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Supreme Court Holds Padilla Not Retroactive

In Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S.Ct. 1473 (2010) [PLN, Aug. 2010, p.11], the U.S. Supreme Court held that attorneys have an obligation to advise their non-citizen clients that they face the collateral consequence of deportation if they plead guilty to a felony.

Roselva Chaidez, a non-citizen permanent resident, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud in 2004 and was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay restitution.

Under federal immigration statutes the offense of mail fraud is considered an "aggravated felony," which meant Chaidez was subject to mandatory deportation. Her criminal defense attorney did not inform her of that fact when she pleaded guilty; she filed a petition for writ of coram nobis alleging ineffective assistance of counsel, and the Supreme Court issued its decision in Padilla while her appeal was pending.

The Supreme Court had previously held, in Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), that when the Court announces a "new rule" the rule is not retroactively applied to final convictions in habeas or similar proceedings. Thus, the government argued "that Chaidez could not benefit from Padilla because it announced a 'new rule' and, under Teague, such rules do not apply in collateral challenges to already-final convictions."

The district court found that Padilla did not announce a new rule for retroactivity purposes, but the Seventh Circuit reversed. See: Chaidez v. United States, 655 F.3d 684 (7th Cir. 2011) [PLN, Dec. 2011, p.24]. Chaidez appealed and the Supreme Court granted her cert. petition.

On February 20, 2013, the Court affirmed the Seventh Circuit, finding that Padilla had announced a "new rule" as defined in Teague and, consequently, Chaidez could not apply Padilla to her already-final conviction. See: Chaidez v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 1103 (2013).

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Related legal case

Chaidez v. United States