CA9 on Ineffective Assistance: USA v. Lopez-Chavez

CA9 on Ineffective Assistance: USA v. Lopez-Chavez

"Brigido Lopez-Chavez challenges his conviction for criminal reentry by making a collateral attack on his underlying removal order. He argues that his attorney in the immigration proceedings provided ineffective assistance of counsel in erroneously conceding his removability, failing to appeal the removal order to the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”), and failing to petition the Seventh Circuit for review. He asserts that counsel’s ineffective performance was prejudicial because Lopez-Chavez’s state crime of conviction—possession of marijuana with intent to deliver under Missouri Revised Statutes § 195.211—did not constitute an aggravated felony under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). We hold that Lopez-Chavez received ineffective assistance of counsel throughout the immigration proceedings, that he was deprived of his right to due process, that the proceedings were fundamentally unfair, and that the indictment for criminal reentry must be dismissed." - USA v. Lopez-Chavez, July 3, 2014.  [Hats off to Harini P. Raghupathi, Federal Defenders of San Diego!]