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Eastwood v. United States

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

February 3, 2017

YVETTE EASTWOOD, Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent.

          OPINION

          JOHN A. GIBNEY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In 2009, this Court sentenced Yvette Eastwood, a citizen of Jamaica, to ninety months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release on her conviction for drug trafficking. At her sentencing hearing, the presiding judge told Eastwood that upon completion of her term of imprisonment, she must surrender to immigration officials for deportation if the officials decide deportation is appropriate at the time of her release. Near the end of her term of imprisonment, immigration officials filed a detainer on Eastwood and notified her of their intent to initiate removal proceedings based on her conviction. According to Eastwood, this notice was when she first learned about the immigration consequences of her conviction.

         Upon completion of her term of imprisonment, the Bureau of Prisons transferred Eastwood to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE"). In June 2016, Eastwood filed a petition for writ of error coram nobis asking the Court to vacate her conviction and sentence based on ineffective assistance of counsel. While Eastwood titles her petition as a writ of error coram nobis, it really asks for relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. Because Eastwood previously filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, this filing qualifies as a second or successive motion over which the Court lacks jurisdiction. Even if the Court considers the filing under the standard for a writ of error coram nobis, however, Eastwood lacks a valid reason for not attacking her conviction on these grounds earlier.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Eastwood, a citizen of Jamaica, entered the United States in the mid-1990s. She was removed in 2000, and then formally entered the United States in May 2003 as a permanent resident.

         In November 2009, Eastwood pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking crime. Prior to pleading guilty, and throughout the representation, Eastwood's attorney never discussed any potential immigration consequences of her guilty plea. Further, during the plea colloquy, the presiding magistrate judge did not mention deportation as a possible consequence of pleading guilty.

         After Eastwood pleaded guilty, the probation office prepared a presentence investigation report ("PSR"), which Eastwood and her counsel reviewed. The PSR noted that Eastwood became a permanent resident who could live and work in the United States in May 2003. The PSR continued, however, "if [Eastwood] is convicted of a felony offense, she may be amenable to removal proceedings for violations of the Immigration Act."[1] (PSR ¶ 24.)

         In January 2010, the Court sentenced Eastwood to ninety months of imprisonment with three years of supervised release to follow. At the sentencing hearing, as part of her sentence, the presiding judge said:

[U]pon completion of your sentence you will surrender yourself to a duly authorized immigration official of the Department of Homeland Security for deportation if it's appropriate under U.S. law at that time. The decision will be made upon your release. But you will be required to surrender yourself and submit to that process. And if ordered to-if you're removed from the United States, you shall not return to the United States during the period of time you're on supervised release without the authority of the Attorney General of the United States, or the Secretary for the Department Homeland Security.

(Sentencing Hr'g Tr. 26:5-18.) The judgment issued following the sentencing hearing confirmed this ruling, mandating as a special condition to supervision:

Upon completion of her term of imprisonment, the defendant is to be surrendered to a duly-authorized immigration official of the Department of Homeland Security Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation in accordance with the established procedures provided by the Immigration and Naturalization Act, 8 U.S.C. Section 1101 et seq. As a further condition of supervised release, if ordered deported, the defendant shall remain outside the United States.

(J. Jan. 28, 2010, at 4.) Eastwood did not directly appeal her conviction.

         In 2011, Eastwood filed a motion to vacate her conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 based on ineffective assistance of counsel. This motion did not mention immigration consequences or deportation. The Court denied the motion.

         On January 29, 2016, ICE notified Eastwood that it was initiating removal proceedings to deport her to Jamaica based on her conviction for an aggravated felony. According to Eastwood, this was when she first learned of the immigration consequences of her conviction. Upon completion of her imprisonment, the Bureau of Prisons ...


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