Plea record must show citizenship status.

Goshen v. State (Unpublished Memo): This case points out the “Vannortrick Gap.”  Before accepting a plea, trial courts are supposed to let defendants know about the rights they are waiving, and the potential consequences of a guilty plea.

If a trial court doesn’t touch all of the bases on the discussion of rights, the defendant doesn’t get a slam dunk appeal. Instead, under “harmless error” analysis, he must show that his plea would have changed had he been told his rights and/or the potential consequences of the plea. Except …

The Court of Criminal Appeals made a blanket rule requiring that pleas be set aside if the defendant’s citizenship status isn’t in the record and he wasn’t told that a guilty plea could result in deportation. Vannortrick v. State, 227 S.W.3d 706, 708 (Tex. Crim. App. 2007).  So the defendant can get a slam-dunk appeal after all.

The trial court didn’t know about Vannortrick because it hadn’t been handed down at the time of the plea hearing.  Thankfully for Goshen, Vannortrick was handed down before his appellate brief was due.  See the docket sheet

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