Gonzalez v. Commissioner of Correction
In the 2013 case of Chaidez v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court held that its 2010 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, that the sixth amendment to the U.S. constitution requires counsel to inform clients regarding whether a guilty plea carries a risk of deportation and setting forth requirements for when counsel must advise that a guilty plea "will" result in deportation or "may" result in deportation, does not apply retroactively. Under a plea agreement, Alejandro Gonzalez pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to sell and was sentenced to 22 years incarceration. His second amended petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleged, relevantly, that his trial counsel, Louis Martocchio, rendered ineffective assistance in failing to adequately advise the petitioner regarding aspects of his guilty plea. The habeas court denied the petition and denied certification to appeal. Gonzalez appealed. The Appellate Court dismissed the appeal. The habeas court did not abuse its discretion in denying the petition for certification to appeal on the issue of whether Martocchio's performance was deficient in failing to advise the petitioner that he was not presumed guilty and had options aside from accepting the state's offer. The habeas court noted that the case was a credibility contest between the petitioner and Martocchio and credited Martocchio's testimony. The court highlighted Martocchio's testimony that he urged the petitioner to continue to litigate or at least to investigate the case and the petitioner, by signing a document, admitted he was acting contrary to Martocchio's advice by pleading guilty. The Appellate Court deferred to the habeas court's credibility assessment. The petitioner also claimed that the habeas court erred in failing to conclude that Martocchio was ineffective for failing to adequately advise him that a guilty plea would result in deportation in accordance with Padilla. The habeas court determined that Martocchio did so advise the petitioner. The Appellate Court did not need to address whether that advice satisfied Padilla's requirements. In Chaidez, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Padilla does not apply retroactively. The petitioner was sentenced in Oct. 2005 and did not file a direct appeal. His conviction became final prior to the release of Padilla in 2010. Therefore, Padilla did not apply.