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Denial of Guilty Plea Withdrawal Reversed on Appeal


by in Criminal Appeals

State v. Mathurin Ambroise, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-3018-08T4 (March 11, 2010) – Order denying motion to withdraw guilty plea reversed. “In denying the motion with respect to the immigration consequences, the trial court referred to those consequences as ‘collateral’ to the entry of a guilty plea. In its brief to us, the State repeats that characterization, citing State v. Chung, 210 N.J. Super. 427 (App. Div. 1986).

Chung, however, no longer represents the law. The Supreme Court in July 2009 decided State v. Nunez-Valdez, 200 N.J. 129, 138, 143 (2009), in which it stressed the necessity of a defendant having a full understanding of the potential immigration consequences of a guilty plea. The trial court did not have the benefit of the Court’s analysis at the time of defendant’s motion, for it was decided some months after the trial court decided that motion. Defendant’s appeal, however, was pending before us at the time of the Court’s decision, and he is entitled to pipeline retroactivity.”






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