United States v. Zhang, No. 05-6662-pr (2d Cir. October 23, 2007) (Winter, Cabranes, CJJ, Korman, DJ)
During a plea allocution, advising a defendant that he might be deported was good enough, even though ICE believed that deportation was mandatory.
Zhang, a chemist, manufactured and sold an illegal bodybuilding supplement, DNP. One of his customers died after taking Zhang’s concoction, while another was in a coma for ten days. Zhang ultimately pled guilty to one count of mail fraud. During the plea allocution, the prosecutor stated that Zhang was subject to “possible” deportation as a result of the plea. The magistrate judge echoed this, saying that the plea “could” result in his deportation. Similar equivocal statements about the possibility of deportation were made by the prosecutor and district judge at Zhang’s sentencing.
Once sentenced, however, Zhang was served a notice by ICE indicating that he faced mandatory deportation as a result …