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U.S. justices to rule on retroactivity of case involving guilty pleas by immigrants

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The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a case that stems from its 2010 decision Padilla v. Kentucky, in which the justices held that criminal defense attorneys are obligated under the Sixth Amendment to advise noncitizen defendants about immigration consequences of pleading guilty. The justices will now rule on whether its decision is retroactive.

SCOTUS granted the petition for writ of certiorari Monday in Roselva Chaidez v. United States, No. 11-802, a case that comes from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Roselva Chaidez, a Mexican woman who became a lawful permanent resident in 1977, was indicted in 2003 for mail fraud. She pleaded guilty to two counts on the advice of her attorney, after which the government initiated removal proceedings to deport her. To attempt to avoid deportation, she filed a motion claiming her attorney was ineffective because she wouldn’t have pleaded guilty if she had known of the consequences. While her motion was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Padilla.

The Illinois federal judge held that Padilla applied to Chaidez’s case and vacated her convictions based on the belief that Padilla was retroactive. A split 7th Circuit reversed in August 2011, finding that Padilla announced a new rule so it was not retroactive. Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote in her dissent that the plain language of Padilla shows it anticipated retroactivity.

“We can rest assured that defense lawyers will now advise their clients prior to pleading guilty about the immigration consequences of such a plea, as the Court has clarified that such advice is required under the Sixth Amendment. But given today’s holding, this is of no consequence to Roselva Chaidez despite the fact that professional norms in place at the time of her plea placed the same duty on her counsel,” she wrote.

 

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  • The Right Ruling
    I dont know WHY some States had been divided on the Padilla matter: if Padilla is retroactive or not... The matter is that there's nothing AFTER Padilla...But BEFORE...there's LOT OF ABUSING committed by the BIA and the INS. lot of broken families and bunch of legal residents deported. That's why The Supreme Court SHUOLD rule same rule that on Padilla. The violation of Constitutional rights have been committed for DECADES ! no now (2010) when Supreme first ruled on Padilla.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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