Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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In 2012, defendant was charged with burglary for entering and taking jewelry from an unoccupied house. The circuit court appointed a public defender and a Spanish-speaking interpreter. At a pretrial hearing, the parties informed the court that defendant would plead guilty to burglary, a Class 2 felony and would be sentenced to four months in the county jail, with credit for time served. The court admonished defendant in accordance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402(a) and, pursuant to the Code of Criminal Procedure (725 ILCS 5/113-8), stated that a burglary conviction “may have the consequences of deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization under the laws of the United States.” Defendant stated that he understood and still wished to plead guilty. Later, the judge again admonished defendant that pleading guilty to burglary meant he “could be deported from the country,” a decision that would be “up to the federal government.” Defendant again acknowledged that he understood the potential immigration consequences. The court accepted defendant’s guilty plea. Within 30 days, defendant filed a pro se motion to “open and vacate” his conviction. The circuit court appointed new counsel. Counsel filed an amended motion, alleging that defense counsel failed to inform defendant of the consequences of his plea on his resident alien status. The court denied the motions, stating that any prejudice was cured by the court’s own admonishments. A divided appellate court vacated, citing Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010). The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, reinstating the denial of the motion. “To accept the defendant’s claim would require us to characterize the court’s lengthy and exhaustive admonitions as merely a perfunctory or ritualistic formality; a characterization we are unwilling to make.” View "People v. Valdez" on Justia Law