Defendant was properly advised of the immigration consequences of pleading no contest even though he was not advised that he would be denied special forms of removal relief, such as asylum or withholding a removal or cancelation removal. Before Arendtsz pleaded no contest to sexual battery, the district attorney twice advised him that his plea would result in deportation and exclusion from the United States if he was not a citizen. Both times Arendtsz responded that he understood. When removal proceedings commenced nine years later, he filed a Penal Code section 1016.5 motion to vacate his plea, arguing that he was not warned that he would be subject to mandatory deportation and denied special forms of relief from removal. The trial court denied the motion. Arendtsz appealed. Held: Affirmed. Section 1016.5, subdivision (a) requires a trial court, prior to accepting a plea, to administer the following advisement: “If you are not a citizen, you are hereby advised that conviction of the offense for which you have been charged may have the consequences of deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.” The defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that it was reasonably probable that he would not have entered a plea if properly advised. The advisement Arendtsz received was sufficient. He was not only told his plea may have immigration consequences, but was specifically told that it would result in deportation, exclusion from the U.S., and denial of naturalization. Arendtsz argued he should have been specifically warned that his plea would render him ineligible to apply for asylum or withholding a removal or cancellation of removal. In support, he argued that the intent of section 1016.5 was to promote fairness and that such an advisement was necessary to accomplish that objective. The Court of Appeal disagreed, reasoning that the statute’s intent has never been interpreted to require more than the specific advisement set forth in subdivision (a).
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B264807.PDF