Monday, July 8, 2013
Justice delayed or justice denied?
Here we are over two years from the date that the tellers at the Airways Auto Tag Agency were accused and arrested for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the tag agency and the state. After nearly two and a half years after the fact, today the court docket indicates that the trial of these three tellers is supposed to start.
While the docket might give some degree of hope for this mess to come to an end, the reality, at least in my opinion, is far different. You can't go to trial without having deposed witnesses that were involved in the case at hand. In this particular instance, one of the main witnesses is none other than embattled City of South Miami police chief Orlando Maritnez de Castro, whose wife owns the tag agency where the alleged thefts occurred. For reasons unbeknownst to me or anyone else, Mr. Martinez de Castro refuses to appear for a deposition, now this is nothing new for the chief as we saw this same pattern of behavior with the Ethics Commission, through trickery and subterfuge, Mr. Martinez de Castro and his lawyers managed to keep from getting deposed throughout the course or the ethics investigation and the discovery phase of the Airways tellers case.
The question that begs to be asked is why is a veteran law enforcement officer, who I'm sure knows how to deal with attorneys, avoiding getting deposed? What exactly is the chief afraid of? Regardless of the games the chief is playing to avoid getting deposed, what excuse do the defense attorneys have for not having the court compel the chief to appear at a deposition?
Whatever the case may be, there is no excuse for a case like this to drag on for over two years, two years during which the defendants lives are in limbo, two plus years where the defendants are literally unemployable and are watching everything crumble around them. I don't know who's more to blame, the prosecutors for not moving forward with the case or the defense attorneys for not insisting that the case go forward in a reasonable period of time.
Regardless, in this instance, justice delayed is justice denied. Who knows, maybe today the judge will hold the attorneys feet to the fire and make them try the case or perhaps the tellers will get lucky and the state will drop the case. We'll fill you all in tomorrow and let you know what went down in court.