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Mendoza v. State

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

DIEGO ARMANDO ALVAREZ MENDOZA, Applicant-Appellant,
v.
STATE OF IOWA, Respondent-Appellee.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, John J. Haney, Judge.

         Diego Alvarez Mendoza appeals a district court order denying his writ of habeas corpus.

          Benjamin D. Bergmann and Alexander D. Smith of Parrish Kruidenier Dunn Boles Gribble Gentry Brown & Bergmann L.L.P., Des Moines, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Genevieve Reinkoester, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.

          VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE

         A person whose judgment was deferred and who successfully discharged probation asks us to go a step beyond a recent Iowa Supreme Court opinion and hold the denial of habeas corpus as an avenue for relief is unconstitutional.

         I. Background Proceedings

         Diego Alvarez Mendoza[1] pled guilty to possession of marijuana. His written plea included a waiver of his right to have the district court personally inform him of certain consequences of the plea, including "the [e]ffect of the plea on [his] status under federal immigration laws." The district court accepted the guilty plea, ordered judgment to be deferred, and placed him on unsupervised probation for a term not exceeding one year.[2]

         Later the same year, a federal immigration judge ordered Alvarez "removed from the United States to Mexico" based on his guilty plea to possession of marijuana and his placement on unsupervised probation. The decision was affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

         Alvarez filed a "petition for writ of habeas corpus, or in the alternative, petition for writ of coram nobis."[3] He alleged he "was misadvised by his prior counsel regarding the immigration consequences of his guilty plea" and he was "ordered deported, based wholly on the quasi-conviction in question." He further alleged he could not raise the issue through a postconviction relief application because he received a deferred judgment and successfully discharged probation.

         Following an evidentiary hearing, Alvarez filed an amended petition alleging additional grounds for relief. The district court allowed the amendment and denied relief. Alvarez moved for enlarged findings and conclusions. The court denied the motion. This appeal followed.

         II. Analysis

         A. ...


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