Defense lawyers scramble after immigration ruling - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Defense lawyers scramble after immigration ruling

NASHVILLE. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that immigrants have a constitutional right to be told by their lawyers whether pleading guilty to a crime could lead to their deportations. Within hours, the Tennessee Bar Association was scrambling to organize a Web-based seminar on the issue.

Tennessee Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers president Jerry Black said the problem is that immigration law is a complex specialty. Offenses that require deportation aren't always something a defense attorney think of as serious crime. They can even be misdemeanors. And even knowing who is an immigrant can be tricky.

Nashville immigration attorney Charla Haas said she once had a client who was deported after drug convictions. He had a southern accent and was known to everyone as "Bubba" but had actually been born in Australia.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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