A thirty one year old Lawrence, Massachusetts man pleaded guilty for the second time in regard to charges of Conspiracy, Larceny and Fraud. The man initially pleaded guilty to twenty six counts of Auto Fraud. He subsequently moved to withdraw his guilty plea alleging ineffective assistance of counsel, a violation of his Sixth Amendment right. That motion was allowed in September of 2010. The defendant subsequently offered his cooperation to the prosecution in its efforts to prosecute auto fraud scandals in Lawrence involving staged car crashes. The defendant would refer the cases to local personal injury lawyers and chiropractors and collect a finder’s fee. The victims and the accidents were non-existent. They were all part of a lucrative insurance fraud scheme. In return for his cooperation the defendant was permitted to plead guilty to eleven counts of insurance fraud related indictments. An additional twenty five charges will be dismissed if the defendant successfully completes a period of probation scheduled to last five years.
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This article shows just how important it is to have an Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer at every stage of the proceedings. In this case the defendant initially pleaded guilty without being properly advised of the consequences his guilty plea would have on his status in this country. In March of 2010 the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Padilla v. Kentucky. There, it held that criminal defense attorneys must advise their clients who are not citizens of this country that their guilty pleas might have certain immigration consequences. Padilla holds that a lawyer’s failure to properly advise his client of these consequences constitutes a deprivation of the right to effective assistance of counsel. Padilla holds that the Sixth Amendment requires affirmative, competent advice regarding immigration consequences. A lawyer’s silence constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel even if the immigration warning was read to the defendant by the judge during his plea colloquy. Commentary to the Padilla decision suggest that defense attorneys should be familiar with the basic immigration consequences that flow from different types of guilty pleas, and should keep this in mind in investigating law and fact and advising the client.
The case involving the man in Lawrence shows that getting proper representation applies not just to the result itself but to all consequences stemming from the attorney’s representation of the client. This is a perfect example of why it is critically necessary that when you investigate who to hire as your Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer you find out how long the person has been practicing, how many cases of a similar nature he or she has defended and the lawyer’s overall experience. Make sure that you are comfortable with you decision. Do not hesitate to ask questions to make sure that the lawyer you are hiring focuses his or her practice on defending the accused.
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