2. It's a busy criminal justice week in the Supreme Court. SCOTUSBlog summarizes them this way:
3. Amy Howe covered the Lee argument here. From the intro:Lee v. United States, No. 16-327, to be argued March 28, 2017Issue: Whether it is always irrational for a noncitizen defendant with longtime legal resident status and extended familial and business ties to the United States to reject a plea offer notwithstanding strong evidence of guilt when the plea would result in mandatory and permanent deportation.Turner v. United States, No. 15-1503 to be argued March 29, 2017Issue: Whether the petitioners' convictions must be set aside under Brady v. Maryland.Honeycutt v. United States, No. 16-142 to be argued March 29, 2017Issue: Whether 21 U.S.C. § 853(a)(1) mandates joint and several liability among co-conspirators for forfeiture of the reasonably foreseeable proceeds of a drug conspiracy.
This morning the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Jae Lee, a Korean immigrant who was charged with possession of ecstasy with intent to distribute it. Lee accepted a plea bargain after his attorney told him that he would not be deported. That advice turned out to be, as Justice Elena Kagan put it today, “supremely deficient”: In addition to the year and a day in prison to which he was sentenced, Lee’s conviction also carried with it the penalty of mandatory deportation. Lee asked a federal court to vacate his conviction, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit declined to do so. It reasoned that the evidence against Lee was so overwhelming that, even if he had received bad advice from his attorney that prompted him to plead guilty, Lee could not have suffered the kind of harm from that bad advice that would render his conviction unconstitutional. The justices today seemed more sympathetic to Lee than did the 6th Circuit, although it is not clear whether he can get the five votes needed to reverse the lower court’s ruling.