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Immigration Law

Conn. Sup. Ct. - Deportee Can't Cite Padilla To Nix '07 Plea: Thiersaint v. Comm.

"The Connecticut Supreme Court refused Monday to toss the drug conviction of a man facing deportation to Haiti, rejecting his request to retroactively apply a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that requires lawyers to warn clients of the immigration implications of their pleas.  In a 4-3 decision that overturned a lower court ruling, the state’s high court found there is insufficient federal legal precedent to apply the landmark Padilla v. Kentucky decision to the case of Emmanuel Thiersaint, 35, who pled guilty in 2007 to possession of crack cocaine with the intent to sell.  The majority opinion cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case, Chaidez v. United States, which found that Padilla was a “new rule” that applies only to future matters or to matters that were pending on direct appeal when it was decided.  “Padilla does not apply retroactively to the petitioner’s guilty plea under federal law,” Justice Peter T. Zarella wrote in his majority opinion. ... In a dissent, Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote that the Padilla decision was not a new rule, as the U.S. Supreme Court found in the Chaidez case, but rather an application of Strickland v. Washington, a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision that governs ineffective counsel. ... In a second dissent, Justices Dennis G. Eveleigh and Andrew J. McDonald wrote that Padilla should apply retroactively in state habeas corpus proceedings such as the one finding that Thiersaint had received inadequate legal counsel." - Law360, Apr. 6, 2015.