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Name: Chaidez v. United States
Case #: 11-820
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 02/20/2013
Subsequent History: 133 S.Ct. 1103; 185 L.Ed.2d 149

The decision in Padilla v. Kentucky (2010) 559 U.S. __ announced a “new rule of law” regarding application of Strickland to an attorney’s advice regarding the immigration consequences of a plea, and is therefore not retroactive. Defendant pled guilty to two counts of federal mail fraud. Her conviction became final in 2004. In 2009, defendant, who was born in Mexico, applied for citizenship. This alerted immigration officials to her conviction, which is an aggravated felony under federal law, and removal proceedings were initiated. Defendant sought to overturn her conviction claiming her trial attorney never advised her of the immigration consequences of her plea. The federal district court granted relief based on IAC; the Seventh Circuit reversed, and defendant appealed. Held: Affirmed. Teague v. Lane (1989) 489 U.S. 288, provides a decision regarding criminal procedure is not retroactive when it announces a “new rule,” i.e., the result was not dictated by existing precedent at the point the defendant’s conviction became final. The question whether the Strickland test even applied to an attorney’s advice regarding immigration (i.e., collateral) consequences of a plea, was unsettled before Padilla. (See Strickland v. Washington (1984) 466 U.S. 668.) Therefore, the holding that the Sixth Amendment governs such matters was a new rule.