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Waukesha drug suspect gets plea deal, avoids deportation

WAUKESHA, WI (WTAQ) - A Waukesha drug suspect is staying in the U.S. for now, after a state appeals court let him withdraw a guilty plea and an automatic deportation order.

Thirty-two-year-old Ivan Mendez struck a plea deal in 2012 which gave him probation in exchange for pleading guilty to a felony drug trafficking charge. However, he said he was never told that the conviction would deport him to Mexico -- even though he's been in the U.S. for 18 years, married a citizen, and had a child with her.  

Waukesha County Circuit Judge William Domina refused to let Mendez withdraw the plea, saying the outcome of the case would not have been different even if it went to trial. However, the state appellate court cited a previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires defense attorneys to tell their clients if their pleas put them at risk of being deported.

The appellate judges said it would have been rational for Mendez to reject his original plea deal because of his U.S. residency status and his ties to the country -- plus his concerns about his safety had he gone back to Mexico.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)