Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented
, photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
23 of June 2017 15:22:37
WASHINGTON – When a lawyer advises that a plea deal is the best option and won't result in deportation, most immigrants facing criminal charges agree to plead guilty.But what if the lawyer is wrong, and deportation is certain?The Supreme Court ruled 6-2 Friday that immigrants in those circumstances can have a second chance in court and risk going to trial, even if the prosecution's case is very strong.The justices sided with South Korean native Jae Lee, who has lived most of his life in the United States. Lee pleaded guilty to drug charges in 2009 after his lawyer mistakenly assured him he would not be deported.In fact, Lee, who had been living in the Memphis, Tennessee, area, pleaded guilty to the kind of serious crime that makes deportation near-automatic for noncitizens.He was sentenced to a year in prison, but has been behind bars for 7½ years while fighting to withdraw his plea and take his chances at trial, John Bursch, Lee's Supreme Court lawyer, said.