WASHINGTON —The U.S. Supreme Court, in Padilla v. Kentucky, has ruled that criminal defense lawyers have a constitutional duty to provide advice about non-criminal implications — implications that may include life-altering consequences such as possible deportation or the denial of employment opportunities resulting from contact with the criminal justice system — of a criminal conviction. In order to offer guidance for lawyers on how to provide services beyond the scope of traditional criminal defense representations, the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section has assembled a Task Force on Comprehensive Representation.
The task force, chaired by Justine Luongo of the New York City Legal Aid Society, is comprised of criminal defense lawyers, policy advocates and special prosecutors from around the country.It was established by Criminal Justice Section Chair and Fordham Law School Professor Bruce Green.
The expert panel will educate lawyers about ways to provide services beyond the scope of traditional criminal defense representations and, if necessary, will develop appropriate policy recommendations for the ABA House of Delegates. The task force will be informed by resources for criminal defense lawyers provided by the section earlier this year.
The task force has created an online survey for criminal defense lawyers to determine whether they currently provide clients with information about civil and non-legal consequences that may arise as a result of their criminal charges.That information will also be used to inform the task force’s work, as will a symposium planned for 2011 that will look at the changing landscape of criminal practice.The task force expects to conclude its study before January 2012.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, theABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.