“Crimmigration” and the Right to Counsel at the Border Between Civil and Criminal Proceedings


The Supreme Court recently discovered,1 in its 2010 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky,2 what I have termed the “right to effective ‘crimmigration’ counsel”3—the right to effective advice concerning the potential immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. The decision was grounded in the Court’s recognition of a central reality of modern immigration law, the intertwining of the criminal and immigration law systems that scholars have labeled “crimmigration.”4 The Padilla Court noted the explosion, particularly since 1996, in the use of criminal convictions as a ground for deportation,5 and a narrowing of the grounds for discretionary relief from deportation over the same recent span of history.6 The rise of crimmigration convinced the Court that “deportation is an integral part—indeed, sometimes the most important part—of the penalty that may be imposed on noncitizen defendants who plead guilty to specified crimes.”7 Because of deportation’s “close connection to the criminal process,” the Court held it would be wrong to categorize deportation as a “collateral consequence” of a criminal conviction.8 With this holding, the Court rejected the reasoning of those lower courts (including the Kentucky Supreme Court in Mr. Padilla’s case) that had deemed deportation a “collateral consequence” and from there concluded that crimmigration counsel was outside the reach of the Sixth Amendment guarantee of criminal counsel.9

Padilla stands somewhat uneasily at the border between civil and criminal proceedings. It is a criminal decision about the scope of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. But Padilla is clearly more than a criminal decision, as it is rooted in the criminal justice system’s connection to the immigration justice system, which the Supreme Court has insisted (even in Padilla) is a civil regime.10 In these pages, I attempt to map the future of this unusual decision. To do so, I attempt to discern the values it stands for, and from there ascertain the rights it implies. This framework is borrowed from Mitchell Berman’s 2004 Virginia Law Review article describing “a conceptual distinction between constitutional operative propositions (essentially, judge-interpreted constitutional meaning) and constitutional decision rules (rules that direct courts how to decide whether a given operative proposition has been, or will be, complied with).”11 This framework is particularly helpful in determining whether the Court’s rules are serving their intended purposes.12 The question of the fit between an operative proposition and the decision rule designed to serve it has been asked by Aziz Huq in this way: “Does the work product of the Supreme Court . . . promote the Constitution’s goals?”13

I find it helpful to visualize the relationship between the constitutional operative proposition and the decision rules14 meant to implement it (See Figure 1).


Figure 1. 

The questions I hope to answer here are these: Does the Padilla rule adequately serve the constitutional values that the Padilla decision recognizes? And if not, how should we move beyond Padilla to a rule or set of rules that will promote those constitutional values?

Part I examines the Court’s jurisprudence on the criminal right to counsel.15 Half a century’s experience with Gideon is helpful in mapping the future of Padilla, a decision that has been called a “Gideon for immigrants.”16 I first examine what the Supreme Court has said about the Constitution’s operative proposition protected by Gideon and its progeny17 and the decision rules the Court has put in place in those decisions to implement the operative proposition.18 I then examine the disconnect between the operative proposition and the decision rules—a gap more familiarly known as Gideon’s “unfulfilled promise.”19

In Part II, I turn to what has aptly been termed “Padilla’s promise,”20 attempting to discern how the lessons learned through an examination of Gideon’s history inform what a decision rule for Padilla’s values might look like. First, of course, it is necessary to ascertain what exactly Padilla stands for: What is the operative proposition underlying Padilla?21 With that in hand, I finally address the question of whether the Padilla rule is sufficient as a “decision rule” or whether additional rules may need to be put in place.22 The development of additional constitutional rules over time to implement the constitutional values underlying the criminal right to counsel presages a likely future of decision rules beyond the Padilla rule to implement the values the Padilla decision recognizes.

In Part III, I conclude that additional rules are needed and offer my prescription for what at least one of those rules should look like.

I.     Gideon’s Operative Proposition and the Court’s Decision Rules Implementing It

A Cook’s tour through the history of the right to counsel in criminal cases reveals it is unlikely that a single decision rule, such as Padilla, will suffice to serve the values such a rule is designed to protect. One might have thought that Gideon v. Wainwright, the Court’s seminal 1963 decision holding that the Sixth Amendment right to appointed defense counsel applied to the states, would be sufficiently clear to end litigation over the right to counsel.23 But Gideon’s first fifty years have shown surprising instability. Even the operative principle underlying the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in criminal cases has proven volatile, with decisions after Gideon ultimately expanding the operative principle from one valuing fair trials to one valuing fair process. The decision rules protecting the right to criminal counsel have also expanded significantly, though not necessarily in parallel with the expansion of the operative principle.

A.     The Operative Proposition: Does the Right to Counsel Protect More than the Fairness of a Criminal Trial?

Gideon and its immediate progeny were clear: the purpose of the right to counsel in a criminal case, located in the Sixth Amendment with other trial-protecting constitutional provisions, was to protect the accused’s right to a fair trial. The Court in Gideon wrote:

The right of one charged with crime to counsel may not be deemed fundamental and essential to fair trials in some countries, but it is in ours. From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law.24

And shortly after Gideon the Court described its right-to-counsel cases as requiring an inquiry into whether counsel’s presence at a particular stage of the proceedings is “necessary to preserve the defendant’s basic right to a fair trial as affected by his right meaningfully to cross-examine the witnesses against him and to have effective assistance of counsel at the trial itself.”25

The Court continued to emphasize fair trials. In 1984, a generation after Gideon, the Court observed “that the right to the effective assistance of counsel is recognized not for its own sake, but because of the effect it has on the ability of the accused to receive a fair trial.”26 That same year, in Strickland v. Washington, the Court recognized that the right to counsel protects the accuracy of capital sentencing proceedings, not just trial outcomes.27 But the Court was quick to point out that it was following in the tradition of decisions like Gideon that held the Sixth Amendment right to counsel essential to protect the right to a fair trial.28 The Court noted that a capital sentencing is “sufficiently like a trial” that the same standard for constitutionally effective assistance would apply there.29 It did this while reserving the possibility that a non-capital sentencing might require a different standard.30

To this point, the operative principle of the right to criminal counsel was to guarantee a fair trial. In the years following Strickland, though, the right to effective assistance of counsel was broadened to several categories of proceedings that arguably recognized an operative principle underlying the right to counsel that went beyond the fairness of a trial or trial-like proceedings. In Hill v. Lockhart, decided the year after Strickland, the Court indicated that the Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel pertained not only to trials, but to negotiated guilty pleas.31 William Lloyd Hill pleaded guilty and received a thirty-five-year sentence; he sought habeas corpus relief when he learned his attorney erroneously calculated his parole eligibility date to be about five years sooner than it was.32 The Court, while noting that Strickland’s test for effective assistance “was premised in part on the similarity between [a capital sentencing] proceeding and the usual criminal trial,” nonetheless decided “the same two-part standard seems to us applicable to ineffective-assistance claims arising out of the plea process.”33 The Strickland ineffectiveness standard was soon extended to counsel’s performance with respect to pursuing pretrial suppression motions.34 The standard has also been applied in non-capital sentencing proceedings,35 despite Strickland’s suggestion that non-capital sentencing might not implicate a fair trial.36 These decisions suggested the constitutional value underlying the right to counsel in criminal cases is more expansive than simply protecting the right to a fair trial.

The Court’s 2012 decisions in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye completely put to rest any notion that the right to counsel is solely in service of the fair trial right.37Lafler and Frye exemplified the Court’s increasingly rare decisions calibrating constitutional norms not to abstract theoretical notions but to actual practices. In particular, these two decisions recognized the predominant importance of plea negotiations in today’s criminal justice system.38

In each case, the defendant raised a claim that but for counsel’s ineffective assistance, the defendant would have accepted a plea offer on terms more favorable than those ultimately obtained. Galin Frye sought relief from a felony conviction and three-year prison sentence on the grounds that his trial counsel failed to convey the terms of a more favorable plea offer (a misdemeanor conviction and a ninety-day jail sentence) to him.39 Blaine Lafler’s counsel, on the other hand, did convey a plea offer to him. Facing a mandatory minimum of 185 to 360 months’ imprisonment if convicted, Lafler nonetheless rejected an offer that would have resulted in a sentence of fifty-one to eighty-five months, based on his attorney’s incorrect suggestion that Lafler could not be convicted at trial.40

The Court had no trouble concluding the Sixth Amendment right to counsel was implicated in both instances, even though in both cases the argument was made that despite counsel’s deficient performance, a fair trial was still available (and conducted, in Lafler’s case).41 The Court roundly rejected the emphasis on fair trial, holding that perceiving the Sixth Amendment’s purpose as guaranteeing a fair trial “fails to comprehend the full scope of the Sixth Amendment’s protections.”42 For the Court in these cases, “the question [was] not the fairness or reliability of the trial but the fairness and regularity of the processes that preceded it.”43

Motivating the Court’s shift in focus from fair trial to fair process was a realistic assessment of how today’s criminal justice system functions. The “simple reality,” observed the Court, is that plea bargaining, not trials, are the norm:44 “[C]riminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials.”45 The Sixth Amendment guarantee of adequate counsel in criminal cases, the Court concluded, “cannot be defined or enforced without taking account of the central role plea bargaining plays in securing convictions and determining sentences.”46

From 1985 on, then, the Court greatly expanded the constitutional operative proposition served by the Sixth Amendment guarantee of counsel in criminal cases. Ultimately, in 2012, the Court explicitly discarded the notion that the right to counsel in criminal cases serves only to ensure a fair trial.

B.     Decision Rules Implementing the Right to Counsel in Criminal Cases

There have been many decisions concerning the scope of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel in criminal cases, and nearly as many decision rules. Mapping all of them is not my purpose here. Rather, an examination of three decision rules implementing the Sixth Amendment’s operative proposition will prove useful in sketching the future of Padilla’s development. Each of these three decision rules expanded the implementation of the Sixth Amendment, extending the reach of the Constitution into new substantive areas and new procedural settings.

1.     Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)

Prior to Gideon, whether or not a federal constitutional right to counsel obtained in state criminal prosecutions was governed by two distinct tests. In capital cases, under Powell v. Alabama, the right to counsel was guaranteed.47 Non-capital cases were subject to the Court’s “special circumstances” rule, announced in Betts v. Brady, according to which no right to counsel was recognized unless the facts of the particular case were such that denial of counsel would be “a denial of fundamental fairness, shocking to the universal sense of justice.”48

Gideon replaced these decision rules with a seemingly straightforward rule. The Sixth Amendment right to counsel in criminal cases, which the Court had construed “to mean that in federal courts counsel must be provided for defendants unable to employ counsel unless the right is competently and intelligently waived,”49 would be applicable to the states via the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.50 The Court thus adopted the already existing rule for providing counsel in federal cases, but extended it to a new forum, state courts.

2.     Strickland v. Washington (1984)

The Gideon rule was essentially a rule for state trial courts. The right to counsel it established could be directly vindicated in a state trial court upon an accused’s requesting court-appointed counsel. But the Gideon rule only specified that “counsel must be provided,”51 and said nothing about whether counsel’s performance must live up to any particular standard.

In 1984, a generation after Gideon, the Court in Strickland v. Washington established the now familiar two-part test for ineffective assistance of counsel.52Strickland requires a defendant to prove not only that trial counsel’s performance was deficient, but also “that there is a reasonable probability that, but for counsel’s unprofessional errors, the result of the proceeding would have been different.”53

The significance of Strickland is twofold. First, Strickland expanded the substantive content of the right to counsel.54 A trial court might comply with Gideon by appointing counsel, yet the Sixth Amendment right to counsel might still be violated if counsel performed deficiently.

Second, Strickland extended (as Gideon had) the procedural context in which the right to counsel could be vindicated. The Strickland rule realistically cannot be applied on direct review, and must await postconviction proceedings for its application. The first prong of the test requires an assessment of trial counsel’s performance, and Strickland cautioned that “a court must indulge a strong presumption that counsel’s conduct falls within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance; that is, the defendant must overcome the presumption that, under the circumstances, the challenged action ‘might be considered sound trial strategy.’”55 Ordinarily, the record developed in the trial court will not be adequate for assessing trial counsel’s strategy.56 The second prong of the Strickland test accordingly presumes a conviction (indicating the test was not intended for use in the trial court) and accords a measure of finality to the conviction.57

Whereas Gideon created a right to counsel that could be vindicated in the trial court or on direct review where appointment of counsel was denied altogether, Strickland announced a decision rule for assessing violations of the right to effective trial counsel and envisioned a distinct forum (postconviction review) for vindicating that right.58

3.     Martinez v. Ryan (2012)

The Court’s 2012 decision in Martinez v. Ryan offered a third expansion of rules protecting the right to counsel.59 While Strickland added a protective layer around the Gideon right to counsel by allowing litigation in postconviction proceedings of trial counsel’s effectiveness, Martinez protects the Strickland right in cases where postconviction counsel is ineffective or absent. The Court granted certiorari to determine whether there is a constitutional right to postconviction counsel where postconviction proceedings are the first opportunity to raise a claim of trial counsel’s ineffectiveness.60 Instead of reaching that question, the Court created an additional decision rule protecting the values served by the right to counsel. Where state postconviction proceedings are the first opportunity to raise a Strickland claim of trial counsel ineffectiveness, Martinez excuses (in federal habeas proceedings) the failure to raise such a claim if it was caused by ineffective or absent counsel in postconviction proceedings.61

The decision rules discussed here are visualized in Figure 2. Each new rule represents the Court’s attempt to map decision rules to cover the constitutional operative proposition of the Sixth Amendment. Finding Betts insufficiently implemented the operative proposition, the Court announced Gideon. Gideon could be vindicated in the trial court itself or on direct review. But ultimately the Court was forced to acknowledge that Gideon itself did not adequately serve the operative proposition underlying the right to counsel. With Strickland, the Court articulated a test for determining when counsel, although present, was not living up to the constitutional values represented by the Sixth Amendment. The operative principle of the Sixth Amendment was now protected by the Gideon decision rule on direct review, and by the Strickland decision rule on postconviction review. But ineffective or absent counsel in postconviction proceedings (typically the only forum for raising claims of ineffective trial counsel) could render the Gideon and Strickland rules underprotective of the right to counsel. In Martinez, the Court determined that the right to effective trial counsel is a sufficiently important constitutional value that the ability to raise claims of ineffective assistance of trial counsel must itself be protected.

fig 2 ready

C.     The Gap Between Operative Proposition and Decision Rules: Gideon’s Unfulfilled Promise

As we have just seen, Berman’s framework permits a visualization of the territory represented by the constitutional operative proposition and the mapping of that territory by the decision rules fashioned by the Court.62 But while Gideon, Strickland, and Martinez may represent the Court’s attempt to map that ground,63 the widespread acknowledgment of an indigent defense crisis in the United States64 has made references to Gideon’s “unfulfilled promise” commonplace65 and suggests a different picture (see Figure 3).


Figure 3.

While commentators differ in their assessment of where the gap between the Court’s decision rules and the constitutional operative proposition exists,66 many describe the chief source of Gideon’s unfulfilled promise as a gap in funding.67 The Gideon decision rule, of course, does not speak to funding,68 and for this reason has been labeled an “unfunded mandate” on the states.69 While some have taken a dim view of the prospect that Gideon will ever be adequately resourced, others have attempted to vindicate Gideon’s “unfunded mandate” through civil litigation, seeking injunctive relief to prevent Sixth Amendment violations threatened by underfunding.70 Such litigation essentially seeks the establishment or recognition of a new decision rule to effectuate the Sixth Amendment’s operative proposition.71 In a recent case, a federal judge found the public defender systems of two Washington cities had “systemic flaws that deprive indigent criminal defendants of their Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel,” in part because the cities “knowingly underfunded their public defense system.”72 The court found that the funding “left the defenders compensated at such a paltry level that even a brief meeting at the outset of the representation would likely make the venture unprofitable. And the Cities knew it.”73 Averaged over the caseload handled by these contract defenders, the contract provided for a monthly amount of between ten and sixteen dollars per case.74 Excessive caseloads and grossly insufficient funding are, for many defender systems, the norm.75

II.     Padilla’s Operative Proposition and the Court’s Decision Rule Implementing It

In considering the future of the right to effective crimmigration counsel, there are many lessons that can be drawn from the history of the criminal right to counsel just sketched. The most obvious is that the Padilla decision rule is not likely to be sufficiently protective of whatever operative proposition underlies it; one need look no further than the Court’s addition, with Martinez v. Ryan, of a decision rule protective of the right to counsel to understand that. But in order to understand what the path forward should look like, it is first essential to understand just exactly what it is Padilla stands for: What is the constitutional operative proposition? After answering that question, we can then turn to an analysis of the gap (if any) between Padilla’s decision rule and that operative proposition, and consider what additional decision rules might be needed.

A.     The Operative Proposition—Protecting Against Unwitting Deportations

Padilla does not lend itself to a simple understanding of its constitutional operative proposition. For one thing, the Court was not textually explicit about the proposition. It did not, as it had in Gideon by referencing counsel’s function in protecting a fair trial, explicitly explain what constitutional values the right to counsel was meant to serve in the crimmigration counsel context.

Scholars have already offered many interpretations of what Padilla tells us about the Constitution’s underlying values. Notably absent thus far has been any expressed hope that Padilla represents a “race case”—a case representing a constitutional value of eradicating race discrimination—in the way that Gideon arguably did.76 A history of racial disparity in immigration enforcement77 calls out for expression of such a constitutional norm, but even scholars who find support for an “immigration Gideon” in the Padilla decision do not go so far as to claim Padilla springs from anti-discrimination principles.78 Whereas the absence of textual support did not prevent classifying Gideon as a “race case” given its context in the Warren Court’s jurisprudence,79Padilla is less likely to be similarly classified as a race case. The Roberts Court is, quite simply, not the Warren Court.80

Instead, scholars have read into Padilla a variety of normative signals. Some have argued Padilla speaks to the Constitution’s values with respect to criminal proceedings. Alice Clapman and John D. King, for example, argue that Padilla informs us that imprisonment is not the Constitution’s sine qua non for triggering the right to counsel in criminal cases, but rather serves only as a “proxy for a deprivation so severe that it could only be imposed after a full adversarial process.”81 Others read Padilla as imposing procedural barriers to deportation.82 And a significant group of scholars sees Padilla as signaling a breach in the Court’s previous bright-line demarcation between civil proceedings (including immigration proceedings) and criminal ones.83 Daniel Kanstroom, for example, in a searching analysis of Padilla suggests “the Court straddle[d] the civil/criminal and punitive/regulatory lines in its understanding of deportation,” producing “a new constitutional norm” describing “the constitutional status of post-entry social control deportation.”84 The variance in scholars’ understandings of Padilla reminds us that the search for a constitutional operative proposition is normatively consequential: as Kanstroom has said, “the interpretation of Padilla matters greatly.”85

I join those who view Padilla as expressing a constitutional norm that protects immigrants against deportation. Although Padilla’s decision rule is narrowly described in terms of what a criminal defense attorney must do in defending a criminal case, Padilla’s concern is not limited to the validity of the guilty plea. Instead, what drives Padilla is the unfairness of a deportation based on an unwitting guilty plea in a criminal case. The operative proposition thus encompasses fairness in both criminal proceedings and the immigration proceedings that “virtually inevitabl[y]”86 follow. Padilla’s focus on fairness in the criminal proceedings, though, is used as a proxy for its chief concern, which is fairness in deportation.

The text of Padilla supports this understanding. The aspect of the rise of crimmigration that seems to have most concerned the Court was the narrowing of discretionary relief rendering the “‘drastic measure’ of deportation or removal . . . now virtually inevitable for a vast number of noncitizens convicted of crimes.”87 The court included the “virtually inevitable” language at both the beginning and end of its account of the “changes to our immigration law [that] have dramatically raised the stakes of a noncitizen’s criminal conviction.”88 The direct pipeline from criminal conviction to deportation seems to have been essential to the Court’s holding.

This makes sense: the Padilla rule should be understood as shifting responsibility onto the shoulders of criminal defense counsel, responsibility that would ordinarily, before the “changes to our immigration law” described by the Padilla Court, have been located somewhere in the immigration justice system—with the immigration judge, Attorney General, or perhaps with immigration counsel.89 The elimination of discretionary relief possibilities in the immigration system caused the Court to effectively shift the responsibility for protecting against deportation into the criminal justice system.

The Court also cited approvingly two circuit court decisions predating the dramatic constriction of discretionary relief. The Second Circuit in Janvier v. United States90 and the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Castro91 each had held that criminal defense counsel’s failure to request a “judicial recommendation against deportation” (“JRAD”) could constitute ineffective assistance in violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.92 The JRAD was available during a time when the Attorney General and immigration judges still had the ability to grant discretionary relief.93 Thus, as the Padilla Court noted, while the JRAD existed there was no automatic pipeline from a criminal judgment to deportation.94 The Court’s endorsement of Janvier and Castro, then, cannot be justified on the same logic as justified the holding in Padilla. But a JRAD guaranteed non-deportation,95 and was therefore a reverse pipeline of sorts. The value, then, that can be gleaned from Padilla’s holding and its reliance on Janvier and Castro is that an immigrant should not be deprived of opportunities to avoid deportation that are solely available in the criminal proceeding. Padilla is thus squarely focused on protecting against deportation.

The remedies afforded in Janvier and Castro support this interpretation of Padilla. With the pipeline effect of today’s immigration system, the only way to remedy deportation consequences that should have been avoided in the criminal proceedings is to vacate the conviction itself.96 But in Janvier and Castro, the remedy was quite different. In each case, the circuit court remanded with instructions for the district court (if ineffective assistance were found) to vacate the sentence and re-sentence, if appropriate, with a JRAD.97 The remedy in these cases was tailored to the harm, which was not infirmity in the criminal conviction, but the deportation consequence itself.

Padilla is not, of course, concerned with protecting all immigrants against all deportations. Padilla’s use of the Strickland test—and with a particular instantiation of the test, the variation on Strickland employed in Hill v. Lockhart98—reveals that Padilla’s concern is with deportations that are rendered unfair because an immigrant unwittingly loses an opportunity to avoid deportation. The Court relied on Hill sparingly, but tellingly. Padilla described Hill as “long recognized” precedent establishing “that the negotiation of a plea bargain is a critical phase of litigation for purposes of the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel.”99 More importantly, in rejecting a holding limited to counsel’s misadvice, Padilla cited Justice White’s concurrence in Hill as support for the proposition that “[i]t is quintessentially the duty of counsel to provide her client with available advice about an issue like deportation.”100

In Hill, the Court had applied the Strickland test to decide whether a guilty plea should be vacated based upon a defendant’s allegation that he pled guilty in reliance upon his counsel’s misadvice as to parole eligibility.101 Because the Hill Court could not assess Hill’s ineffectiveness claim in terms of the fair trial operative principle,102 it viewed the claim against the backdrop of jurisprudence establishing that a guilty plea must be knowing, voluntary, and intelligent.103 The Hill Court superimposed the Strickland standard on this background, holding that “a defendant who pleads guilty upon the advice of counsel ‘may only attack the voluntary and intelligent character of the guilty plea by showing that the advice he received from counsel’” was constitutionally ineffective.104

The ultimate value that Padilla expresses, then, is that immigrants charged with crimes implicating deportation should be well-informed about their available options; a guilty plea under such circumstances should be knowing, intelligent, and voluntary.  Padilla, and the cases it relied upon, thus should be understood as expressing a constitutional norm that is protective against unwitting deportation.

B.     Decision Rules: Will Padilla’s Promise Be Fulfilled?

Padilla has been rightly haled as bringing a needed dose of realism to constitutional doctrine.105 But regardless of what one interprets its operative proposition to be, it appears likely that Padilla will need to be supplemented by additional decision rules. The evolution of decision rules implementing the criminal right to counsel106 suggests how the crimmigration counsel right announced in Padilla might evolve. It is first important to note that the crimmigration counsel right was declared in a decision that is analogous not to Gideon, but to Strickland.  Padilla did not so much establish a right to counsel as it established a right to litigate trial counsel’s effectiveness (with respect to crimmigration counsel) in a postconviction setting. If one considers Padilla to be the equivalent of the Strickland decision, one is left to wonder: What does the underlying Gideon-like rule look like?  And what will the Martinez-like rule look like?

fig 4 use

Figure 4. 

Alice Clapman has offered one answer to the first question. Clapman sees Padilla’s operative principle as destroying, in the criminal justice system, a bright-line rule viewing incarceration as the only justification for the right to counsel.107 Clapman proposes that criminal courts should recognize a Sixth Amendment right to counsel when a criminal defendant faces charges that could lead to deportation.108 This decision rule, delineating the universe of cases in which the right to crimmigration counsel (and therefore the Padilla right to effective crimmigration counsel) attaches, would stand in relation to Padilla in the same way Gideon stands in relation to Strickland. Below, I will propose a rule that perhaps occupies a Martinez-like space in the landscape of Padilla.109

The broader task, of course, is simply to determine whether Padilla’s decision rule adequately maps its operative proposition, and if it does not, to identify additional decision rules to help cover the ground. Those who see Padilla as expressing a norm relating to immigration proceedings have proposed a panoply of decision rules that could be implicated, including recognizing a right to counsel in immigration proceedings.110 Like these scholars, I believe Padilla’s decision rule—calling for the application of the Strickland test in postconviction proceedings—is ineffective to vindicate Padilla’s operative constitutional proposition. This is true for a number of reasons.

First, the unfunded mandate problem of Gideon111 is persistent and even amplified with Padilla. Indeed, Padilla looks a lot like Gideon in this way: just as Gideon took an already-existing decision rule (the rule describing the right-to-counsel in federal criminal cases) and imposed it on the states, Padilla takes the Strickland rule and imposes it on the states in new circumstances.112 Certainly there is much that can be done and is being done to make good on Padilla’s promise.113 But given that the political will seems to be lacking to fully fund the Gideon right,114 and that on the fiftieth anniversary of Gideon we are still discussing its as yet “unfulfilled promise,”115 it can hardly be expected that adding an additional obligation to Gideon’s army—that of providing effective crimmigration advice—will be readily accomplished.116

Second, the Padilla decision rule adopts the Strickland test, which has already proved to be an ineffective way to assess ineffectiveness.117 Indeed, the Padilla test, with its “two-tiered” test for ineffectiveness, will arguably be less effective than Strickland has been in enforcing the right to effective assistance.118

Third, the Padilla rule does not expand the Sixth Amendment guarantee of appointment of counsel. Instead, Padilla holds only that in those cases where appointment is guaranteed, the Constitution also requires effective crimmigration counsel. The Padilla rule, rooted as it is in the Sixth Amendment, is insufficiently broad to encompass petty offenses for which jail was not an available punishment, but which nonetheless have immigration consequences.119

Fourth, if Padilla is analogous to Strickland, it is also worth wondering whether a Martinez-like rule will follow and provide additional protection to the Padilla right. The challenges facing litigants attempting to raise Padilla claims in state postconviction proceedings are formidable, going well beyond the problem addressed by Martinez (the unavailability of effective postconviction counsel).120

For example, criminal procedure doctrines that exist to serve the state’s interest in the finality of criminal judgments may be ill suited to the crimmigration context and may pose undue barriers to litigating Padilla claims. The most current and pervasive battle being waged at present concerns the application of anti-retroactivity rules in state postconviction proceedings: many states use the Teague anti-retroactivity rule in their state postconviction proceedings, which will mean many Padilla claims will be denied on retroactivity grounds.121 Recent data show the number of immigrants facing deportation proceedings as a result of a conviction predating Padilla is high, and retroactivity and statute of limitations doctrines122 will pose significant obstacles for a great number of these people. Over 50,000 people in a recent 16-month period were the subject of an immigration detainer based on criminal convictions more than five years old, and nearly 25,000 people were subject to detainers based on convictions more than 10 years old.123

Also, expungement or sealing of records, or a dismissal after successful diversion may deprive state courts of jurisdiction over the criminal matter, even though a guilty plea or conviction that has been expunged, sealed, or dismissed may continue to have immigration consequences.124

Finally, immigration courts are not required to stay deportation proceedings while a Padilla challenge to a conviction is litigated in state court.125

These barriers, specific to the raising and litigating of Padilla claims in state postconviction proceedings (but not present for “ordinary” Strickland claims), demonstrate the problem inherent in having a criminally oriented decision rule (like Padilla’s) serve a constitutional norm that is focused on consequences that take place in immigration proceedings. Despite Padilla, the criminal justice system is replete with rules (such as statutes of limitations and anti-retroactivity rules) that were not designed to serve the constitutional operative principle that Padilla is aimed to serve.

The fit between Padilla’s operative proposition (even narrowly construed) and the decision rule of Padilla is far looser than the fit between the Sixth Amendment’s operative proposition and the decision rules of Gideon and its progeny. Without additional decision rules, then, Padilla’s promise—like Gideon’s before it—is likely to remain unfulfilled.

III.     A Proposed Decision Rule to Implement Padilla’s Operative Proposition

The following decision rule is an example of a rule that could be adopted to map some (but not all) of the disparity between Padilla’s decision rule and its constitutional operative proposition:

No criminal conviction obtained as a result of a guilty plea may be used against the respondent in immigration proceedings for any purpose unless the government can establish either:

(a) the respondent:

      (1) was represented by counsel in the criminal proceedings; and

      (2) is either

                                  (A) able to have the merits of a Padilla claim subjected to one full round of review in state court (including certiorari to the United States Supreme Court); or

            (B) provided counsel in immigration proceedings for the purpose of litigating such a claim; or

(b) the respondent’s guilty plea was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent with respect to any immigration consequences of the guilty plea.126

This rule would serve Padilla’s operative proposition because the immigration court can only rely on a guilty plea where the government can show that the plea was a well-informed decision.127 For respondents who did not have counsel available to them in the criminal proceeding, the government must establish that the plea was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent.128 This section of the rule is justified by Padilla’s reliance on Hill v. Lockhart, which establishes that the application of the ineffectiveness doctrine in guilty plea cases serves the requirement that a plea be made with eyes open.129

For respondents who did have counsel in the underlying criminal proceedings,130 the rule is designed to craft a protective layer around the Padilla decision rule, just as Martinez protects Strickland. If the government can demonstrate that the respondent has not fallen prey to any of the multiple barriers to having a Padilla claim litigated on its merits,131 then the immigration court can rely on the guilty plea.132 In such cases, the Padilla decision rule can be applied by state courts and the immigration court can defer to the results. If, however, the respondent cannot have the merits of a Padilla claim decided, it becomes the obligation of the immigration court to decide such a claim.133 Counsel would be provided in such cases to address Martinez’s concern that ineffectiveness claims should be presented by able postconviction counsel.134

A decision rule like that proposed here serves Padilla’s operative proposition while addressing the gaps created by Padilla’s decision rule. It could be read into the definition of “conviction” or “crime” under the Immigration and Nationality Act,135 since the Act must be read in light of the constitutional principles articulated in Padilla.136 Alternatively, it could be imposed by courts as a matter of Due Process to which respondents in immigration proceedings are entitled.137

Locating an additional remedy for Padilla violations in immigration court has several advantages.138 First, litigation of Padilla violations in immigration court takes place in the forum with the greatest incentive to vindicate the right. State courts provide most of the convictions that form the basis for a deportation, and state courts have little incentive to upset state criminal convictions based on federal immigration consequences. (Put another way, state criminal procedural rules that prevent litigation of a Padilla violation may serve a valid state interest since the state has no interest in the immigration litigation). Furthermore, immigration courts may be better equipped to determine when a respondent’s plea was intelligently made, given their expertise in immigration law. If the rule proposed here encourages state courts to avoid the merits of a Padilla determination, that may be a good thing. State courts may erroneously overestimate the number of cases in which immigration consequences are “not succinct and straightforward”139 and exacerbate Padilla’s “Strickland-lite” problem.140 Finally, requiring state court systems to litigate Padilla claims is to some degree an unfunded mandate.141 As the Supreme Court did in Martinez v. Ryan, allowing the underlying values of a right to counsel to be vindicated in a federal forum can avoid burdening state criminal justice systems.


Padilla, like Gideon, was a monumental step forward in recognizing important constitutional values that should be protected by a right to counsel. But a half century’s experience with Gideon shows that additional decision rules will be required to fully protect the constitutional values underlying the “crimmigration” right to counsel. Even when supplemented with Strickland, Gideon proved ineffective to fully vindicate the operative proposition it serves; Martinez v. Ryan was a necessary addition to the panoply of decision rules serving the criminal right to counsel.

The Padilla rule can expect to fare no better. Additional decision rules, including that outlined in this Essay, will be needed to prevent a similar “unfulfilled promise” of the right to effective crimmigration counsel. Our experience with Gideon should remind us, though, that more than rules will be necessary to vindicate the Constitution’s promise.142

  1. [1]. The Supreme Court claims not to “invent” new constitutional rules. Instead, the Court “discovers,” one decision at a time, what the Constitution has always required. See Danforth v. Minnesota, 552 U.S. 264, 269–71 (2008) (describing new constitutional rules as prescribed by the Constitution and not “of [the Court’s] own devising”). Indeed, at least two state courts “discovered” the constitutional right I discuss here before the Supreme Court did. People v. Pozo, 746 P.2d 523, 527–29 (Colo. 1987); State v. Paredez, 101 P.3d 799, 805 (N.M 2004).

  2. [2]. Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010). I discuss the facts of Padilla in greater detail in a separate publication. Christopher N. Lasch, Redress in State Postconviction Proceedings for Ineffective Crimmigration Counsel, 63 DePaul L. Rev. (forthcoming 2014). The case centered on Jose Padilla’s claim that his criminal lawyer misadvised him concerning the immigration consequences of a guilty plea. Padilla, a lawful permanent resident, was arrested when a search of the eighteen-wheeler he was driving revealed over a thousand pounds of marijuana. Joint App., Padilla, 559 U.S. 356 (No. 08-651), 2009 WL 1499270, at *47–48 (indictment). Although Padilla was initially released on bond, he was later held without bail on the belief he was “an illegal alien and is awaiting deportation by the Federal authorities.” Id. at *43 (order); see also Brief of Petitioner at 8–9, Padilla, 559 U.S. 356 (No. 08-651), 2009 WL 1497552, at *8–9. After a year in jail, Padilla pled guilty to the felony charge of trafficking in marijuana and misdemeanor charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. See Padilla v. Commonwealth, 381 S.W.3d 322, 327 (Ky. Ct. App. 2012); Joint App., supra, at *57–60 (order); Brief of Petitioner, supra, at 9. He did so on the advice of his counsel, who told Padilla that he “did not have to worry about immigration status since he had been in the country so long.” Joint App., supra, at *72 (RCr. 11.42 motion). This was wrong—Padilla’s plea rendered him deportable. Id. (citing 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i) and its predecessor statute).

  3. [3]. Lasch, supra note 2. The term “crimmigration” was coined by Juliet Stumpf in 2006, and crimmigration scholarship represents an important body of work addressing the intersection of criminal and immigration law. Id. (citing, inter alia, Juliet Stumpf, The Crimmigration Crisis: Immigrants, Crime, and Sovereign Power, 56 Am. U. L. Rev. 367 (2006)).

  4. [4]. See supra note 3.

  5. [5]. I use the term “deportation” rather than the sanitizing term “removal,” introduced with the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) of 1996, Pub. L. No. 104-208, 110 Stat. 3009-546, because “deport” takes a human object, while “remove” usually takes an inanimate object and obscures the human reality of deportation. Cf. Rachel Weiner, AP Drops “Illegal Immigrant” from Stylebook, Wash. Post (April 2, 2013, 4:07 PM), (explaining the abandonment of the term “illegal immigrant” on the grounds that “human beings are not themselves illegal, their actions are”).

  6. [6]. Padilla, 559 U.S. at 360–64. For more exhaustive treatments of Padilla, see César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Strickland-Lite: Padilla’s Two-Tiered Duty for Noncitizens, 72 Md. L. Rev. 844 (2013); Daniel Kanstroom, The Right to Deportation Counsel in Padilla v. Kentucky: The Challenging Construction of the Fifth-and-a-Half Amendment, 58 UCLA L. Rev. 1461, 1480–94 (2011); and Lasch, supra note 2. The expansion of immigration consequences of convictions and the contraction of relief are, of course, not the only manifestations of “crimmigration.” See Jennifer M. Chacón, Managing Migration Through Crime, 109 Colum. L. Rev. Sidebar 135, 135–36 & nn. 2–4 (2009) (identifying “the increasingly harsh criminal consequences attached to violations of laws regulating migration” and a “rising reliance on criminal law enforcement actors and mechanisms in civil immigration proceedings” in addition to the increased use of deportation “as an adjunct to criminal punishment in cases involving non-citizens”).

  7. [7]. Padilla, 559 U.S. at 364 (footnote omitted).

  8. [8]. Id. at 366.

  9. [9]. Id.

  10. [10]. Id. at 365 (citing I.N.S. v. Lopez–Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032, 1038 (1984)).

  11. [11]. Mitchell N. Berman, Constitutional Decision Rules, 90 Va. L. Rev. 1, 51 (2004) (distinguishing “constitutional decision rules” from “constitutional operative propositions”).

  12. [12]. Berman described his “functional taxonomy” as a “tool” for effectuating the growing appreciation of scholars and courts “that judge-created constitutional doctrine is not identical to judge-interpreted constitutional meaning (or at least may not be).” Id. at 7–9. He explicitly relied on prior scholarship by, among others, Lawrence Sager (who described the gap between constitutional doctrine and constitutional meaning in terms of “underenforced constitutional norms”) and Richard Fallon (who differentiated “constitutional implementation” from interpretation, describing “crafting doctrine or developing standards of review” as practices aimed at implementing, rather than interpreting or identifying, constitutional norms). Id. at 4–15, 35–36 (citing and quoting Lawrence Gene Sager, Fair Measure: The Legal Status of Underenforced Constitutional Norms, 91 Harv. L. Rev. 1212 (1978) and Richard H. Fallon, Jr., Implementing the Constitution 38 (2001)). While I rely on Berman here, the frameworks of scholars like Sager and Fallon could likely be helpful as well. For example, my suggestion (in Part III) that immigration courts should play a role in enforcing the constitutional norms underlying Padilla could be supported by Sager’s “vision of shared responsibility for the safeguarding of constitutional values” and his view that institutions other than Article III courts play a critical role in enforcing constitutional norms. Sager, supra, at 1263–64; see also Richard H. Fallon, Jr., Forward: Implementing the Constitution, 111 Harv. L. Rev. 54, 94–95 (1997) (noting “that within the project of implementing the Constitution . . . courts frequently rely on other branches of government to respect constitutional norms that are judicially underenforced”).

  13. [13]. Aziz Z. Huq, The Institution Matching Canon, 106 Nw. U. L. Rev. 417, 419 (2012).

  14. [14]. This visualization of Berman’s theoretical framework reveals an important feature of the construct. To the extent that the operative proposition represents a constitutional “right,” and the decision rules implementing the operative proposition represent the “remedy,” we should remain mindful of the fact that “rights and remedies are inextricably intertwined. Rights are dependent on remedies not just for their application to the real world, but for their scope, shape, and very existence.” Daryl J. Levinson, Rights Essentialism and Remedial Equilibration, 99 Colum. L. Rev. 857, 858 (1999). Thus, where an operative proposition is insufficiently implemented by decision rules this may be attributable to poorly designed decision rules (inadequate remedies), but it also may be true that the operative proposition (constitutional right) has not been honestly articulated. Visually, the space occupied by the operative principle may not be as large as previously imagined. As an example, scholars have persuasively demonstrated that the decision rule of Manson v. Brathwaite, 432 U.S. 98 (1977), fails to live up to its operative proposition—fairness and reliability in pretrial identification procedures. See Timothy P. O’Toole & Giovanna Shay, Manson v. Brathwaite Revisited: Towards a New Rule of Decision for Due Process Challenges to Eyewitness Identification Procedures, 41 Val. U. L. Rev. 109, 131–46 (2006). Their proposed solution was to revise the decision rule to more accurately map the operative proposition. A more cynical response (that I do not endorse) would be to suggest that the failure was in the overly ambitious articulation of the operative principle, and could be rectified by a remapping that constricts the operative principle. See generally Alexandra Natapoff, Gideon Skepticism, 70 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1049 (2013) (suggesting the right to counsel has been asked to do too much work in effectuating criminal justice norms).

          Recognizing the inextricable two-way relationship between operative proposition and decision rules does not, in my view, eliminate the utility of Berman’s framework. Instead, it means that both the operative proposition (representing our constitutional aspirations) and the decision rules implementing it (representing current reality) are appropriate sites for normative contests.
  15. [15]. This Essay draws on, and seeks to derive lessons about constitutional norms and decision rules from the development of criminal right to counsel jurisprudence. An examination of right to counsel jurisprudence in civil proceedings (including juvenile proceedings, commitment proceedings, proceedings to terminate parental rights, and contempt proceedings) would likely be of great value to the project of elaborating the constitutional norms served by the right to counsel and envisioning implementing rules. See generally Ingrid V. Eagly, Gideon’s Migration, 122 Yale L.J. 2282, 2301–05 (discussing “civil Gideon” possibilities for developing the right to counsel in at least some immigration cases).

  16. [16]. See Maria Teresa Rojas, A “Gideon Decision” for Immigrants, Open Soc’y Found. Blog (Apr. 7, 2010),; see also Duncan Fulton, Comment, Emergence of a Deportation Gideon?: The Impact of Padilla v. Kentucky on Right to Counsel Jurisprudence, 86 Tul. L. Rev. 219, 245 (2011) (arguing that Padilla “progresses the argument that the Court should recognize a categorical right to counsel in deportation proceedings”).

  17. [17]. See infra Part I.A.

  18. [18]. See infra Part I.B.

  19. [19]. E.g., Erwin Chemerinsky, Lessons from Gideon, 122 Yale L.J. 2676, 2693 (2013).

  20. [20]. Yolanda Vázquez, Realizing Padilla’s Promise: Ensuring Noncitizen Defendants Are Advised of the Immigration Consequences of a Criminal Conviction, 39 Fordham Urb. L.J. 169, 190 (2011).

  21. [21]. See infra Part II.A.

  22. [22]. See infra Part II.B.

  23. [23]. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963).

  24. [24]. Id. at 344. The Court’s linking of the right to counsel with the right to a fair trial was essential to its holding. Extending the Sixth Amendment right to counsel to the states via Fourteenth Amendment “incorporation” required a finding that the counsel right was fundamental to a fair trial. Id. at 342 (“We accept Betts v. Brady’s assumption, based as it was on our prior cases, that a provision of the Bill of Rights which is ‘fundamental and essential to a fair trial’ is made obligatory upon the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. We think the Court in Betts was wrong, however, in concluding that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of counsel is not one of these fundamental rights.”).

  25. [25]. United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 227 (1967) (holding that the right to counsel extends to a post-indictment lineup).

  26. [26]. United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 658 (1984).

  27. [27]. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 686–87 (1984).

  28. [28]. Id. at 684 (“In a long line of cases that includes Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932), Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458 (1938), and Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963), this Court has recognized that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel exists, and is needed, in order to protect the fundamental right to a fair trial.”).

  29. [29]. Id. at 686–87 (“A capital sentencing proceeding like the one involved in this case . . . is sufficiently like a trial in its adversarial format and in the existence of standards for decision, that counsel’s role in the proceeding is comparable to counsel’s role at trial—to ensure that the adversarial testing process works to produce a just result under the standards governing decision.” (citations omitted)).

  30. [30]. Id. at 686 (“We need not consider the role of counsel in an ordinary sentencing, which may involve informal proceedings and standardless discretion in the sentencer, and hence may require a different approach to the definition of constitutionally effective assistance.”).

  31. [31]. Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 56–57 (1985).

  32. [32]. Id. at 53–55.

  33. [33]. Id. at 57.

  34. [34]. Kimmelman v. Morrison, 477 U.S. 365, 374–75 (1986).

  35. [35]. Glover v. United States, 531 U.S. 198, 202 (2001). But see Carissa Byrne Hessick, Ineffective Assistance at Sentencing, 50 B.C. L. Rev. 1069, 1070, 1082 (2009) (arguing that “the standards for what constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel during a non-capital sentencing proceeding are underdeveloped” because Glover “explicitly limited its holding to mandatory sentencing regimes”).

  36. [36]. See supra note 29 and accompanying text.

  37. [37]. Lafler v. Cooper, 132 S. Ct. 1376 (2012); Missouri v. Frye, 132 S. Ct. 1399 (2012).

  38. [38]. “[T]he right to adequate assistance of counsel,” held the Court, “cannot be defined or enforced without taking account of the central role plea bargaining plays in securing convictions and determining sentences.” Lafler, 132 S. Ct. at 1388.

  39. [39]. Frye, 132 S. Ct. at 1404–05.

  40. [40]. Lafler, 132 S. Ct. at 1383.

  41. [41]. Frye, 132 S. Ct. at 1407; Lafler, 132 S. Ct. at 1383 (noting that “after the plea offer had been rejected [by Lafler], there was a full and fair trial before a jury”).

  42. [42]. Lafler, 132 S. Ct. at 1387.

  43. [43]. Id. at 1388. The Court cited Kimmelman v. Morrison as precedent for the notion that a fair trial would not cure pretrial ineffective assistance. Id. (citing Kimmelman v. Morrison, 477 U.S. 365, 380 (1986)). The Kimmelman Court “decline[d] to hold either that the guarantee of effective assistance of counsel belongs solely to the innocent or that it attaches only to matters affecting the determination of actual guilt.” Kimmelman, 477 U.S. at 380.

  44. [44]. Frye, 132 S. Ct. at 1407 (noting “that plea bargains have become so central to the administration of the criminal justice system that defense counsel have responsibilities in the plea bargain process, responsibilities that must be met to render the adequate assistance of counsel that the Sixth Amendment requires in the criminal process at critical stages”).

  45. [45]. Lafler, 132 S. Ct. at 1388 (citing Frye, 132 S. Ct. at 1407). The Frye Court noted that “[n]inety-seven percent of federal convictions and ninety-four percent of state convictions are the result of guilty pleas.” Frye, 132 S. Ct. at 1407.

  46. [46]. Lafler, 132 S. Ct. at 1388 (citing Frye, 132 S. Ct. at 1407).

  47. [47]. Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932).

  48. [48]. Betts v. Brady, 316 U.S. 455, 462 (1942).

  49. [49]. Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 340 (1963) (citing Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458 (1938)).

  50. [50]. Id. at 342–45.

  51. [51]. Id. at 340.

  52. [52]. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).

  53. [53]. Id. at 694.

  54. [54]. The Court had said as early as 1970 “that the right to counsel is the right to the effective assistance of counsel.” McMann v. Richardson, 397 U.S. 759, 771 n.14 (1970). Until Strickland, though, the Court had not announced a decision rule for vindicating this right.

  55. [55]. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 689 (quoting Michel v. Louisiana, 350 U.S. 91, 101 (1955)).

  56. [56]. Massaro v. United States, 538 U.S. 500, 505 (2003). The Court in Massaro held that ineffectiveness claims typically should not be raised until postconviction proceedings. See id. at 508. Noting that “[r]ules of procedure should be designed to induce litigants to present their contentions to the right tribunal at the right time,” the Court held that penalizing litigants for not raising ineffectiveness on direct appeal “would have the opposite effect, creating the risk that defendants would feel compelled to raise the issue before there has been an opportunity fully to develop the factual predicate for the claim.” Id. at 504 (alteration in original) (quoting Guinan v. United States, 6 F.3d 468, 474 (7th Cir. 1993) (Easterbrook, J., concurring)).

  57. [57]. Strickland, 466 U.S. at 691-96. As noted above, the Court had announced a right to effective assistance of counsel before Strickland. See supra notes 24-25 and accompanying text. In several cases preceding Strickland, the Court announced decision rules that could be applied on direct review, recognizing that the Sixth Amendment might be violated even where counsel was provided. See Holloway v. Arkansas, 435 U.S. 475 (1978) (automatic reversal where trial court does not take adequate steps to reduce risk of ineffective assistance due to conflict of interest); Geders v. United States, 425 U.S. 80 (1976) (reversing where trial court forbade counsel from consulting with defendant during overnight recess); Herring v. New York, 422 U.S. 853, 865 (1975) (reversing where counsel was not permitted to present summation at close of bench trial, holding that rule denied defendant “the assistance of counsel that the Constitution guarantees”). Until Strickland, though, “[t]he Court ha[d] not elaborated on the meaning of the constitutional requirement of effective assistance in . . . cases . . . presenting claims of ‘actual ineffectiveness.’” Strickland, 466 U.S. at 686.

  58. [58]. Frye and Padilla exemplify the application of Strickland’s test for effective assistance in postconviction review proceedings. See supra notes 3-11, 39-46. In both cases, the Supreme Court accepted certiorari review from the state postconviction track. In Lafler, the Court accepted certiorari from federal habeas review of the state court judgment. See supra note 46.

  59. [59]. Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S. Ct. 1309 (2012).

  60. [60]. See id. at 1315; see also id. at 1326 (Thomas, J., dissenting).

  61. [61]. For a more thorough explication and analysis of Martinez, see Ty Alper, Toward a Right to Litigate Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, 70 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 839 (2013).

  62. [62]. See Figure 2.

  63. [63]. But see infra note 66 (noting criticism of Strickland); Nancy J. King, Enforcing Effective Assistance After Martinez, 122 Yale L.J. 2428, 2431 (2013) (arguing that “Martinez will make little difference in either the enforcement of the right to the effective assistance of counsel or the provision of competent representation in state criminal cases”).

  64. [64]. E.g., Cara H. Drinan, Getting Real About Gideon: The Next Fifty Years of Enforcing the Right to Counsel, 70 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 1309, 1312–15 (2013) [hereinafter Drinan, Getting Real] (documenting “fifty years of ‘crisis’”); Cara H. Drinan, The National Right to Counsel Act: A Congressional Solution to the Nation’s Indigent Defense Crisis, 47 Harv. J. on Legis. 487, 489 (2010) [hereinafter Drinan, National Right]; Roger A. Fairfax, Jr., Searching for Solutions to the Indigent Defense Crisis in the Broader Criminal Justice Reform Agenda, 122 Yale L.J. 2316 (2013).

  65. [65]. E.g., John H. Blume & Sheri Lynn Johnson, Gideon Exceptionalism?, 122 Yale L.J. 2126, 2126 (2013); David E. Patton, Federal Public Defense in an Age of Inquisition, 122 Yale L.J. 2578, 2602 (2013); Jonathan Rapping, Redefining Success as a Public Defender: A Rallying Cry for Those Most Committed to Gideon’s Promise, Champion, June 2012, at 30, 36.

  66. [66]. Many scholars have faulted the Strickland test as being insufficiently protective of the right to counsel. E.g., Blume & Johnson, supra note 65, at 2129, 2137–43 (arguing that “the law of ineffective assistance of counsel renders Gideon’s ‘shining city’ illusory for many defendants”); Stephen B. Bright & Sia M. Sanneh, Fifty Years of Defiance and Resistance After Gideon v. Wainwright, 122 Yale L.J. 2150, 2170 (2013) (arguing that “[c]onvictions and death sentences have been upheld despite [attorney] incompetence because twenty-one years after Gideon, [in Strickland] the Supreme Court eroded the reach of Gideon by applying presumptions—even in the face of facts to the contrary—that lawyers are competent and make strategic decisions”); Chemerinsky, supra note 19, at 2685 et seq. (assigning as one of two core reasons for Gideon’s failed promise that “the Court created a test for ineffective assistance of counsel that makes it very difficult for a convicted individual to get relief, even when counsel’s performance is quite deficient”); see also Pamela R. Metzger, Fear of Adversariness: Using Gideon to Restrict Defendants’ Invocation of Adversary Procedures, 122 Yale L.J. 2550, 2552–59 (2013) (arguing that because Gideon allocates power to attorneys rather than defendants, and Strickland renders the exercise of that power all but unreviewable, these decision rules show that the “Court is deeply afraid of the Sixth Amendment’s true power”).

          Others offer different explanations for the gap between
          Still others suggest that the operative proposition thought to underly the Sixth Amendment right to counsel—ensuring fair trials and (after
  67. [67]. E.g., Chemerinsky, supra note 19, at 2685–86, 2691–92; Drinan, Getting Real, supra note 64, at 1312–13 (arguing that while “there are as many factors contributing to the indigent defense crisis as there are symptoms of it,” lack of resources is the bottom-line concern).

  68. [68]. The Strickland rule likewise does not speak to funding; indeed Strickland’s exclusive focus on actual attorney performance “leaves no room” for an assessment of the adequacy of resources available to counsel. Lauren Sudeall Lucas, Reclaiming Equality to Reframe Indigent Defense Reform, 97 Minn. L. Rev. 1197, 1205–06 (2013) (quoting William J. Stuntz, The Uneasy Relationship Between Criminal Procedure and Criminal Justice, 107 Yale L.J. 1, 21 (1997)).

  69. [69]. Bennett H. Brummer, The Banality of Excessive Defender Workload: Managing the Systemic Obstruction of Justice, 22 St. Thomas L. Rev. 104, 132 (2009) (describing the Sixth Amendment right to counsel “as an unfunded mandate . . . imposed on state governments” (citing Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335, 344 (1963))); Chemerinsky, supra note 19, at 2685. The “unfunded mandate” criticism of Gideon seems to explain, at least in part, the Court’s refusal to answer the question presented on certiorari in Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S. Ct. 1309 (2012)whether there is a constitutional right to counsel in state postconviction proceedings where such proceedings offer the first opportunity to raise a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. It is noteworthy that the Martinez Court did not recognize a right to postconviction counsel for this purpose, but instead protected such claims against procedural default when litigated in federal habeas. Arguably, the Martinez decision rule avoids the unfunded-mandate problems attendant to the Gideon rule and its implementation. While states have no choice after Gideon but to provide counsel for criminal defendants, they do retain a choice after Martinez as to whether to provide postconviction counsel for the purpose of raising ineffectiveness of trial counsel. This point was made explicitly in the Court’s opinion:

    The holding here ought not to put a significant strain on state resources. . . .
    This is but one of the differences between a constitutional ruling and the equitable ruling of this case. A constitutional ruling would . . . require the appointment of counsel in initial-review collateral proceedings; it would impose the same system of appointing counsel in every State; and it would require a reversal in all state collateral cases on direct review from state courts if the States’ system of appointing counsel did not conform to the constitutional rule. An equitable ruling, by contrast . . . permits a State to elect between appointing counsel in initial-review collateral proceedings or not asserting a procedural default and raising a defense on the merits in federal habeas proceedings.

    Martinez, 132 S. Ct. at 1319–20.

  70. [70]. See generally King, supra note 63, at 2457–58 (noting that class-action litigation such as that recently undertaken in Michigan seeks to establish that the Sixth Amendment “prohibit[s] deficiencies in delivery systems that pose a high probability of compromising effective assistance”); Lucas, supra note 68, at 1216–20; Note, Effectively Ineffective: The Failure of Courts to Address Underfunded Indigent Defense Systems, 118 Harv. L. Rev. 1731 (2005).

  71. [71]. See King, supra note 63, at 2457–58; Lucas, supra note 68, at 1216–20; Effectively Ineffective:, supra note 70.

  72. [72]. Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, No. C11-1100RSL, 2013 WL 6275319, at *7 & n.12 (W.D. Wash. Dec. 4, 2013); see also State v. Peart, 621 So. 2d 780, 788–90 (La. 1993) (describing underfunded indigent defense system and concluding “that because of the excessive caseloads and the insufficient support with which their attorneys must work, indigent defendants in [the jurisdiction] are generally not provided with the effective assistance of counsel the constitution requires”); State v. Young, 172 P.3d 138, 141 (N.M. 2007) (finding capital defense counsel inadequately compensated were not likely to provide constitutionally adequate counsel).

  73. [73]. Wilbur, 2013 WL 6275319, at *7.

  74. [74]. Id. at *7 & n.12.

  75. [75]. See, e.g., Erin V. Everett, Comment, Salvation Lies Within: Why the Mississippi Supreme Court Can and Should Step in to Solve Mississippi’s Indigent Defense Crisis, 74 Miss. L.J. 213 (2004); Marc Sackin, Note, Applying United States v. Stein to New York’s Indigent Defense Crisis: Show the Poor Some Love Too, 73 Brook. L. Rev. 299, 299–305 (2007); Rodney Uphoff, Foreword, Broke and Broken: Can We Fix Our State Indigent Defense System? 75 Mo. L. Rev. 667 (2010).

  76. [76]. See Gabriel J. Chin, Race and the Disappointing Right to Counsel, 122 Yale L.J. 2236, 2239 (2013) (describing Gideon as “a race case, in that Gideon and the Court’s other criminal procedure cases of the era were concerned with institutional racism,” but concluding that a right to counsel cannot, by itself, remedy racial discrimination in the criminal justice system).

  77. [77]. E.g., Kevin R. Johnson, The “Huddled Masses” Myth: Immigration and Civil Rights 13–53 (2004) (describing the relationship, throughout United States history, between immigration enforcement and racial subordination); Gabriel J. Chin, Segregation’s Last Stronghold: Race Discrimination and the Constitutional Law of Immigration, 46 UCLA L. Rev. 1 (1998) (describing the roots of immigration law’s plenary power doctrine, which permits racial discrimination, in nineteenth century race-based laws).

  78. [78]. See, e.g., Kevin R. Johnson, An Immigration Gideon for Lawful Permanent Residents, 122 Yale L.J. 2394 (2013). Johnson cites “the racially disparate pattern of immigration enforcement, which results in racial disparities in the group of noncitizens placed in removal proceedings” as a reason to be particularly concerned about the risk of error in immigration proceedings when applying the flexible due process test of Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (1976), to determine whether there is a Due Process right to counsel in removal proceedings. Id. at 2410–11. Johnson finds support for a Due Process right to counsel in the Padilla decision, but not because of any claim that Padilla represents anti-discrimination values. Rather, Johnson cites Padilla’s recognition of deportation’s severity in evaluating the first Mathews factor (the private interest at stake). Id. at 2406.

  79. [79]. See supra note 76 and accompanying text.

  80. [80]. Reva B. Siegel, Foreword: Equality Divided, 127 Harv. L. Rev. 1, 72 (2012) (noting that “decisions of the Roberts Court strike down laws that protect minorities against discrimination with a kind of energy they do not bring to striking down laws that reflect ‘prejudice against discrete and insular minorities,’ at least where issues of race are concerned” (citation omitted)). Indeed, César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández suggests disappointment in Padilla may be justified by more than a mere absence of expressed anti-discrimination norms, describing Padilla as implementing a “Strickland-lite” standard and identifying Padilla as possibly belonging to a history in which “constitutional norms have been relaxed or altogether ignored when it comes to processing immigrants.” García Hernández, supra note 6, at 927.

  81. [81]. Alice Clapman, Petty Offenses, Drastic Consequences: Toward a Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel for Noncitizen Defendants Facing Deportation, 33 Cardozo L. Rev. 585, 607–08 (2011); see Eagly, supra note 15, at 2301; John D. King, Beyond “Life and Liberty”: The Evolving Right to Counsel, 48 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 1, 36–39 (2013).

  82. [82]. E.g., García Hernández, supra note 6, at 848 (“Padilla offers a layer of procedural protection between life in a place [noncitizen criminal defendants] know and life in a place they hope to avoid.”); accord Aarti Kohli, Does the Crime Fit the Punishment?: Recent Judicial Actions Expanding the Rights of Noncitizens, 2 Calif. L. Rev. Circuit 1, 4 (2011) (arguing that “Padilla and Carachuri-Rosendo . . . signal[] that our deportation laws are unduly harsh” and “create a necessary layer of procedural protections for noncitizens”); cf. Anne R. Traum, Constitutionalizing Immigration Law on Its Own Path, 33 Cardozo L. Rev. 491, 529–30 (2011) (interpreting Carachuri-Rosendo v. Holder, 560 U.S. 563 (2010) and other recent Supreme Court cases as having a substantive component that “protects immigrants who have negotiated criminal cases to avoid certain deportation consequences” and reading Padilla as consistent with this). The importance of this position is its understanding of Padilla as rooted in an immigrant-protective value, even though its expression is a rule of criminal procedure.

  83. [83]. E.g., Elizabeth A. Rossi, Revisiting INS v. Lopez-Mendoza: Why the Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule Should Apply in Deportation Proceedings, 44 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 477, 501 & n.124 (2013) (noting scholars’ arguments “that the Court’s view of deportation as civil is changing”).

  84. [84]. Kanstroom, supra note 6, at 1472–73.

  85. [85]. Id. at 1477.

  86. [86]. Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 360 (2010).

  87. [87]. Id. (quoting Fong Haw Tan v. Phelan, 333 U.S. 6, 10 (1948)).

  88. [88]. Id. at 364.

  89. [89]. Immigrants have a right to immigration counsel, but only at their own expense. 8 U.S.C. § 1362 (2012).

  90. [90]. Janvier v. United States, 793 F.2d 449 (2d Cir. 1986).

  91. [91]. United States v. Castro, 26 F.3d 557 (5th Cir. 1994).

  92. [92]. Padilla, 559 U.S. at 361–62.

  93. [93]. Id. at 363–64 (noting curtailment of discretionary relief in 1996).

  94. [94]. Id. at 362 (“Thus, from 1917 forward, there was no such creature as an automatically deportable offense. Even as the class of deportable offenses expanded, judges retained discretion to ameliorate unjust results on a case-by-case basis.”).

  95. [95]. Id. at 361–62.

  96. [96]. Because his conviction exposed him to deportation, this was the relief Padilla sought. Joint App., Padilla v. Kentucky, No. 08-651, 2009 WL 1499270, at *71–*74 (Ky. May 26, 2009) (Ky. R. Crim. P. 11.42 motion).

  97. [97]. United States v. Castro, 26 F.3d 557, 563 (5th Cir. 1994); Janvier v. United States, 793 F.2d 449, 455–56 (2d Cir. 1986).

  98. [98]. Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52 (1985).

  99. [99]. Padilla, 559 U.S. at 373 (citing Hill, 474 U.S. at 57).

  100. [100]. Id. at 371 (emphasis added) (citing Hill, 474 U.S. at 62 (White, J., concurring)).

  101. [101]. Hill, 474 U.S. at 53, 57.

  102. [102]. See supra Part I.A.

  103. [103]. Hill, 474 U.S. at 56 (citing North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 31 (1970)).

  104. [104]. Id. at 56–57 (quoting Tollett v. Henderson, 411 U.S. 258, 267 (1973)).

  105. [105]. E.g., Kanstroom, supra note 6, at 1466 (“Padilla, though essentially a criminal case, embodies a refreshingly realist interpretation of contemporary crime-based deportation.”).

  106. [106]. See supra Fig. 2.

  107. [107]. See Clapman, supra note 81.

  108. [108]. Id. at 608–09.

  109. [109]. See infra Part III.

  110. [110]. Many have argued, based on Padilla, for a right to counsel in deportation proceedings. See Eagly, supra note 15, at 2300–05 (citing authorities supporting the right to immigration counsel). Others have argued that Padilla supports importing other criminal procedure rights into immigration proceedings. E.g., Beth Caldwell, Banished for Life: Deportation of Juvenile Offenders as Cruel and Unusual Punishment, 34 Cardozo L. Rev. 2261 (2013) (arguing, based in part upon Padilla, for application of Eighth Amendment “cruel and unusual punishment” doctrine in immigration proceedings); Kohli, supra note 82, at 10 (arguing that “Padilla opened a door that many scholars thought was barred shut” and could “lead to the imposition of procedural safeguards on deportation proceedings” such as the right to appointed counsel, the application of the exclusionary rule, and procedural safeguards on detention that are not currently in place); Adriane Meneses, Comment, The Deportation of Lawful Permanent Residents for Old and Minor Crimes: Restoring Judicial Review, Ending Retroactivity, and Recognizing Deportation as Punishment, 14 Scholar 767, 829–40 (2012) (suggesting Padilla allows application of criminal ex post facto doctrine in immigration proceedings); Rossi, supra note 83 (arguing exclusionary rule should apply in deportation proceedings); Maureen Sweeney & Hillary Scholten, Penalty and Proportionality in Deportation for Crimes, 31 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 11, 12–13 (arguing criminal law doctrine of proportionality should apply in immigration proceedings).

  111. [111]. See supra notes 67–68 and accompanying text.

  112. [112]. See Chaidez v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 1103, 1107 (2013) (suggesting that Padilla “impose[d] a new obligation”). But see Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 372 (2010) (noting that for 15 years prior to Padilla “professional norms . . . generally imposed an obligation on counsel to provide advice on the deportation consequences of a client’s plea”). Padilla also operates as an unfunded mandate on the states by creating a constitutional right that states must adjudicate, even though the right is rooted in a consequence that is experienced only in federal immigration proceedings. Put another way, it is likely that some Padilla litigants would not care to litigate the validity of their criminal convictions but for the consequences in immigration proceedings. Padilla foists litigation onto state courts in such cases.

  113. [113]. See Eagly, supra note 15, at 2305–14 (delineating what might be required to “[build] an [i]mmigration Gideon”); Vázquez, supra note 20, at 192–200 (describing measures to implement Padilla).

  114. [114]. Chemerinsky, supra note 19, at 2693 (doubting that proposals to fund public defender systems will make a difference, because “neither courts nor legislatures seem inclined to deal with the problem in representation for criminal defendants”).

  115. [115]. See supra Part I.C.

  116. [116]. See King, supra note 81, at 38–39 (“Padilla has added to the burden for these public defenders and court-appointed lawyers . . . . Without some accommodation or incentives to accompany any formal systemic reform, it is hard to imagine the practice on the ground improving in any meaningful sense.”). Eagly describes some of the approaches public defender offices have taken to try to meet their Padilla obligation. Eagly, supra note 15, at 2294–95. One potential solution to overburdening already burdened public defenders would be to permit the appointment of immigration counsel to assist criminal counsel in providing crimmigration advice. Cf. Scott R. Grubman, I Want My (Immigration) Lawyer!: The Necessity of Court-Appointed Immigration Counsel in Criminal Prosecutions after Padilla v. Kentucky, 12 Nev. L.J. 364 (2012) (advocating for immigration counsel to be required where immigration advice is not clear).

  117. [117]. See generally supra note 68.

  118. [118]. See generally García Hernández, supra note 6; Vázquez, supra note 20. Grubman’s proposal would conceivably address this gap between the Strickland and “Strickland-lite” decision rules. See generally Grubman, supra note 116; García Hernández, supra note 6.

  119. [119]. This argues in favor of the rule Alice Clapman proposes. See supra note 81 and accompanying text.

  120. [120]. Just as education and resources pose a barrier to effective crimmigration counsel at trial, they may be expected to affect the availability of effective crimmigration postconviction counsel to raise Padilla claims. See supra Part I.C.

  121. [121]. Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, 310 (1989) (holding that “new” rules of criminal procedure are not given retroactive effect); see Chaidez v. United States, 133 S. Ct. 1103, 1105 (2013) (finding that Padilla would not be retroactively applied to convictions that are final before Padilla’s announcement); Miller v. State, 77 A.3d 1030, 1036–37, 1045 (Md. 2013) (finding a Padilla claim “not redressable” after Chaidez). But see Commonwealth v. Sylvain, 995 N.E.2d 760, 762, 770–71 (Mass. 2013) (granting redress to the Padilla claim, as a matter of state law, despite the fact that the litigant’s conviction was final before Padilla was decided).

  122. [122]. See Rodriguez v. State, No. M2011-01485-CCA-R3-PC, 2013 WL 59449, at *4 (Tenn. Crim. App. Jan. 7, 2013), appeal granted (June 12, 2013) (holding, as an alternative ground for denying relief, that the Padilla claim was barred by state statute of limitations on postconviction relief).

  123. [123]. Few ICE Detainers Target Serious Criminals, TRACImmigration(Sept. 17, 2013),

  124. [124]. See César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Criminal Defense After Padilla v. Kentucky, 26 Geo. Immigr. L.J. 475, 519 (2012) (noting that the INA was amended in 1996 to permit dispositions not considered a conviction under state law to count as convictions for purposes of deportation); see also Rodriguez, 2013 WL 59449, at *2–3 (holding that the Padilla claim could not be brought where the criminal case had been expunged); cf. Kazadi v. People, 291 P.3d 16, 18 (Colo. 2012) (en banc) (holding that the deferred judgment, where the sentence had not been imposed, could not be attacked by a Colorado Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(c) motion, but could be the subject of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea pursuant to Colorado Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(d)).

  125. [125]. Indeed immigration proceedings need not be stayed even during the direct appeal of a criminal conviction. See United States v. Saenz-Gomez, 472 F.3d 791, 793–94 (10th Cir. 2007). But see Orabi v. Attorney Gen. of the United States, 738 F.3d 535, 540–43 (3d Cir. 2014) (describing circuit split on this question). There are other reasons deportation based on a faulty plea might evade review in the criminal justice system. See generally Jennifer Lee Koh, Waiving Due Process (Goodbye): Stipulated Orders of Removal and the Crisis in Immigration Adjudication, 91 N.C. L. Rev. 475 (2013) (detailing the ways in which the federal government accomplishes deportation without formal immigration proceedings).

  126. [126]. A plea colloquy, in which a court advises a pro se defendant that a plea “may” carry immigration consequences would not, in my view, be sufficient to carry this burden. See People v. Peque, 3 N.E.3d 617, 637 (N.Y. 2013) (holding, based on Padilla, that Due Process requires that “trial courts... make all defendants aware that, if they are not United States citizens, their felony guilty pleas may expose them to deportation”). Such a general warning would not serve Padilla’s operative principle that a plea be made “with available advice about an issue like deportation....” Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 371 (emphasis added) (citing Hill v. Lockhart, 474 U.S. 52, 62 (White, J., concurring in judgment)); see also, e.g., Malia Brink, A Gauntlet Thrown: The Transformative Potential of Padilla v. Kentucky, 39 Fordham Urb. L.J. 39, 46–49 (2011) (arguing that general warnings do not satisfy Padilla).

          At a minimum, I believe a court would need to provide an additional advisement to a
  127. [127]. See supra Part II.A.

  128. [128]. See supra note 103 and accompanying text. Subsection (b) of the proposed rule would govern cases in which the respondent did not have criminal counsel.

  129. [129]. See supra notes 99–101 and accompanying text.

  130. [130]. Subsection (a) of the proposed rule would govern cases in which the respondent did have counsel in her criminal case.

  131. [131]. See supra Part II.B.

  132. [132]. Subsection (a)(2)(A) of the proposed rule would govern cases in which the respondent could litigate a Padilla claim on the merits.

  133. [133]. Subsection (a)(2)(B) of the proposed rule would govern cases in which the respondent could not litigate the merits of a Padilla claim.

  134. [134]. See supra notes 59–61 and accompanying text.

  135. [135]. Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997, § 322 (codified as amended at 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(48)(A) (2012)) (adding Section 101(a)(48) to the Immigration and Nationality Act and defining “conviction” for the purposes of immigration law); see 8 U.S.C. §1227(a)(2)(A) (declaring aliens removable when “convicted of [certain] crimes”).

  136. [136]. The Third Circuit’s decision in Castillo v. Attorney Gen., 729 F.3d 296 (3d Cir. 2013), exemplifies what this approach might look like. Bernardo Castillo contested the immigration consequences of his municipal court shoplifting adjudication, which the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) deemed a “conviction” of a “crime” involving moral turpitude. The Third Circuit first remanded for the BIA to consider whether the adjudication was a conviction of a “crime” under INA § 237(a)(2)(A)(ii). Castillo, 729 F.3d at 299. The BIA again concluded the municipal court adjudication was a “crime,” reasoning that proof beyond a reasonable doubt was required for the adjudication, and therefore it was a “conviction” and ipso facto a “crime.” Id. at 299-301. The Third Circuit disagreed once again, granting Castillo’s petition for review and remanding to the BIA for a third round of review. The Third Circuit first examined the BIA’s decision in In re Eslamizar, 23 I. & N. Dec. 684 (2004), concluding that the BIA had eschewed a “literal” reading of the definition of “conviction” under INA § 101(a)(48)(A)—one that would have included any adjudication of “guilt,” even in cases where only a civil fine or sanction was imposed—in favor of a “far more sensible reading . . . [requiring a] . . . “judgment of guilt” in a criminal proceeding.” Castillo, 729 F.3d at 303-04 (citing Eslamizar, 23 I. & N. Dec. at 686-87). Critical to the Third Circuit’s understanding of Eslamizar was the BIA’s definition of “criminal proceeding” as “a trial or other proceeding whose purpose is to determine whether the accused committed a crime and which provides the constitutional safeguards normally attendant upon a criminal adjudication.” Castillo, 729 F.3d at 304 (citing Eslamizar, 23 I. & N. Dec. at 687). Other decisions of the BIA, the Third Circuit held, supported an “open-ended inquiry” into whether a criminal proceeding was a “ true or genuine criminal proceeding,” including “[a]t the very least . . . [a] determination of whether the proceeding’s ‘purpose is to determine whether the accused committed a crime’ and if it ‘provides the constitutional safeguards normally attendant upon a criminal adjudication.’” Castillo, 729 F.3d at 307 (citations omitted).

          The logic of
          For a decision holding constitutional principles irrelevant in determining what constitutes a “conviction” for “crime,”
  137. [137]. Cf. Kanstroom, supra note 6, at 1472-78 (positing a “Fifth-and-a-Half Amendment” that could justify rules for counsel in immigration proceedings). See generally, Traum, supra note 82 (advocating that additional decision rules implementing Padilla in immigration court be rooted not in the Sixth Amendment, but in the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process provisions, already applicable in immigration proceedings).

  138. [138]. In the interests of space, I will leave it to others to raise criticisms of the rule proposed here.

  139. [139]. Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356, 369 (2010).

  140. [140]. García Hernández, supra note 6, at 850-54.

  141. [141]. See supra note 70 and accompanying text.

  142. [142]. See supra note 67. Recently, the New York City Council made $500,000 available to fund a pilot program providing immigration counsel to indigent respondents in proceedings. Mark Hamblett & Jeff Storey, Pilot Program to Represent Detainees Facing Deportation, N.Y. L.J., (Sept. 30, 2013), Other non-rule-based remedies could include a revival of practices similar to the JRAD. Although no longer sanctioned by statute, a criminal defense lawyer could request, and a criminal judge could grant, a non-binding recommendation concerning immigration consequences. A statement by the state-court trial judge that a conviction should not, in the court’s view, carry adverse immigration consequences could be given effect by an immigration judge in considering discretionary relief or perhaps even in considering whether the state-court adjudication should be considered a “conviction” of “crime” for immigration purposes.


Assistant Professor, University of Denver Sturm College of Law; J.D., Yale Law School; B.A., Columbia College.

As always, I owe a debt to others, though any errors or missteps remaining in these pages are my own. My thanks go first and foremost to Professor James Tomkovicz and the members of the Iowa Law Review for inviting me to participate in this symposium. Members of the Rocky Mountain Collective on Race, Place, and Law, and in particular Robin Walker Sterling, provided essential support for this piece and contributed greatly to the development of my ideas. Michael Wishnie offered inspiring suggestions, as is his way. Many of them appear here, with little alteration; I regret my inability to incorporate all of his valuable insights. Alison Blackwell provided essential and timely research assistance.