Those wild-eyed liberals at the 14th Court of Appeals have tossed out the murder conviction of a man who stabbed his wife 17 times, because he had not been warned his guilty plea might result in deportation.
His guilty plea did result in a 75-year prison sentence, so you'd think he or his lawyers might have had some idea it could have at least a little effect on whether the Moroccan native could stay in the U.S., but the appellate court ruled there was no evidence to assume so.
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Abderrahim Elmaghraoui was charged with murdering his wife, Amina Fettach, in 2007. He tried to argue that he acted "under the influence of sudden passion," but the jury didn't buy it and gave him 75 years.
The court threw that out. It doesn't mean Elmaghraoui will go free; they'll just have to go through the whole process again.
"[T]he evidence of appellant's guilt may be strong, but there is no evidence to suggest that appellant was aware of the deportation and immigration consequences of his plea," the court ruled. "Further, the trial court wholly failed to admonish appellant concerning the deportation and immigration consequences of his guilty plea, and there is at least some evidence in the record to support a reasonable inference that appellant was a non-citizen when he pleaded guilty."
Because of the deportation ruling, the court did not address Elmaghraoui's other argument on appeal: That the jury got it wrong, and he indeed did act out of sudden passion and therefore should get a lesser punishment.