Criminal Defense of Immigrants
§ 2.23 A. Summary
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Criminal counsel have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect our clients from damaging immigration consequences of a criminal case:
· It’s the right thing to do.
· Ethics considerations require it.
· Courts expect us to do it.
· Standards of the profession require it.
· State statutes require advice of possible immigration consequences.
· Duty to investigate.
· Duty to use mitigating facts to obtain better plea and lower sentence.
· Duty not to give affirmative misadvice.
· Duty to advise the client of actual immigration consequences.
· Duty to defend against collateral consequences.
Moreover, it is in our own interest to do so:
· Desire to deliver excellent legal services.
· Benefits of practice development through total client service.
· Ineffective assistance of counsel.
· Malpractice liability.
· Malpractice insurance rates.
· Eligibility for membership on court appointed panels.
· Damage to reputation within the profession.
· Damage to reputation among client communities.
· Disciplinary sanctions: disbarment and lesser penalties.
· Damage to self-esteem.
· Loss of income.
· Stress and mental distress.
· Costs of attempting to rectify a mistake.
These are the main ideas. More detailed information and legal authorities on these topics are provided below. If you want, you can skip to the conclusion, which addresses the question: So what? Where do we go from here? And offers a surprisingly simple way to do so that uses our knowledge and skills as criminal lawyers, but does not require us to learn the complexities of immigration law. See § 2.24, infra.
 See § 2.42, infra.