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Reentry Resource Center - New York

Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

Padilla v. Kentucky Compliance Guide

In March 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court in Padilla v. Kentucky, 599 U.S. 356 (2010), ruled that defense counsel must give affirmative, competent advice to clients of the risk of all penalties "enmeshed" with the criminal charges or potential pleas.

  • The Court held that for evaluating the effective assistance of counsel, the Sixth Amendment does not distinguish between the "direct" and "collateral" consequences of pleas - the relevant inquiry is the extent to which the penalty is enmeshed with the criminal process or charges.
  • The Court recognized that preserving rights such as immigration status may be more important to the defendant than any jail sentence. Padilla, 130 S.Ct. at 1483.
  • The ruling concerned deportation specifically, but other serious penalties enmeshed with criminal charges include public housing eligibility, employment, sex offense registration, voting, and student loans. These penalties share with deportation the same unique characteristics outlined by the Supreme Court. Legislatures across the country have "intimately related" these penalties and the availability of these programs or rights to criminal charges and convictions. Legal changes over the last few decades have made termination or rejection from these programs or rights nearly an automatic result for a broad class of people.
  • The Court explicitly encouraged creative pleas to avoid these enmeshed penalties.

This page contains links to practice materials that will assist defense counsel, judges, and prosecutors comply with these new minimum standards.


Defender Toolkit & Padilla Compliance Guide: Using Knowledge of "Enmeshed Penalties" (or Collateral Consequences) to Get Better Results in the Criminal Case (The Bronx Defenders)

Ensuring Compliance With Padilla v. Kentucky Without Compromising Judicial Obligations: Why Judges Should Not Ask Criminal Defendants About Their Citizenship/Immigration Status (Immigrant Defense Project)

PadillaChecklist for Judges: Proper Consideration of "Enmeshed Penalties" (or Collateral Consequences) in a Criminal Case (The Bronx Defenders)

Practice Advisory: Duty of Criminal Defense Counsel Representing an Immigrant Defendant After Padilla v. Kentucky (Immigrant Defense Project)

Cases Applying Padilla(National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers)

Padilla v. Kentucky: The New York City Criminal Court System One Year Later (New York City Bar Association)

From "Collateral" to "Integral": The Seismic Evolution of Padilla v. Kentucky and Its Impact on Penalties Beyond Deportation (The Bronx Defenders)

Other Padilla Resource Pages

American Bar Association Padilla Guidebook

A compilation of printed resource materials indicating the impact of Padilla v. Kentucky. Includes articles, court opinions and resources for different stakeholders.

Federal Defenders Resource Page on Immigration Consequences

Information for criminal defense counsel on immigration consequences, impact of Padilla, tools to determine clients' immigration status, and common issues in representing non-citizen defendants.

NACDL Padilla Resources Page

Resources compiled for "Padilla and the Future of the Defense Function" conference. Includes articles and training guides.

Massachusetts CPCS Padilla Resource Page

Training and practice materials compiled by Massachusetts CPCS Immigration Impact Unit

Pro Bono and legal aid attorney resources - Pro Bono Net