Chaidez v. United States

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Post-Conviction Relief
  • Date Filed: February 20, 2013
  • Case #: 11-820
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kagan, J., delivered the Court's opinion which Roberts C.J, and Scalia, Kennedy, Breyer, and Alito, JJ., joined. Thomas, J., filed an opinion concurring in judgment. Sotomayor, J., filed a dissenting opinion which Ginsburg, J. joined.
  • Full Text Opinion

A defendant cannot benefit from a new rule when her conviction became final prior to the new rule’s enactment.

Petitioner, a permanent resident alien of the U.S., pled guilty to mail fraud. When she applied for citizenship, immigration officials discovered the prior conviction and initiated removal proceedings. In an effort to avoid removal, Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of coram nobis and argued that her former attorney failed to advise her of the deportation consequences affiliated with a guilty plea.

While Petitioner’s petition was pending the Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U. S. ___ (2010), which held that “the Sixth Amendment requires an attorney for a criminal defendant to provide advice about the risk of deportation arising from a guilty plea.”

The district court held that because Padilla did not announce a new rule as defined by Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), that retroactive application was proper. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed, finding that Padilla had declared a new rule and retroactive application was improper.

The Supreme Court affirmed, finding that under Teague a new rule is presented when it imposes a new obligation not dictated by precedent. Padilla asked whether an assessment for ineffective counsel under Strickland v Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) was merited if counsel failed to inform their client of collateral consequences, including deportation. Since no previous decision mandated attorneys to discuss collateral consequences with their clients, the Court held that Padilla was a new rule and that retroactive application was improper.

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