Alcena v. Commissioner of Correction
In the 2013 case of Chaidez v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that it announced a new rule in its 2010 decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, concerning the responsibility of competent counsel to inform a client whether a plea carries a risk of deportation and, consequently, "defendants whose convictions became final prior to Padilla therefore cannot benefit from its holding." In 2008, Jameson Alcena pleaded guilty to counts of violating a protective order. As a result, an immigration judge found Alcena, a native and citizen of Haiti, removable from the U.S. pursuant to 8 U.S.C. §1227(a)(2)(E)(ii). The U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals dismissed Alcena's appeal from that order. Alcena filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging prejudice from the ineffective assistance of his criminal trial counsel, including in failing to advise him of the potential immigration consequences stemming from his guilty plea. The habeas court conducted a hearing and found that Alcena's trial counsel, Anthony Basilica, did not provide deficient performance and the petitioner was not thereby prejudiced. The court denied the habeas petition but granted certification to appeal. The Appellate Court affirmed the habeas court's judgment. The petitioner's sole claim of ineffective assistance of counsel on appeal was based on Padilla. Given Chaidez and the Appellate Court's recent decision in Saksena v. Commissioner of Correction, Padilla was found not to apply retroactively to the petitioner's claims arising out of his 2008 conviction. The Appellate Court previously has recognized that, absent Padilla, the claim raised by the petitioner would fail under state law.