The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [order list, PDF] Monday in Chaidez v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to rule on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. In 2010, the court held in Padilla v. Kentucky [JURIST report] that the Sixth Amendment [text] guarantee of effective assistance of counsel requires a criminal defense lawyer to advise a non-citizen client that pleading guilty to an aggravated felony will trigger mandatory, automatic deportation. The question presented in Chaidez is whether Padilla applies to persons whose convictions became final before its announcement. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that Padilla is not retroactive, creating a circuit split.
Petitioner Roselva Chaidez entered the US from Mexico in 1971 and became a lawful permanent resident in 1977. She was indicted in 2003 on three counts of mail fraud and pleaded guilty on the advice of counsel. The government initiated removal proceedings in 2009, and Chaidez appealed, claiming she would not have pleaded guilty if she had been aware that such a plea could result in deportation. Padilla was decided in March 2010 while Chaidez's motion was pending with the district court.