Undocumented Immigrant Deported On Drug Charges Gets A Second Chance

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 10:32pm
Updated: Saturday, July 20, 2019 - 11:22am

A defendant who was given bad legal advice in a criminal case that led to his deportation got another chance to clear his name and possibly return to the United States.

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that Hector Nunez-Diaz never would have entered into a plea deal on a drug charge had his original attorney told him it would permanently eject him from the country.

His current attorney, Ray Ybarra Maldanado, acknowledged his client was in the country illegally, but he hopes a new trial will at least allow his client back into ICE custody.

“Someone without criminal conviction can ask for a bond hearing from the judge and get on the outside and fight the immigration case for three, four, even five years,” said Maldanado, “And, who knows what could happen in that amount of time?”

The court’s ruling leans on the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees a defendant’s effective right to counsel.

If Nunez-Diaz beats the drug charge, he could be deported again.  Without a criminal conviction, he would be allowed to pursue re-entering the United States legally.

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