Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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In June 2005, police discovered Defendant Juan Pablo Santos naked and in bed with a fourteen-year-old girl. He was arrested and, after receiving "Miranda" warnings, admitted that he lived with the girl and that they had an ongoing sexual relationship. Santos was indicted by a grand jury on one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. The State proposed a plea agreement under which Santos would plead guilty to third-degree endangering the welfare of a child in exchange for the State’s agreement to drop the sexual assault charge and recommend that his term of imprisonment be limited to time served. After consulting with his attorney , Defendant decided to accept the deal. Less than three weeks after Defendant was sentenced according to the terms of the plea agreement he negotiated with the State, the United States Department of Homeland Security removed him to Mexico based on this criminal conviction. Defendant illegally reentered the United States. He was found and removed again to Mexico. In 2009, Defendant filed a post-conviction relief petition alleging that he had not read, and his attorney had not explained, the plea form before he signed it, and that his plea lacked an adequate factual basis. The PCR court determined that Defendant's allegations were sufficient to establish a prima facie claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and that Defendant was entitled to an evidentiary hearing, which the court scheduled. Before the hearing, Defendant filed a motion seeking leave to testify telephonically from Mexico. The State opposed the motion, pointing out that telephonic testimony would deny the court the opportunity to evaluate Defendant's demeanor and assess his credibility. The court granted Defendant's motion and turned to examine the mechanics of how Defendant's testimony would be taken. The State appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court found that the grant of an evidentiary hearing in which Defendant was to be permitted to provide telephonic testimony must be reversed and the matter remanded for full reconsideration by the post-conviction relief (PCR) court as to whether Defendant could meet the standard for entitlement to an evidentiary hearing. View "New Jersey v. Santos" on Justia Law

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In these consolidated appeals, the Supreme Court considered whether "Padilla v. Kentucky" (130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010)) could be applied retroactively on collateral review, and whether defendants' attorneys were ineffective under "State v. Nunez-Valdez" (200 N.J. 129 (2009)). In 2004, Defendant Frensel Gaitan was indicted for multiple possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and distribution charges. He pled guilty to the charge of third-degree distribution of a CDS within one thousand feet of a school in 2005, and was sentenced to five years’ probation. Gaitan did not file a direct appeal. In 2008, based on the drug conviction, a removable offense, Gaitan was removed. He thereafter filed a PCR petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Although Gaitan had responded "yes" to Question 17 on the plea form, which asked "Do you understand that if you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty," he asserted that counsel failed to warn him that his plea carried with it potential immigration consequences. In 2007, Defendant Rohan Goulbourne was indicted on multiple CDS possession and distribution charges. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of a CDS with intent to distribute within one thousand feet of a school. The prosecutor, in return, recommended a sentence of three years' imprisonment with a fifteen-month period of parole ineligibility. At a March 2008 plea hearing, both defense counsel and the court informed Goulbourne that he "may very well" be deported as a result of the plea. The court also noted that Goulbourne answered all the questions on the plea form, which included Question 17, and that he signed the form after reviewing it with his attorney. Satisfied that Goulbourne knowingly and voluntarily was pleading guilty, the court accepted the plea. The court imposed the recommended sentence, and Goulbourne did not appeal. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that "Padilla" represented a new constitutional rule of law that for Sixth Amendment purposes, was not entitled to retroactive application on collateral review. Although "Nunez-Valdez" governs the standard of attorney performance in these cases, the Court concluded Defendants were not entitled to relief under that decision because neither was affirmatively misadvised by their counsel, nor did they establish prejudice. View "New Jersey v. Gaitan" on Justia Law

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In these consolidated appeals, the Supreme Court considered whether "Padilla v. Kentucky" (130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010)) could be applied retroactively on collateral review, and whether defendants' attorneys were ineffective under "State v. Nunez-Valdez" (200 N.J. 129 (2009)). In 2004, Defendant Frensel Gaitan was indicted for multiple possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) and distribution charges. He pled guilty to the charge of third-degree distribution of a CDS within one thousand feet of a school in 2005, and was sentenced to five years’ probation. Gaitan did not file a direct appeal. In 2008, based on the drug conviction, a removable offense, Gaitan was removed. He thereafter filed a PCR petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Although Gaitan had responded "yes" to Question 17 on the plea form, which asked "Do you understand that if you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty," he asserted that counsel failed to warn him that his plea carried with it potential immigration consequences. In 2007, Defendant Rohan Goulbourne was indicted on multiple CDS possession and distribution charges. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of possession of a CDS with intent to distribute within one thousand feet of a school. The prosecutor, in return, recommended a sentence of three years' imprisonment with a fifteen-month period of parole ineligibility. At a March 2008 plea hearing, both defense counsel and the court informed Goulbourne that he "may very well" be deported as a result of the plea. The court also noted that Goulbourne answered all the questions on the plea form, which included Question 17, and that he signed the form after reviewing it with his attorney. Satisfied that Goulbourne knowingly and voluntarily was pleading guilty, the court accepted the plea. The court imposed the recommended sentence, and Goulbourne did not appeal. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that "Padilla" represented a new constitutional rule of law that for Sixth Amendment purposes, was not entitled to retroactive application on collateral review. Although "Nunez-Valdez" governs the standard of attorney performance in these cases, the Court concluded Defendants were not entitled to relief under that decision because neither was affirmatively misadvised by their counsel, nor did they establish prejudice. View "New Jersey v. Goulbourne" on Justia Law