In this edition of the Griffith Law Group’s newsletter, we explore updates to the intersection of criminal and immigration law. Recent Supreme Court and 7th Circuit appellate decisions have further limited immigrants’ access to justice.
Chaidez v. United States, a Supreme Court case, limits Padilla’s retroactive effect
Chaidez v. United States, 185 L. Ed. 2d 14 (U.S. 2013), a case decided just over a month ago, updates the law on the intersection of immigration and criminal law. In Chaidez, an alien pled guilty to two counts of mail fraud. The offenses were aggravated felonies, subjecting the alien to mandatory removal. The alien argued ineffective assistance of counsel. While her petition was pending, the Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky 559 U.S. 356 (2010), which held that the Sixth Amendment requires an attorney for a criminal defendant to provide advice about the risk of deportation arising from a guilty plea. The 7th Circuit argued that under the “Teague” rule, the Supreme Court had announced a new rule in Padilla and therefore Padilla did not have retroactive effect. The Supreme Court granted cert in Chaidez and affirmed the 7th Circuit’s ruling that Padilla does not apply retroactively to cases already final on direct review. Chadiz 185 L. Ed. 2d at 155.
Under Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288, a person whose conviction is already final may not benefit from a new rule of criminal procedure on collateral review. A “case announces a new rule if the result was not dictated by precedent existing at the time the defendant’s conviction became final.” Teague, 489 U.S. at 301. And a holding is not so dictated unless it would have been “apparent to all reasonable jurists.” Lambrix v.Singletary,520 U. S. 518. Thus, garden-variety applications of the test in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U. S. 668, for assessing ineffective assistance claims do not produce new rules, id., at 687-688. The Supreme Court, in Chadiz, applied Teague and Strickland to evaluate whether Padilla announced a new rule and found that it did; consequently, Padilla did not apply retroactively to provide Chadiz with relief.
Moral-Salazar v. Holder, a 7th Circuit case,
limits the court’s jurisdiction to review immigration decisions
Practitioners in the 7th Circuit should also be aware of Moral-Salazar v. Holder, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 4150, 2 (7th Cir. Feb. 28, 2013), which has further limited the 7th Circuits jurisdiction to review of Board of Immigration Appeals decisions. In Moral-Salazar, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began removal proceedings because of Moral’s multiple criminal convictions. The Immigration Judge (“IJ”) granted multiple continuances to allow Moral to pursue state-court post-conviction relief. When the state court dismissed such petitions, the IJ denied another petition for continuance and ordered his removal. Moral appealed the decision to the Board, arguing that the IJ’s denial of another continuance rendered Padilla toothless because without the continuance, he has no remedy for his public defender’s alleged failure to inform him of the immigration consequences of his 2002 guilty plea.
In Moral-Salazar, the government argued that 8 USCS § 1252(a)(2)(C) makes the Board’s decision completely unreviewable, as the statute disallows review of “any final order of removal” against an alien who is removable by reason of having committed certain criminal offenses, including sexual abuse of a minor. Furthermore, the government argued that subsection (C) preclude the review of discretionary, procedural decisions such as the denial of a motion for continuance and subsection (D)’s exception for constitutional issues is construed narrowly.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Kucana v. Holder, 558 U.S. 233 (2010) guided the 7th Circuit’s opinion. In Kucana the Court concluded that the jurisdiction-stripping provisions found in 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B) (ii) did not apply to agency decisions made discretionary by regulation). Thereafter, the 7th Circuit, extended Kucana’s holding to (B)(i) in Calma v. Holder, 663 F.3d 868 (7th Cir. 2011) (holding that the court did have jurisdiction under § 1252(a)(2)(B) to review the Board’s denial of a motion for continuance where an alien’s procedural challenge did not implicate the merits of an otherwise unreviewable removal order).
Ultimately, however, textual differences between § 1252(a)(2)(B) and § 1252(a)(2)(C) prevented the 7th Circuit from extending Calma’s holding to subsection (C), and therefore the court refused to review the Immigration Judge’s decision. Moral-Salazar v. Holder, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 4150, 7-8 (7th Cir. Feb. 28, 2013)