WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has ruled immigrants can get a second chance in court when their lawyers advise them to plead guilty to a crime that leads to deportation.
The court’s 6-2 ruling Friday applies to immigrants facing overwhelming evidence they are guilty of a crime.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that Jae (JAY) Lee can withdraw the guilty plea on drug charges his lawyer advised him to enter. The South Korean immigrant was living in the Memphis, Tennessee, area.
Federal law prescribes near-automatic deportation for noncitizens convicted of serious crimes.
Lee claimed he wouldn’t have pleaded guilty had he known the consequences.
Roberts wrote that Lee still would “almost certainly” be convicted and deported if he goes to trial, but “that ‘almost’ could make all the difference.”