Man facing deportation loses 2 appeals

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A citizen of Ecuador who has lived in the U.S. since he was one year old was unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals in separate cases that his counsel’s failure to inform him of the possible deportation consequences of pleading guilty to a crime should result in post-conviction relief.

In 1997, Alex Carrillo pleaded guilty to Class D felony possession of cocaine pursuant to a plea agreement for a lesser sentence that resulted in the judge entering a conviction of Class A misdemeanor possession. In 2006, Carrillo pleaded guilty to Class D felony resisting law enforcement and Class A misdemeanor operating a vehicle while intoxicated, and the felony was entered as a Class A misdemeanor by the judge.

In April 2011, Carrillo was detained by federal immigration authorities and now faces deportation proceedings based upon his resisting law enforcement and possession of cocaine convictions.

In his two appeals before the COA, he claimed that his guilty plea counsel failed to provide effective assistance of counsel by not telling him that pleading guilty could result in deportation. In the case stemming from his 1997 conviction, Alex Carrillo v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1108-PC-437, the post-conviction court found Carrillo failed to establish prejudice from his counsel’s failure to advise. In Alex Carrillo v. State of Indiana, 49A02-1112-PC-1209, based on the 2006 conviction, the post-conviction court found Carrillo established prejudice but failed to establish that his counsel’s failure to advise constituted ineffective assistance because his attorney didn’t know that Carrillo wasn’t a U.S. citizen.

In his appeal from the 1997 case, Carrillo argued that he lived in the United States for 30 years at the time of his guilty plea and that he has a wife, five children and other relatives that live in this country. But he did not bring up this information in his 1997 hearing. The judges also found that the state had a very strong case against Carrillo for drug possession and he benefited from pleading guilty. Therefore, he failed to show there is a reasonable probability but for his counsel’s failure to advise that he wouldn’t have pleaded guilty, Judge Terry Crone wrote.

In the 2006 case, the judges focused on whether Carrillo’s attorney’s performance was deficient because he didn’t inform his client that the guilty plea could have adverse immigration consequences. Carrillo argued that he wasn’t required to show that his attorney knew he wasn’t a citizen or establish that the norm at the time of his hearing was for the attorney to make such an inquiry.

Relying on Segura v. State, 749 N.E.2d 496, 500 (Ind. 2001), the judges pointed out that Carrillo’s attorney did not know that he was not a citizen and that the professional norms at the time he pleaded guilty in 2006 did not include requiring attorneys to ask every client whether he or she is a U.S. citizen, Crone wrote. Beginning with the 2009 edition of the Indiana Criminal Benchbook, trial judges are now to inquire as to whether a defendant is a U.S. citizen and ask whether the possibility of deportation has been discussed with counsel.   

The judges found Carrillo’s attorney did not provide deficient performance because he had no reason to suspect Carrillo wasn’t born in the U.S.



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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues