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Connecticut man may not be deported after felony removed

A Connecticut man originally from Ecuador may be able to remain in the United States after a felony conviction was removed from his record. The man is a 14-year resident of the United States. He is in the country legally and has a 6-year-old son who also lives in the United States.

The arresting officer in this case was one of four East Haven police officers who were arrested over their abuse and treatment of Latino suspects.

The original charge stemmed from a June 2011 vehicle accident. Police attempted to tow the immigrant's car. The man then claimed that the arresting officer made racially charged comments and broke his wrist before the man pushed the officer back. Witnesses for the police officer disagree that he was the aggressor in the incident.

The immigrant pleaded guilty in 2011 to assaulting an officer. He received a two year probation, but in January 2014, he was informed that he would be deported because he was classified as a convicted felon. The man claims that he was unaware that the felony conviction would lead to deportation.

Reversing the felony charges came after the officer was arrested by the FBI in January 2012. The officer was later convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for unreasonable force, making false arrests and conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of Hispanics. One of the Ecuadorian man's cousins testified against the officer at his trial.

In March 2014, the felony charges were removed and the man pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges. His lawyers hope that these reduced charges will allow him to stay in the United States.

A defendant facing felony charges deserves fair representation, no matter what the charges. The police and prosecutors can sometimes make mistakes and a defendant shouldn't have to live with these mistakes for the rest of his or her life.

Source: CBS Connecticut, "Charges reduced, Conn. immigrant hopes to stay in US" Michael Melia, Mar. 19, 2014

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