The question of whether the role of the criminal defense lawyer has been affected by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a case called Padilla vs. Kentucky will be the focus of an American Bar Association task force, reports the New York Law Journal. The goal is to explore the obligations on lawyers to advise clients about the consequences of criminal convictions. In Padilla, the high court found that a defense lawyer’s failure to advise a client that a guilty plea would have deportation consequences for the client amounted to “constitutionally deficient” representation.
The ruling is being used in cases where guilty pleas have had consequences in other areas, including employment, child custody, and housing. An Alaska appeals court, citing Padilla, ruled that a case of ineffective assistance of counsel had been made by a client who had been told incorrectly by his lawyer that his no-contest plea in an assault case would not be used against him in a lawsuit for civil damages.