CLINTON TWP. — Muwafak Zaya, a 40-year-old Clinton Township man, may be sent to Iraq because of a 2005 criminal conviction according to local reports.
|Muwafak Zaya, right, with his brother and guardian, Mazin Abro.|
The man has the mental capacity of a young child but is facing deportation because of his 2005 guilty plea to criminal sexual conduct charges in Warren. His attorney reportedly said he touched a woman in an inappropriate manner leading to the charge.
Zaya was placed on probation despite being determined permanently incompetent by a state psychologist according to a Detroit Free Press report.
The prosecutor's office in Macomb County says that such a decision can't be applied retroactively and won a round in district court, however.
His brother and guardian says he never would have entered a guilty plea in that case if he had known that he would face a deportation risk later on. The two came to the U.S. as refugees in 2001.
The attorneys for Zaya hope that a 2010 Supreme Court decision, Padilla v. Kentucky, can be applied allowing him to withdraw his plea. In that case, it was ruled that the defendant should have been told by his attorney that he could have been deported if he pleaded guilty.
In Michigan, criminal procedure rules have been changed as a result according to the Free Press, allowing judges to advise non-citizen defendants of their risk of deportation or allowing them to ask the attorney if such an issue had been discussed before proceeding with the case.