Commonwealth v. DeJesus

Defendant, a noncitizen of the United States, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and received a sentence of probation. Defendant was subsequently arrested for driving without a license and taken into custody by immigration authorities. Contending that his defense counsel’s advice was constitutionally deficient, Defendant filed a motion for a new trial seeking to withdraw his guilty plea. A superior court allowed the motion, concluding that Defendant’s counsel gave Defendant constitutionally deficient advice when he told Defendant he would be “eligible for deportation” if he pleaded guilty to the drug possession charges. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that because the conviction of a noncitizen with intent to distribute cocaine makes deportation or removal from the United States presumptively mandatory, counsel’s advice was constitutionally deficient in that it did not convey what is clearly stated in federal law.View "Commonwealth v. DeJesus" on Justia Law