Maryland and Padilla Retroactivity


The issue of Padilla retroactivity is not dead yet, well not entirely.  The Court of Appeals of Maryland, the State’s highest court, recently decided the case of Lincoln Miller v. State, No. 94, Sept. Term 2012.  In a 4-3 decision, the Court denied postconviction relief for a native of Belize based on a claim that he was not advised of the immigration consequences of his conviction.

The case has a long and convoluted procedural history which stems from the fact that it has been pending for a long time,  before the Supreme Court even decided Padilla.  It is not at all clear what the majority decides in this case aside from  ruling that the petitioner is not entitled to relief.  There’s discussion about Padilla retroactivity in light of Maryland and federal law (in a previous decision, the Maryland Court of Appeals held Padilla could be applied retroactively under the state’s retroactivity framework) but the majority opinions doesn’t make any inroads on the issue.    The dissent, in contrast, argues that Padilla should be applied retroactively under Maryland law.

The following concurrence by Judge McDonald is perhaps the best take on both the majority and dissent opinions:

I will explain why I join neither of the thoughtful opinions in this case, although it may simply reveal my own ignorance in this arena. I agree with the result reached by the Majority opinion, but do not follow its reasoning — it says it is not applying the Teague standard for retroactivity, but is compelled to follow the result in Chaidez,which was based on the Teague standard. The Dissent points that out and states quite clearly that it believes a different standard set forth in this Court’s Daughtrycase should be applied. But I do not grasp the distinction that the Dissent makes between the Daughtry standard and the Teague standard in reference to this case, particularly in that the Dissent relies on Justice Sotomayor’s dissent in Chaidez — a dissent that applied the Teague standard.

In the end, I find Justice Kagan’s analysis for the Chaidez majority persuasive and would apply it here, whether one views it an application of the Teague standard or another standard that operates similarly. That brings me to the same place as the Majority.

The full decision can be downloaded here.

 

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