Kovacs v. United States, No. 13-209 (2d Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, convicted of misprision of felony, sought a writ of error coram nobis on the ground that his lawyer rendered ineffective assistance by giving erroneous advice concerning deportation consequences of pleading guilty. On appeal, petitioner challenged the district court's denial of the petition. The court concluded that, at the time petitioner's conviction became final, no reasonable jurist could find a defense counsel's affirmative misadvice as to the immigration consequences of a guilty plea to be objectively reasonable. The court also concluded that petitioner has sufficiently shown that he could have negotiated a plea that would not have impaired his immigration status, and that even if he could not, he would have litigated an available defense. Consequently, the court found that petitioner has made a showing of prejudice based on his ability to negotiate an alternative plea. Petitioner established his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel and satisfied the requirements of coram nobis relief. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded to the district court with instructions to issue the writ and vacate the conviction.