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34 Immigr. & Nat'lity L. Rev. 597 (2013)
The Plea-Bargain Crisis for Noncitizens in Misdemeanor Court

handle is hein.journals/inlr34 and id is 611 raw text is: THE PLEA-BARGAIN CRISIS FOR NONCITIZENS
Jason A. Cadet
This Article considers three factors contributing to a plea-bargain crisis for
noncitizens charged with misdemeanors: 1) the expansion of deportation laws
to include very minor offenses with little opportunity for discretionary relief
from removal; 2) the integration of federal immigration enforcement
programs with the criminal justice system; and 3) the institutional norms in
non-federal lower criminal courts, where little attention is paid to evidence or
individual equities and where bail and other process costs generally outweigh
perceived incentives to fight charges. The Article contends that these factors
increase the likelihood that a noncitizen's low-level conviction will not reliably
indicate guilt or will be the product of unchecked constitutional rights
violations. Unwarranted convictions, many of which trigger deportation and
other negative immigration consequences, undermine the integrity of both
criminal justice and deportation systems. The Article also argues that,
contrary to the Supreme Court's assumption in Padilla v. Kentucky, lawful
permanent resident defendants are often unable to effectively negotiate for
immigration-safe dispositions in the low-level cases where the rift between the
underlying criminal conduct and the deportation outcome is largest. The
Article's analysis suggests that reforms at both federal and state levels remain
critical to address the disproportional immigration consequences of minor
convictions and the plea-bargain crisis for noncitizens in misdemeanor court.
t Assistant Professor, University of Georgia Law School. For helpful comments and
conversations at various stages of this project, thanks to Rachel Barkow, Stacy Caplow, C~sar
Cuauhtemoc Garcia Herndndez, Liz Keyes, Issa Kohler-Hausmann, Kevin Lapp, Nancy
Morawetz, Mark Noferi, Jenny Roberts, my colleagues in the Lawyering Colloquium at New
York University Law School, and participants at the Immigration Law Teachers Conference at
Hofstra Law School (2012) and the Scholarship and Teacher Development Workshop at Albany
Law School (2013). The Article also benefited from presentations to the law faculties at
University of Georgia, University of New Mexico, and University of Denver. Much gratitude to
the attorneys who shared their practice experience in misdemeanor court, especially Jocelyn
Simonson, Violeta Chapin, and Jennifer Friedman. Annie Mathews, Anthony Ruiz, and Robyn
Lim provided terrific research support.
Originally published in 34 CARDOZO L. REv. 1751 (2013). Used by

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