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Friday, January 13, 2012
Crime and Citizenship
I just went to court today with two gentlemen of whom neither was a U.S. Citizen. These cases can be stressful and time consuming with a lot of potential legal pitfalls for the unwary. In the cases today, both men were accused of and were in fact guilty of committing very serious felony offenses. The proof was in the videos (yes they both videoed their crimes for posterity, "where's your sign" moments indeed).
As a client make sure your lawyer answers all your questions fully and completely. As the attorney spend a lot of time going over every aspect of the case. Do not assume your client understands what you are telling them or how our legal system works. Make sure your client is advised of their right to speak to their consulate and how a plea of guilty will adversely affect their citizenship. Also, if you are not a qualified immigration attorney make sure you advise your client to consult an immigration attorney, before you go into the courtroom. As a client it is your responsibility to speak to the immigration attorney and your consulate. Just doing these simple things will go a long way to a successful resolution to the case. Lastly, if there is any hint of a language or communication problem go over all aspects of the case with a qualified interpreter. If you hear a rattle there is probably a snake waiting to bite you. Don't let it.