State v. Douangmala

In State v. Douangmala, 2002 WI 62, 253 Wis. 2d 173, 646 N.W.2d 1 (Wis. 2002), the Wisconsin Supreme Court applied the strict compliance standard and held that if a circuit court failed to give a defendant the specific deportation warning required by Wisconsin Statutes (Wis. Stat.) 971.08(1)(c) and the "defendant moves the court and demonstrates that the plea is likely to result in the defendant's deportation, then Wis. Stat. 971.08(2) requires the circuit court to vacate the conviction and to permit the defendant to withdraw the guilty or no-contest plea." Id. at 10. In Douangmala, the State of Wisconsin argued that the circuit court's failure to give the statutory advisement was harmless, since the defendant was aware of the deportation consequences at the time he entered his plea. The state pointed out that the defendant had filed a Request to Enter Plea and Waiver of Rights form, on which the defendant acknowledged the following statement by initialing the blank margin next to the statement: "I understand that if I am not a citizen of the United States of America, a plea of guilty or no contest to the offense(s) for which I am charged may result in deportation, the exclusion from admission to this country or the denial of naturalization, under federal law." Id. at 3. Rejecting the state's argument, the Wisconsin Supreme Court concluded that, given the clear statutory directive to the circuit courts and the specific statutory remedy provided by the legislature for failure to comply with the directive, the harmless error rule did not apply. Id. at 9.