Florida Supremes take up deportation cases

May 8, 2012

The Florida Supreme Court is looking into a number of cases in which immigrants say they weren’t told taking a plea bargain would lead to their deportation. Regan McCarthy reports now they’re asking for their pleas to be thrown out.

The defendants say they got bad advice from their lawyers when they took plea deals, but weren’t told that could lead to automatic deportation. At the center of the discussion is a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says immigrants have the right to be told such pleas could lead to deportation. But there’s some question about whether the ruling applies to plea bargains made before the Federal court handed down its ruling. Kristen Davenport is the lawyer for the state of Florida. 

“In a perfect world everybody would have the benefit of every decision that comes out. If it helps them in a perfect world they would be able to bring that. But that is just not realistic.”

Davenport says there needs to be a sense of finality for cases argued in the past and adds that in Florida judges have already been warning defendants about deportation even if lawyers haven’t.