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State v. Paredes

Court of Appeals of Utah

March 22, 2018

State of Utah, Appellee,
v.
Reynaldo Paredes, Appellant.

          Second District Court, Ogden Department The Honorable Michael D. DiReda No. 151901382

          German T. Flores, Attorney for Appellant

          Sean D. Reyes and Thomas B. Brunker, Attorneys for Appellee

          Judge Michele M. Christiansen authored this Opinion, in which Judges David N. Mortensen and Diana Hagen concurred.

          CHRISTIANSEN, Judge

         ¶1 Defendant Reynaldo Paredes, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, appeals from the district court's denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea. According to Defendant, his counsel had not adequately informed him of the immigration consequences of entering that plea, thereby failing to provide him with effective representation. The district court denied the withdrawal motion after finding that Defendant had been adequately informed. We conclude that Defendant has not demonstrated that the district court clearly erred or otherwise abused its discretion in denying his withdrawal motion. We therefore affirm.

         BACKGROUND

         ¶2 In 2015, a 23-year-old woman reported to police that Defendant had grabbed her breasts both over and under her clothing and then exposed his penis to her. This incident was witnessed by the woman's 12-year-old cousin. Defendant was arrested and charged with forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony; lewdness, a class B misdemeanor; and intoxication, a class C misdemeanor. Defendant admitted he had consumed alcohol that day, but he denied exposing himself to the woman and claimed that the touching was consensual.

         ¶3 Defendant and the State agreed that he would plead guilty to attempted forcible sexual abuse, a third-degree felony, in exchange for the dismissal of the other charges. A plea agreement form was prepared, which included a clause pertaining to immigration:

Deportation/Immigration: I understand that if I am not a United States citizen, my plea(s) today may, or even will, subject me to deportation under United States immigration laws and regulations, or otherwise adversely affect my immigration status, which may include permanently barring my reentry into the United States. I understand that if I have questions about the effect of my plea on my immigration status, I should consult with an immigration attorney.

         The immigration clause, like the other sections of the plea agreement, was immediately followed by a Spanish translation in bold text.

         ¶4 Because Defendant spoke Spanish, a court-certified interpreter was utilized during the plea hearing. The district court asked Defendant if he had read through, reviewed, and understood the plea agreement:

THE JUDGE: Mr. Paredes, did you review that plea agreement? Did you read ...

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