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SJC gives some facing deportation a chance to undo criminal convictions

“The US Supreme Court has said that constitutional errors after a certain point aren’t important enough to correct,” said Justice Robert Cordy, above, who wrote the unanimous decision. “What the SJC has said is that’s not the case in Massachusetts.”
“The US Supreme Court has said that constitutional errors after a certain point aren’t important enough to correct,” said Justice Robert Cordy, above, who wrote the unanimous decision. “What the SJC has said is that’s not the case in Massachusetts.”Credit: www.mass.gov

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In a decision that may help some Massachusetts residents avoid deportation, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled Friday that immigrants convicted of crimes since 1997 may seek to reverse those convictions if they can show that their lawyers gave them bad advice about the impact a conviction would have on their immigration status.

In an unanimous ruling written by Justice Robert Cordy, the state’s highest court invoked the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights to conclude that defense lawyers have a constitutional duty to provide clients with accurate advice on how a drug conviction affects their immigration status.

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