Jae Lee lived in the United States as a legal permanent resident since 1982. In 2009, he was arrested for possession of ecstasy and intent to distribute. Lee’s counsel advised him to accept a guilty plea because of the compelling case against him, assuring Lee that in doing so he would not face deportation. However, because he plead guilty to an aggravated felony, Lee was set for deportation under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Lee appealed, claiming he had ineffective counsel under the two-pronged Strickland Standard: whether counsel was ineffective and if the counsel’s actions affected the outcome of the case. Had he known he could be deported, Lee argued, he would have gone to trial.
On June 23, the Supreme Court ruled 6-2 in favor of Lee. Laura Howell and Brian R. Frazelle, both authors of amicus briefs in this case, joined us to discuss the ruling and its implications.
- Brian R. Frazelle, Appellate Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center
- Laura Howell, Assistant Attorney General, Alabama Attorney General's Office