California Supreme Court Grants Request to De-publish People v. Gonzalez

In October 2018, the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Justice & Diversity Center joined more than 30 public defenders, organizations and law school professors in signing a letter to Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and Associate Justices of the California Supreme Court strongly urging de-publication of People v. Pablo Gonzalez.

On January 23, 2019, the California Supreme Court granted the request to de-publish People v. Gonzalez, the damaging decision narrowing the pre-Padilla obligation of criminal defense attorneys to advise immigrant defendants about potential immigration consequences of their plea.

In the October letter, signatories argued that criminal defense attorneys in the state of California have understood and accepted as one of their core constitutional obligations the affirmative duty to advise noncitizen clients about adverse immigration consequences. The published Gonzalez opinion thus ran afoul of a long line of court precedent and secondary authority which clearly established defense counsel’s pre-Padilla duty to investigate and advise noncitizen defendants about the immigration consequences of a conviction. The letter concluded that Gonzalez would have upended existing case law, contradicted laws passed by the state legislature, and adversely affected many noncitizens who pleaded guilty or no contest during the 23 years from the decision in People v. Soriano (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 1470 until the Padilla case was decided in 2010.