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  1. #1
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    Man mistakenly released from jail now accused of murder

    Man mistakenly released from jail now accused of murder

    Jim Walsh and Amanda Fruzynski
    The Arizona Republic
    Mar. 29, 2007 07:45 PM

    The legal system is on trial and different parts are blaming each other, refusing to accept responsibility in the wake of an undocumented immigrant's mistaken release from a Maricopa County jail, 11 days before police say he may have committed murder.

    Ruben Perez Rivera, 23, is suspected of stabbing his cousin to death Tuesday in Mesa. He was released from a jail March 16 because of a paperwork snafu. The county sheriff's office acted on a judge's March 15 order to release Perez Rivera and was not notified in time that he had been indicted later that day on kidnapping charges.

    He was deported by federal officials to Mexico after his release from jail, but apparently re-entered the United States illegally. advertisement

    Perez Rivera is still missing and wanted in connection with the murder of Theodore Cruz Perez, 23, at an apartment complex.

    "It's the court's responsibility. They are ducking responsibility here," said Barnett Lotstein, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. "The county attorney's office acted properly in the presentation of this case."

    But at a press conference Thursday, Presiding Superior Court Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell said Commissioner Mina Mendez had no choice but to order Perez Rivera released because of a Court of Appeals ruling days earlier that bars suspects from being held more than 10 days without a preliminary hearing or an indictment.

    "It very apparent to me that the participants in the criminal justice system need to get together... to correct serious flaws in the information shared with our judicial officers and other participants in the system," Mundell said.

    But state Sen. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa, was more blunt, blaming the blunder on "the incompetence of the system."

    "It is sickening to know that our system . . . can't keep a kidnapper," Gray said on the Senate floor Thursday.

    Under state law, jailed defendants must be brought to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of first appearing before a judge to determine if there is enough evidence to support the charge. Prosecutors also can present a case to grand jury and obtain an indictment if sufficient evidence is found.

    When Deputy County Attorney Adam Zabor appeared in court March 15, he wasn't prepared to go forward with the hearing and he didn't have an indictment, Mundell said.

    Under old rules, the court would have kept an inmate locked up to give the prosecutors' office extra time to get an indictment, even though County Attorney's office had violated the 10-day deadline.

    "It was the prosecutor who asked that that preliminary hearing be vacated," Mundell said. "There are no charges to hold that person on, so as a result the defendant has to be released."

    But Lotstein said the 10-day deadline was not violated because prosecutors had until midnight to obtain the indictment.

    "The judge had no obligation to order that defendant's release. That's ridiculous," he said.

    Lotstein said court paperwork presented to Mendez made it clear that Perez Rivera was not a U.S citizen. The document also warned that police feared that Perez Rivera might flee to Mexico or become more violent.

    Lotstein said that warning should have been enough for Mendez to enforce Proposition 100, which bars illegal immigrants from being released on bond.

    "From our perspective, we did what we do," Lotstein said. "We obtained the indictment in plenty of time. It was a paperwork mix-up that was not the Sheriff's fault."

    He said Superior Court is refusing to enforce Proposition 100. In response, the county attorney's office will take the unprecedented step of having a prosecutor staff the Initial Appearance Court at the county jail 24 hours a day starting Monday.

    But Mundell said the release report did not provide adequate evidence that Perez Rivera was inside the U.S. illegally. The prosecutor didn't provide any information about Rivera's immigration status and Zabor didn't ask that Perez Rivera be held without bond, the judge said.

    "That (report) does not mean that he was here illegally," the Mundell said. "He could have been a legal resident or he could have been here on a visa."

    The court is developing procedures to assure that undocumented immigrants are held without bond, but Mundell could not say when the new rules would be in place.

    Lt. Paul Chagolla, spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's office, said his office had no idea Perez Rivera had been indicted when it turned the defendant over to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 16.

    Chagolla said that paperwork from indictments often doesn't get to the Sheriff's office until the afternoon of the following day.

    At about 10 a.m. on March 16, Perez was released to ICE officials and transported to Mexico later that day, says Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for ICE. ICE did a background check to look for previous convictions or deportations, but because they received the paperwork showing his initial release by local authorities, Perez was deported.

    Perez Rivera was initially arrested by Mesa police on March 5 and charged with suspicion of kidnapping and assault of his ex-girlfriend, 20-year-old Karol Nieves.

    On Tuesday night, police suspect that Perez Rivera went to his ex-girlfriend's apartment and stabbed his cousin, who was hiding in the apartment.

    Perez Rivera is described as Hispanic, 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 140 lbs., with a thin build and shaved head. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a white t-shirt, blue jeans, white tennis shoes and a black hat. Anyone that has any information is advised to call Mesa police at (480) 644-2211.



    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/ ... fu-ON.html

  2. #2
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    was the paperwork snafu due to the government employee not being able to speak English?

  3. #3
    MW
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    Sounds like another activist judge at work to me.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ** Edmund Burke**

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    4 legislators seeking inquiry on county release of migrant
    Yvonne Wingett and Michael Kiefer
    The Arizona Republic
    Apr. 4, 2007 12:00 AM

    Four state legislators are asking the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to investigate County Attorney Andrew Thomas' role in the release of an undocumented immigrant who was deported to Mexico in March before he returned to Phoenix and was accused of murdering his cousin.

    The suspect, Ruben Perez Rivera, 23, is still at large.

    Calling it a "failure of his office to adhere to Prop. 100," last November's successful ballot initiative that denies bail to illegal immigrants suspected of committing serious crimes, the House Democrats called upon county Supervisor Andrew Kunasek to "order an immediate investigation" of Thomas, a Republican. advertisement




    The Democrats accused his office of failing to get a timely indictment.

    "We feel that it's necessary to perform a full investigation into all the parties involved," said Rep. Chad Campbell of Phoenix, who signed his name on the one-page letter, along with Mark DeSimone, Jackie Thrasher and David Schapira.

    "There's a lot of unanswered questions in this case," Campbell said, "and they need to be answered."

    Kunasek, who is mistakenly referred to in the legislators' letter as board chairman, was "disturbed" by the letter. The supervisors have no authority to conduct an investigation, he said, and the courts, the County Attorney's Office and the Sheriff's Office will figure out where the breakdown occurred.

    "It was a tragedy," said Kunasek, a Republican. "I'm fearful that when people start using a true human loss . . . for some political gain."

    Special Assistant County Attorney Barnett Lotstein called the accusation false and politically motivated.

    He pointed out that the release itself had nothing to do with Proposition 100.

    "It only arose because the court did not hold the defendant without bond, and we believe they should have," he said. "The question of who is supposed to inform the court as to the defendant's immigration status, that's where the Democrats who wrote this letter are way off base." The flap involved Perez Rivera's arrest last month on charges of kidnapping and assault on a woman.

    , in His bond was set at $10,000, over the county attorney's protests and despite court papers saying that Perez Rivera was at risk of fleeing to Mexico. But when the paperwork on his indictment was delayed, he was turned over to federal immigration agents and deported to Mexico.

    Eleven days later, police say, he returned to his girlfriend's home and stabbed and killed his cousin, Theodore Cruz Perez, 23.

    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepubli ... 0404.html#
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    Ruben Perez Rivera, 23, is suspected of stabbing his cousin to death Tuesday in Mesa.
    FAMILY VALUES don't stop at the Rio Grande?

    What a crock of crap!
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  6. #6

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    My parents have lived in Arizona during the winter months for the past 6 years. They said that they will not go back because of the illegal invaders and the crime they bring with them. Arizona is looking just like California and Texas.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SOSADFORUS's Avatar
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    Yes their family values are so heart warming, you can damn well bet he is running in our streets as we speak! And laughing in the face of or law enforcement and court systems. Way to go you bunch of losers!!
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