Chaidez v. United States, No. 10-3623 (7th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Petitioner entered the U.S. from Mexico in 1971, and became a lawful permanent resident in 1977. In 2003, she was indicted for mail fraud in connection with a staged accident insurance scheme; loss to the victims exceeded $10,000. On advice of counsel, she pled guilty and was sentenced to four years’ probation. An alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony is deportable, 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii). The government initiated removal proceedings after petitioner unsuccessfully applied for citizenship. She sought to have her conviction overturned and filed a motion for a writ of coram nobis, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel because her attorney failed to inform her that a guilty plea could lead to removal. While the motion was pending, the Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010). The court concluded that Padilla did not announce a new rule and did apply to the case and vacated the conviction. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The Supreme Court has defined the concept of an old rule narrowly, limiting it to holdings so compelled by precedent that any contrary conclusion must be deemed unreasonable; Padilla announced a new rule. That numerous courts had failed to anticipate the holding, though not dispositive, is strong evidence that reasonable jurists could have debated the outcome.