The petitioner requested the Maryland Court of Appeals to reverse a decision that his criminal plea of guilty was voluntary. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland had ruled it voluntary. Law professors at the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore filed this amicus brief in support of the petitioner.
The brief presents the issue of whether a guilty plea is voluntary and knowingly given when it is based on affirmative misinformation about the direct immigration consequences of such a plea. The amici argue that the petitioner’s plea was unconstitutionally involuntary and unknowing because his attorney, the prosecutor, and an attorney with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) all incorrectly assured him that he would not be deported if he entered a plea of guilty. They also argue that the immigration consequences were not merely collateral, but a direct result of a conviction.
The argument outlines how immigration law and enforcement have changed since 1985 when the Court of Special Appeals last addressed the question of direct or collateral consequences. Due to these changes the amici show that immigration consequences are now definite, immediate and largely automatic. The brief also discusses numerous state and federal cases that hold that affirmative misadvice about the consequences of a plea render that plea involuntary. It describes ample evidence that the petitioner relied on erroneous information to his detriment.