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Hagerstown man's plea hearing in three robberies delayed

Oscar Isaac Lopez, 18, asks to consult with immigration attorney

July 09, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A Hagerstown man was scheduled to enter guilty pleas in three robberies Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court, but the offer was withdrawn after he asked to consult with an immigration attorney.

Oscar Isaac Lopez, 18, of 607 Hayes Ave., had reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to three counts of robbery for the holdups, two of which were at the AC&T at 724 Frederick St., on Jan. 9 and 18, and a third at the Side Pockets bar, 807 S. Potomac St., on Jan. 29, according to court records.

In exchange for the plea, all other charges in those three robberies would have been dismissed, as well as charges in a Feb. 13 theft of a tip jar from the Dolce restaurant at 792 Frederick St., the court records said.

In the Dolce incident, Hagerstown police said the female owner of the restaurant confronted the man who grabbed the tip jar, which spilled onto the floor. The man left empty-handed, police said.

During the plea hearing, Circuit Judge John H. McDowell asked Lopez if he was a U.S. citizen, and Lopez said he was a citizen of Honduras. His attorney, James Podlas, told McDowell that Lopez told him he was born in the United States.

McDowell told Lopez that pleading guilty to robbery, a crime of violence, “is going to result in very serious negative consequences for you” with immigration authorities.

“I want to stay with my family,” Lopez told McDowell.

“It’s not up to me. It’s up to the United States government,” McDowell said.

Podlas told McDowell that Lopez wanted the plea hearing delayed so he could talk with an immigration attorney.

McDowell rescheduled the case for Oct. 1.

Before the plea hearing was interrupted, Assistant State’s Attorney Leon Debes told McDowell that the prosecution was asking for a six-year prison sentence for one of the robberies and consecutive suspended sentences for the other two.

After the hearing, Debes said Lopez also has two co-defendants whose cases are still pending in the AC&T and Side Pockets robberies.

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