Judge ups bail in fatal hit-run case to prevent deportation

DENVER (AP) — A Denver judge has raised bail to $1 million cash for a Honduran man charged in a fatal hit-and-run to make sure he is not deported before the state case is resolved.

District Judge Shelley Gilman made the decision Thursday in the case of Norlan Estrada-Reyes, who is charged in an October crash that killed Karina Pulec, 28, The Denver Post reported.

Reyes, who was deported in 2007, pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of illegally re-entering the United States. He was placed in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody pending deportation.

On Thursday, Chief Deputy District Attorney Julie Hill asked for Reyes' bail to be increased to $1 million in the state case, arguing if he weren't in state custody ICE would deport him within a month. His next court appearance in the hit-and-run is scheduled for late April.

Reyes had previously posted $20,000 bail.

He was arrested by immigration officers in early December and charged with illegal re-entry. Acting Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer said his office doesn't usually file criminal charges but did so in the Reyes case to get him off the street.

Hill told Judge Gilman that ICE officials had suggested Denver prosecutors seek a no-bond hold for Reyes.

Defense attorney Brad Lozow argued Thursday that the $1 million bail was 100 times what a defendant is typically held on in such a case.

"What's being done in this case, your honor, is 'let's treat Mr. Reyes differently,'" Lozow told the court.

Judge Gilman said she'd seen enough cases where defendants were not tried because they had been deported. Reyes was taken into the custody of the sheriff's department after Thursday's hearing.

The ICE media office did not immediately respond to an email asking if the month time frame for deportation was accurate.

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