Friday, November 23, 2007

Our choice legal system

This isn’t an immigration blog. It is an indictment of our court system and just how far we’ve slipped.

Sandra Vasquez, 23, offered to drive some teenagers home from a party last winter. Some of the kids were drunk. Sandra was drunk. They piled nine teenagers into her car and five of them died on the ride home.

Vasquez was tested at 0.101 BAC at the hospital. All but one of the teens had alcohol in their systems as well, the highest at 0.17 BAC. The car was an Infinity sedan. Vasquez was going 20 mph over the speed limit when she crashed the car. No other vehicles were involved.

That was in February and now the search for loopholes is on. Listen to these:

Judge Thomas Mueller ruled that the cops got it all wrong when they read her her rights. “Mueller determined Oswego officers gave Vasquez her Miranda warnings in a cursory, speedy manner and asked her a two-part question – ‘Do you understand your rights and do you have any questions?’ -- but only received one answer.” As a result the jury will not be allowed to view her taped confession.

So, the Kendall County State’s Attorney was trying to get the judge to change his mind. And Judge Mueller was just as adamant. But I think his reasoning is telling. Check this out.

“Mueller again denied the prosecutor's motion. The judge said due to her injuries, Vasquez was not free to leave and police were interrogating her, although they referred to it as a ‘Q and A.’"

“Mueller said the timing of the interview -- just hours after the crash -- also affected his decision. After watching the tape, he felt officers took advantage of Vasquez's weakened state. ‘It was obvious how she felt,’ Mueller said. ‘She was a mess.’"

So, how is that supposed to work, Judge Mueller? You let them go home, get some rest, have a good meal, talk to a few lawyers, THEN come back and answer questions?
The prosecutor has asked for a review of the situation by another judge. Meanwhile, what happens to Vasquez?

“In the meantime, all conditions of Vasquez's bond will be withdrawn. Vasquez will be taken off an electronic monitoring device, will be allowed to travel wherever she wants, and her parents' house -- which was posted as bail -- no longer will be held.”

But he’s an impartial judge. Sandra’s attorney wants her clothes back. “Mueller also denied a defense motion to declare the seizure of Vasquez's clothes illegal.”
(This info is from a Beacon News article dated 11/21/07)

No comments:

Post a Comment