Justia Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Immigration Law

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In his initial application for habeas relief, applicant Erick Alberto Oranday-Garcia alleged his guilty for possession of cocaine was involuntary because trial counsel rendered deficient performance by advising him that conviction for that offense would not result in deportation. Applicant was deported as a result of his offense. He contended that had he understood the effect that the guilty plea would have on his immigration status, he would not have pled guilty but insisted on going to trial. Applicant's trial counsel filed an affidavit with the convicting court specifically refuting the applicant's allegations and maintaining that he had informed the applicant that his conviction would result in deportation. Based on the affidavit, the convicting court recommended denying relief. In a subsequent writ application, applicant argued that the same circumstances in support of his claim that his plea was given involuntarily due to ineffective assistance of trial counsel was supported under the United States Supreme Court's decision in "Padilla v. Kentucky." Applying the requirement of an allegation of prima facie facts to this petition, the Supreme Court dismissed it as non-compliant with Article 11.07, Section 4. The new law that applicant invoked was Padilla, but the Court concluded he did not establish that Padilla applied to the facts of his case because of Texas precedent "Ex parte De Los Reyes," and the United States Supreme Court's opinion in "Chaidez v. United States." Because the applicant's conviction was final before the Supreme Court announced the rule in Padilla, it could not apply to him in any event. View "Ex parte Oranday-Garcia" on Justia Law

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Appellee, an undocumented alien seeking to remain eligible for "cancellation of removal" from the United States, filed a motion to vacate his 1998 deferred-adjudication misdemeanor judgment for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana. The motion alleged that appellee's guilty plea had been involuntary because it was made without an attorney giving appellee advice regarding deportation. After hearing from appellee's current counsel, the trial judge granted the motion. The court of appeals affirmed, pointing to "evidence" that appellee did not knowingly and voluntarily waive his right to counsel. The Supreme Court granted the State Prosecuting Attorney's (SPA's) petition to answer two questions: (1) could counsel's statements be considered "evidence"?; and (2) was appellee's 1998 waiver of counsel constitutionally invalid because he was not informed of the possible deportation consequences of his plea? After a brief note on the nature of the pleading filed here, the Court answered both questions no. Therefore the Court reversed the court of appeals and reinstated the trial court's original judgment. View "Texas v. Guerrero" on Justia Law