Add another state appellate court to the growing list that have held that Padilla v. Kentucky, 130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010), applies retroactively to convictions that became final prior to the date it was issued (March 31, 2010). The Minnesota Court of Appeals, the state’s intermediate appellate court, recently held that Padilla applies retroactively. Strickland v. Washington ineffective assistance of counsel test into which Padilla falls, and the Supreme Court’s Teague v. Lane retroactivity analysis, all of which I have discussed previously, the appellate court turned to Campos’s retroactivity argument: “Campos argues that Padilla merely applied the long-standing principles regarding ineffective assistance of counsel enunciated in Strickland to specific facts and did not announce a new rule of constitutional criminal procedure.” Campos, No. 27CR0933865, slip op. at 8.
Were the court to hold that Padilla announced a new rule of criminal procedure, Padilla would apply retroactively only if the court then determined that this new rule either put activity outside the reach of criminal law (e.g., homosexual adult consensual sexual relations cannot be criminalized) or constitutes a “watershed” rule of criminal procedure (e.g., the right to appointed counsel).
The Minnesota court sided with Campos. “Given (1) the procedural posture of Padilla (a collateral attack on a guilty plea); (2) the clear references in the opinion to its application to collateral proceedings attacking guilty pleas; (3) the analysis under long-standing principles of the right to effective assistance of counsel; and (4) the absence of any mention of retroactivity, the conclusion that the opinion does not announce a new rule of criminal procedure seems self-evident to this court.” Campos, No. 27CR0933865, slip op. at 8.
The court explained that it was persuaded by the retroactivity analysis employed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas’s decision in Marroquin v. United States, No. M-10-156, 2011 WL 488985 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 4, 2011) which I wrote about a few months back and mentioned in a post last weeks. According to the Minnesota court, “In Marroquin…[t]he court noted that prior Supreme Court cases have applied Strickland to new sets of facts and the resulting holdings, relying on professional standards and expectations, did not establish new rules.” Campos, No. 27CR0933865, slip op. at 9.
As such, “What constitutes effective assistance of counsel is examined under Strickland, and, as the state acknowledges in this case, a defense attorney’s duty to properly advise his client before a guilty plea is hardly new. Given developments in immigration policy…we conclude that reasonable jurists, at the time Campos was sentenced, could have concluded that Campos’s counsel was ineffective.” Campos, No. 27CR0933865, slip op. at 11.
Because the trial court did not reach the merits of Campos’s ineffective assistance claim, however, the appellate court reversed and remanded for consideration of that issue. Campos, No. 27CR0933865, slip op. at 12.