Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Prosecutorial Abuse

Below are selected excerpts from the linked article:

The Norton Middle School student is being held indefinitely in an isolated area of the Summit County Jail on the orders of Common Pleas Judge James Murphy.

The teen, jailed since Wednesday, insists she is not a sex abuse victim and is demanding a lawyer be assigned to represent her, court records show.

However, jail officials said Monday she cannot speak with anyone without permission from county prosecutors.

Prosecutors say the teen is a material witness and is being held in jail for her own protection.
But lawyers for defendant Galo Sanchez-Pesantes contend the state -- with approval from the girl's mother-- has ``effectively kidnapped'' the teen, holding her in an adult jail while denying her access to an attorney in an effort to force her testimony.

Defense attorneys Alex Folk and Karen Brouse have asked Murphy to dismiss the case against Sanchez-Pesantes.

Jail officials declined a request by the Beacon Journal to interview the girl by phone, saying no one can speak to her without permission from prosecutors. Chief Prosecutor Mary Ann Kovach said she would not permit the girl to be interviewed.

After she failed to appear in court last week, Murphy attempted to place the girl in the county's Juvenile Detention Center. But Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio blocked the move, saying she could not legally hold the girl. In court papers, Teodosio cited a federal law barring juveniles who are not accused of a crime from being placed in detention. Murphy then had the girl taken to the county jail on Wednesday.

Teodosio was unavailable for comment.

Brouse said she met briefly with the girl on Friday until a deputy ordered her to leave the jail. Before Brouse left, the girl wrote a note asking Murphy to assign her an attorney. The note was filed with the court by Brouse on Friday, but no action has been taken.

``It's better for her to be confined,'' Kovach said. [My note: Sure it is. The worlds worst abuses almost always start with some variation of "it's for your own good."]

``I'm puzzled that prosecutors want to go forward with this when they have a witness saying she didn't have sex with this man. It seems to me they're holding her to coerce her testimony. Frankly, I think she's being illegally held.'' [Why is this puzzling? Because prosecutors are concerned about "JUSTICE"? Sure . . . ]

Kid Handsome

Link stolen from To the People.


Anonymous Badger said...

Jeez, where to start? Not sure why Ohio is able to do this but here is the way this would play out in MD. A subpoena would be issued for the parent/guardian of the juvenile to bring in said kid for the day of court to testify. If the parent/guardian fails in that task, the State can ask for a body attachment on the parent. The Judge can then grant or deny said body attachment. I fault the Judge in the Ohio case more than the State as it's his order that is keeping this 14-yr. old in jail. Hell the second judge had already made the right call saying she couldn't imprison the kid.
As for contact at the jail, the only people that are allowed to visit are those that an incarcerated person places on the visitation list. State has no say over who can visit. The Judge can order no contact between a defendant and a victim but you'd be surprised how many victims come to the jail/prison/etc. The ACLU should have a field day with this case, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Judge sanctioned in some way, possibly being taken off the bench. Mind ya, this is what happens when Judge's are selected because of political favors rather than the merits of their career.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, its just that we prosecutors don't care about justice on the whole. witnesses and victims never recant their statements, especially sexual/child abuse victims. so we get mad and just lock people up ALL THE TIME! i'm sure this story isn't just an exception to the thousands of prosecutors in the country. and i'm also sure its the WHOLE story, and not just one onlookers' partial viewpoint

how come i don't look at your blog for months and months, and when i do, my profession is being bashed?? :o)

i still love you, kid. i love badger more, even if his above disertation isn't entirely right.


12:24 PM  

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