In the 2010 case, Padilla v. Kentucky the Supreme Court ruled that the failure of an attorney to warn a non-citizen of the immigration consequences of a guilty plea is incompetence of counsel.
Last week the Supreme Court in Chaidez v. United States ruled that Padilla is not retroactive and affects only those cases that were not final at the time of the ruling in Padilla.
Roselva Chaidez immigrated from Mexico. She became a lawful permanent resident in 1977. Her children and grandchildren are United States citizens. She played a minor role in a scheme to defraud an insurance company of $26,000. She plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud. The conviction became final in 2004. In 2009 she applied for citizenship. On the questionnaire she answered one of the questions by admitting to her conviction. Homeland Security thanked her for her honesty by initiating deportation proceedings. She filed a writ of coram nobis to have her convictions voided since she had not been informed of the immigration consequences of her plea. While her writ was pending the Supreme Court decided Padilla. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied the writ on the grounds that Padilla is not retroactive to cases that were final at the time of the Supreme Court decision in Padilla. The Supreme Court concurred.
It ruled that under Teague a case is only retroactive if it does not announce a new rule of law. The Supreme Court found that Padilla announced a new rule of law in that for the first time it found that counsel was incompetent for failing to advise a client about what it calls a collateral effect of a plea. Therefore it held that Padilla is not retroactive.