Man unable to show prejudice by attorney’s lack of deportation advisement

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A Pakistan-born man who faces automatic deportation as a result of his guilty plea to felony theft lost his pursuit for post-conviction relief before the Indiana Court of Appeals. The judges found Naveed Gulzar was unable to show he was prejudiced by his attorney’s failure to advise him that automatic deportation is a consequence of his guilty plea.

Gulzar came to the U.S. in 2000 with his family, but he never became a naturalized citizen, only a legal permanent resident. In January 2006, he stole a credit card from a customer at a convenience store and used the credit card to make purchases on four occasions. Gulzar was arrested in March 2006 and charged with one count of theft and two counts of fraud, all Class D felonies. He agreed to plead guilty to one count of Class D felony theft and he was sentenced to 18 months in the Indiana Department of Correction, all suspended to probation. He successfully completed his probation.

The agreement advised him of his rights, including that he understood that if he isn’t a legal citizen of the U.S., he may be deported as a result of the guilty plea. Gulzar initialed that section.

Over the next five years, Gulzar sought to have his sentence modified. In November 2011, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief alleging his trial counsel was ineffective for not telling him that pleading guilty to theft would make him automatically deportable under two federal immigration laws.

At the post-conviction hearing, Gulzar’s trial attorney said he failed to tell Gulzar that the guilty plea would make him automatically deportable. Gulzar claimed if he had been told that, he would not have pleaded guilty. The post-conviction court found Gulzar failed to establish prejudice.

The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting Gulzar’s argument that his deportation would be a hardship on his parents and siblings. The judges cited Segura v. State, 749 N.E.2d 496 (Ind. 2001), in which the Supreme Court found no reason to require revisiting a guilty plea if, at the end of the day, the inevitable result is conviction and the same sentence. The justices also held that only in “extreme cases” does a “truly innocent defendant” plead guilty because of incorrect advice as to the consequences.

This is not one of those extreme cases, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote, pointing to the surveillance video of Gulzar’s participating in the crimes and the discovery of the items purchased with the stolen credit card in his apartment.

“While Gulzar may have shown special circumstances related to his family, in light of the evidence establishing his guilt, he has failed to demonstrate prejudice as a result of trial counsel’s failure to advise him that his guilty plea would result in automatic deportation,” she wrote.



  • Convicting The Innocent
    If what Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote about only the truly innocent pleading guilty in extreme cases, why does an Ohio study estimate tha nearly 10,000 innocent people are convicted in the U .S. each year?

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.