Justia Immigration Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Oregon Supreme Court

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Petitioner Abdulla Gutale was an immigrant who pleaded guilty to the crime of sex abuse in the third degree. He alleged in a petition for post-conviction relief that his trial counsel had failed to inform him of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea to a class A misdemeanor and, through that omission, led petitioner to believe that there would be no immigration consequences. Based on that alleged failure, petitioner asserted that his trial counsel was constitutionally inadequate and ineffective under the state and federal constitutions. His petition was filed outside the two-year limitations period, but petitioner alleged that his petition fell within an escape clause because he could not reasonably have known of his grounds for post-conviction relief within the limitations period because neither trial counsel nor the sentencing court gave him any indication that his plea could carry immigration consequences, even when petitioner stated, on the record, that he was pleading guilty in part because he wished to travel and become a United States citizen. Petitioner alleged that he learned of counsel’s inadequacy only when he was placed in deportation proceedings, after the statute of limitations had run. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition as time-barred under ORS 138.510(3). The Court of Appeals affirmed, based on the principle that “persons are assumed to know laws that are publicly available and relevant to them,” including relevant immigration law. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the decisions of the post-conviction court and the Court of Appeals: "Our conclusion that the subject of the reasonable- ness inquiry in ORS 138.510(3) is an unrepresented petitioner, rather than counsel, is significant. Although counsel may be responsible for knowing that there may be immigration consequences to a criminal conviction, we do not presume that to be the case for an individual petitioner, unless there is a factual basis for concluding that the petitioner knew that there may be immigration consequences to his or her conviction." View "Gutale v. Oregon" on Justia Law

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The Oregon Supreme Court allowed review of two cases this case, and Gutale v. Oregon, 395 P3d 942 (2017), requiring it to interpret the meaning and scope of the "escape clause" found in ORS 138.510(3). In both cases, petitioners alleged that their trial counsels were constitutionally ineffective and inadequate under the state and federal constitutions, based on the failure of those attorneys to provide petitioners with information regarding the immigration consequences of their guilty pleas. And petitioners in both cases alleged that their claims fell within the escape clause because they learned of their counsel’s inadequacy only when they were put in deportation proceedings after the statute of limitations had run. Both petitioners argued that they should not have been presumed to know the law any sooner than that. In this case (but not in Gutale), petitioner Ricardo Perez-Rodriquez was told at the time of his plea that there might be immigration consequences to his conviction, even though he was not told that there certainly would be immigration consequences. Furthermore, in this case (but not in Gutale), petitioner alleged that his mental illness and intellectual disability prevented him from knowing that he had a claim for post-conviction relief within the two-year limitations period. The state moved to dismiss, arguing that the laws underlying petitioner’s claim were reasonably available to him. The post-conviction court dismissed the petition as time-barred under ORS 138.510(3). The Court of Appeals affirmed without opinion. Finding no error in this case, the Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals and the post-conviction court. View "Perez-Rodriguez v. Oregon" on Justia Law