Thursday involved another major re-visit of the scope of the Padilla decision, by the Kentucky Supreme Court. But was this really a Padilla issue at all? We’re talking about whether a criminal defendant can set aside a conviction based on bad lawyer advice regarding certain “collateral” issues.
This time, the court issued three opinions, involving allegedly bad advice regarding parole eligibility and sex offender status. On parole eligibility, one David Stiger says that he was misinformed by trial counsel about his parole eligibility nine years ago when he pled guilty to Robbery, and should have his conviction set aside. Parole eligibility, argues Mr. Stiger, is just the same as immigration consequences were for Mr. Padilla, so if I prove my lawyer provided ineffective assistance and misadvised me, I should at least get what Mr. Padilla got (a new trial). It is not the same, says the Supreme Court, and in any event Mr. Stiger can’t prove that he would have done better at trial. Conviction affirmed. Same outcome for the Defendants Pridham and Cox on the issue of sex offender misadvice.
What is odd about these decisions is that there was not a single cite I can find of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most recent two decisions granting relief from guilty pleas, which were just decided in March (Cooper and Frye, here). Most agree these two decisions changed existing law on this topic—enough so that I taught a class on them in May, so that means something, doesn’t it? (See also, the cover of this month’s ABA magazine—I love it when I scoop the ABA). Not clear the outcome of these cases would be different, but odd nonetheless.