Calm Before the Storm?


It has been almost four months since the Supreme Court decided Chaidez, and the courts have been mostly silent on how this decision applies to both pre- and post-Chaidez cases.  Granted, a number of courts have interpreted Chaidez expansively to foreclose any claim that seeks the retroactive benefit of Padilla.  But this surely is not the right result given Chaidez’s intentionally narrow holding, and there is at least one case that will be testing the correctness of this assertion.  Commonwealth v. Sylvain, No. SJC-11400 (Sup. Jud. Ct. of Mass.).  In any event, I have yet to see a flood of dismissals based on the one-size-fits-all theory of Chaidez; yet further proof that Padilla itself did not open the floodgates to claims of ineffective assistance, as Justice Stevens astutely observed would not be the case.  I wish I had more to report but I don’t.  If anyone wishes to share any Padilla/Chaidez-related news, please do.

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