After a long battle, Eric Newmark earned an important victory, which resulted in the vacation of a felony conviction for a client who was deported for a guilty plea taken in violation of his right to effective assistance of counsel.
Newmark’s client, who is from the Ivory Coast, pleaded guilty to a felony drug crime. At the time of his conviction, the client was represented by different counsel and believed that the conviction would not result in deportation. No one advised him that he indeed faced deportation as a result of the plea, and the client was deported to the Ivory Coast.
The client hired Newmark to bring a motion in an effort to withdraw the plea. Newmark filed the motion in the trial court alleging ineffective assistance of prior counsel. The trial court denied the motion without a hearing, finding that the facts in the motion, even if true, did not support the allegation that previous counsel was ineffective. Newmark appealed this decision to the Court of Appeals, which reversed the trial court and ordered a hearing. Following a hearing with testimony from the previous lawyer, an expert witness, and Newmark’s client, the Court found that prior counsel was ineffective and the plea was taken in violation of the client’s Constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel.
Newmark’s client is now entitled to a trial.