Changes in New York Criminal Law May Serve As a Basis for Immigration MTR
Author: New York Immigration Attorney Alena Shautsova
Recently, New York highest Court, the Court of Appeals held that a defendant facing criminal charges with a risk of deportation should be entitled to a jury trial. Under State Criminal Procedure regulations 340.40, a criminal defendant may be denied a jury trial for certain offenses. As such, such a person will face a bench trial instead: a trial where a judge without a jury will decide his/her faith.
This regulations and practice have been found violating immigrants’ rights who may face deportation/removal even for otherwise low-level offenses. The court held:
“It is now beyond cavil that the penalty of deportation is among the most extreme and that it may, in some circumstances, rival incarceration in its loss of liberty,” Stein wrote. “Accordingly, we hold that a noncitizen defendant charged with a deportable crime is entitled to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment, notwithstanding that the maximum authorized sentence is a term of imprisonment of six months or less.”
It means that in every case, a careful analysis of the consequences of the potential conviction is required. It also means, that those who were convicted of deportable offenses and now are facing deportation, should be able to file corresponding motions to reopen their cases both in criminal and immigration courts.
If you have Immigration questions related to criminal convictions, please call our office for a consultation at 917 885 2261.