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State v. Byron

July 13, 2004

STATE OF MINNESOTA, APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES BYRON, RESPONDENT.



Hennepin County District Court. File No. 99069486.

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Wright, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.*fn1

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Because due process does not require a criminal defendant to be advised about the collateral consequences of a guilty plea, it is an abuse of discretion to permit plea withdrawal on grounds of manifest injustice for failure to advise a criminal defendant of the immigration consequences of such plea.

2. Where violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations does not result in actual prejudice, plea withdrawal is not an available remedy.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wright, Judge

Reversed

Concurring in part, dissenting in part, Huspeni, Judge

OPINION

Approximately four years after pleading guilty to third-degree controlled substance crime, respondent moved to withdraw his guilty plea, arguing that the district court's failure to advise him of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea resulted in a manifest injustice. The district court granted respondent's motion and sua sponte granted plea withdrawal due to violations of the Vienna Convention. The state challenges the procedural and substantive bases for plea withdrawal. We reverse.

FACTS

Respondent James Stanford Byron, an alien national from Trinidad and Tobago, received unconditional permanent resident status in October 1992. See generally 8 U.S.C. § 1255 (2000). On July 16, 1999, Byron was charged with two counts of third-degree controlled substance crime for marijuana sale and possession, respectively. See Minn. Stat. § 152.023, subds. 1, 2 (1998).

Pursuant to a plea agreement, Byron pleaded guilty to the possession count on August 11, 1999. He executed a four-page plea petition that provided in relevant part:

My attorney has told me and I understand that if I am not a citizen of the United States, conviction of a crime may result in deportation, exclusion from admission to the U.S.A., or denial of naturalization.

When the plea petition was submitted to the district court, Byron acknowledged that he understood the rights enumerated in the plea petition and stated that he wanted to waive those rights and enter a guilty plea. Byron then admitted possessing more than ten kilograms of marijuana.

Neither Byron nor his counsel raised any objections prior to the district court's acceptance of the plea. The district court stayed imposition of the sentence and placed Byron on three years' probation. After moving to modify his sentence, Byron was granted an early discharge from probation on ...


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