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.


  1. In Strunk v. United States, 412 U.S. 434 (1973), the Supreme Court ruled that if the reviewing court finds that a defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated, then the indictment must be dismissed and/or the conviction overturned. The Court held that, since the delayed trial is the state action which violates the defendant's rights, no other remedy would be appropriate. Thus, a reversal or dismissal of a criminal case on speedy trial grounds means that no further prosecution for the alleged offense can take place.

  2. My thoughts exactly; the question that begs to be asked is what about the Sixth Amendment?

  3. What is the next domino to fall if the case is dropped? As many friends as the chief has, I bet he has many more enemies.

  4. This blog showed that evidence against the tellers had been digitally altered. The prosecutor from the States Attorneys office has to know the tellers are being framed. Will the States Attorney turn the tables on the Martinez de Castro clan, or does the FBI need to be informed of a criminal conspiracy extending to the SAO? In case people dont know, Chief OMDC loaned his assistant Lopez to the SAO. KFR is already facing one RICO charge in the Spence Jones case. Only the feds can clean up this mess.

  5. Couldthe tellers have invoked the Speedy Trial Rule after hey were arrested and can they still invoke it two years down the road.