Submitted: September 22, 2017
from United States District Court for the Northern District
of Iowa - Sioux City
SMITH, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.
Barajas appeals the denial of his 28 U.S.C. § 2255
petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Because
the district court correctly found that Teague v.
Lane, 489 U.S. 288 (1989), bars the application of the
Supreme Court's decision in Padilla v. Kentucky,
559 U.S. 356 (2010), we affirm.
2009, Barajas pleaded guilty to knowingly possessing a stolen
firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(j), an offense
categorized as an "aggravated felony" under federal
immigration law. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(E)(ii). Federal
law provides that "[a]ny alien who is convicted of an
aggravated felony at any time after admission is
deportable." Id. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii).
Because Barajas is a citizen of Mexico and otherwise
satisfied § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), he was deported after
serving his four-month term of imprisonment.
September 2010, Barajas filed a 28 U.S.C. § 2255
petition. He claims that his trial counsel provided
ineffective assistance by failing to inform him of the
deportation consequences of his guilty plea. At the time
Barajas's conviction became final, and even after his
sentence ended, it was unclear if an attorney's failure
to inform a client of collateral consequences like
deportation could constitute ineffective assistance of
counsel. In Padilla, however, the Supreme Court held
that criminal defense attorneys have a duty to inform clients
about the possible immigration consequences of pleading
guilty in order to provide effective counsel under the Sixth
Amendment. 559 U.S. at 374. Barajas relied on
Padilla in his § 2255 petition. In 2012, citing
Padilla, the district court granted Barajas's
§ 2255 petition and found that his counsel was
ineffective for failing to inform him about the immigration
consequences of pleading guilty. The Government timely
2013, while the appeal was pending, the Supreme Court decided
Chaidez, which held that Padilla announced
a "new rule" under the Teague standard and
thus cannot be applied retroactively to cases on collateral
review. See 568 U.S. at 348-49. In light of that
decision, we reversed the district court's order and
remanded for further consideration. On remand, the district
court denied Barajas's § 2255 petition, finding that
Teague bars the application of
Padilla's new rule in this case. Barajas now
appeals the district court's decision, arguing that
Teague's bar on retroactive application of new
rules does not apply to collateral review of federal
convictions, especially in the context of ineffective
assistance of counsel claims.
review determinations of 28 U.S.C. § 2255 relief de
novo and any underlying findings of fact for clear
error. Pierce v. United States, 686 F.3d 529, 531
(8th Cir. 2012).
Teague, the Supreme Court adopted a uniform rule to
"clarify how the question of retroactivity should be
resolved for cases on collateral review." 489 U.S. at
300. It held that "new rules" of criminal procedure
"should not be applied retroactively to criminal cases
on collateral review." Id. at 303-04. A case
announces a new rule "when it breaks new ground[, ]
imposes a new obligation on the States or the Federal
Government, " or when "the result [is] not
dictated by precedent." Id. at
The Teague Court grounded its decision to bar
retroactive application of new rules in systemic concerns
about ensuring the finality of criminal convictions and
respecting principles of comity and federalism. Id.
the Supreme Court held in Padilla that "advice
regarding deportation is not categorically removed from the
ambit of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, " 559
U.S. at 366, and thus that Strickland v.
Washington's standard of "reasonable
professional assistance" applies to such advice,
id. at 365-66, it did not address whether it was
announcing a "new rule" for Teague
purposes. Three years later, in Chaidez, the Court
clarified that Padilla indeed announced a new rule.
568 U.S. at 354. The Court noted that, although it had
applied Strickland "in diverse contexts without
ever suggesting that doing so required a new rule, "
id. at 348, Padilla was not simply an
application of Strickland, id. at 348-49.
Indeed, "had Padilla merely made clear that a
lawyer who neglects to inform a client about the risk of
deportation is professionally incompetent, " it would
not have constituted a new rule. Id. Instead,
"prior to asking how the Strickland
test applied ('Did this attorney act unreasonably?'),
Padilla asked whether the
Strickland test applied ('Should we even
evaluate if this attorney acted unreasonably?')."
Id. at 349. The answer to "that preliminary
question about Strickland's ambit . . .
required a new rule, " which cannot be applied
on this conclusion, the Chaidez Court explained that
"defendants whose convictions became final prior to
Padilla . . . cannot benefit from its holding."
Id. at 358. Although at first blush this statement
would seem to resolve the present appeal, the scope of this
general proposition is somewhat uncertain. In a footnote,
Chaidez explicitly declined to address whether
Teague applies when a petitioner challenges a
federal conviction, especially when such a challenge is based
on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id.
at 358 n.16 (explaining that those arguments were not raised
properly below). Barajas's appeal argues that
Teague should not apply in such cases. He suggests
that federal cases do not involve Teague' ...