Contributions

Does an attor­ney sat­is­fy a res­i­dent alien client’s Sixth Amend­ment right to effec­tive coun­sel by inform­ing the client of the mere risks of depor­ta­tion asso­ci­at­ed with a guilty plea, or must she pre­dict the like­li­hood of depor­ta­tion with even greater speci­fici­ty? Kar­tik Madi­ra­ju (’17) exam­ines this ques­tion, pre­sent­ed at the 2016 Evans Con­sti­tu­tion­al Law Moot, held at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wis­con­sin. Though the Supreme Court has held that attor­neys must inform their clients whether a guilty plea car­ries a risk of depor­ta­tion, sev­er­al of the Cir­cuit Courts of Appeals dis­agree on how specif­i­cal­ly an attor­ney must char­ac­ter­ize the like­li­hood of that risk. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that the major­i­ty inter­pre­ta­tion, requir­ing only that attor­neys advise their clients of the mere exis­tence of such a risk, is more con­sis­tent with the let­ter and spir­it of Supreme Court prece­dent, and bet­ter reflects the dis­cre­tionary nature of an Attor­ney General’s deci­sion to order deportation.