LINCOLN — An illegal immigrant convicted of kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of a child in Omaha was granted a new trial Friday after the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled authorities failed to advise him he faced deportation.
Hector Medina-Liborio, 28, is serving a prison term of 40 to 50 years after pleading no contest to the felony charges in 2010. In a majority opinion released Friday, the court overturned his conviction, allowing him to enter a plea of not guilty because neither the prosecutor nor District Judge J. Michael Coffey advised Medina-Liborio beforehand that he faced deportation to Mexico if convicted.
Chief Judge Michael Heavican dissented from the majority opinion, citing recorded jail conversations in which Medina-Liborio said he knew he would eventually be removed from the United States.
“Here, no substantial miscarriage of justice occurred, because the defendant actually knew he would be deported if he pled guilty,” Heavican wrote in his dissent.
Medina-Liborio abducted the then-4-year-old girl while attending an early-morning party in 2010 at a house near 33rd and California Streets. Carrying her, he fled on foot for a mile and a half before police caught him. A passer-by who saw Medina-Liborio and suspected something was wrong helped police find him.
The girl told authorities Medina-Liborio digitally penetrated her. Prosecutors reduced the charge to attempted sexual assault so she would not have to testify.
Under his former sentence, Medina-Liborio had a projected release date of 2035. After completing the sentence, he would then face deportation.
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