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Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. Ahmed A.M. Al Bawi

Case No.: 2021AP000432-CR

Officials: Hruz, J.

Focus: Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Ahmed Al Bawi appeals from a judgment convicting him of third-degree sexual assault and from an order denying his postconviction motion to withdraw his no-contest plea. Al Bawi argues that he must be permitted to withdraw his plea because his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective by failing to adequately advise him of the deportation consequences associated with his plea. Al Bawi asserts that the deportation consequences of his plea were clear under the relevant federal immigration law—namely, that he was convicted of an aggravated felony which would make him “presumptively deportable.” Al Bawi therefore contends that his trial counsel performed deficiently by: (1) failing to give him a “probabilistic assessment” of the risk that he “would actually encounter immigration consequences”; and (2) failing to perform legal research or consult with an immigration attorney to determine the likelihood of his deportation after Al Bawi insisted that his prior assistance to the United States military would protect him from deportation.

He appeals court concludes that Al Bawi’s trial counsel correctly advised Al Bawi that he “would be subject to deportation” upon pleading no contest to the charge of third-degree sexual assault. Counsel was not required to use any particular words, such as “very likely” or “strong chance,” to quantify the risk when advising Al Bawi on the deportation consequences of his plea. Counsel also was not required to research the relevant immigration law or seek guidance from another attorney because counsel ultimately provided correct legal advice.


Decided 01/18/23

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