Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Here is a copy of the Alameda County, California DA's new Guidelines regarding the consideration of immigration consequences at the plea bargaining stage. Download Immigration Guidelines Alameda County DA The policy is quite similar to the Santa Clara County DA policy that came out last year and I am hoping that this new addition will help others advocate for similar policies statewide (and across the country).
The guidelines recognize that post-Padilla, arguments that the consideration of immigration consequences is somehow illegal or improper have been "put to rest." The guidelines then go on to talk about when it is appropriate for district attorneys to consider immigration consequences and modification of pleas/sentences in order to mitigate those consequences.
The District Attorney in Alameda was responsive to requests for consideration of a policy/guidelines to be applied uniformly in the county. While the guidelines don't bind the DA to a particular outcome, they provide a platform upon which to advocate for what the Supreme Court referred to as "informed consideration" of immigration consequences during the plea bargaining process. We hope this will help forge a new culture of awareness in the county around the treatment of noncitizens accused of crimes and disproportionate nature of immigration consequences.
This effort was made possible by the Alameda County Public Defender Office's willingness to allocate resources to addressing and exploring immigration issues, as well as critical feedback from community advocates like you. Please forward to folks you think would be interested in seeing the policy.