Monday, December 6, 2010

Writ of error coram nobis applicable to criminal judgments

United States v. Hernandez-Monreal, No. 10-4777 (4th Cir.Dec. 6, 2010):

The District Court's finding that a writ of error coram nobis is inapplicable to a criminal judgment was harmless error.  Both the United States Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit have granted relief to federal prisoners under the writ of error coram nobis.  The error was harmless because the petition was ultimately meritless.

Hernandez-Monreal relied on the rule announced in Padilla v. Kentucky.  However, the record shows that Hernandez-Monreal acknowledged during his Rule 11 colloquy that his plea could make it impossible for him to stay in the United States legally.

The Court notes that nothing in Padilla makes it retroactively applicable to cases on collateral review.

[UPDATE:  The Third Circuit announced that Padilla applies retroactively on collateral review.  See United States v. Orocio, No. 10-1231 (3d Cir. June 29, 2011).]

[8/30/2011 UPDATE:  The Seventh Circuit announced that Padilla does not apply retroactively.  See Chaidez v. United States, No. 10-3623 (7th Cir. Aug. 23, 2011).]

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