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Cal. Supreme Court Reverses Denial of 2002 Motion to Vacate

People v. Vivar Docket: S260270, Opinion Date: May 3, 2021. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal affirming the trial court's denial of Defendant's motion to vacate his 2002 conviction under Cal. Pen. Code 1473.7, holding that Defendant demonstrated a reasonable probability that if he had been properly advised by counsel about the immigration consequences of his plea, he would not have pleaded guilty to an offense subjecting him to mandatory deportation. Defendant was six years old when he came to the United States and lacked any meaningful ties to Mexico, his country of birth. In 2002, Defendant pled guilty to possessing methamphetamine precursors with intent to manufacture. Defendant's counsel did not advise Defendant as to the actual immigration consequences of his plea. Defendant later obtained an order to expunge his conviction. In 2018, Defendant filed a motion to vacate his conviction under section 1473.7. The trial court denied the motion without considering whether Defendant suffered prejudice from counsel's failure to provide adequate advise. The court of appeal affirmed, determining that defense counsel provided ineffective assistance but that Defendant suffered no prejudice. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant demonstrated a reasonable probability that if he had been properly advised about the immigration consequences of his plea he would not have pleaded guilty to the offense.

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