AILA Doc No. 11061371 | Dated June 13, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, June 13, 2011
George Tzamaras / Amanda Walkins
202-507-7649 / 202-507-7618
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
SAN DIEGO, CA - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) will award the Padilla v. Kentucky Litigation Team with the Jack Wasserman Memorial Award for excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law. The twelve member team of pro bono attorneys will receive the award on June 16, 2011, during AILA's Annual Conference to be held in San Diego, CA.
In this landmark decision, the petitioner's attorneys argued, and the Supreme Court held, that criminal defense lawyers must advise their noncitizen clients about the risk of deportation if they accept a guilty plea. The Court recognized that because Congress eliminated the Attorney General's discretionary authority to cancel removal in meritorious cases in 1996, current immigration laws impose harsh and mandatory deportation consequences onto criminal convictions. The Court said, "These changes to our immigration law have dramatically raised the stakes of a noncitizen's criminal conviction. The importance of accurate legal advice for noncitizens accused of crimes has never been more important."
The Supreme Court's decision rejected the federal government's position (which had been adopted by several courts) that a noncitizen is protected only from "affirmative misadvice" and not from a lawyer's failure to provide any advice about the immigration consequences of a plea. The litigation team took on this pro bono case as a labor of love, and brought about a result that has transformed the landscape of the rights of immigrants in our system.
The Padilla v. Kentucky Litigation Team includes:Stephen B. Kinnaird, Counsel of Record
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 11061371.