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Name: Padilla v. Kentucky
Case #: 08-651
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 03/31/2010
Subsequent History: 130 S.Ct. 1473; 176 L.Ed.2d 284

Counsel is constitutionally deficient if there is a failure to advise a noncitizen client entering a plea to a criminal offense of the risk of deportation. Such failure meets the first prong of the test of Strickland v. Washington (1984) 466 U.S. 668, 694. “Deportation as a consequence of a criminal conviction is, because of its close connection to the criminal process, uniquely difficult to classify as either a direct or a collateral consequence.” Instead, deportation has become an integral part of the penalty for a criminal conviction for noncitizens. The holding is not limited to only affirmative misadvice of the consequence because that would encourage counsel to remain silent on a matter of great importance to a noncitizen client. That would be inconsistent with counsel’s duty to provide advice to a client considering the advantages and disadvantages of a plea agreement. The Court found that Padilla’s counsel was constitutionally deficient in assuring him that he would not be deported for a conviction of transportation of marijuana when the deportation consequence was clear from reading the statute. The case was remanded to allow Padilla the opportunity to show prejudice.