The Supreme Court says defendants considering a plea agreement are entitled to accurate advice from their lawyers on how it might affect their immigration status.
The high court on Wednesday said Jose Padilla, who was born in Honduras, had a right to competent advice before his 2001 guilty plea to drug charges in Kentucky.
Padilla has lived in the United States for more than 40 years as a legal permanent resident. He said he asked his lawyer at the time whether a guilty plea would affect his immigration status and was told it wouldn't. Padilla's trial lawyer was wrong, and he now faces deportation.
The Supreme Court agreed with Padilla's new lawyer that the incorrect information violated his Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel.
But the justices left it to a lower court to decide whether Padilla's guilty plea should be thrown out.
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