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WillPadillaReachAcrosstheBorder?

RACHELE.ROSENBLOOM*

ABSTRACT

In Padilla v. Kentucky, the Supreme Court recognized a noncitizen


criminal defendants Sixth Amendment right to receive accurate advice
regarding the immigration consequences of a guilty plea. This Article
arguesthatalthoughPadillarepresentsamajorstepforward,itsreachwill
be uneven. Looking at what Padilla will mean for those who have been
deportedonthebasisofconstitutionallydefectiveguiltypleas,theauthor
identifiestwofactorsthatmaylimitthedecisionsimpact.First,restrictions
onstateandfederalpostconvictionrelief,combinedwiththelogisticaland
evidentiary complexities inherent in litigating a claim from abroad, will
present significant obstacles to pursuing Padilla claims. Secondly, a
deportee who prevails on a Padilla claim may find that the vacatur of the
conviction fails to provide her with any basis for regaining her former
immigration status. In response to these potential limitations, this Article
proposes a set of reforms to bring Padillas promise to fruition. The
proposals focus on making mechanisms for postconviction review
accessible to deportees and providingwaysfor deportees to return to the
UnitedStatestemporarilytopursuePadillaclaimsandpermanentlyifthey
aresuccessfulinsuchclaims.

* Assistant Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law; J.D. New York

University;M.A.Universityof California,Berkeley;B.A. ColumbiaUniversity.Many thanks


to the organizers of this Symposium; to Dan Givelber, Dan Kanstroom, Dan Kesselbrenner,
WendyParmet,andMannyVargasforhelpfulcommentsonearlierdrafts;toSusanChurch,
Suzanne Robinson Gaidoo, Michael Mehr, Michael Mirer, John MacDonald, Robert Levine,
and Aaron Tarin for sharing information about their litigation experience with me; and to
JeannieBowker,GeniaBlaser,andConnieTranfortheirexcellentresearchassistance.

327
328 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

INTRODUCTION

Momentous1toitsfansandasledgehammer2toitscritics,Padilla
v. Kentucky3 has attracted no shortage of attention. In holding that
criminaldefenseattorneyshaveadutytoprovideaccurateadviceto
noncitizen clients regarding the immigration consequences of a guilty
plea,4 the Supreme Court signaled important shifts on at least two fronts.
First, Padilla lends the Courts imprimatur to an assertion that has been
made for many years by scholars and immigrants rights advocates: that
deportation has become an integral part. . . of the penalty that may be
imposed on noncitizen defendants who plead guilty to specified crimes5
and thus most difficult to divorce. . . from the conviction.6 Second,
Padilla suggests the potential for a more general blurring of the line
betweendirectandcollateralconsequencesofconvictions.7
Padilla undoubtedly represents a major turning point in the Courts
understanding of the relationship between criminal law and immigration
law.Intherushofexcitementoverthedecisionsimplications,however,it
isimportantnottolosesightofitspotentiallimitations.Commentatorsare
beginning to identify factors that may lessen Padillas impact, including

1MANUEL D. VARGAS, IMMIGRANT DEF. PROJECT, A DEFENDING IMMIGRANTS PARTNERSHIP

PRACTICE ADVISORY: DUTY OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE COUNSEL REPRESENTING AN IMMIGRANT


DEFENDANT AFTER PADILLA V. KENTUCKY 1 (2010), available at http://www.immigrantdefense
project.org/docs/2010/10Padilla_Practice_Advisory.pdf.
2Padillav.Kentucky,130S.Ct.1473,1497(2010)(Scalia,J.,dissenting).

3Id.at1473(majorityopinion).

4Seeid.at1486.

5Id.at1480.

6Id. at 1481. For scholarship on the convergence of criminal and immigration law, see

generallyJenniferM.Chacn,ManagingMigrationThroughCrime,109 COLUM. L. REV. SIDEBAR


135 (2009), http://www.columbialawreview.org/assets/sidebar/volume/109/135_Chacon.pdf;
DanielKanstroom,Deportation,SocialControl,andPunishment:SomeThoughtsAboutWhyHard
Laws Make Bad Cases, 113 HARV. L. REV. 1890 (2000); Stephen H. Legomsky, The New Path of
ImmigrationLaw:AsymmetricIncorporationofCriminalJusticeNorms,64WASH.&LEEL.REV.469
(2007); Peter L. Markowitz, Straddling the CivilCriminal Divide: A Bifurcated Approach to
Understanding the Nature of Immigration Removal Proceedings, 43 HARV. C.R.C.L. L. REV. 289
(2008);JulietStumpf,TheCrimmigrationCrisis:Immigrants,Crime,andSovereignPower,56 AM.
U. L. REV. 367(2006).CommentatorsarebeginningtoconsiderwhatimplicationsPadillamay
have for the traditional categorization of immigration as civil rather than criminal. See, e.g.,
PeterL.Markowitz,DeportationisDifferent(BenjaminN.CardozoSch.ofLaw,WorkingPaper
No.308,2010),availableathttp://ssrn.com/abstract=1666788.
7See Margaret Love & Gabriel J. Chin, The Major Upheaval of Padilla v. Kentucky:

ExtendingtheRighttoCounseltotheCollateralConsequencesofConviction,CRIM. JUST., Summer


2010, at 36, 37, 41; Kimberly Atkins, Defense Counsels Duty to Warn About . . . Everything?
PadillaRuling by U.S. Supreme Court Extending Far Beyond Deportation Cases, LAWYERS USA
(Nov. 8, 2010), http://lawyersusaonline.com/blog/2010/11/08/defensecounsel%e2%80%99s
dutytowarnabout%e2%80%a6everything/.
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 329

limits on the availability of postconviction relief under state and federal


law. While some jurisdictions have relatively flexible postconviction
remedies,othersimposecustodyrequirements,statutesoflimitations,and
other restrictions that may cut off a significant number of Padilla claims.8
Viewing Padilla through this lens yields an important insight: even post
Padilla,theabilityofnoncitizenstoseekpostconvictionreliefbasedonan
attorneys failure to provide accurate advice regarding the immigration
consequencesofaguiltypleawillvaryconsiderablyfromstatetostate.9
Here I consider a related question that has not yet attracted notice:
whatwillPadillameanforthosewhohavealreadybeendeported?Inother
words,willsomeonewhofallssquarelywithinPadillasholdingbeableto
vindicateherSixthAmendmentrightsfromoutsidetheUnitedStates?This
questionwillbeparticularlypressingifcourtsconcludethatPadillaapplies
retroactivelytooldconvictions,assomehavealreadydone.10
Crossborder Padilla claims add at least two new dimensions to our
understanding of the decisions uneven reach. First, the logistical and
evidentiary complexities inherent in litigating a claim from abroad will
present challenges to all deportees, even those who are bringing their
claims in jurisdictions with relatively flexible postconviction remedies.11
Second, a deportee who prevails in a Padilla claim may find that the
vacaturoftheconvictionfailstoprovideherwithanybasisforregaining
herformerimmigrationstatus.12
Any consideration of Padilla necessarily takes place against the
backdropofthreecomplexandinterrelatedissues,eachofwhichhasbeen
the subject of extensive scholarly analysis: the increasing convergence of
criminal and immigration law;13 entrenched inequalities in the criminal
justicesystem,includinggrosslyinadequatesystemsforindigentdefense;14

8SeeinfraPartI.

9Federalhabeaschallengestostatecourtconvictionsaresubjecttoacustodyrequirement

aswellasmanyotherlimitationsandarethereforenotlikelytobeofgreatrelevancetothose
seekingtobringPadillaclaimsfromoutsidetheUnitedStates.See28U.S.C.2254(2006).
10Seeinfranote23andaccompanyingtext.

11SeeinfraPartII.A.

12SeeinfraPartII.B.

13Seesourcescitedsupranote6.

14On inequalities in the criminal justice system, see generally DAVID COLE, NO EQUAL

JUSTICE (1999); RANDALL KENNEDY, RACE, CRIME, AND THE LAW (1997); JONATHAN SIMON,
GOVERNINGTHROUGHCRIME:HOWTHEWARONCRIMETRANSFORMEDAMERICANDEMOCRACY
AND CREATED A CULTURE OF FEAR (2007); BRUCE WESTERN, PUNISHMENT AND INEQUALITY IN
AMERICA (2006).Onindigentdefense,seegenerallyStephenB.Bright,CounselforthePoor:The
Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, 103 YALE L.J. 1835 (1994);
Norman Lefstein, In Search of Gideons Promise: Lessons from England and the Need for Federal
Help,55HASTINGSL.J.835(2004).
330 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

andthedecreasingavailabilityofpostconvictionreview.15Theissuesfacing
noncitizen defendants call for far more comprehensive reforms than are
contemplatedhere.Nevertheless,Padillarepresentsacrucialstepforward,
and the problems unique to postremoval Padilla claims deserve serious
attention as courts and policy makers sort out the implications of the
decisionoverthecomingyears.
To that end, this Article identifies the issues raised by crossborder
Padillaclaimsandsketchesout,inaverypreliminaryway,asetofreforms
to bring Padillas promise to fruition. Part I briefly reviews the Courts
holdinginPadillaandoutlinessomeofthepotentiallimitationsonPadillas
reach that commentators have begun to identify. Part II expands this
discussion in a new direction by examining the obstacles that a deportee
might encounter in pursuing postconviction relief from abroad. Using a
hypothetical example of a former longtime legal resident who has been
removed, this part considers how a crossborder Padilla claim might fare,
touchingbrieflyonjurisdictionalbarriersandthenfocusinginmoredetail
on logistical and evidentiary issues. Next, it considers whether success in
such a claim would provide any meaningful benefit to someone who has
beendeported,examiningtheobstaclesthatadeporteemightencounterin
seeking to return to her former legal status in the United States. Part III
proposes four potential reforms that warrant further consideration by
scholars, advocates, and policy makers. These proposals focus on making
the mechanisms for postconviction review accessible to deportees and
providingwaysfordeporteestoreturntotheUnitedStatestemporarilyto
pursuePadillaclaimsandpermanentlyiftheyaresuccessfulinsuchclaims.

I. PadillasPromiseandItsLimits

At the heart of Padilla lies the promise that no criminal defendant


whether a citizen or not[will be] left to the mercies of incompetent
counsel.16Thislatestglossontherighttocounselbuildsonthelongline
ofcasesleadinguptoandelaboratingonGideonv.Wainwright.17Bringing

15See,e.g.,MarkTushnet&LarryYackle,SymbolicStatutesandRealLaws:ThePathologiesof

theAntiterrorismandEffectiveDeathPenaltyActandthePrisonLitigationReformAct,47DUKEL.J.
1, 36 (1997); Larry W. Yackle, State Convicts and Federal Courts: Reopening the Habeas Corpus
Debate,91CORNELLL.REV.541,56566(2006).
16Padillav.Kentucky,130S.Ct.1473,1486(2010)(quotingMcCannv.Richardson,397U.S.

759,771(1970)).
17372U.S.335(1963)(guaranteeingright toappointedcounselin federalandstatefelony

cases). Prior to Gideon, in Powell v. Alabama, the Court recognized a right to courtappointed
counsel under the Fourteenth Amendment in a state capital proceeding where a defendant
didnothavethecapacitytoemploycounselorpresenthisowndefense.287U.S.45,71(1932).
Forcasesbuildingon Gideon, seeWhite v.Maryland,373U.S.59,60(1963)(establishing the
righttocounselatarraignment);Arsenaultv.Massachusetts,393U.S.5,6(1968)(holdingthat
a defendant has a right to counsel at preliminary hearing even where a conviction occurred
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 331

citizenship status into the equation for the first time, the Court in Padilla
interprets the Sixth Amendment to require that defense counsel inform a
noncitizen client whether a proposed plea carries a risk of immigration
consequences.Whenapleacarriesaclearriskofremoval,counselmust
advise a client that deportation [is] presumptively mandatory.18 When
thelawisnotsuccinctandstraightforward...acriminaldefenseattorney
need do no more than advise a noncitizen client that pending criminal
charges may carry a risk of adverse immigration consequences.19 Failure
to adhere to these requirements can now be the basis for a claim for
ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington, which
requiresthatapetitionershowthattheattorneysrepresentationfellbelow
professionalnormsandthatthedefendantsufferedprejudiceasaresult.20
ThereisnoquestionthatPadillasgreatestsignificancewilllieinhowit
transforms the work of criminal defense counsel and prosecutors going
forward.21 However, the majority opinion in Padilla includes language
suggestingthatthedecisionistobeappliedretroactivelyaswell.22Courts
have split so far on the question of retroactivity.23 The way that this

laterattrial);McCann,397U.S.at771(holdingthat,beforedecidingwhethertopleadguilty,a
defendantisentitledtoeffectiveassistanceofcompetentcounsel);Stricklandv.Washington,
466 U.S. 668, 687 (1984) (establishing a twofactor test for showing ineffective assistance of
counsel);Hillv.Lockhart,474U.S.52,5758(1985)(holdingthattheStricklandv.Washington
testforevaluatingclaimsofineffectiveassistanceofcounselappliestoguiltypleachallenges
basedonineffectiveassistanceofcounsel).
18Padilla,130S.Ct.at1483.

19Id.

20Seeid.at1482(citingStrickland,466U.S.at687).

21See id. at 1486 (discussing benefits to both defendants and the state in bringing

deportationconsequencesintothepleabargainingprocess).
22Id. at 1485 (It seems unlikely that our decision today will have a significant effect on

those convictions already obtained as the result of plea bargains. . . . [because] professional
normshavegenerallyimposedanobligationoncounseltoprovideadviceonthedeportation
consequencesofaclientsplea.).
23For cases applying Padilla retroactively, see Marroquin v. United States, No. M10156,

2011WL488985,at*57(S.D.Tex.Feb.4,2011);Martinv.UnitedStates,No.091387,2010WL
3463949,at*3(C.D.Ill.Aug.25,2010);UnitedStatesv.Chaidez,730F.Supp.2d896,904(N.D.
Ill. 2010); Al Kokabani v. United States, Nos. 5:06CR207FL, 5:08CV177FL, 2010 WL
3941836, at *6 (E.D.N.C. July 30, 2010); United States v. Hubenig, No. 6:03mj040, 2010 WL
2650625,at*78(E.D.Cal.July1,2010);Peoplev.Garcia,907N.Y.S.2d398,400(Sup.Ct.2010).
For cases declining to apply Padilla retroactively, see United States v. Gilbert, No. 2:03CR
00349wjm1,2010WL4134286,at*3(D.N.J.Oct.19,2010);Statev.Truong,Nos.CR961681,
CR96907,2010Me.Super.LEXIS104,at*20(Me.Super.Ct.July30,2010);Peoplev.Kabre,
905 N.Y.S.2d 887, 893, 896 (Crim. Ct. 2010). For an analysis of Padilla and retroactivity, see
DAN KESSELBRENNER, NATL IMMIGR. PROJECT OF THE NATL LAW GUILD, A DEFENDING
IMMIGRANTS PARTNERSHIP PRACTICE ADVISORY: RETROACTIVE APPLICABILITY OF PADILLA V.
KENTUCKY, (2010), available at http://nationalimmigrationproject.org/legalresources/cd_pa_
padilla_retroactivity.pdf;GrayProctor&NancyKing,PostPadilla:PadillasPuzzlesforReview
332 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

question is ultimately answered will have a significant effect on Padillas


immediatereach.
Another factor that may limit Padillas reachis theprejudice prong of
Strickland. To satisfy this inquiry, a petitioner must establish that the
outcome of the case would have been different absent counsels deficient
performanceandthatadecisiontorejectthepleabargainwouldhavebeen
rationalunderthecircumstances.24Thusfar,courtshavebeenreluctantto
find prejudice in Padilla claims where defendants received generic
warningsofpossibleimmigrationconsequencesinapleacolloquy.25
Finally, those seeking to raise Padilla claims will have to navigate the
procedural and jurisdictional intricacies of the particular postconviction
remediesavailabletothem.26Dependingonthejurisdictioninwhichrelief
is being sought and the type of postconviction review at issue, potential
barriers may include time limits;27 custody requirements;28 limits on

inStateandFederalCourts,23FED.SENTGREP.239,24041(2011).
24Padilla,130S.Ct.at1485(citingRoev.FloresOrtega,528U.S.470,480,486(2000)).

25Asof2009,thirtystatesimposedrequirementsthatthecourtprovideagenericwarning

ofpotentialimmigrationconsequencesduringapleacolloquy.SeeBriefoftheNatlAssnof
CriminalDef.Lawyersetal.asAmiciCuriaeSupportingPetitionerat11aapp.B,Padilla,130S.
Ct.1473(2009)(No.08651),2009WL1567356[hereinafterBriefoftheNatlAssnofCriminal
Def. Lawyers]. For Padilla claims in which courts have declined to find prejudice, see
Gonzalezv.UnitedStates,Nos.10Civ.5463(AKH),08Cr.146(AKH),2010WL3465603,at*1
2(S.D.N.Y.Sept.3,2010);Momahv.UnitedStates,Nos.4:10CV369A,4:07CR189A,2010
WL 3431657, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 30, 2010); Al Kokabani, 2010 WL 3941834, at *34; United
States v. CruzVeloz, Crim. No. 071023, 2010 WL 2925048, at *3 (D.N.J. July 20, 2010);
Ellington v. United States, No. 09 CIV 4539(HB), 2010 WL 1631497, at *3 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 20,
2010); Flores v. State, No. 4D083866, 2010 WL 2882465, at *23 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. July 14,
2010);Peoplev.Contant,910N.Y.S.2d482,485(App.Div.2010).ButseePeoplev.Garcia,907
N.Y.S.2d 398 (Sup. Ct. 2010) (holding that where defendant is misled by bad advice from a
retainedspecialistandbylackofadvicefromhisdefenseattorney,agenericjudicialwarning
willnotautomaticallycurecounselsfailure).
26Postconvictionremediesexistinallfiftystates,aswellaswithinfederallawandthelaw

of the District of Columbia. See generally 1 DONALD E. WILKES, JR., STATE POSTCONVICTION
REMEDIES & RELIEF HANDBOOK: WITH FORMS (20092010 ed.); LARRY W. YACKLE,
POSTCONVICTION REMEDIES (1981). In some states, the principal postconviction remedy is a
writ of habeas corpus; in others it is a common law writ of error coram nobis or a modern
remedyinthenatureofcoramnobisauthorizedbystatuteorbyajudiciallypromulgatedrule
of court. 1 WILKES, supra, 1:3. In all states, as well as under federal law, the principal
postconviction remedy may be used to raise claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id.
1:4.Statepostconvictionproceedingshavebeenreferredtoassomeofthemostobscureand
Byzantine processes known to American law. Yackle, supra note 15, at 54445. For a
discussion of the barriers that Padilla claims may encounter within postconviction relief
procedures,seegenerallyProctor&King,supranote23.
27Federal habeas corpus petitions must be filed within one year from the date that the

judgmentbecomesfinal.See28U.S.C.2244(d)(1),2255(2006).Thirtysevenstatesimposea
statuteoflimitationsontheprinciplepostconvictionremedywithregardtosomeoralltypes
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 333

successivepetitions;29andlackofappointedcounsel.30Althoughitmaybe
possibleinsomejurisdictionstocircumventrestrictionsonpostconviction
relief through the use of common law writs or other vehicles,31 such
attemptshavethusfarmetwithlittlesuccessinstatecourts.32
An instructive example can be found in a recent Padilla claim in
California.33 Juan Carlos Garcia sought to vacate a 1994 conviction that
resultedfromhispleaofnocontesttoonecountofseconddegreeburglary

ofconvictions,ofwhichtwentystatespermitexceptionstothestatutesoflimitationsinsome
circumstances.See1WILKES,supranote26,1:6.
28In the District of Columbia and twentysix states, the principle postconviction remedy

hasacustodyrequirement.1WILKES, supranote26,1:3;seealso28U.S.C.2254(b)(1),2255
(custody requirement for federal habeas corpus petition). In some of those jurisdictions,
however, secondary postconviction remedies without custody requirements may exist. See
UnitedStatesv.Morgan,346U.S.502,51213(1954)(holdingthatawritofcoramnobismaybe
used for postincarceration challenges to federal convictions); 1 WILKES, supra note 26, 1:7
(discussingsecondarypostconvictionremediesunderstatelaw).
29Federal law restricts second or successive claims, subject to narrow exceptions not

relevant to Padilla claims. See 28 U.S.C. 2244(b), 2255. Most states also restrict second or
successivepetitions.SeeProctor&King,supranote23,at246n.55.
30See1WILKES,supranote26,1:5(notingthattwentyeightstateshaveastatutoryrightto

counselwhentheprinciplepostconvictionremedyisinvoked).
31SeeUnitedStatesv.Denedo,129S.Ct.2213,2224(2009)(recognizingtheavailabilityof

coram nobis to challenge the validity of conviction on the grounds of defense counsels
misadviceregardingtheimmigrationconsequencesofconviction);Morgan,346U.S.at51213
(recognizingthecontinuingvitalityofcoramnobistochallengefederalconvictionswhereother
remedies are unavailable); Hirabayashi v. United States, 828 F.2d 591, 60406 (9th Cir. 1987)
(recognizingavailabilityofcoramnobisdecadesafterconvictionbecamefinal).
32See,e.g.,Peoplev.Garcia,Nos.B219284,B219548,B220182,2010WL3751673,at*4(Cal.

Ct. App., Sept. 28, 2010) (denying relief under Padilla where custody requirement was not
met);Peoplev.Carrera,940N.E.2d1111,112021(Ill.2010)(denyingreliefunderPadillawhere
custody requirement was not met); State v. Truong, Nos. 961681, 96907, 2010 Me. Super.
LEXIS 104, at *10 (Me. Super. Ct. July 30, 2010) (declining to reach the question whether a
PadillaclaimbarredbystatepostconvictionreliefstatutemaybebroughtpursuanttoRule1(c)
of the Maine Rules of Criminal Procedure, which provides that [w]hen no procedure is
specificallyprescribedthecourtshallproceedinanylawfulmannernotinconsistentwiththe
Constitution of the United States or of the State of Maine, these rules or any applicable
statutes); State v. Waugh, 2010 UT App 310, No. 20100737CA, 2010 WL 4379465 (Utah Ct.
App. Nov. 4, 2010), petition for cert. filed, No. 20100967SC (Utah Dec. 7, 2010) (holding that
Padillaclaimmaynotberaisedthroughcommonlawwritorothermeans);Commonwealthv.
Morris, 705 S.E.2d 503, 50509 (Va. 2011) (holding that Padilla claims must comply with the
twoyear deadline for filing motions for habeas corpus and cannot not be pursued through
commonlawwrits).
33See Garcia, 2010 WL 3751673. Garcia sought postconviction relief through a motion to

vacate the no contest plea, a petition for writ of error coram nobis, and a petition for writ of
habeascorpus.Id.at*1.Althoughheinitiatedtheactionin2009,thecourtreacheditsdecision
onSeptember28,2010andaddressedtheimpactofPadillainitsdecision.Id.at*4.
334 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

ofanautomobile.34InsupportofhismotionGarciaassertedthatattheage
of twenty, he took the blame for the actions of his younger brother,
Samuel,whoattemptedtoopenthedoorofaparkedcarinordertojump
theirvehiclesbattery.35Hecontendedthathewouldnothaveenteredthe
plea if he had been properly advised of the potential immigration
consequences.36Atthetimethathesoughtpostconvictionrelief,Garciahad
beenlivingintheUnitedStatesfortwentytwoyears,wasmarriedtoaU.S.
citizen, and had two U.S. citizen children, one of whom was autistic and
requiredmedicalcareintheUnitedStates.37
Initsdecision,thecourtcitedadeclarationsubmittedbytheattorney
who negotiated Garcias plea, in which the attorney conceded he did no
legal research regarding the immigration consequences of the plea.38 In
addition, the court acknowledged that defense counsel failed to defend
theburglarychargeeventhoughafactualbasisforadefenseappear[ed]on
the face of the police report which indicates that Garcia did not touch,
enter, or remove anything from the car.39 The court also cited an expert
witnesswhotestifiedthattheattorneywhorepresentedGarciacouldhave
exploredalternativepleas,suchasautotamperingorattemptedtakingofa
vehicle without the owners consent, that would not have carried
immigration consequences.40 Acknowledging that [i]t is now beyond
dispute that a defendants right to the effective assistance of counsel
includes an obligation on the part of counsel to inform the defendant

34Id.at*1.

35Id.

36Id.
at *2. Garcia faced removal from the United States based on lack of authorized
immigration status. Id. Although it is not entirely clear from the decision what immigration
consequenceswereofconcerntoGarcia,itispossiblethathesoughtvacaturofhisconviction
inordertobeeligibleforcancellationofremoval,aformofreliefavailabletononcitizenswho
havebeenphysicallypresentintheUnitedStatesforatleasttenyearsandarefacingremoval.
See8U.S.C.1229b(b)(1)(2006).Inordertoreceivesuchrelief,anoncitizenmustshowthat
hisremovalwouldresultinexceptionalandextremelyunusualhardshiptoqualifyingfamily
members who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Id. Any offense that falls under
groundsofdeportabilityorinadmissibilityrendersanapplicantineligible.Id.
37Garcia,2010WL3751673,at*1.
38Id.at*2.

39Id.at*4.Accordingtothedecision:

The police report in the 1994 burglary case . . . indicated a witness


heard a noise, looked outside and saw one individual enter a parked
vehicle while Garcia stood on the sidewalk looking around. When
Garcia saw the witness, they both walked off. Garcia and his brother
werestoppedashortwhilelaterpushingavehicle.Garciatoldthepolice,
Itwasmybrothersidea.Ijustwantedtogetabatterytoputinmycar
sowecouldgohome.Iwasplanningtoreturnthebattery.
Id.at*1.
40Id.at*2.
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 335

whether a plea carries a risk of deportation,41 the court nevertheless


concludedthatGarciawasunabletoraisetheclaimofineffectiveassistance
ofcounselduetothefactthathewasnotincustody.42
TheSupremeCourtofIllinoisrecentlydeniedaPadillaclaimonsimilar
grounds. Jesus Carrera, a lawful permanent resident, sought to vacate a
firsttimedrugpossessionoffenseforwhichhehadservedprobation.43The
court noted that Carrera had lived in the United States for 40 of his 46
years, had no prior convictions, had never been incarcerated, and
supported a wife and four children ranging in age from 8 to 15.44 The
court further noted that at Carreras 2004 plea hearing, the trial court
asked No immigration problems, nothing like that? [and] Defendants
trialcounselanswered,NoJudge.Itsnotanissue.45In2007,Carrerawas
placedinremovalproceedingsonthebasisoftheconviction,andin2008
hefiledamotionforpostconvictionrelief.46Issuingitsdecisioninthewake
ofPadilla,thecourtnotedthatitwassympathetictodefendantsplight47
butneverthelessheldthatCarrerawasineligibleforreliefduetohisfailure
tomeetthecustodyrequirementimposedbystatute.48

II. TheViewFromtheOtherSideoftheBorder

Crossborder Padilla claims add an extra layer of complexity to this


picture.Whatifanoncitizendefendantwhowasprejudicedbyineffective
assistanceofcounselisremovedonthebasisoftheresultingguiltyplea?If
Padilla is held to apply retroactively, the question of how to handle
postconvictionmotionsfromdeporteeswillbecentral:manyofthosewho
wouldfallunderaretroactiveapplicationofPadillasholdinghavealready
been removed.49 Yet even if Padilla applies only prospectively, courts will
likely confront the question at some point soon. The widespread use of
immigrationdetention50andthespeedoftheremovalprocess51combineto

41Id.at*4.

42Id.at*5.SeealsoPeoplev.Villa,202P.3d427,436(Cal.2009)(holdingthathabeascorpus

is the exclusive mechanism for raising claims of ineffective assistance of counsel under
California law). The California Supreme Court has held that even those who are in
immigrationdetentionarenotincustodyforthepurposesofhabeasjurisdiction.Seeid.at
43334.
43Peoplev.Carrera,940N.E.2d1111,1112(Ill.2010).

44Id.at1113.

45Id.at111213.

46Id.at1113.

47Id.at1121.

48Id.at112122.

49Between April 1997 and August 2007, 897,099 individuals were removed on criminal

grounds. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, FORCED APART (BY THE NUMBERS) 19 (2009), available at
http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/us0409web_0.pdf.
50The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires mandatory detention of most
336 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

ensurethatmanyofthosewhostandtobenefitfromPadillawillbeoutside
theUnitedStatesbeforetheyhaveachancetoseekpostconvictionrelief.
Forthepurposesoftheanalysisthatfollows,considerthehypothetical
case of a lawful permanent resident, Jane Smith, who is charged with
possessionwithintenttosellasmallquantityofmarijuana.Sheistwenty
five years old and has been a lawful permanent resident since early
childhood.Shemaintainsherinnocence,andtheprosecutionscaseagainst
herhassomeclearweaknesses.However,herattorneyadviseshertoadmit
to the charge in return for a deferred adjudication52 and six months of
probation,attheendofwhichthechargewillbedismissed.Theattorney
warnsherthatgoingtotrialalwaysentailsarisk,andassuresherthatsince
the deferred adjudication will not result in a conviction, there will be no
immigrationconsequences.
Asitturnsout,thisisfaultyadvice:althoughthedeferredadjudication
mayleaveSmithwithoutacriminalrecordunderstatelaw,itnevertheless
counts as a conviction for the purpose of determining deportability or
inadmissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).53

noncitizens with criminal convictions. See INA 236(c), 8 U.S.C. 1226(c) (2006). Many
commentators and advocates have noted the barriers that detained immigrants face when
seekingcounsel inremovalproceedings.SeeHEARTLAND ALLIANCE, ISOLATED IN DETENTION
45 (2010), available at http://www.immigrantjustice.org/downloaddocument/793isolatedin
detentionfullreport.html;HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, LOCKED UP FAR AWAY: THE TRANSFER OF
IMMIGRANTS TO REMOTE DETENTION CENTERS IN THE UNITED STATES 4 (2009), available at
http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/us1209web.pdf; Peter L. Markowitz, Barriers to
RepresentationforDetainedImmigrantsFacingDeportation:VarickStreetDetentionFacility,ACase
Study, 78 FORDHAM L. REV. 541 (2009). The barriers to obtaining postconviction counsel are
even greater. While immigration law is national and detainees may obtain representation in
removal proceedings from attorneys located close to detention centers, a postconviction
attorneywilllikelybelocatedinthejurisdictionwheretheconvictiontookplace.
51Detainedrespondentsinremovalproceedingsareplacedonanexpeditedcalendar.See8

C.F.R. 1003.1(e)(8) (2010); EXEC. OFFICE FOR IMMIGRATION REVIEW, U.S. DEPT OF JUSTICE,
IMMIGRATION COURT PRACTICE MANUAL, ch. 9.1(e) (2008), available at http://www.justice.gov
/eoir/vll/OCIJPracManual/Chap%209.pdf. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is
obligated by statute to effect removal within ninety days after a removal order becomes
administrativelyfinal.SeeINA241(a)(1)(A)(B),8U.S.C.1231(a)(1)(A)(B).
52Deferred adjudications vary in name from state to state. See, e.g., MASS. GEN. LAWS ch.

278, 18 (2008) (describing the procedure for requesting a continuance without a finding
under Massachusetts law); N.Y. CRIM. PROC. LAW 170.55 (McKinney 2010) (describing
adjournment in contemplation of dismissal). In some states, a deferred adjudication is
conditionedonaconfessionorfindingofguiltbutthefinaljudgmentofguiltisnotimposed
unlessthedefendantviolatesthetermsimposed bythecourt.See,e.g., MASS. GEN. LAWSch.
278,18.Inmoststates,adeferredadjudicationinwhichthechargesareultimatelydismissed
isnotaconvictionunderstatelaw.See,e.g.,Id.;N.Y.CRIM.PROC.LAW170.55(8).
53SeeINA101(a)(48)(A),8U.S.C.1101(a)(48)(A)(definingconvictiontoinclude,inter

alia,awithheldadjudicationwhereadefendanthasadmittedtosufficientfactsandwherethe
judgehasorderedsomeformofpunishment,penalty,orrestraintonliberty).
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 337

Moreover,asadrugtraffickingoffense,itfallsundertheINAsdefinition
of an aggravated felony,54 which means that Smith is subject to
mandatory deportation without any consideration of factors such as her
lengthofresidenceintheUnitedStatesorfamilyties.55Sheisalso,dueto
the conviction, subject to mandatory detention while she is in removal
proceedings.56
Once she is taken into custody by Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE), Smith is transferred from her home state to a
detentionfacilitythousandsofmilesaway.Facingmandatorydeportation
asanaggravatedfelon,sherealizesthatherattorneysadviceregarding
theimmigrationconsequencesofthedeferredadjudicationwaserroneous.
However, by that point she is severely limited in her ability to seek
counsel. With little access to a telephone,57 she is unable to locate an
attorneyinherhomejurisdictiontoadviseherregardingthepotentialfor
postconviction relief. It is only after being deported that she is able to
exploreheroptions.
Assuming that this scenario occurs after March 31, 2010, Padilla will
apply no matter how the issue of retroactivity is resolved. It seems fairly
clearthatSmithsattorneysperformancefellbelowprofessionalnormsas
defined in Padilla,58 and Smith has a strong argument that she was
prejudicedbycounselsfailuretoprovideaccurateadvice.Shethuswould
appeartofallwithintheclassofpeoplethatPadillaisintendedtoreach.59

54SeeINA101(a)(43)(B),8U.S.C.1101(a)(43)(B)(definingaggravatedfelonytoinclude

drug trafficking crimes). Congress drastically expanded the scope of the term aggravated
felony in 1996 to include many crimes that are neither aggravated nor felonies. See Nancy
Morawetz, Understanding the Impact of the 1996 Deportation Laws and the Limited Scope of
ProposedReforms,113HARV.L.REV.1936,193943(2000).
55SeeINA240A(a)(3),8U.S.C.1229b(a)(3)(barringthosewithaggravatedfeloniesfrom

cancellation of removal); INA 212(h), 8 U.S.C. 1182(h) (barring those with aggravated
feloniesfromwaiversofcriminalgroundsofinadmissibility);INA208(b)(2)(A)(ii),8U.S.C.
1158(b)(2)(A)(ii) (barring those who have been convicted of a particularly serious crime
from asylum); INA 208(b)(2)(B)(i), 8 U.S.C. 1158(b)(2)(B)(i) (providing that aggravated
felonyconvictionisaperseparticularlyseriouscrime).
56SeeINA236(c),8U.S.C.1226(c).

57SeeHEARTLAND ALLIANCE,supranote50,at9(discussinginadequatetelephoneaccessin

immigration detention centers and the resulting barriers to communication with legal
counsel).
58See Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473, 1483 (2010) (noting that the terms of the INA

relatingtocontrolledsubstanceoffensesaresuccinct,clear,andexplicitandthatPadillas
counselcouldhaveeasilydeterminedthathispleawouldmakehimeligiblefordeportation
simplyfromreadingthetextofthestatute).EvenpriortoPadilla,manycourtshadheldthat
affirmative misadvice could be the basis for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.
See,e.g.,Denedov.UnitedStates,66M.J.114,129(C.A.A.F.2008)(citingcases),affd129S.Ct.
2213(2009).
59SeePadilla,130S.Ct.at1483.
338 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

Yetshemaynotreapanybenefitfromthedecision.Theproblemsshemay
encounter fall into two categories: (1) barriers, both jurisdictional and
logistical, that could prevent her from accessing particular postconviction
remedies; and (2) barriers within immigration law that may prevent her
from returning to the United States even if she succeeds in obtaining
postconvictionrelief.

A. BarrierstoPostconvictionRelief

To some extent, crossborder Padilla claims present a variation on a


theme, highlighting the more general barriers that stand to limit Padillas
reach.60Forexample,acustodyrequirementforfilingineffectiveassistance
ofcounselclaimswillprecludemanyPadillaclaims,includingvirtuallyall
claims by deportees.61 Deportees may also be affected by filing deadlines
andotherrestrictions.
WhatisdifferentaboutcrossborderPadillaclaimsisthateveninstates
thathaverelativelyaccessiblepostconvictionreliefprocedures,62deportees
seeking to enforce their constitutional rights under Padilla may encounter
logistical and evidentiary obstacles.63 Claims of ineffective assistance of

60SeesupraPartI.

61ThosewhohavebeenremovedfromtheUnitedStateshavegenerallybeendeemedtono

longer be in custody for purposes of habeas. See Peter Bibring, Jurisdictional Issues in Post
Removal Habeas Challenges to Orders of Removal, 17 GEO. IMMIGR. L.J. 135, 16573 (2002)
(discussing treatment of custody requirement within the context of immigrationrelated
habeas petitions). However, constructive custody, such as probation or parole, is generally
sufficienttoestablishcustodyforpurposesofhabeas.SeeJonesv.Cunningham,371U.S.236,
243(1963);seealso,e.g.,Peoplev.Villa,202P.3d427,431(Cal.2009)(citingCaliforniacases).
Thus,adeporteewhoisstillonparolemaybeconsideredincustodyforhabeaspurposes
followingremoval.ButseePressRelease,Cal.DeptofCorr.andRehab.,CDCRtoDischarge
Deported Criminal Aliens to Federal Authorities (Mar. 2, 2009), available at http://www.cdcr.
ca.gov/news/2009_Press_Releases/Mar_02.html0 (announcing new California policy of
dischargingindividualsfromparoleuponremoval).
62For example, New Yorks postconviction remedy includes no statute of limitations and

nocustodyrequirement.SeeN.Y. CRIM. PROC. LAW440.10(McKinney2010).Seegenerally1


WILKES,supranote26,at1.11.7(providingoverviewofstatepostconvictionreliefvehicles).
63In addition to the logistical and evidentiary issues discussed here, there have alsobeen

casesinwhichNewYorkcourtshavesummarilydismissedcriminalappeals,andatleastone
motionforpostconvictionrelief,basedsolelyonthefactthatremovalhadbeeneffected,even
where there was no custody requirement for the relief requested. For examples of criminal
appeals,seePeoplev.Wright,712N.Y.S.2d398(App.Div.2000);Peoplev.Malbranche,701
N.Y.S.2d638(App.Div.2000);Peoplev.Shaw,654N.Y.S.2d886(App.Div.1997);Peoplev.
Forde,586N.Y.S.2d495(App.Div.1992);Peoplev.Hernandez,551N.Y.S.2d806(App.Div.
1990); People v. Ragsdale, 535 N.Y.S.2d 63, 6364 (App. Div. 1988); People v. Adamson, 504
N.Y.S.2d620(App.Div.1986);Peoplev.Jimenez,468N.Y.S.2d421,42122(App.Div.1983).
Foranexampleofapostconvictionmotion,seePeoplev.Byfield,No.20011471ORCR,2005
WL711920,at*1(N.Y.App.Div.Mar.25,2005).AttorneyLabeRichmanhasnotedthatthese
cases appear to rest on a misapplication of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine, which
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 339

counsel can be highly factdependent.64 A person bringing a Padilla claim


mustestablishthatdefensecounselfailedtoprovideaccurateadviceabout
theimmigrationconsequencesofapleaandmustpersuadethecourtthat
the defendants actions would have been different had she been properly
advised.65 Theoretically, an individual who is pursuing postconviction
relieffromabroadcouldreturntotheUnitedStatestemporarilytoappear
at an evidentiary hearing; one route would be to seek humanitarian
parole,66andanotherwouldbetoseekadmissiononanonimmigrantvisa
with a waiver of inadmissibility.67 However, neither of these options is
likelytobeavailabletodeporteesexceptinisolatedcaseswithparticularly
compellingcircumstances.68Itislikely,then,thatthemajorityofdeportees

prohibits a convicted criminal from availing himself of the courts once he has escaped
custody.SeeLabeM.Richman,DeportedDefendants:ChallengingConvictionsfromAbroad?,N.Y.
L.J.,June14,2006,at4,4.Healsonotes,however,thatthesearesummarydecisionsinwhich
itdoesnotappearfromthebriefsthatthequestionofjurisdictionwasfullylitigatedandthat
itisquitepossiblethatcounselinthesecaseslostcontactwiththeirclientsfollowingremoval.
Id. At least one court has held that an involuntary departure from the United States is
distinguishable from a voluntary absence and that the fugitive disentitlement doctrine
thereforedoesnotapply.SeeStatev.Ortiz,774P.2d1229,1230(Wash.1989)(enbanc).
64In this regard, Padilla claims are very different from motions for postconviction relief

based on the failure of the court to provide a mandated warning regarding the potential
immigration consequences of a plea. See Brief of the Natl Assn of Criminal Def. Lawyers,
supra note 25, 11a app.B (listing states that mandate judicial advisals). In such cases, the
transcriptoftheproceedingisoftensufficienttoestablishtheclaim.Padillaclaims,incontrast,
maybedifficulttoestablishthroughtheofficialrecord.
65Seesupranote24andaccompanyingtext.

66The INA provides that the Attorney General may parole into the United States
temporarilyundersuchconditionsashemayprescribeonlyonacasebycasebasisforurgent
humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit any alien applying for admission to the
United States. INA 212(d)(5)(A), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)(A) (2006). This authority was
transferredin2003totheSecretaryofHomelandSecurityundertheHomelandSecurityActof
2002(HSA),Pub.L.No.107296,116Stat.2135(codifiedinscatteredsectionsof6U.S.C.),and
has been delegated to a variety of officials within the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS). See 8 C.F.R. 212.5(a) (2010). The regulations specify that among the categories of
detained immigrants who may be paroled are those who will be witnesses in proceedings
being,ortobe,conductedbyjudicial,administrative,orlegislativebodies.Id.212.5(b)(4).In
the case of those who are not detained, parole may be granted to any alien applicant for
admission, under such terms and conditions . . . [as the granting official] may deem
appropriate.Id212.5(c).Seealsoid.212.5(f)(providingforadvanceauthorizationofparole
forthosewhoareoutsidetheUnitedStates).
67See INA 212(d)(3), 8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(3); RACHEL E. ROSENBLOOM, CTR. FOR HUMAN

RIGHTSAND INTL JUSTICE, RETURNINGTOTHE UNITED STATES FOLLOWING REMOVAL: A GUIDE


TO NONIMMIGRANT VISAS 1 (2009), available at http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/centers
/humanrights/pdf/NIVwaiver_practice_advisory.pdf.
68For parole policy see Refugee, Asylum & Intl Operations Directorate, Humanitarian

Parole Program U. S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGR. SERVS. 5, http://www.uscis.gov/


USCIS/Resources/Resources%20for%20Congress/Humanitarian%20Parole%20Program.pdf
340 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

seeking to vacate a conviction under Padilla will be forced to do so from


afar.
There are a number of ways that a postconviction motion could
proceedwithoutthepresenceofthepetitioner.Undermanypostconviction
remedies, a court may waive the personal appearance of the petitioner69
andmaychoosetodecideissuesoffactbasedonaffidavits,declarations,or
other evidence in the record.70 Prosecutors offices have been known to
lend their support to motions to vacate convictions, particularly in cases
involving minor offenses and compelling equities.71 In addition, the
attorney whose performance is at issue may be willing to testify that she
failed to advise the client properly. In such cases, the testimony of the
petitioner may not be essential. However, there will inevitably be cases
where such testimony will be deemed necessary. Barring the petitioners
physicalreturntotheUnitedStates,evidentiaryissueswillbeatthemercy
ofcourtroomtechnologyandthejudgesdiscretion.
Here and there, examples can be found of creative strategies for
handlingsuchscenarios.Forexample:
In Maine Superior Court, Phu Truong, a lawful permanent resident,
broughtaPadillaclaimafterhehadtraveledtoVietnamandfoundhimself
unable to renew his expired green card while abroad because his

(lastvisitedApr.8,2011)(Humanitarianparoleisanextraordinarymeasuresparinglyused
tobringanotherwiseinadmissiblealienintotheUnitedStatesforatemporaryperiodoftime
due to a compelling emergency.). For a discussion of limited availability of nonimmigrant
visas for deportees, see ROSENBLOOM, supra note 67, at 23 (noting difficulties that former
longtimeresidentsoftheUnitedStatesmayfaceinestablishing,forpurposesofbeinggranted
nonimmigrantvisas,thattheylackintenttoremainpermanentlyintheUnitedStates).
69See, e.g., MASS. R. CRIM. P. 30(c)(6) (2008) (A judge may entertain and determine a

motion . . . [for postconviction relief] without requiring the presence of the moving party at
the hearing.). In Indiana, the state postconviction remedy is a civil proceeding, and [t]he
court may receive affidavits, depositions, oral testimony, or other evidence and may at its
discretionordertheapplicantbroughtbeforeitforthehearing.Ind.R.PostConv.Rem.15
(2011).
70See,e.g.,MASS. R. CRIM. P. 30(c); Ind.R.PostConv.Rem.15;seealsoPeoplev.Superior

Court (Zamudio), 999 P.2d 686, 697 (Cal. 2000) (There is simply no authority for the
proposition that a trial court necessarily abuses its discretion, in a motion proceeding, by
resolving evidentiary conflicts without hearing live testimony. (quoting Rosenthal v. Great
W.Fin.Sec.Corp.,926P.2d1061,1072(Cal.1996))).
71See,e.g.,HakeemIsholaetal.,Kentuckyv.Padilla:PerilsandPearls,THE DEFENDER (Utah

Assn of Criminal Def. Lawyers), Fall 2010, at 24 (noting that in years past, obtaining post
convictionvacaturwassimplyamatterofreachingastipulationwithareasonableprosecutor
and getting the judge to sign off on the agreement). It is an open question whether such
cooperation will continue at its former levels if Padilla brings on a rush of postconviction
motions.Seeid.(notingthatinUtahwiththeincreaseindeportationsandtheopeningofthe
SaltLakeCityImmigrationCourt,postconvictionpetitionshavedramaticallyincreasedand
manyprosecutorsandjudgeshavebecomesomewhathostiletothem).
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 341

convictions rendered him inadmissible and ineligible for relief.72 At a


hearing on Truongs motion for postconviction relief, several witnesses
testified, including Truongs father and an attorney from a local legal
servicesorganization.73Truongsownversionofeventswaspresentedvia
the testimony of an interpreter who had interviewed Truong over the
phone using questions prepared by Truongs attorney.74 The court
expressed doubt about the admissibility of Truongs testimony75 but,
denying the motion on unrelated grounds,76 left open whether the
substance of the testimony might be considered in the absence of an
objection.77
In the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida (MiamiDade County), a
former lawful permanent resident who had been removed to Chile
submittedaswornaffidavitinhismotionforpostconvictionrelief.During
thehearingonthemotion,hestoodbyinChiletotestifytelephonicallyif
necessary,alongwithaChileannotarytoswearhimin.78Thecourtgranted
themotion.79
In Rhode Island Superior Court, Fernando Lora, a former permanent
residentlivingintheDominicanRepublic,filedamotiontovacatea1991
conviction.80 Lora initially testified via an Internetbased video
connection.81 However, due to a poor Internet connection, the interpreter,
stenographer, and court were unable to understand him.82 The trial was
recessed and resumed at a later date. Without objection, Lora was
permittedtotestifyatthelaterhearingviaadepositiontranscript.83

72Statev.Truong,Nos.961681,96907,2010Me.Super.LEXIS104,at*13(Me.Super.Ct.

July30,2010).
73Id.at*5.

74Id.at*6.

75Id.at*6,n.5.

76Id.at*20(holdingthatPadilladoesnotapplyretroactively).

77Id.at*6,n.5.
78TelephoneInterviewwithAttorneyMichaelMirer(Nov.10,2010).Thismotionwasfiled

priortoPadillaandwasbasedonthecourtsfailuretowarnthedefendantoftheimmigration
consequences of a plea. Id. However, there was no available transcript of the original
proceeding, so the case presented evidentiary issues not unlike those that might arise in
Padilla claims. Id. At the time that the postconviction motion was filed, the author of this
Articlewascounseltotheclientinhisparalleleffortstoreopenhisremovalproceedings.
79Id.

80Lora v. State, No. PM20093518, 2010 R.I. Super. LEXIS 106, at *1 (R.I. Super. July 12,

2010), amended 2010 WL 2888340 (R.I. Super. July 20, 2010). Although Lora filed the motion
priortotheSupremeCourtsdecisioninPadilla,thecourttooknoticeofPadillainreachingits
decision.Id.at*812.
81Id.at*3.

82Id.

83Id. at *3 n.2 (Although the deposition was apparently videotaped, the Court was only
342 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

These examples show that in at least some cases, courts have been
willing to countenance unconventional strategies for dealing with
evidentiary issues in crossborder petitions for postconviction relief.
However, there is no assurance that every court will do so, particularly
whenobjectionsareraised.Courtpracticesvarywidely,andtechnological
resources vary not only among courts but also among the countries in
which deportees find themselves. Some courts may have sophisticated
videoconferencingsystems;however,thecostsandtechnicalrequirements
of connecting to such systems will make them out of reach to indigent
deportees and those who have been removed to countries where such
technology is not widely available. Some courts have embraced lowcost,
Internetbased alternatives such as Skype,84 but others have barred such
technologies due to concerns regarding image and sound quality,
reliability, and security.85 As the Rhode Island example cited above
illustrates, Internetbased videoconferencing can easily falter, particularly
inalocationwithoutdependablebroadbandInternetaccess.
WheredoesallofthisleaveJaneSmith?Ifconvictedinastatewitha
relatively accessible procedure for seeking postconviction relief, she may
beabletopursueherPadillaclaim.Perhapstheattorneywhorepresented
her in the plea will be willing to testify to having misadvised her, or the
prosecutorsofficewilllenditssupporttothemotion.Itispossiblethatthe
court might see fit to grant her motion without ever requiring live
testimony from her. If live testimony is required, she may find a way to
testifyfromabroad.
However, Smith could easily find herself barred from seeking
postconviction relief or severely prejudiced in her attempt to do so. She
mayencounterajurisdictionallimitationsuchasacustodyrequirement.86
Shemaybeunabletomeetarequirementthatsheappearinpersonforan
evidentiary hearing. Even if she is permitted to testify via twoway
videoconferencing,shemayfinditdifficulttoestablishhercredibilityorto
beapersuasivewitnessthroughremotetestimony.87Ifthefactsrequiredto

providedwiththestenographicrecord).
84See, e.g., Julia Dahl, Facts Cant EsSkype, N.Y. POST, Sept. 25, 2009, http://www.nypost.

com/p/news/local/queens/item_hUeD06KBs68WIqJUmWqVwL (discussing a personal injury


suit litigated from abroad and quoting Queens Supreme Court Justice Martin Ritholtz as
saying:Nomorewastingtime.AllweneedisaWebcamandSkype).
85Forexample,FairfaxCountyCourtinVirginiahashightechcourtroomsequippedwith

highend,securevideoconferencingtechnologyusinghighspeedISDN(IntegratedServices
Digital Network) data transfer lines. Circuit Court Courtroom Technology Reservation Request,
FAIRFAX CNTY. VA, http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/courts/circuit/ccrcourt techreservation
form.htm (last visited Apr. 8, 2011). However, [t]he use of home based systems utilizing
privateservicessuchasSkypeisnotpermitted.Id.
86Seesupranote28.
87The use of videoconferencing has been the subject of criticism in the context of both
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 343

meettheStricklandtestarenotclearlyonherside,oriftheequitiesdonot
entirelyweighinherfavor,88shemayhaveadifficulttimeconvincingthe
judgethatshemeritspostconvictionrelief.Inanyofthesescenarios,Padilla
willbeoflittleuse.89

B. BarriersWithinImmigrationLawandProcedure

CrossborderPadillaclaimsposechallengesnotonlyforpostconviction
courtsbutalsofortheimmigrationcourtsystemandthevariousagencies
that play a role in administering immigration benefits and determining
admissibility.90 The Supreme Courts stated aim in Padilla is to protect
noncitizendefendantsfrompleadingtochargeswithoutunderstandingthe

removalproceedingsandcriminalproceedings.Forcriticismoftheuseofvideoconferencing
in removal proceedings, see, for example, Aaron Haas, Videoconferencing in Immigration
Proceedings, 5 PIERCE L. REV. 59, 6364 (2006) (noting problems with translation, eye contact,
body language, equipment difficulties, poor sound quality, the use and presentation of
evidence,andtheuseofdocuments);DevelopmentsintheLawAccesstoCourts,122 HARV. L.
REV. 1151, 1186 (2009) (citing studies showing that factfinders evaluate video testimony as
less credible than incourt testimony and that testifying through a video monitor is less
persuasivethantestifyinginperson).Forcriticismoftheuseofvideoconferencingincriminal
proceedings, see Anne Bowen Poulin, Criminal Justice and Videoconferencing Technology: The
Remote Defendant, 78 TUL. L. REV. 1089, 1098(2004) (When live hearings are replaced with
videoconferencing, the perceived gains inure primarily to the governmental side of the
system,benefitingjudges,courtpersonnel,andprosecutors.Asaresult,thedecisionmaking
process that leads courts to rely on videoconferencing may be biased, failing adequately to
considerthedefendantsinterests.).
88Postconviction relief that is granted solely on rehabilitative factors or to avoid
immigration consequences is not effective in eliminating the conviction for immigration
purposes. In re Pickering, 23 I. & N. Dec. 621, 624 (B.I.A. 2003). However, it is widely
recognizedamongpractitionersthatthepresentationtothecourtofevidenceofrehabilitation
and good character can be an essential element of a successful motion for postconviction
relief.SeeNORTON TOOBY, POSTCONVICTION RELIEFFOR IMMIGRANTS1820(2004)(notingthat
equitiesofacasewilloftendeterminethelikelihoodofsuccessinapostconvictionmotion);see
alsoAndrewMoore,CriminalDeportation,PostConvictionReliefandtheLostCauseofUniformity,
22 GEO. IMMIGR. L.J. 665, 701 (2008) (noting that courts and prosecutors often seek to
shoehorntheirameliorativegoalsintothesubstantiveorproceduraldefectmoldthattheBIA
establishedinPickering).
89Someone who is unable to vacate a criminal conviction would face an uphill battle in

arguing that the conviction should not carry any immigration consequences. However, an
argument could conceivably be made that a conviction that violates the Sixth Amendment,
even if it has not been vacated, cannot form the basis for a removal order or other such
consequence.Cf.UnitedStatesv.MendozaLopez,481U.S.828,83839(1987)(holdingthata
deportationorderthatviolatesdueprocesscannotserveasthebasisforimpositionofcriminal
penaltyforillegalreentry).
90Theseinclude: Citizenship and Immigration Services and Customs and Border
Protection,bothhousedwithintheDepartmentofHomelandSecurity,andtheDepartmentof
State,whichissuesvisasatU.S.consulatesabroad.
344 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

potential immigration consequences.91 Yet even those who succeed in


Padilla claims may still find themselves facing the immigration
consequencesofaplea.Thisissobecausevacatingtheconvictionmaydo
littletoenablethemtoreturnhometotheUnitedStates.
To grasp the disconnect between Padilla and immigration law, it may
be useful to consider the path of a lawful permanent resident who is
removedonthebasisofacriminalconviction.Whenapermanentresident
is placed in removal proceedings, the immigration judge will first
determine whether the noncitizen (referred to as the respondent) is
subject to removal on the alleged grounds (in this case, on the basis of a
criminal conviction).92 If the respondent is not removable (for example,
because the conviction has been vacated, or because the conviction does
not trigger grounds of removability), the proceedings will be terminated,
and the respondent will retain her permanent resident status. If the
respondentisfoundtoberemovable,thenextstageoftheproceedingwill
focus on the respondents eligibility for various forms of relief from
removal.93Therespondentmaynotbeeligibleforrelief,inwhichcasethe
immigrationjudgewillorderherremoved.Iftherespondentiseligiblefor
relief, the immigration judge will then make a decision whether to grant
relief (in which case the respondent will remain a lawful permanent
resident) or to deny relief (in which case the respondent will be ordered
removed).
Therespondentthenhasthirtydaysinwhichtofileanadministrative
appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).94 Upon the BIAs
affirmance of the removal order (or alternatively, upon the elapse of the
filing period for an appeal, if no appeal is filed), the removal order
becomes administratively final and the respondent may be physically
removedfromtheUnitedStates.95OncetherespondentdepartstheUnited
States,theremovalorderisdeemedexecuted,andtherespondentmayface

91SeePadillav.Kentucky,130S.Ct.1473,148082(2010).
92See8U.S.C.1229a(c)(3)(2006).
93Seeid.1229a(c)(4).Formsofdiscretionaryreliefincludecancellationofremovalunder

1229b,asylumunder1158,andwaiversunder1182(h)andformer8U.S.C. 1182(c).See
INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 326 (2001) (holding that those who pleaded guilty to criminal
chargespriortothe1996repealof1182(c)remaineligibletoapplyforthewaiverifitwould
havebeenavailableatthetimeoftheplea).
948C.F.R.1003.38(a)(b)(2010).

95See8U.S.C.1101(a)(47)(B);8C.F.R.1003.3,1003.39.Iftherespondentfilesapetition

forreviewoftheBIAsdecisioninthefederalcourtofappeals,suchafilingwillnotbarthe
physical removal of the respondent unless the court of appeals stays the execution of the
order.See8U.S.C.1252(b)(3)(B).However,adeporteewhoprevailsonapetitionforreview
willhaveanopportunitytocontestdeportabilityortoseekrelieffromremovalonremandto
theagency.SeeLopezv.Gonzales,549U.S.47,52n.2(2006)(discussingabilityofdeporteeto
seekreliefinremandedproceeding).
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 345

a variety of grounds of inadmissibility if she later seeks to return to the


UnitedStates.96
How does Padilla fit into this picture? Suppose that the court vacates
JaneSmithsconvictionandthedistrictattorneydeclinestoprosecuteher
againonthecharge.Smithnowhasacleancriminalrecord,notonlyunder
state law but for immigration purposes as well.97 However, vacatur of
Smiths conviction will have no immediate effect on her immigration
status. She is stilla former permanentresident who has been removed as
anaggravatedfelon.Shenolongerhasagreencard,oranyotherstatus
thatwouldpermithertoreturntotheUnitedStates.
Procedurally,theonlywaytoturnbacktheclockandrestoreSmiths
permanent resident status would be to seek reopening of the removal
proceedingfromtheimmigrationjudgewhoorderedherremoved(orfrom
theBIAifitaffirmedtheremovalorder).98Areopenedproceedingwould
follow the same path outlined above, with the immigration judge having
the power to terminate the proceeding upon a finding that Jane Smith is
not removable, or to consider her application for relief from removal if
appropriate.99
Although motions to reopen removal proceedings must generally be
filed within ninety days of a removal order becoming administratively
final,100 immigration judges and the BIA retain jurisdiction to reopen
proceedings at any time if warranted by exceptional circumstances.101
Vacaturofanunderlyingconvictionhasbeenrecognizedasanexceptional
circumstance that warrants reopening of removal proceedings even after
the deadline for motions to reopen has passed.102 A noncitizen who

96Seeinfranote113.

97SeeInrePickering,23I.&N.Dec.621,622(B.I.A.2003).

98Amotiontoreopenmustbesupportedbyaffidavitsorotherevidenceandmustestablish

that the evidence is material, was unavailable at the time of original hearing, and could not
have been discovered or presented at the original hearing. See INA 240(c)(7),
8U.S.C.1229a(c)(7); 8C.F.R.1003.2(c)(1), 1003.23(b)(3). An immigration judge may
reopen a removal proceeding only if jurisdiction has not vested with the BIA. 8 C.F.R.
1003.23(b)(1).
99Inthishypothetical,Smithisalawfulpermanent residentandhasonlyoneconviction,

and thus vacatur of the conviction would likely mean that she is no longer removable.
However,therewillbemanycasesinwhichanindividualisotherwiseremovablebutmaybe
eligible for relief based on the vacatur of a conviction. This would appear to be the case in
Peoplev.Garcia,Nos.B219284,B219548,B220182,2010WL3751673,at*4(Cal.Ct.App.,Sept.
28,2010).Seesupranotes3342andaccompanyingtext.
100SeeINA240(c)(7),8U.S.C.1229a(c)(7);8C.F.R.1003.2(c)(2),1003.23(b)(1).

1018 C.F.R. 1003.2(a), 1003.23(b)(1). The BIA has held that sua sponte reopening is

appropriateonlyinexceptionalcircumstances.InreJJ,21I.&N.Dec.976,984(B.I.A.1997).
102See Cruz v. Atty Gen., 452 F.3d 240, 242 (3d Cir. 2006) (In cases where the BIA has

foundanaliensconvictionvacatedforpurposesoftheINA,ithasroutinelyconsideredthis
facttobeanexceptionalsituationthatprovidesthebasisforgrantingamotiontoreopensua
346 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

prevailsinaPadillaclaimwhilestillintheUnitedStateswillnolongerface
groundsofdeportabilityasaresultofthe(nowvacated)conviction103and
willalmostcertainlybeabletoreopenaremovalproceedingifaremoval
orderhasissued.104However,thisrouteisforeclosedformanydeportees.
Current Department of Justice regulations bar reopening of a removal
proceedingafterthepersonsubjecttotheremovalorderhasdepartedthe
UnitedStates.105Thedeparturebaronreopeninghasbeenthesubjectof
extensivelitigationoverthepastfewyears.Fourcircuitshavestruckdown
the relevant regulations as invalid,106 and deportees who were ordered
removed by immigration judges sitting within those circuits may seek
reopening from outside the United States after prevailing on a Padilla
claim. However, those removed by immigration judges in other circuits
will be categorically barred from reopening.107 Moreover, there is no
guaranteeevenincircuitsthathavestruckdownthedeparturebarthata
deporteewithavacatedconvictionwillbeabletoobtainreopening,dueto

sponte, without regard to the timing of the filing); see also id. at 246 n.3 (citing ten
unpublished BIA cases granting reopening based on vacated convictions and noting that
[t]hepartieshavenotidentified,andwehavenotfound,asinglecaseinwhichtheBoardhas
rejectedamotiontoreopenasuntimelyafterconcludingthatanalienisnolongerconvicted
forimmigrationpurposes).
103SeeInrePickering,23I.&N.Dec.621,624(B.I.A.2003).

104Seesupranote102.

105See 8 C.F.R. 1003.2(d), 1003.23(b)(1). A motion to reopen or reconsider shall not be

made by or on behalf of a person who is the subject of removal, deportation, or exclusion


proceedingssubsequenttohisorherdeparturefromtheUnitedStates.8C.F.R.1003.23(b).
Foramoredetailedanalysisofthedeparturebar,seeRachelE.Rosenbloom,Remediesforthe
Wrongly Deported: Territoriality, Finality, and the Significance of Departure, 33 U. HAW. L. REV.
(forthcoming2011)(manuscriptat1726)(onfilewithauthor).
106SeePruidzev.Holder,632F.3d234,24041(6thCir.2011)(invalidatingthedeparturebar

onthegroundthattheagencylacksauthoritytolimititsownjurisdiction);MarinRodriguez
v.Holder,612F.3d591,59295(7thCir.2010)(same);Coytv.Holder,593F.3d902,90607(9th
Cir. 2010) (holding that a related regulation deeming motions to reopen to be withdrawn
upondepartureisultravires);Williamv.Gonzales,499F.3d329,332(4thCir.2007)(holding
thatthedeparturebarisultravires);seealsoLinv.Gonzales,473F.3d979,982(9thCir.2007)
(holdingthatthedeparturebarin8C.F.R.1003.23(b)(1)doesnotapplytosomeonewhohas
departedtheUnitedStatessubsequenttobeingorderedremovedbecausesuchapersonisno
longer the subject of removal proceedings); ReynosoCisneros v. Gonzales, 491 F.3d 1001,
1002 (9th Cir. 2007) (extending the holding in Lin to cover the departure bar in 8 C.F.R.
1003.2(d)).ButseeZhangv.Holder,617F.3d650,660(2dCir.2010)(upholdingthevalidityof
the departure bar with regard to untimely motions to reopen); RosilloPuga v. Holder, 580
F.3d 1147, 1156(10th Cir. 2009) (upholding the validity of the departure bar); Ovalles v.
Holder,577F.3d288,29697(5thCir.2009)(holdingthedeparturebartobevalidwithregard
tountimely motionstoreopenorreconsider); PenaMurielv.Gonzales,489F.3d438,44243
(1stCir.2007)(upholdingthevalidityofthedeparturebarwithoutconsideringtheargument
thatregulationisultravires).
107Seesupranote105andaccompanyingtext.
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 347

the broad discretion that immigration judges and the BIA have to deny
untimely motions.108 Recent unpublished BIA decisions suggest that the
BIA may be using this broad grant of discretion to deny postdeparture
motions to reopen even in circuits that have struck down the departure
bar.109
Thus, there is a good chance that Jane Smith will be unable to vacate
herremovalordereventhoughtheconvictiononwhichitispredicatedno
longerexists.HeronlyotheroptionforreturningtotheUnitedStatesona
permanent basis would be to start all over again with a new immigrant
visa petition. This route will be available to her only if she qualifies for
suchavisathroughafamilyrelationship,employersponsorship,orother
means.110 Depending on the nature of the visa eligibility, she could face
yearsofwaitingforthevisatobecomeavailable.111
Moreover, even if she is the beneficiary of an approved and current
visa petition, Smith will still have to contend with grounds of
inadmissibility. Upon her removal, she faced lifetime inadmissibility on
twoindependentgrounds:havingbeenorderedremovedonthebasisofan
aggravated felony conviction and having a drug trafficking conviction.
Whataboutaftertheconvictionisvacated?Althoughtheconvictionitself
nolongermakesherinadmissible,112sheremainsinadmissiblebasedonthe

108See8C.F.R.1003.2(a)(TheBoardhasdiscretiontodenyamotiontoreopenevenifthe

party moving has made out a prima facie case for relief.); 8 C.F.R. 1003.23(b)(3) (The
Immigration Judge has discretion to deny a motion to reopen even if the moving party has
establishedaprimafaciecaseforrelief.).Thelowerfederalcourtshavewidelyheldthatthe
Boardsdecisionnottoexerciseitssuasponteauthorityisunreviewable.See,e.g.,Tamenutv.
Mukasey,521F.3d1000,1004(8thCir.2008);Harchenkov.INS,379F.3d405,41011(6thCir.
2004);EnriquezAlvaradov.Ashcroft,371F.3d246,24950(5thCir.2004);BelayGebruv.INS,
327F.3d998,1001(10thCir.2003);CalleVujilesv.Ashcroft,320F.3d472,475(3dCir.2003);
Ekimian v. INS, 303 F.3d 1153, 1159 (9th Cir. 2002); Luis v. INS, 196 F.3d 36, 4041 (1st Cir.
1999);Aninv.Reno,188F.3d1273,1279(11thCir.1999);seealsoAlexI.Craciunescu,IsItTime
to Review the Unreviewable BIAs Sua Sponte Power?, A.B.A. LITIG. SEC., http://www.abanet
.org/litigation/committees/immigration/articles/071610craciunescuunreviewablebiasua
sponter.html(lastvisitedApr.8,2011).
109See,e.g.,Williamv.Holder,359F.Appx370,37273(2009)(percuriam)(upholdingthe

BIAs denial of motion to reopen, where conviction was vacated after respondent had been
removed); Rosenbloom, supra note 105 (manuscript at 2126) (discussing unpublished BIA
denialsofpostdeparturemotionstoreopenincircuitsthat havestruck down thedeparture
bar).
110SeeINA201(e),8U.S.C.1151(f)(2006)(immediaterelativesofUnitedStatescitizens);

1153(a)(familysponsoredimmigrantvisas);1153(b)(employmentbasedimmigrantvisas);
1153(c)(diversityvisalottery).
111Many immigrant visa categories are subject to annual limits. The Department of State

publishesamonthlybulletinlistingprioritydatesforvisas.SeeU.S.DeptofState,Bureauof
ConsularAffairs,VisaBulletin,TRAVEL.STATE.GOV,http://travel.state.gov/visa/bulletin/bulletin
_1360.html(lastvisitedApr.8,2011).
112SeeInrePickering,23I.&N.Dec.621,624(B.I.A.2003).Itshouldbenotedthatevena
348 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

priorremovalorderandissubjecttoatleastatenyearbar.113
Insum,itisquitepossiblethatJaneSmith,evenifsheimmigratedto
theUnitedStatesinearlychildhoodandwasremovedsolelyonthebasis
of the nowvacated conviction, will have no way of returning lawfully to
theUnitedStates.Thus,thekeyanimatingprincipleofPadillatoprevent
noncitizen defendants from being at the mercy of incompetent
counsel114willnothavebeenfulfilled.

III. FulfillingthePromiseofPadilla

Whatwillittaketoensurethatnoncitizencriminaldefendantsarenot
left to the mercies of incompetent counsel? To address this question in a
holistic fashion will require wideranging reforms of the criminal justice
system, as well as a rethinking of the policies under which even minor
convictionscantriggermandatorydeportation.Yetevenintheabsenceof
broaderreforms,thereareanumberofmoreimmediatestepsthatcanbe
takentomakePadillaspromiseameaningfulone.
The proper training of criminal defense attorneys will be key; such
effortshavebeenunderwayforyears115andwillnodoubtaccelerateinthe
wake of Padilla. When attorneys fail to advise clients regarding the
immigrationconsequencesofconvictions,andclientsareprejudicedbythe
failure,Padillaprovidesacrucialfirststeptoprovidingredress.However,
Padilla on its own is far from sufficient. Truly protecting noncitizen
defendants from the mercies of incompetent counsel will require the
involvement not only of courts but also of administrative agencies and
legislatures.
The reforms proposed here warrant detailed consideration that is
outsidethescopeofthepresentArticle.However,withtheaimofstarting

personwhonolongerhasaconvictionmightstill,dependingonthefactsofthecase,haveto
contendwithchargesofinadmissibilityunderINA212(a)(2)(A)(i),8U.S.C.1182(a)(2)(A)(i)
(establishinginadmissibilityofanyalienconvictedof,orwhoadmitshavingcommitted,orwho
admitscommittingactswhichconstitutetheessentialelementsofacontrolledsubstanceoffense)
(emphasisadded)orINA212(a)(2)(C),8U.S.C.1182(a)(2)(C)(establishinginadmissibility
of [a]ny alien who the consular officer or the Attorney General knows or has reason to
believeisorhasbeenanillicittraffickerofacontrolledsubstance).
113All those ordered removed are subject to either a fiveyear or tenyear bar of

inadmissibility, depending on the circumstances of the removal. See 1182(a)(9)(A)(i)(ii).


Those who have been removed and have also been convicted of an aggravated felony are
subject to a lifetime bar. Id. Inadmissibility based on a prior removal order can, in some
circumstances,bewaivedasamatterofagencydiscretion.See1182(a)(9)(A)(iii).
114SeePadillav.Kentucky,130S.Ct.1473,1486(2010)(quotingMcMannv.Richardson,397

U.S.759,777(1970)).
115See generally Brief of the Natl Assn of Criminal Def. Lawyers, supra note 25, at 2539

(describing local and national trainings and resources on the immigration consequences of
criminalconvictions).
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 349

suchadiscussion,Iofferthefollowingpreliminarylist:
First, procedures for seeking state and federal postconviction relief
mustcatchupwiththechangingnatureofthecrimmigrationsystem.116
In Padilla, the Court cites changes to the immigration laws that have
dramaticallyraisedthestakesofanoncitizenscriminalconviction117and
made deportation practically inevitable for individuals convicted of
certainoffenses.118Someoftheoffensesthatcannowleadtoremovalresult
in little or no jail time.119 In some cases, the immigration consequences of
such convictions do not become apparent until years later.120
Postconviction remedies that include custody requirements or strict
statutes of limitation are simply not suited to deal with these types of
convictions.121Bothlegislaturesandcourtscanplayaroleinensuringthat
Padillaclaimsremainavailableinsuchcircumstances.122
Second, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of
StatemusttakestepstofacilitatethetemporaryreturntotheUnitedStates
of those who are seeking to testify on their own behalf at a hearing on
postconviction relief. There is precedent for using humanitarian parole to
bring noncitizen witnesses into the United States.123 Parole, or an

116See Stumpf, supra note 6, at 37778 (coining the term crimmigration to describe the

increasingintersectionofcriminalandimmigrationlaw).
117Padilla,130S.Ct.at1480.

118Id.

119SeeMorawetz,supranote54,at193943.

120For example, Jose Velasquez, who became a lawful permanent resident in 1960, was

placed in removal proceedings in 1998 on the basis of a 1980 conviction for a controlled
substances offense. See Velasquez v. Reno, 37 F. Supp. 2d 663, 66465 (D.N.J. 1999). As
explainedbythecourtreviewingahabeaschallengetohisdetention,thecircumstancesofhis
convictionwereasfollows:

[He]wasataparty;wasapproachedbyafriendandaskedifhecouldsell
cocaine;[and]repliedthathedidnotsellcocaine,butthatanothermanat
thepartymightdoso.Heclaims,andrespondentsdonotdispute,thathe
never anticipated receiving, and never received, any compensation for
any transaction that might thereafter have taken place. Petitioner
successfully completed probation and no removal proceedings were
initiated against him over the many years prior to the present action.
Fromallaccounts,heledanexemplarylifepriortotheincidentin1980,
andhesurelyhasledanexemplarylifesincethen.
Id.at665(alterationintheoriginal)(citationomitted).
121SeesupraPartII.A.

122Forcasesinwhichcourtshavebeenaskedtorecognizeexceptionstothelimitationson

statepostconvictionrelief,seecasescitedsupranote32.
123See GLOBAL WORKERS JUSTICE ALLIANCE, CHALLENGES IN TRANSNATIONAL LITIGATION:

REPRESENTING ABSENTEE MIGRANT WORKERS IN U.S. COURTS 6 (2010), available at


http://www.globalworkers.org/PDF/GWJA_PubTransManual_4_2010.pdf (noting success of
350 NewEnglandLawReview v.45|327

alternative mechanism such as nonimmigrant visas,124 should be made


availabletothoseseekingtopursuePadillaclaims.Thisistheonlysolution
that would permit those whose Sixth Amendment rights have been
violated to prepare an effective case and to participate fully in the
postconviction proceeding. Testifying via telephone or videoconference,
althoughitisbetterthannothing,cannotcomparetoinpersontestimony
inthecourtroom.125
Third, when personal appearance is not possible, courts must explore
ways to make courtrooms accessible to those who are outside the United
States through videoconferencing and other means. Although remote
testimonyhassignificantdrawbacks,itisanecessityforthosewhohaveno
realisticpossibilityofmakinganinpersonappearance.126Thetestimonyof
remote witnesses is far clearer (and therefore, perhaps, more persuasive)
whenitistransmittedthroughahighqualityvideoconferencingsystem.127
It is thus crucial that applicants for postconviction relief have access to
advanced technology rather than having to rely on consumergrade
alternatives. One significant way that the federal government could
facilitate this process would be to make existing videoconferencing
facilities in U.S. consulates available to those who are participating from
abroadinlegalproceedingsintheUnitedStates.Theuseofsuchfacilities
may raise security concerns if they are located in areas of the consulates
thatarenotaccessibletothepublic.However,apilotprogramiscurrently
being considered to allow consulates to conduct visa interviews via
videoconference,128 which would entail the development of remote

someadvocatesinobtaininghumanitarianparoleformigrantworkerclientstoreturntothe
United States to testify against former employers or recruiters in labor and employment
claims).
124SeeROSENBLOOM,supranote67(describingwaiversfornonimmigrantvisas).

125Seesupranote87andaccompanyingtext;seealsoTOOBY,supranote88,at470(discussing

importanceofhavingclientpresentincourtinordertopersonalizetheclient,introduce[the
client] to the prosecutor, . . . [and] show how much the client cares about remaining in the
UnitedStates).
126ThisisanissueofrelevancenotonlyforpostremovalPadillaclaimsbutalsoforawide

variety of proceedings. In particular, advocates for the rights of migrant workers have been
engagedindevisingwaysforworkerswhoarenolongerintheUnitedStatestopursuelabor
and employment claims against their former employers. See Cathleen Caron, Portable Justice,
Global Workers, and the United States, 40 CLEARINGHOUSE REV. 549, 55557 (2007); Victoria
Gavito, The Pursuit of Justice is Without Borders: Binational Strategies for Defending Migrants
Rights,HUM.RTS.BRIEF,Spring2007,at5,6.
127See Frederic I. Lederer, Wired: What Weve Learned About Courtroom Technology, CRIM.

JUST., Winter2010,at18,2223(discussingtheexperiencesoftheCenterforLegalandCourt
Technology with both highdefinition video and lowquality, Internetbased technology for
remotetestimony).
128In January 2006, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security launched the Rice

Chertoff Joint Vision: Secure Borders and Open Doors in the Information Age. State,
2011 Will Padilla Reach Across the Border? 351

videoconferencing locations for use by visa applicants.129 Such locations,


which would be accessible to the public, might be wellsuited for use by
remotewitnessesinlegalproceedings.
Fourth, the Department of Justice must alter its policies to permit
immigrationjudgesandtheBIAtoreopenremovalproceedingswhenthe
underlyingconvictionthatformedthebasisfortheremovalorderhasbeen
vacated. A petition for administrative rulemaking to eliminate the
departure bar on motions to reopen is currently pending before the
Department of Justice.130 Without this crucial change, success in a Padilla
claimwillremainahollowvictorytothosewhohavealreadysufferedthe
consequencesoftheirpleas.

CONCLUSION

Even in the wake of Padilla, noncitizen criminal defendants who are


prejudicedbyadefenseattorneysfailuretoprovideaccurateadviceonthe
immigration consequences of a plea face many potential barriers to
obtainingpostconvictionrelief.Forthosewhoareseekingsuchrelieffrom
outsidetheUnitedStates,thesebarriersarecompoundedbythelogistical
andevidentiarycomplexitiesoflitigatingaclaimfromabroad.Moreover,
forthosewhohavealreadybeenremoved,evensuccessinaPadillaclaim
willprovidelittleassuranceoftheoutcomethatreallymatters:returningto
theirlivesintheUnitedStates.
WithitsdecisioninPadilla,theSupremeCourthaspromisedtoprotect
noncitizen defendants from the mercies of incompetent counsel. To fulfill
this promise will require action not only by courts but by administrative
agenciesandlegislaturesaswell.Padillawillremainahollowpromiseuntil
postconviction remedies are made accessible to deportees and until those
who have been removed on the basis of constitutionally defective
convictionsarepermittedtoreturnhometotheUnitedStates.

HomelandSecuritySummarizeBorderSecurityInitiative:FactSheetOutlinesU.S.VisionforSecure
Borders,OpenDoorsinInformationAge,AMERICA.GOV(Jan.17,2006),http://www.america.gov/
st/washfileenglish/2006/January/20060117105641aawajuk0.1286737.html.
129Id. The pilot program was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee in July

2010.SeeTanyaMohn,VideoMayBeanOptionforForeignersSeekingVisas,N.Y.TIMES(Aug.11,
2010, 2:03 PM), http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/videomaybeanoptionfor
foreignersseekingvisas/.
130NatlImmigrationProjectoftheNatlLawyersGuildetal.,PetitionforRulemakingto

AmendRegulationsGoverningMotionstoReopenandReconsiderRemovalProceedingsfor
NoncitizensWhoDeparttheUnitedStates,submittedtoU.S.DeptofJustice,Exec.Officefor
ImmigrationReview(Aug.6,2010)(onfilewithauthor).