Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 2.35 F. Professional Literature Urges Us to Do So

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During the last 10 years, there has been an explosion in the professional literature on this subject.  There are a dozen books, and hundreds of articles in bar journals[50] and law reviews,[51] giving us information on how to identify and avoid adverse immigration consequences for our noncitizen clients.[52]


                For example, Professor Amsterdam wrote in 1988: “No intelligent plea decision can be made by either lawyer or client without full understanding of the possible consequences of a conviction. . . .  In some defendants’ cases the consequences of conviction may be so devastating that even the faintest ray of hope offered by a trial is magnified in significance.”[53]  He continued: “The possible consequences of a conviction require research in each case concerning: . . .  Liability to deportation if the defendant is an alien. . . .  Of course, in addition to knowing each of the consequences that may follow conviction, counsel must undertake to calculate the likelihood of actual occurrence of each.”[54]

[50] See e.g., Lory Diana Rosenberg, Preventative Lawyering: How Defense Counsel can Defend Immigrants’ Rights, 27 The Champion 43 (Nat’l Ass’n of Criminal Defense Lawyers, March, 2003).

[51] See e.g., Gabriel J. Chin & Richard W. Holmes, Jr., Effective Assistance of Counsel and the Consequences of Guilty Pleas, 87 Cornell L. Rev. 697 (2002).

[52] See N. Tooby, Criminal Defense of Immigrants, Appendix B, Bibliography (2003).

[53] I A. Amsterdam, Trial Manual 5 for the Defense of Criminal Cases, § 202, pp. 343, 344  (1988).

[54] Id. at § 204, pp. 344-346.  Professor Amsterdam, like the criminal client, does not construe the notion of collateral consequences narrowly: he specifically lists forfeiture, civil disabilities including loss of occupational or driver’s licenses, disqualification from public office, loss of voting rights, criminal registration requirements, ineligibility for military service, higher insurance rates, and “[r]estrictions on employment, residence, admission to professions, admission to educational institutions, and so forth.”  Id. at p. 346.