July 21, 2011

Don't Be Mentally Disabled and Hispanic in your Own Home

This guy was attacked in his own home by police who thought he was a burglar. According to his lawyer, a language barrier and some sort of mental disability prevented him from understanding the situation and responding appropriately. He locked himself in the bathroom and refused to come out. They used pepper spray and a pepper ball gun and roughed him up, and then charged him with resisting arrest.

I can't believe this prosecution went through. The police were clearly in the wrong. Seems to me, when they realized their error, they should have immediately apologized profusely and braced themselves for a hefty lawsuit. But, no, he's getting jail time and a fine. (There will, of course, be a lawsuit, however, and I hope it is punitive and crippling enough to make this prosecutor think twice over pursuing such victims as criminals in the future.)

The comments of the judge are infuriating:

[Judge Derek] Flournoy told Sauceda because he did not take the stand in his own defense it was difficult for him to sympathize with his situation. “I haven’t heard from you and I have no idea why you didn’t speak. That causes me some trouble. I don’t agree with the notion you are a victim in this case,” Flournoy said. “I think your actions put you and the officers in harm’s way. This could have been easily avoided.”

Had it not been for the jury’s note asking for leniency, Flournoy said he would have likely sentenced Sauceda to six months in jail.


(via The Agitator.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at July 21, 2011 05:03 PM | TrackBack

as if the rest wasn't ridiculous enough, it's his right not to take the stand and i don't think the judge is legally allowed to consider that against him.

Posted by: aaron at July 21, 2011 09:24 PM