I am thrilled to announce that a Motion for New Trial for a non-citizen client was allowed in the Cambridge District Court. The client had accepted a continuance without a finding (CWOF) to the charge of Larceny by a Single Scheme almost 7 years ago without being informed by his lawyer that this could have devastating immigration consequences. Recently his application for a spousal green card through his US citizen wife was denied because of this transgression.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that attorneys have a constitutional duty to advise their clients about the immigration consequences of their criminal cases and failure to do so is ineffective assistance of counsel. Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010). Since then a significant part of my practice is litigating “Padilla motions” to vacate these convictions.
Many criminal defense attorneys are unaware that a CWOF is viewed as the equivalent of a conviction for immigration purposes. The larceny charge is a Crime of Moral Turpitude which made him ineligible to adjust his status. By carefully documenting the failure of his previous counsel, we were able to convince the Court to vacate the conviction over the objection of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.