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No post-conviction relief on Padilla claim

A client’s right to be advised that he could face deportation after a guilty plea is not a “watershed rule” that applies retroactively, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says.

In an opinion released today, the appellate court upheld denial of post-conviction relief for a defendant who was subject to deportation after he pleaded guilty to drug charges in North Carolina in 2007.

The Department of Homeland Security initiated deportation proceedings after Shahzad Mathur pleaded guilty. Mathur said his defense lawyer had told him “not to worry” about possible deportation.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Padilla v. Kentucky that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel requires defense lawyers to tell their clients whether a plea agreement carries a risk of deportation.

But that new right does not apply retroactively on collateral review to allow a defendant to file a new motion for post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, the 4th Circuit panel said in U.S. v. Mathur. Mathur did not file his § 2255 motion within one year of his conviction, and the time to refile such a motion did not start anew after Padilla came down in 2010.

By Deborah Elkins

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