Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Judge who did not recite immigration consequences to immigrant defendant word for word did not cause manifest injustice entitling defendant to vacate his plea. State v. Molina-Navarrete, A-06-1362, 15 Neb. App. 966Can you tell the difference between what the Dawson County Judge told one of our hard working striving new arrivals to our land of promise and what the Nebraska Legislature requires judges to advise defendants on the possible immigration consequences of breaking our laws? Here's what the judge told the defendant Molina-Navarrete: "In addition, if you are not a United States citizen, any conviction of this offense may have the consequence of causing you to be removed from the United States; that is, deported or denied naturalization of the laws of the United States. Do you understand all of the penalties" YES Here's what Section 29-1819.02 requires, in bold: IF YOU ARE NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN, YOU ARE HEREBY ADVISED THAT CONVICTION OF THE OFFENSE FOR WHICH YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED MAY HAVE THE CONSEQUENCES OF REMOVAL FROM THE UNITED STATES, OR DENIAL OF NATURALIZATION PURSUANT TO THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES. Molina-Navarette sought to vacate his guilty plea after sentencing for narcotics possession. Dawson County overruled his motion and the Nebraska Court of Appeals found no manifest injustice, the standard for vacating pleas after sentencing: "We conclude that these minor language differences are inconsequential and that Molina-Navarrete was properly advised of the immigration consequences of his plea as required by § 29-1819.02 and refusing to vacate the plea was not a manifest injustice"