Deportation Warnings in Mass.

The Supreme Judicial Court recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Dejesus. The defendant pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Before he decided to plead guilty he spoke with his lawyer about the possible immigration consequences and his lawyer told him that he was “eligible for deportation” once a conviction was entered. The defendant was subsequently taken into custody by immigration authorities. With a new lawyer he filed a motion for a new trial arguing that his lawyer’s advice about deportation was inadequate. The Superior Court judge allowed the motion and the District Attorney appealed. The SJC agreed that the defendant should get a new trial. Although the lawyer told the defendant he might be deported the defendant’s deportation after conviction for this crime was “presumptively mandatory” and the lawyer’s advice was deemed to be incomplete. For any criminal case in Framingham or Natick, or elsewhere in Massachusetts, it is essential to be represented by an attorney who will go over all of the possible consequences.