Judge turns down request for refugee to erase plea

MOUNT CLEMENS (AP) -- A Michigan judge has turned down a request on behalf of a mentally disabled Iraqi refugee to erase his 2005 guilty plea as his lawyers seek to block his deportation.

The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens reports Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Edward Servitto on Monday sided with prosecutors in the case of Muwafak Zaya. He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for inappropriate touching.

The judge says he can't retroactively apply a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that immigrants have a constitutional right to be told by their lawyers whether pleading guilty could lead to their deportation. The plea in Zaya's case opened the door for deportation.

Lawyers for Zaya, who lives in a Clinton Township group home, plan to appeal or ask the judge for reconsideration.

Published: Wed, Feb 8, 2012