from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Nancy S.
De La Rosa Garcia appeals the denial of his application for
Santiago of Santiago Law Office, Iowa City, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Martha E. Trout, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and May and Greer, JJ.
Tabor, J., takes no part.
De La Rosa Garcia appeals the district court's denial of
his application for postconviction relief (PCR), arguing that
his trial counsel failed to inform him of the immigration
consequences of his guilty plea. We conclude Garcia's PCR
application is time-barred and affirm the district court
Background Facts and Proceedings.
30, 2008, Garcia, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico,
pleaded guilty to one count of forgery and one count of
identity theft in violation of Iowa Code sections 715A.2 and
.8 (2007). At all times relevant here, Garcia was represented
by counsel and assisted by a Spanish-language interpreter.
the plea hearing, Garcia's attorney explained the
conversation she and Garcia had about the immigration
consequences of his guilty plea,
I've advised him, and he's aware, that the date he
was in custody that-I think it's called ICE
now-immigration placed a hold on him.But I think he's pretty
certain that he will be deported. We don't know for sure,
but I think he believes that he will be deported upon
completion of this case and his release from Scott County
upon this discussion, the judge asked Garcia if he understood
that his plea could affect his immigration status. In
response, Garcia confirmed that he understood and he was
satisfied with the advice from his attorney. The court
accepted his plea. Consequently, the court later sentenced
Garcia to a suspended prison sentence and placed him on
probation for two years.
the plea and sentencing process, Garcia did not appeal his
conviction or sentence. Shortly after the plea, Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took Garcia into custody to
begin removal proceedings. He was in jail for one week until
he posted bond. Given the fear of removal from the country,
Garcia then hired an immigration attorney and contested his
deportation. That challenge to removal failed and an
immigration judge ordered his deportation from the United
States. He appealed this deportation decision.
February 2018, almost ten years after his guilty plea, Garcia
applied for postconviction relief asking the court to vacate
his plea and sentence. Relying on a recent Iowa Supreme Court
case, Morales Diaz v. State, 896 N.W.2d 723 (Iowa
2017), Garcia argued that his attorney was ineffective by
failing to explain the immigration consequences of his guilty
plea before he ...