Chavarria v. United States, No. 11-3549 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Chavarria, born in Mexico, became a legal permanent U.S. resident in 1982. In 2009, Chavarria pleaded guilty to distributing cocaine. One year later, the Supreme Court decided Padilla v. Kentucky, imposing a duty on defense attorneys to inform noncitizen clients of deportation risks stemming from plea agreements, and held that legal advice, or the lack thereof, involving the prospect of deportation resulting from guilty pleas can support a Sixth Amendment claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Chavarria filed a pro se motion under 28 U.S.C. 2255, claiming that his trial counsel stated that “the attorney had checked with the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement … and they said they were not interested” in deporting him. Chavarria was deported before counsel was appointed. The district court denied a motion to dismiss, holding that Padilla could be applied retroactively. Shortly thereafter, the Seventh Circuit decided, in Chaidez v. U.S., that Padilla was a new rule and not retroactive. The district court vacated its ruling and dismissed. While appeal was pending, the Supreme Court affirmed Chaidez, foreclosing Chavarria’s argument that Padilla was retroactive. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that Chaidez distinguished between providing no advice (actionable under Padilla) and providing bad advice (actionable under pre‐Padilla law).