Guillermo Hernandez Ruiz v. State of Iowa

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF IOWA No. 16–1619 Filed May 25, 2018 GUILLERMO HERNANDEZ RUIZ, Appellee, vs. STATE OF IOWA, Appellant. Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Lawrence P. McLellan, Judge. The State appeals the district court’s grant of postconviction relief based on a finding of ineffective assistance of counsel. DISTRICT COURT JUDGMENT REVERSED AND CASE REMANDED. Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Thomas J. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Kevin Hathaway, Assistant County Attorney, for appellant. Margaret A. Hanson and Nichole Miras Mordini of Davis, Brown, Koehn, Shors & Roberts, P.C., Des Moines, for appellee. 2 MANSFIELD, Justice. This case presents the question whether bad advice from an immigration attorney to a client to try to get a driver’s license, which triggered a criminal investigation and ultimately a conviction of the client for a previously committed fraudulent practice, can be grounds under the Sixth Amendment or article I, section 10 for setting aside that conviction. As discussed herein, we conclude that no right to counsel had attached when the client went to the driver’s license station. This was before any investigation or criminal proceedings had begun. Accordingly, we reverse the district court ruling that granted postconviction relief to the client and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. I. Facts and Proceedings. Guillermo Hernandez Ruiz is a native and citizen of Mexico. He entered the United States without permission in November of 1999. After entering the United States, Hernandez Ruiz obtained vehicle titles in his name using a false social security number that did not belong to him. On November 3, 2010, the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against Hernandez Ruiz based on section 212(a)(6)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(6)(A)(i) (2006 & Supp. III 2009). 1 Hernandez Ruiz hired attorney Michael Said to represent him in the removal proceedings. 1This subsection provides as follows: (a) Classes of aliens ineligible for visas or admission Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, aliens who are inadmissible under the following paragraphs are ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States: .... (6) Illegal entrants and immigration violators (A) Aliens present without admission or parole 3 On February 28, 2011, Said filed an application for cancellation of removal with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) on Hernandez Ruiz’s behalf, indicating that Hernandez Ruiz had children who were American citizens who would suffer hardship if he were deported. See id. § 1229b(b)(1). 2 CIS received the application on March 1. As a result, Hernandez Ruiz was able to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and valid social security number. That day, Hernandez Ruiz went to the Ankeny driver’s license station of the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and attempted to use his (i) In general An alien present in the United States without being admitted or paroled, or who arrives in the United States at any time or place other than ...

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