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SJC Holds Padilla to Be Retroactive Under Massachusetts Common Law and Article 12 of The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights

Sept. 25, 2013

A unanimous opinion recently issued by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) may give some immigrants a shot at obtaining legal status.

In Commonwealth v. Sylvain, the SJC found that it is still the responsibility of the defense counsel to inform noncitizens clients of any possible immigration consequences. According to Padilla v. Kentucky and Massachusetts law, this will be retroactive for all convictions ordered after April 1, 1997.

The Supreme Judicial Court also ordered that it was their duty to accurately instruct noncitizen defendants under article 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

What does this mean to you? It may mean that, even with criminal convictions, you may still be able to adjust status and obtain a Legal Resident/Green card. There is no blanket waiver and every case should be considered on its own merits.

If you have a criminal conviction that has prevented you from obtaining legal status, call for a consultation to determine if this SJC decision opens the door for you.