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Criminal Post-Conviction Relief in Massachusetts after Chaidez: Will Padilla Continue to be Applied Retroactively?

Thursday, May 23, 2013 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM
Boston Bar Association - 16 Beacon Street, Boston, MA


In 2010, in Padilla v. Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court held that criminal defense attorneys must advise non-citizen clients about the immigration consequences of criminal pleas.  In Commonwealth v. Clarke, Massachusetts SJC concluded under federal law that Padilla was not a new rule and therefore should be applied retroactively to April 1, 1997. 

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held in Chaidez v. United States that federal courts may not apply Padilla retroactively to convictions that became final before the date Padilla was issued, on March 31, 2010.  This leaves a significant number of defendants suddenly unsure as to whether they have viable post-conviction motions.

On March 7, 2013, the SJC accepted a case for direct appellate review on the issue of Padilla retroactivity in Massachusetts:  Commonwealth v. Sylvain.  Wendy Wayne, Director of the Immigration Impact Unit at the Committee for Public Counsel Services is co-counsel on Sylvain and will discuss the arguments presented in the case and the future of post-conviction motions in Massachusetts after Chaidez.  


Sponsoring Section/Committee(s):




Jennifer Jones


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