Fla. justices issue split decision for immigrants

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court says non-citizen immigrants can appeal their guilty or no-contest pleas on grounds defense lawyers failed to warn them that they'd face almost certain deportation.

The justices, though, also ruled on Thursday that their decision cannot be applied retroactively to convictions before a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a similar case from Kentucky.

As a result, they denied appeals by two immigrants from Nicaragua and Cuba convicted on drug and burglary charges. They ruled that a third immigrant, Claudia Vergara Castano, could continue with her appeal because she filed it before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

Castano, a native of Colombia, pleaded guilty to child neglect after a child wandered away from her home day care center in Orlando.

The three rulings were unanimous.

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