Midyear Meeting

Resolution Supports Equal Access to Therapeutic Courts for Noncitizens

Therapeutic courts such as drug and domestic violence courts are effectively off limits to noncitizens, partly because the programs often require a conditional guilty plea that could result in deportation.

A resolution addressing the issue was approved on Monday by the ABA House of Delegates. The resolution states that the ABA opposes interpretations and amendments to federal law that treat such pleas as a conviction for immigration purposes.

Resolution 101F also supports legislation, policies and practices that allow equal access to therapeutic courts and problem-solving sentencing alternatives regardless of immigration status. According to a report accompanying the resolution, in most jurisdictions noncitizens who are arrested are detained for removal proceedings. That often keeps them from participating in therapeutic courts, since most don’t allow people in custody to participate.

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