Doe v. United States, No. 17-1841 (2d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
In this redacted case, petitioner appealed the district court's judgment after filing a petition of error coram nobis seeking to vacate his earlier conviction. Petitioner argued that defense counsel was ineffective in affirmatively assuring him that there should be no immigration consequences for pleading guilty when, in fact, the crime to which he pleaded was an aggravated felony resulting in mandatory removal.
The Second Circuit held that the district court improperly denied petitioner's coram nobis petition and reversed its judgment. Because the district court neither employed the correct legal standard nor examined whether petitioner was prejudiced under Strickland v. Washington, the court analyzed the question itself. In this case, the government conceded that counsel's actions were objectively unreasonable. The court held that petitioner showed that counsel's immigration misadvice was prejudicial because he had a reasonable probability either of negotiating a different plea of going to trial or litigating the loss amount. Furthermore, petitioner provided sufficient reasons to justify his delay in seeking to vacate his conviction. The court remanded with instructions for the district court to grant the writ, vacate petitioner's plea and conviction, and transfer the case.