Justia Maryland Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Immigration Law
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The Court of Appeals explained in this opinion its reasons underlying its December 7, 2018 order, in which the Court issued an order reversing the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals affirming the decision of the circuit court denying Petitioner's motion for an order that included all requisite "Special Immigrant Juvenile" (SIJ) status findings, holding that the circuit court applied a far too demanding and rigid standard in this case. In a proceeding before the circuit court, Petitioner sought sole custody of his seventeen-year-old son (Child), an undocumented minor and Guatemalan native. Petitioner further requested that the circuit court issue an order containing factual findings illustrating Child's eligibility for SIJ status, namely that reunification with Child's mother was not viable due to neglect. The circuit court granted Petitioner custody of Child but concluded that Petitioner failed to establish that reunification with the mother was not viable due to neglect. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that returning Child to the custody of the mother, who inadequately cared for and supervised him, could not be a reunification that was viable. View "Romero v. Perez" on Justia Law

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In 2010, Respondent, a citizen of Ecuador, pled not guilty on an agreed statement of facts and was found guilty of second-degree child abuse. In 2013, Respondent filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis alleging that his trial counsel had rendered ineffective assistance by failing to advise him regarding the immigration consequences he could face as a result of conviction. The coram nobis court denied the petition. The Court of Special Appeals reversed and remanded, concluding that Respondent established that trial counsel did not provide him with the correct “available advice” about the risk of deportation. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that trial counsel did not perform in a constitutionally deficient manner in advising Respondent as to the immigration consequences of a conviction for second-degree child abuse. View "State v. Sanmartin Prado" on Justia Law

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In separate cases, several defendants were arrested and detained. The initial appearance documents indicated that the defendants were in the country illegally or had an Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE) detainer filed against them. Appellant, Big Louie Bail Bonds, reviewed the initial appearance documents and posted bail bonds for the defendants. After the bail bonds were posted, the defendants were taken into federal custody by the ICE and deported. Because the defendants failed to appear for trial, the trial court forfeited the bail bonds. The circuit court denied Appellant's amended petitions to strike the forfeitures, determining that the posted bail bonds were properly forfeited because Appellant knew, or should have known, that the defendants were subject to deportation when it posted the bonds. At issue on appeal was Maryland Rule 2-417(i), which provides that the decision to strike a forfeiture is conditioned upon a showing by the defendant of "reasonable grounds" for the defendant's nonappearance. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the act of deportation constitutes reasonable grounds under Rule 4-217(i)(2). View "Big Louie Bail Bonds, LLC v. State" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Mark Denisyuk, a noncitizen, pleaded guilty to a deportable offense. Petitioner later filed a petition for postconviction relief, asserting that defense counsel was constitutionally ineffective by failing to notify him of the deportation risks of his guilty plea. The postconviction court held that Petitioner was prejudiced by defense counsel's failure to provide proper advice concerning immigration consequences. The court of special appeals reversed, holding that deportation was a collateral consequence of a criminal conviction and therefore did not fall within the scope of the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of effective assistance of counsel. Two days later, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky, which held that it is ineffective assistance to disadvise, or fail to advise, a client that deportation is a likely consequence of the guilty plea. On review, the Court of Appeals vacated the court of special appeals, holding (1) Padilla applies to postconviction claims arising from guilty pleas obtained after the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996; and (2) in this case, defense counsel's failure to advise Petitioner of the deportation consequence of his guilty plea was constitutionally deficient, and counsel's deficient performance prejudiced Petitioner. Remanded for a new trial. View "Denisyuk v. State" on Justia Law