Skip to content

Demonstrating Prejudice for PC 1473.7 Motion

Case Name: People v. Espinoza (2023) 14 Cal.5th 311
Case #: S269647/F079209
Last Updated: January 26, 2023

Did the Court of Appeal err in ruling that defendant failed to demonstrate prejudice within the meaning of Penal Code section 1473.7 from trial counsel’s failure to properly advise him of the immigration consequences of his plea?

On 9/20/2021, the court limited the issue to be argued and briefed to the following: Did the Court of Appeal err in ruling that defendant failed to adequately corroborate his claim that immigration consequences were a paramount concern and thus that he could not demonstrate prejudice within the meaning of Penal Code section 1473.7?

Held:

Defendant Juventino Espinoza accepted a plea bargain in 2004 and served one year in jail. He argues that he first learned that the plea put him at risk of losing his permanent resident status and being deported in 2015, when he was detained by federal immigration authorities at the airport after a return flight to the United States. He then sought to vacate his conviction three separate times. He asserts counsel never informed him of the immigration consequences of his plea and that he would not have accepted the terms of the plea bargain if he had been so informed. In support of his third motion [under Penal Code section 1473.7], before us now, Espinoza attached a declaration describing his biographical history, which includes more than 20 years living in the United States prior to conviction; a declaration from an immigration attorney explaining that Espinoza’s convictions place him in danger of losing his permanent residence, being deported, and being barred from reentering the United States, and that there were immigration-safe alternatives his counsel could have pursued; and 30 letters from family, friends, community members, clients, and employers documenting his family ties, community connections, and work history. The trial court denied his motion, as it had his previous two. The Court of Appeal affirmed, concluding that Espinoza had not adequately corroborated his claim that immigration consequences were a paramount concern at the time of his plea.

We granted review to consider what constitutes a sufficient showing of prejudicial error within the meaning of section 1473.7. . . . We hold that Espinoza has made the requisite showing and accordingly reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

This case was decided on 1/26/2023.

Review on this issue was also granted with briefing deferred in:

  • People v. Chweya (July 30, 2021, B301780) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 10/13/2021 (S270812)
  • People v. Parra (Aug. 6, 2021, B309749) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 10/20/2021 (S270904)
  • In re Hernandez (Aug. 17, 2021, F076752) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 10/27/2021 (S270972)
  • People v. Bravo (2021) 69 Cal.App.5th 1063, review granted 12/15/2021 (S271782/E072782)
  • People v. Cesena (Feb. 4, 2022, E076213) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 4/13/2022 (S273455)
  • People v. Diaz (2022) 76 Cal.App.5th 102, review granted 6/15/2022 (S274129)
  • People v. Gomez (E075214) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 6/29/2022 (S274715)
  • People v. Valadez (F080618) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 7/13/2022 (S274828)
  • People v. Cardona (B308787) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 8/24/2022 (S275319)
  • People v. Cabrera (B314954) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 9/21/2022 (S275569)
  • People v. Mbugua (B314153) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 12/14/2022 (S276914)

 

Link to Article