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Padilla v. Kentucky, No. 08-651

By FindLaw Staff on March 31, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Padilla v. Kentucky, No. 08-651, which involved postconviction proceedings arising from a drug distribution prosecution, after which petitioner faced deportation based on his guilty plea and claimed that his counsel failed to advise him of the consequences of the plea, the Supreme Court reversed the state supreme court's denial of postconviction relief, holding that, because counsel must inform a client whether his plea carries a risk of deportation, petitioner sufficiently alleged that his counsel was constitutionally deficient.

As the Court wrote:  "Petitioner Jose Padilla, a native of Honduras, has been a lawful permanent resident of the United States for more than 40 years. Padilla served this Nation with honor as a member of the U. S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. He now faces deportation after pleading guilty to the transportation of a large amount of marijuana in his tractor-trailer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. In this postconviction proceeding, Padilla claims that his counsel not only failed to advise him of this consequence prior to his entering the plea, but also told him that he"'did not have to worry about immigration status since he had been in the country so long.'" 253 S. W. 3d 482, 483 (Ky. 2008). Padilla relied on his counsel's erroneous advice when he pleaded guilty to the drug charges that made his deportation virtually mandatory. He alleges that he would have insisted on going to trial if he had not received incorrect advice from his attorney."

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