Statement On Landmark COA Decision Granting Non-Citizens The Right To A Jury Trial

The Legal Aid Society issued the following statement today responding to a historic decision rendered by the New York State Court of Appeals granting non-citizens charged with a deportable offense the right to a jury trial even if the offense at issue carries a jail sentence of six months or less:

“This landmark decision will provide our clients a meaningful opportunity to fight against criminal charges that could bring possible deportation. In New York State, and in the era of Trump, it is crucial that our judiciary weigh potential immigration consequences that could lead to nightmarish outcomes. The court’s ruling holds that, in light of these severe consequences, our non-citizen clients must be afforded a jury of their peers instead of a single decision-maker to scrutinize the charges. Lastly, this decision highlights an unequal treatment between New York City and the rest of the State where jury trials are afforded in every misdemeanor case. The Legislature should fix this next session.”