On Friday, July 8th, Livesay & Myers immigration lawyer Jennifer Varughese will be speaking at a Virginia Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar hosted by George Mason School of Law, entitled “Immigration Consequences of Criminal Convictions.” She’ll be discussing her case, Commonwealth v. Morris, 281 Va. 70 (Va. 2011), currently on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and how it relates to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky.
Commonwealth v. Morris is a case at the center of a raging legal battle involving the immigration consequences of criminal convictions in Virginia. As detailed by an article by The Washington Post, Ms. Varughese represents a lawful permanent resident who pled guilty in 1997 to petty larceny, after being told by a public defender that the guilty plea would not affect his immigration status, only to find himself facing deportation for that guilty plea in 2008. In 2009, Ms. Varughese convinced a Circuit Court Judge to modify her client’s sentence to allow him to avoid deportation. Following the government’s successful appeal of that decision before the Virginia Supreme Court in early 2011, Ms. Varughese appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. This high profile case could set legal precedent for decades to come regarding the immigration consequences of criminal convictions in Virginia.