STATE OF NEW JERSEY VS. HORACE BLAKE A-5695-13T4In this PCR appeal, defendant contends his plea counsel failed to provide effective assistance of counsel as outlined in Padilla and Gaitan. Although counsel and the court discussed immigration consequences at the plea hearing, defendant argues counsel failed to convey the likelihood of removal with sufficient precision. Defendant claims counsel misled him to think he might resist deportation, because counsel did not say defendant faced "presumptively mandatory deportation" or "mandatory deportation."
We hold that an attorney need not use "magic words" found in Padilla or Gaitan to convey immigration consequences. Also, the judge's statements, including the "may result in your removal" language of the plea form, may not be imputed to counsel in the ineffectiveness determination. A PCR court must review the totality of the advice counsel has given to decide if an attorney has effectively informed his client of immigration consequences. Under these circumstances, we conclude counsel provided effective assistance, and affirm the denial of PCR.