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State v. Shata, 2013AP1437-CR and State v. Ortiz-Mondragon, 2013AP2435-CR, petitions for review granted 12/18/14

Review of two court of appeals decisions (one published, one unpublished) that will be argued together. State v. Shata (case activity) and State v. Ortiz-Mondragon (case activity)

Issue in Shata (composed by On Point)

Whether the defendant, a foreign national, should be permitted to withdraw his guilty plea because his trial counsel failed to provide him with “complete and accurate” information about the deportation consequences of pleading guilty?

So what is “complete and accurate information?” Shata was very concerned about being deported, but apparently his trial lawyer did not realize that the crime he was pleading to would result in mandatory deportation. In fact, he didn’t research the issue. Instead, he consulted with other lawyers and then advised Shata that there was a “strong chance” that pleading guilty would result in deportation. A majority of the court of appeals held that this advice did not satisfy Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010). The dissent said it was close enough. See our prior post here.

Issues in Ortiz-Mondragon (composed by On Point)

1.  Padilla holds that when the immigration consequences of conviction are “clear,” or “succinct and straightforward,” counsel’s obligation to give specific advice regarding those consequences is “equally clear.” What does it mean for a consequence to be clear or succinct, and what research is counsel expected to do to determine whether a case calls for specific or more general advice?

Ortiz-Mondragon argues that he pled guilty to a “crime involving moral turpitude,” which would result in mandatory deportation. The court of appeals held that trial counsel did not have to specifically advise him of this fact because  the law governing “crimes of moral turpitude” is not clear, succinct or straightforward. Attorneys, it explained, can’t be expected to research federal court and Board of Immigration decisions to determine which crimes might fall into this classification. See prior post here.

2.  Does a signed plea questionnaire provide sufficient proof that counsel adequately advised a defendant of the immigration consequences of pleading guilty?

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