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S e n t e n c i n g P a r t n e r s - June 2015 (Part I)

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We would like to thank our friends Joaquin & Duncan, L.L.C. for sharing this information with us. 

District Court’s Statement During Plea Colloquy Regarding
Immigration Consequences of Plea Did Not Automatically
Foreclose Ineffective Assistance Claim
United States v. Batamula
2015 WL 3477473 (5th Cir. 2015)

The defendant, a citizen of Tanzania, entered the United States on a student visa. He married a United States citizen and applied for a change in his immigration status. He also applied for and obtained a United States passport for his biological son, then resident of Tanzania, but used the name and birth date of a different Tanzanian child. When the deception was discovered, the defendant denied any knowledge. He pled guilty to one count of false representation to a United States agent and one count of making a false statement in an application for a United States passport. Before accepting the plea, the district court addressed both the defendant and another defendant present at the proceeding, stating: “The offenses that you’re pleading guilty to are felonies. That means that each of you will likely be deported after you serve your sentence.”

Can a conviction for a noncitizen lead to deportation?

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A noncitizen of the U.S., whether an undocumented immigrant or a lawful permanent resident (a green card holder) needs to understand the immigration consequences of any crime that he or she is charged with. Conviction can, in many cases, lead to deportation (removal) from the United States.

Constitutional Rights in Juvenile Cases

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A look at the constitutional due process rights of youth in juvenile court cases. 

Minors in juvenile court delinquency proceedings do not have the same constitutional rights as those given to adults in regular criminal court cases. In fact, prior to the 1960s juveniles had few due process rights at all. But as juvenile court proceedings have become more formal, states and courts have strengthened juveniles' constitutional rights. (To learn more about the unique nature of juvenile court cases, see Nolo's article Juvenile Court: An Overview.)

Immunity in Exchange for Testimony

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There are two kinds of immunity, one more common than the other.

“You have the right to remain silent” is perhaps the most recognized adage in our criminal justice system. This rule comes from the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees that “no person . . . shall be compelled in a criminal case to be a witness against himself.” But the Fifth Amendment doesn’t provide an absolute right to remain silent and not answer any questions. Rather, it protects people from having to answer incriminating questions about themselves.

Criminal Charges: How Cases Get Started

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How police officers and prosecutors initiate criminal cases.

A criminal case usually gets started with a police arrest report. The prosecutor then decides what criminal charges to file, if any. Some cases can then go to a grand jury for a criminal indictment or to a preliminary hearing, where a judge decides if there is enough evidence to proceed. Here's how this all works.

Lesser Included Offenses

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You can't commit a greater crime without committing its lesser included offense

A lesser included offense (or “necessarily” included offense) is a criminal law term for a crime that’s contained within a greater crime—you can’t commit the greater offense without committing the lesser.

Representing Yourself at Arraignment

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Criminal defendants may be capable of representing themselves at arraignment, but it's better to be represented by counsel. 

Many defendants are capable of representing themselves at an arraignment. They can plead "not guilty" and even ask the judge to reduce bail. During the interval between the arraignment and the next court appearance (rarely less than two weeks and often longer), the defendant can decide whether to hire a lawyer for post-arraignment proceedings.

Types of Robbery Charges: Varying Felony Classes


Teen Sexting in California


Suing the Police for Excessive Force

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If the police roughed you up, read here.

Excessive force by the police during an arrest violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A suspect who has been a victim of excessive force may have a viable lawsuit against the arresting officers and even the municipality that employs them.

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