Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, March 02, 2015

Hernandez: Padilla applies even if after guilty plea

In Hernandez v. U.S., No. 13-10352 (March 2, 2015), the Court held that the district court abused its discretion in denying an evidentiary hearing to a defendant who claimed that he received ineffective assistance of counsel when she incorrectly advised him about the immigration consequences of pleading guilty to marihuana trafficking. The district court held that Padilla v. Kentucky, which held that counsel must inform her client whether his plea carries a risk of deportation, did not apply because the case was decided after Hernandez enter his plea. Reversing, the Court explained that the question was not whether defense counsel failed to raise an argument which later would prove meritorious, but whether counsel performed deficiently when she mis-advised Hernandez about the consequences of his guilty plea. Moreover, Hernandez alleged that he would have chosen to risk longer incarceration for the chance to avoid deportation. These facts, if true, would have proven that counsel performed deficiently, and prejudice. Hernandez was therefore entitled to an evidentiary hearing.