Tuesday, December 28, 2004

An Unfair System Screaming for Reform

Free, After 12 Years In Prison Court Reversal Releases Man Jailed For Failing To Prevent Child Abuse

December 28, 2004 By ALAINE GRIFFIN, Hartford Courant Staff Writer (ctnow.com)

NEW HAVEN (Connecticut) -- A blast of arctic air welcomed Santos Miranda to freedom as he stepped out of a state courthouse Monday morning wearing nothing more than his cotton prison jumpsuit.

As pedestrians on Church Street buried their faces in scarves and jacket collars, a smiling Miranda hardly seemed to notice he wasn't dressed for the weather. Instead, he noticed the shackles missing from his ankles.

"It feels weird," Miranda said, shaking his legs.

Minutes earlier in a 30-second hearing, Superior Court Judge Referee Ronald J. Fracasse freed Miranda, 33, a prison inmate for nearly 12 years, after an order from the state Supreme Court.

The order followed the reversal last week of a landmark 1998 ruling by the state's highest court that said a person who assumed the role of parent could be convicted of first-degree assault for failing to prevent the abuse of a child with whom he had no biological or legal relationship. The ruling had allowed Miranda to be convicted of first-degree assault for failing to stop his live-in girlfriend from abusing her infant daughter in 1992.

Miranda said he always knew this day would come - even before the year 2016, his earliest release date. So for the past 11 years and 11 months in prison, he said, he prepared for a life outside his cellblock.

Miranda, who was born in New Haven and raised in Puerto Rico, learned to speak English. He earned his high school equivalency diploma and studied computer repair, which let him, he said, keep up with the latest computer trends. He carries a photo of an "Outstanding Student" plaque he received from prison teachers.

He also received high marks from parent education counselors. Miranda hopes to see and help to support his four children, a son, 11, and three daughters, ages 11, 12 and 14."Now, I got to establish my life," Miranda said.

"I need to support my kids. I feel like I really grew up in prison. Now, I've got to be something."

Miranda said he plans to live with his cousin, Ava Cortez, 38, of New Haven, until he finds a job and is able to live on his own. Cortez, who does not speak English, was waiting on the steps of the courthouse with a jacket for the relative she used to baby-sit in Puerto Rico. Another cousin, a parole officer with the state who declined to give her name, gave Miranda a ride back to his former home - Cheshire Correctional Institution - Monday afternoon so Miranda could pick up his things.

"It's great to have him home. He's waited for this for a long time," she said.

At the time of his arrest in 1993, Miranda told police he knew Diannek Rodriguez had repeatedly beaten and abused the infant, whom he referred to as his stepchild, and that he had yelled at Rodriguez for it. He knew about the baby's injuries but never sought medical care for her.

Rodriguez, of Meriden, was sentenced to seven years in prison under a plea deal with prosecutors. She could not be located Monday for comment.

Miranda was sentenced in 1994 to 40 years in prison on six counts of assault and one count of risk of injury to a minor - all related to his failure to protect Rodriguez's daughter against her mother.

The state Appellate Court later ruled Miranda had no legal duty to protect the infant and overturned the assault convictions.

But Miranda was re-sentenced to prison in 2002, after prosecutors appealed to the state Supreme Court to have the assault convictions reinstated. In January, after hearing new arguments, the justices asked lawyers in the case for legal briefs on whether the court should reverse the 1998 ruling that resulted in the original convictions.

Miranda insists he was innocent of the assault charges. His sole remaining conviction, for risk of injury to a minor, carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, which he has already served.

He's no longer with Rodriguez and does not know where she is."I can't be angry about all this," Miranda said.

"Sometimes life takes you in a good direction, sometimes not. But I feel like I'm in that good direction now."

He said he's not planning to file any civil lawsuits in the matter.

Miranda's attorney, Daniel Krisch of Horton, Shields & Knox, the firm that has represented Miranda without charge for seven years, hugged his client after Monday's proceedings. Krisch said it was unusual for him to walk into a prison to deliver good news to a client as he did last week.

"It's like a movie script," Krisch said.

"It's probably one of the most exciting things that will happen in my legal career."

Assistant State's Attorney Robert J. Scheinblum declined to comment Monday, saying he needed to read the Supreme Court's full ruling, which has not yet been released.

Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform in Virginia, called Miranda's prosecution unusual because in most failure-to-protect cases, the abuser is a man beating his wife or girlfriend and the children and it's the woman who is charged with failing to report the abuse.

"When it's the man who was the witness, often authorities will throw up their hands and say, `He was out of the house. How could he know?' It's really a double standard," Wexler said.

The above came from the Hartford Courant website.

Fair use of copyrighted material

* * * *

My email to incoming Gov. Rell of Connecticut regarding Rowland and corruption

Telling your Attorney to go fuck himself- PRICELESS

A Justice System really has to be corrupt and out of hand for something to actually change

The Death of Shame in America
(O'Reilly of the O'Reilly Factor, Fox News, asks Gov. John G. Rowland to resign Dec. 2003)

* * * *

Can cops rape, rob, beat, and murder with immunity?
(post contains pictures of young adults brutalized by police, and picture of a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette and one of the houses I fixed up from a boarded up condition)

Are their unnamed factions in the US, similar to the KKK?

With rogue judges and their minions, police officers, do we really live in a Democracy? (post)

This blogger's email: stevengerickson@yahoo.com

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