A recent decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals concludes that Padilla’s ineffective assistance of counsel analysis applies to an attorney’s failure to advise a client about sex offender registry requirements. The case is Taylor v. State, 2010 WL 2684051 (Jul. 8, 2010) and can be downloaded here. In essence, the Taylor court held that even if sex offender registration requirements could be considered a “collateral consequence” of a conviction, “the failure to advise a client that his guilty plea will require registration is constitutionally deficient performance,” much like an attorney’s failure to advise a client about the risk of deportation associated with a guilty plea under Padilla. Id. at 4.
Because the appeal was pending while the U.S. Supreme Court decided Padilla, there is no discussion about retroactivity. (Sorry!)
It’s unclear at this point whether the State will seek discretionary review from the Georgia Supreme Court. And any developments on that front will be reported on the blog.
The Court of Appeals in New York ruled yesterday that a defendant has not constitutional right to be notified of requirement to register as a sex offender registration during a plea proceeding. In People v. Gravino (decision available here), the court rejected the argument that a guilty plea is rendered involuntary and unknowing when a court fails to inform a defendant that he or she is required to register as a sex offender by virtue of the defendant’s conviction. The court found that such a requirement a “collateral consequence” of a conviction and therefore did not have a ” ‘ definite, immediate, and largely automatic effect on a defendant’s punishment.’ “
It is notable and not surprising that the dissent brought up the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Padilla v. Kentucky to make the point that registration as a sex offender is not a “collateral consequence” of a conviction. Indeed, if I recall correctly, Justice Stevens in Padilla made clear that there is no distinction between collateral and direct consequences when it comes of deciding claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. That, however, was not the case in Gravino.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in other courts and whether Padilla will eventually to applied in contexts outside the IAC framework.
Thanks to the Sentencing Law and Policy Blog for reporting on the Gravino decision.