In 2003, Roselva Chaidez pleaded guilty to an “aggravated felony” under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (“IIRIRA”), but her lawyer failed to inform her that her plea made her eligible for deportation. Subsequently, the Supreme Court held in Padilla v. Kentucky that the right to effective assistance of counsel includes a duty to inform defendants of deportation consequences of a plea deal if the consequences are clear. Nevertheless, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Padilla did not apply retroactively to Chaidez’s conviction. Chaidez argues that the Supreme Court should hold that Padilla was dictated by precedent (and therefore not a new rule) and is retroactively applicable to her case. The United States counters that Padilla was not dictated by precedent (and therefore was a new rule) and is not retroactively applicable to Chaidez’s conviction. Chaidez argues that Padilla should be retroactively applied because to hold otherwise would undermine the obligation of prosecutors to “seek justice,” which requires using their knowledge of immigration consequences when considering to alter convictions. In response, the United States counters that retroactively applying Padilla would allow defendants to avoid the consequences of their convictions based on a minor error by a lawyer.
In Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), this Court held that criminal defendants receive ineffective assistance of counsel under the Sixth Amendment when their attorneys fail to advise them that pleading guilty to an offense will subject them to deportation.
The question presented is whether Padilla applies to persons whose convictions became final before its announcement.
Does the recent Supreme Court decision Padilla v. Kentucky, which allows an individual to contest a conviction based on a lawyer’s failure to provide information of the deportation consequences to pleading guilty, apply to individuals with convictions made final before the Court decided Padilla?
· Agence France-Presse, Supreme Court will rule on if deportation ruling is retroactive, The Raw Story.
· The New York Times, Court Requires Warning about Deportation Risk, Adam Liptak.
· Wex: Immigration Law.