Roberto Barajas v. United States

United States Court of Appeals For the Eighth Circuit ___________________________ No. 16-1680 ___________________________ Roberto Barajas lllllllllllllllllllllPetitioner - Appellant v. United States of America lllllllllllllllllllllRespondent - Appellee ____________ Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa - Sioux City ____________ Submitted: September 22, 2017 Filed: December 5, 2017 ____________ Before SMITH, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges. ____________ GRUENDER, Circuit Judge. Roberto Barajas appeals the denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Because the district court1 correctly found that 1 The Honorable Leonard T. Strand, Chief Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. Teague v. Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), bars the application of the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), we affirm. I. In 2009, Barajas pleaded guilty to knowingly possessing a stolen firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(j), an offense categorized as an “aggravated felony” under federal immigration law. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(E)(ii). Federal law provides that “[a]ny alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony at any time after admission is deportable.” Id. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii). Because Barajas is a citizen of Mexico and otherwise satisfied § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), he was deported after serving his four-month term of imprisonment. In September 2010, Barajas filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition.2 He claims that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to inform him of the deportation consequences of his guilty plea. At the time Barajas’s conviction became final, and even after his sentence ended, it was unclear if an attorney’s failure to 2 The Supreme Court explained in Chaidez v. United States that a petition for a writ of coram nobis is the proper method “to collaterally attack a criminal conviction for a person . . . who is no longer ‘in custody’ and therefore cannot seek habeas relief under § 2255 or § 2241.” 568 U.S. 342, 345 n.1 (2013). Barajas styled his petition as a request for relief under § 2255, believing he was still “in custody” because he had not yet completed his term of supervised release and because less than one year had elapsed since his sentence. Alternatively, he requested a writ of error coram nobis. The Government did not contest the § 2255 label, and the case has proceeded as though Barajas filed a valid habeas petition. Because we have held that “a federal District Court is not bound by the label attached to the remedy pursued,” see Burns v. United States, 321 F.2d 893, 896 (8th Cir. 1963), and because the parties do not argue to the contrary, we assume, as the Supreme Court did in Chaidez, “that nothing in this case turns on the difference between a coram nobis petition and a habeas petition,” 568 U.S. at 345 n.1. -2- inform a client of collateral consequences like deportation could constitute ineffective assistance of counsel. In Padilla, however, the Supreme Court held that criminal defense attorneys have a duty to inform ...

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