Hardin County marijuana trafficking case heard in appellate court

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By Sarah Bennett

Honduras native Jose Padilla pleaded guilty in 2002 to transporting a truckload of marijuana through Hardin County.

According to a previous report in The News-Enterprise, Padilla was arrested in September 2001 after authorities at a weigh station noticed his truck didn’t have fuel stickers or state-issued paperwork.

Though he pleaded guilty, Padilla has claimed his attorney did not advise him regarding potential deportation, according to previous reports.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the attorney wrongly told Padilla deportation would not be a consequence if he pleaded guilty, according to The Associated Press.

The Supreme Court’s decision has impacted plea agreements and immigration cases throughout the country but had little effect on Padilla’s Hardin County case, according to the AP.

In 2011, Hardin Circuit Judge Kelly Mark Easton found the attorney’s advice was deficient but ultimately did not prejudice Padilla, who appealed the ruling to the Court of Appeals, according to court records.

The state’s appellate court heard oral arguments Tuesday at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.

Sam Givens, clerk of the Court of Appeals, said Wednesday the court typically returns an opinion 60 to 90 days after arguments are heard.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.