, and lives behind.
On previous occasions, I have blogged about several new cases recently decided by the highest court in this State and the U. S. Supreme Court. These landmark decisions will hopefully gain traction with courts and provide relief to non-citizens who have committed criminal offenses and now face deportation as a result.
In most situations, the primary candidate for post-conviction relief based on these grounds would have pleaded guilty to a deportable offense, as opposed to being found guilty at trial. Additionally, if represented by counsel during the plea proceedings, counsel would have failed to advise the defendant of the immigrations consequences of the guilty plea. Moreover, the court may have failed to advise the defendant of the risk of deportation should he/she plead guilty to the offense, or there may have been problems with the plea form. Occasionally, if the defendant entered the plea through a translator, it may be clear from the record that there was confusion on the part of the defendant from the transcript of the proceeding, even if the court addresses the immigration issue.
The important thing to remember is that relief from deportation may now be available for many non-citizen, legal permanent residents, or immigrants of any sort who have had status at some point, and who have been convicted of a deportable offense. I am a New Jersey criminal defense and post-conviction relief attorney and should be contacted if you have any questions.