A Tucson man convicted of four auto theft-related cases in two years was properly advised by his attorney about the consequences of accepting a plea deal for two of the cases which landed him in prison until at least 2032, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled last week.
Luis Miguel Dominguez pleaded guilty last summer to theft of means of transportation and a separate attempted auto theft. He was sentenced by Judge Anna Montoya of the Santa Cruz County Superior Court to serve seven years for one of the charges, followed by another three-year prison term for the other.
Dominguez, 38, won’t begin to serve those sentences until he completes an 8.5-year sentence imposed by a Pima County judge in October 2018 for two auto theft cases out of Pima County. His earliest release date is listed as September 2032, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC).
Court records show Dominguez was arrested in Santa Cruz County after stealing a pickup in Tucson in May 2018 and attempting to drive it into Mexico where he was to be paid $1,200. The pickup was stolen from a relative in an effort to avoid criminal charges if anything went wrong at the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Dominguez told authorities.
Two weeks earlier, Dominguez was questioned in connection to a failed attempt to steal a vehicle from a Nogales store. He was later indicted by a Santa Cruz County grand jury in both incidents.
After accepting a plea deal and being sentenced in July 2019, Dominguez filed a petition with Montoya for post-conviction relief. The petition contended the defense attorney failed to explain that Dominguez’s prison terms could be imposed back-to-back instead of concurrently.
Earlier this year Montoya issued an order denying Dominguez’s petition. The judge noted that court records show he was advised at least three times of the possibility that his Santa Cruz sentences could be imposed consecutively to each other and consecutively to the Pima County sentences.
Dominguez then took the matter to the Arizona Court of Appeals. On Sept. 8, the court issued a 3-0 decision after reviewing Montoya’s order dismissing the petition for post-conviction relief.
“We will not disturb that order unless the court abused its discretion,” the appellate decision reads. “Dominguez has not shown such abuse here.”
ADC records show Dominguez has been the subject of three disciplinary violations since his admission in 2018. His 2032 release date could be delayed by ADC due to continued violations.