Prisoner loses appeal on sexual abuse conviction

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POUGHKEEPSIE – A man who pled guilty in Dutchess County Court in November 2017 to a charge course of sexual conduct against a child has had his appeal rejected by the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court. He allegedly abused a girl under the age of 13.

Raul Plaza, now 53, contends his guilty plea was not entered voluntarily because the county court failed to adequately advise him of the immigration consequences of his plea.

The appellate court said Plaza failed to raise the issue before the court or move to withdraw his plea despite indicating that he was aware there could be immigration consequences of pleading guilty.

In a December 18 decision, the appeals court wrote that “Although no particular litany is required, ‘[t]he trial court must provide a short, straightforward statement on the record notifying the defendant that, in sum and substance, if the defendant is not a United States citizen, he or she may be deported upon a guilty plea’. Here, the county court fulfilled its obligation … by advising the defendant, among other things, that he may be deported as a result of his guilty plea.”