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Platte County Courthouse Side

Pictured is a side view of the Platte County Courthouse, 2610 14th St.

A Madison man on Monday avoided jail when Platte County Court Judge Frank Skorupa instead sentenced the defendant to pay a fine.

Josef Perez, represented by county Public Defender Tim Matas, was fined $150 after pleading no contest and being found guilty of driving under suspension/before reinstatement, a Class III misdemeanor. Under state law, Perez could have faced up to three months in jail and a $500 fine.

An additional charge of having no valid registration of a car/pickup/van, which the defendant pleaded not guilty to, was dropped. As part of sentencing, Perez is being required to pay the fine along with another small sum to Platte County by March 4.

In May 2017, a Nebraska State Trooper on patrol on Platte County noticed a speeding vehicle traveling 94 mph in a 65-mph zone, according to an arrest affidavit. Contact was made with the suspect, identified as the defendant, along U.S. Highway 81. A DMV check revealed that the defendant had a suspended license and had an active Colfax County warrant out for his arrest.

In other country court news:

*Miguel Pedraza-Leon, 26, of Norfolk, is scheduled for a 10 a.m. arraignment on Feb. 8. The defendant is charged with being in possession of a controlled substance, a Class IV felony. Under state law, Pedraza-Leon could face up to two years in prison, 18 months post-release supervision and a $10,000 fine.

Court records show that in September 2018 a deputy with the Platte County Sheriff’s Office made contact with the defendant after conducting a welfare check at Castner’s Crossing after observing a parked Chevy Impala.

“Due to this area being a high drug trafficking and usage area, and an area that has had multiple sexual assaults in the past, I stopped to conduct a welfare check,” Deputy Justin Grant said in a warrantless arrest affidavit.

Pedraza-Lopez was allegedly in the car and a search of the vehicle and his person led to the discovery of THC wax, marijuana and methamphetamine, according to court records.

*Ismael Martinez, 41, is scheduled for an 8:30 a.m. status hearing on Feb. 11 after being charged with second-degree domestic assault, a Class IIIA felony. Under state law, the defendant could face up to three years imprisonment and nine months of post-release supervision.

*Alejandro J. Valadez, 31, of Columbus, is scheduled for a 10 a.m. arraignment on Feb. 8 after being charged with second-degree domestic assault, a Class IIIA felony.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at

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