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Judges advise defense attorneys to ask clients about citizenship

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The Indiana Court of Appeals used its decision on a post-conviction relief appeal to “encourage” criminal defense attorneys to find out the citizenship of their clients and advise the clients as to the risks of deportation after pleading guilty.

Mark Clarke, who came to the U.S. from Barbados, claimed his trial attorney, Michael Caudill, provided ineffective assistance because he failed to inform Clarke that if he pleaded guilty to a drug charge, he could be deported. Caudill admitted in an affidavit that he did not advise Clarke that his guilty plea to Class B felony dealing in cocaine could subject him to deportation.

The post-conviction court denied Clarke’s petition for relief, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. In Mark Clarke v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1202-PC-65, the judges analyzed his case using Segura v. State, 749 N.E.2d 496 (Ind. 2001). Clarke argued that the requisite special circumstances in his case that justify setting aside the plea are that he has been in the U.S. for 11 years, his two children were born here, and, if deported, he may not see them again.

Judge Ezra Friedlander wrote that 11 years is not a long enough time to compel a finding of special circumstances and pointed out that Clarke’s two children were still in-utero when he pleaded guilty in 2007 and he is not married to either of his children’s mothers.

Also, the state had a strong case against Clarke if it were to proceed to trial, which included the drugs, a large amount of cash in his car, and likely the testimony of the two officers at the scene of the traffic stop and arrest. Clarke also received a significant benefit in exchange for his guilty plea, Friedlander noted.

He failed to establish that he was prejudiced by Caudill’s failure to advise him of the risk of deportation.

The appellate court also devoted a portion of its opinion to suggest that defense attorneys find out whether their clients are citizens and, if not, tell them about the risks of deportation. This would “obviate the need for post-conviction and appellate courts to undertake a ‘special circumstances’ analysis,” he wrote.

Friedlander also pointed out that this issue is coming up in other states, and the early trend appears to be in favor of imposing a duty on criminal defense attorneys to ascertain the citizenship status of their clients.

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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