Sentence might avert teen’s deportation

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COEUR d’ALENE — In an effort to prevent the deportation of an immigrant accused of using a knife in a robbery, a judge on Tuesday shaved the boy’s jail sentence.

Former Lake City High student Andiubal Reyes-Batista was sentenced in Coeur d’Alene to 364 days in jail for a robbery last year at a home near Atlas Road.

The length of the jail sentence is one day shy of a threshold that could tip the scales toward deportation.

In addition to incarceration in the Kootenai Juvenile Detention Center, First District Judge Cynthia K.C. Meyer sentenced the 17-year-old to four years supervised probation. Meyer said attorneys crafted a sentence that would prevent Reyes-Batista from going through a process that could result in his deportation to Cuba, where he no longer has any relatives.

Reyes-Batista’s family immigrated to the U.S. and he lives with his stepmother in Coeur d’Alene, while his dad works in Alaska, according to court records.

“Other folks bent over backwards for you because of your situation, and the danger of you being sent back to your country of origin without family members with you,” Meyer said Tuesday.

Reyes-Batista was arrested for robbery in December along with three other Coeur d’Alene juveniles including Dylan Hoard, 17, Joshua Dykeman, 14, and Levi Grassi, 15. The teens allegedly walked into the house of an 18-year-old victim on North Lodgepole Road, pressed a steak knife against the teenager’s neck and stole a red Air Jordan sweatshirt, two Air Jordan hats and a vape mod.

Prosecutors accused Reyes-Batista of being the ringleader of the gang, and asserted the crime was more egregious because the teen had been released from juvenile detention just one day before the robbery.

The victim said the boys held his arms while Reyes-Batista held the blade of a “very long” knife against the victim’s neck.

Although a sentence agreement was reached weeks ago, Reyes-Batista’s hearing was delayed until Tuesday because another felony, injury to a jail, was filed against him. Reyes-Batista allegedly broke a window at the juvenile detention center where he was being held for the robbery. Reyes-Batista pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the new charge, and the judge opted to reinstate the original plea agreement that attorneys crafted before the second felony.

“You need to get things turned around,” Meyer said. “I am sensitive about your concerns facing deportation ... I am going to go along with the earlier sentencing resolution. We’re going to take these cases one at a time.”

Reyes-Batista’s uncle attended the hearing and translated for the teen’s stepmother, who is not fluent in English.

Meyer gave Reyes-Batista credit for his 114 days in custody, but warned that the latest felony could have unforeseen consequences on his immigrant status.

“The other charge could change everything,” the judge said.

Grassi was sentenced to three years supervised probation and community service. Hoard and Dykeman have hearings next month.

The charge of injuring a jail carries a maximum fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence not to exceed five years.

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