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Appeals court vacates Arizona illegal entry conviction

PHOENIX -- An appeals court has vacated the conviction of a woman for entering the country illegally after finding the lower erred by not questioning the defendant individually to ensure she understood her rights.

In December 2009, Delcia Arqueta-Ramos pleaded guilty during a group proceeding known as Operation Streamline, intended to speed proceedings for increasing numbers of cases involving illegal entry into the U.S. She appeared in court with 65 other defendants. She requested an individual hearing, but was denied.

She was then questioned as part of a group of five and pleaded guilty. She was sentenced to time served and deported, but appealed.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in its opinion released Friday vacating her conviction found that Arqueta-Ramos should have been questioned individually to be certain she understood her rights.

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