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7-16-12: Counseling Non-Citizens
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If you’re found guilty of driving without a license in Maryland, that’s a misdemeanor. If you plead guilty, you get fined, or possibly, jail time. For non-citizens—even those who are here legally—two such offenses could also lead to deportation.
In 2010, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that criminal defense lawyers must advise their clients of any such deportation consequences of pleading guilty to criminal charges. That case is called Padilla v. Kentucky. Soon after, Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, made the Supreme Court’s decision retroactive, applying it to all pleas in the state since April 1997, in a case called Denisyuk v. Maryland.
Those decisions are the subject of a conference this afternoon at the University of Maryland School of Law in Baltimore. It’s open to the public, and starts at 5:00.
Sheilah talks in advance of the conference with Professor Maureen Sweeney, director of the Immigration Clinic at the University of Maryland, Emily Datnoff, an immigration attorney and 2011 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow who’s been working with the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore to help lawyers advise their clients. We also spoke with Robert Leonard, who’s an Assistant Public Defender for Baltimore City.