Jose Carlos Gonzales v. United States

USCA11 Case: 19-11182 Date Filed: 11/20/2020 Page: 1 of 17 [PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 19-11182 ________________________ D.C. Docket Nos. 1:17-cv-23920-JAL; 1:00-cr-00584-JAL-10 JOSE CARLOS GONZALEZ, Petitioner-Appellee, versus UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent-Appellant. ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida _______________________ (November 20, 2020) Before WILLIAM PRYOR, Chief Judge, HULL and MARCUS, Circuit Judges. WILLIAM PRYOR, Chief Judge: This appeal turns on the timeliness of a petition for a writ of error coram nobis. Jose Carlos Gonzalez faces mandatory removal from the United States because he pleaded guilty to attempted alien smuggling in 2002. In February 2016, USCA11 Case: 19-11182 Date Filed: 11/20/2020 Page: 2 of 17 the government started a proceeding to remove Gonzalez from the United States, but in October 2017, Gonzalez filed a petition to vacate his conviction. He alleged that he received bad legal advice about the effect of his guilty plea on his immigration status. The district court denied Gonzalez’s petition as untimely because he failed to provide sound reasons for not seeking relief earlier. We affirm. I. BACKGROUND Gonzalez is a Cuban national who entered the United States in 1993 and obtained permanent residency in 1998. In 2000, a federal grand jury charged Gonzalez with attempting and conspiring to bring aliens into the United States for profit. 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii); 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 371. The government later filed a second superseding information charging Gonzalez only with attempted alien smuggling. 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(A); 18 U.S.C. § 2. Attempted alien smuggling is a misdemeanor. Compare 18 U.S.C. § 3559(a)(6) with 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(A). On August 27, 2002, Gonzalez pleaded guilty. During the change-of-plea hearing, the district court discussed with Gonzalez and his attorney whether Gonzalez understood the implications of his guilty plea for his immigration status. Gonzalez’s criminal defense attorney, Allen Kaufman, told the district court that the possibility of immigration consequences was a “sticking point” for Gonzalez, but that Gonzalez had consulted with an immigration attorney. That attorney was 2 USCA11 Case: 19-11182 Date Filed: 11/20/2020 Page: 3 of 17 Ana Jhones. Kaufman also told the district court at the plea hearing that he had represented to Gonzalez that the guilty plea would not affect his immigration status because the charged offense was not for-profit alien smuggling. The district court informed Gonzalez that immigration authorities might decide to commence removal proceedings against him based on his plea. The district court stated that it did not know whether immigration authorities would institute removal proceedings against Gonzalez nor what the outcome of those proceedings would be. But the district court wanted Gonzalez to be aware that his plea might subject him to removal. Gonzalez confirmed that he understood and pleaded guilty. That November, the district court sentenced Gonzalez to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service. Gonzalez’s legal residency expired in 2015. He applied for citizenship, and immigration officials reviewed his case. On February 24, ...

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