On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Mellouli v. Lynch, 2015 WL 2464047 (2015). Mellouli was arrested in Kansas for DUI. During a post arrest search, the police officers found four orange Adderall tablets hidden in his sock. Mellouli ended up pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor charge for possessing drug paraphernalia, with the sock being the paraphernalia. An immigration judge ordered Mellouli deported under a statute that authorized deportation for a violation "relating to" a substance listed in the controlled substance (defined under federal law).
Our own Bill Sheppard and Betsy White are featured in an article written by The Florida Times Union about the state's prohibition against same-sex marriage. The weddings of thousands of gay and lesbian couples throughout Florida since January 6th were made possible in part because of the groundbreaking lawsuit brought by Sheppard and White.
Our firm was recently in the news:
Most people are aware they have a Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when they are being questioned by law enforcement. What many people do not know, however, is that in some circumstances, the privilege must be expressly involved and, if it is not invoked, the failure to answer specific police questions can be used against them later. In those instances, silence is not golden and can be introduced as evidence of guilt at trial.
In United States v. Padilla, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), the United States Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment requires attorneys to inform their non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of entering a guilty plea in criminal cases. In many situations, entering such a plea, even in a misdemeanor case, can result in deportation. An order of deportation can occur many years after the guilty plea, much to the surprise of the client. Padilla recognized that a lawyer who fails to advise their client of the potential for deportation is not competent, so that a plea entered without such advice is not a voluntary plea and therefore, can be vacated. A question left open by the Padilla decision was whether it was retroactive, meaning a person whose plea was entered before Padilla became final could also vacate their plea if not properly advised.