Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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Petitioner was a citizen of Mexico and, until 2006, was a permanent legal resident of the United States. In 2003, the state charged him with possession and distribution of a controlled substance after police officers found him in possession of five pounds of marijuana. The presumptive sentence on the distribution charge was 19 to 20 months in prison. Petitioner explained to his defense counsel that his primary goal was to avoid serving time in prison so that he could continue his job and education. Given the likelihood of conviction and petitioner’s stated goal of avoiding prison time, his defense counsel negotiated a plea deal with the prosecutor, which the trial court tentatively approved. Pursuant to that deal, petitioner agreed to plead guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, and the state agreed to dismiss the possession charge and recommend probation. In discussing the case with petitioner, defense counsel told him, as she told all her clients who were not United States citizens, that “the Federal Government can do whatever [it] wants to do and so [you] need to understand that [you] could be deported” as a result of pleading guilty. She later characterized her advice “as something more than ‘may’ be deported, but something less than ‘will’ be deported” as a result of a guilty plea. After petitioner’s conviction became final, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not seek to remove petitioner from the U.S. Rather, petitioner continued to live and work in this country until 2005, when he went on a personal trip to Mexico. When petitioner attempted to return to the U.S., federal immigration officials detained him at the border and then admitted him in January 2006 for a “deferred inspection” so that they could determine the effect of his state conviction. Slightly less than two years after his state conviction became final, petitioner filed a timely petition for post-conviction relief, alleging his defense counsel for the 2003 conviction gave him ineffective assistance of counsel, and that his plea was not knowing because the trial court did not inform him of the consequences that faces him if he signed the plea. Petitioner was ultimately denied post-conviction relief. While the case made its way through the Oregon courts, the federal Supreme Court decided "Padilla v. Kentucky," (555 US 1169 (2009)). In light of "Padilla," petitioner brought a second petition for post-conviction relief, which was again denied. The Supreme Court affirmed denial of post-conviction relief, finding that ORS 138.550(3) barred the grounds for relief alleged in petitioner’s second post-conviction petition. View "Verduzco v. Oregon" on Justia Law