State of Ohio v. Carlos Romero, Case No. 2017-0915
Fifth District Court of Appeals (Stark County)
ISSUE: Did a trial court abuse its discretion when overruling a motion to withdraw a guilty plea from a defendant who alleged his lawyer didn't inform him of deportation consequences?
After police searched the Canton home Carlos Romero shared with his girlfriend, he was charged with marijuana and cocaine possession and trafficking in marijuana.
In June 2016, Romero pled guilty to the charges, and the trial court held a hearing. Romero, an immigrant born in Honduras and the father of five children born in the United States, had been a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. since 1998. As required by R.C. 2943.031, the court advised Romero that his pleas might have immigration ramifications, including deportation. Romero elected to move forward with his pleas, and the court sentenced him to three years of community control, 100 hours of community service, and a six-month driver's license suspension.
After his sentencing, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials took Romero into custody. Because trafficking is an aggravated felony under federal law, immigrants convicted of trafficking offenses "shall, upon order of the Attorney General, be removed," according to Romero's brief.