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US Court rules C'bean immigrants must be advised of possible deportation

Published:Wednesday | November 20, 2013 | 4:12 PM

New York’s highest court has ruled that trial judges must warn Caribbean and other non-citizen defendants that they may be deported before allowing them to plead guilty to felony charges.

In a 5-2 majority ruling, the New York Court of Appeals recognised the uniquely devastating deprivation of liberty involved when an immigrant faces deportation from the United States.

The Appeals Court also recognised the obligation of lower courts in ensuring that Caribbean and other immigrants were fully knowledgeable of the consequences should they be convicted.

The new ruling overturns a 1995 ruling that deportation is a collateral consequence of a guilty plea that judges need not warn immigrant defendants it might happen.

Justice Abdus-Salaam said times have changed since the mid-1990s, when about 37,000 Caribbean and other noncitizens were deported after criminal convictions.


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