Lee Davis: Supreme Court Refuses To Apply Immigrant Deportation Case Retroactively

Monday, March 11, 2013 - by Lee Davis
Lee Davis
Lee Davis

In an important decision regarding immigrant criminal defendants, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion, Chaidez v. U.S., late last month refusing to block the deportation of a woman from Illinois, as well as thousands of other immigrants, who pleaded guilty to serious crimes but were never warned by their attorneys that such a plea deal could target them for deportation.

The current law says that those immigrants and lawful residents who have an “aggravated felony” on their record will be deported. The term “aggravated felony” can be used to describe a host of state and federal offenses. The mandatory nature of the law highlights the stiff penalties suffered by noncitizens who plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing.

Immigration attorneys have argued that tens of thousands of immigrants plead guilty to crimes each year that could then lead them to be deported, something many do not realize when the agree to the plea deal.
In an attempt to remedy this problem, the Supreme Court ruled a few years ago that attorneys had a duty to warn noncitizens of the chance that a guilty plea could lead to deportation. The recent case was meant to clarify that the earlier ruling would not apply retroactively to those immigrants who pleaded guilty to criminal offenses prior to 2010.

The case at issue involved Roselva Chaidez, an Illinois woman originally from Mexico. She lived in Chicago for decades and had been a legal permanent resident since 1977. She also had several children and grandchildren living in the area. She admitted back in 1998 to receiving $1,2000 from an insurance company for a fraudulent auto accident claim scheme run by her son and others.

Chaidez pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud, was sentenced to probation and required to repay more than $20,000 (the amount she and her son collectively profited). Chaidez followed the rules and completed her probation and paid restitution by 2004.

A few years later, Chaidez applied to become a naturalized citizen but was denied because she had been convicted of a crime. It was then that she learned that pleading guilty to mail fraud for more than $10,000 meant that she was subject to deportation. She filed a petition asking that her convicted be overturned due to her attorney’s failure to warn her of the consequences of her guilty plea.

A district court judge in Chicago ruled in favor of Chaidez and set aside her conviction. The case then moved on to the 7th Circuit which disagreed with the lower court and said Chaidez was not able to take advantage of  a recent Supreme Court case, Padilla v. Kentucky, to challenge her conviction. The Supreme Court agreed with the 7th Circuit and refused to retroactively apply its earlier decision in Padilla v. Kentucky to help those who plead guilty without proper counsel prior to the 2010 ruling. Justice Kagan, who wrote for the majority, said that the 2010 ruling amounted to a major legal change and that the Court does not apply such changes retroactively to old cases.

To read the full opinion, click here.

Source:U.S. Supreme Court won't block Chicago woman's deportation,” by David Savage, published at LATimes.com


---

(Lee Davis is a Chattanooga attorney who can be reached at lee@davis-hoss.com or at 266-0605.)


Slatery Named Nation's Top Attorney General

Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon Attorneys Selected As 2021 Super Lawyers

Catoosa County Upgrades Georgia DRIVES Motor Vehicles System


The National Association of Attorneys General, the nonpartisan national forum for America’s state and territory attorneys general, presented Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III ... (click for more)

Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon PLLC announces five of its attorneys have been recognized as 2021 Mid-South Super Lawyers for their legal work in Tennessee. The Gearhiser Peters attorneys ... (click for more)

The Georgia Department of Revenue will begin a system upgrade to the state’s DRIVES system (Driver Record and Integrated Vehicle Enterprise System) to improve efficiency and reduce operational ... (click for more)



Business

Slatery Named Nation's Top Attorney General

The National Association of Attorneys General, the nonpartisan national forum for America’s state and territory attorneys general, presented Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III with the Kelley-Wyman Award on Tuesday in Washington, DC. The Kelley-Wyman Award is NAAG’s most prestigious honor given annually to the attorney general who has done the most to advance ... (click for more)

Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon Attorneys Selected As 2021 Super Lawyers

Gearhiser Peters Elliott & Cannon PLLC announces five of its attorneys have been recognized as 2021 Mid-South Super Lawyers for their legal work in Tennessee. The Gearhiser Peters attorneys selected for the 2021 Super Lawyers list are honored for their high levels of professional achievement and peer recognition. The 2021 Mid-South Super Lawyers and Rising Stars list ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Man, 38, Struck And Killed Tuesday Evening On Amnicola Highway

A man, 38, was struck and killed Tuesday evening on Amnicola Highway. At approximately 6:50 p.m., Chattanooga Police Traffic Division responded to a pedestrian struck in the 2400 block of Amnicola Highway. A Chevrolet was traveling South in the 2400 block of Amnicola Highway. The man was walking across Amnicola Highway, East to West, when he was struck by the car. ... (click for more)

Kendel Robinson Captured In Murder At Gas Station Lot

The Chattanooga Police Department Fugitive Division, in collaboration with the U.S. Marshals and the Fulton County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team, has taken Kendel Robinson into custody on a murder case. Robinson was wanted in connection with the Sept. 25 homicide of Jailen Wofford. He is currently in Silverdale Detention Center and is charged with criminal homicide. ... (click for more)

Opinion

School Board Members Deserve The Raises

School boards serve any community in a variety of ways and the hiring of a superintendent describes just one. The school board serves as the fiscal referee as well on all finance matters - building services and all the many requirements running the individual schools. State rules and regulations must be followed. The budget that comprises all the expenditures is overseen by the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Buy The Coach Out!

It has long been said the two biggest days in a football coach’s life are the day he gets hired, and the day he gets fired. Being a college coach has never been as lucrative, with the nation’s elite universities paying around $10 million a year, but getting fired has an upside too. Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated notes, “We are one more big firing away from eclipsing $100 million ... (click for more)