Upon finding out that our daughter had been molested, we had no idea that an interview with CPS (Child Protective Services) would end up in such a nightmare.
The heroes became suspect, a corrupt cop threatened us, violated Miranda and spousal privilege rights, used coercion and put us under duress, and then altered statements. This was just the beginning of a 3+ year horror story that would take over our lives and cause us to lose our jobs, freedom, and life as we knew it. There were numerous Constitutional rights (4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendment rights) violations in this legal saga in El Paso, TX.
Within several months that corrupt cop Jaime Terrazas was demoted, investigated by the Sheriff's Department's Internal Affairs, and the FBI for doing illegal activities on the job. The DA Esparza was told by the authorities to "drop every case he touched" due to the history of coercion (like the cop did with us, violating Miranda, making threats of arrest (duress/coercion), violating spousal privilege, unreasonable searches and seizures, ignoring/suppressing exculpatory evidence (falsified in videotaped interview and not having another officer present during interrogations of my child).
No investigation was ordered or done by the DA Jaime Esparza to ensure that the corrupt cop Terrazas had not tainted these cases. This was outright negligence and abuse by the DA Esparza. The financial hardship on my family was crippling.
To cap the above information...
The DA Jaime Esparza participated in the 4th and 5th Amendment violations (if not more) of the Constitution against my husband and myself. This also includes prosecutorial misconduct, fabricating charges (felony), false arrests, false conviction, false imprisonment, having his ADA's to use extortion and other coercive methods to attempt forcing false testimony, ignoring/suppressing exculpatory evidence (Brady Material specifically, especially concerning due process and self-incrimination), inadequate investigation, unethical behavior, extortion against witnesses, negligence, abuse of power, and overzealous and malicious prosecution.
Prosecutorial misconduct is also self evident in many areas named above for ADA Penny Hamilton in this 6th and 14th Amendment violations, but also boils down to a violation of victims rights, negligence, manipulating and fabricating stories surrounding alleged evidence, attempting to confuse witnesses, fabricating motive, witness tampering, making threats against a witness, misconduct (yelling/screaming at) with witnesses, ignoring/suppressing exculpatory evidence (alleged evidence, plus Brady Material), unethical behavior, overzealous prosecution, supporting false charges, inadequate investigation, and malicious prosecution.
Judge Patrick Garcia was involved in the 6th and 14th Amendment violations by not allowing due process of the law, an adequate defense, the right to a medical defense, or a "full and fair trial."
Asserted and submitted by Sharon Cornet - December 9, 2009
When speaking to the police or detectives, make sure you DO NOT talk to them without an attorney present! If they threaten to arrest you, demand that they tell you the charges; then either let them make the arrest without saying a word, or demand that they let you go if there is no evidence to make the arrest. Get their name and badge number and write it down! Let them know if they do anything wrong you are going to turn them in for unethical or illegal behavior.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! You have the right to remain silent even if they don't tell you so. USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE! Shut up. Name, rank, and serial number only, in effect. When they say (and we were not read our Miranda rights, and were threatened with arrest if we didn't talk, which was coercion and put us under duress) that anything you say can and will be held against you, you'd better believe it! Based on our experience I can fully 100% say that whatever you say WILL be twisted out of context and used against you in a court of law. Absolutely. Do not trust them with ANY INFORMATION! This includes other governmental organizations, such as CPS.
Plead the 5th Amendment only means that they cannot use something you say against you (even if true, they can alter it into something it is not), but if the officials or cop is corrupt that will not matter anyway.
If you sign a paper provided by CPS (Child Protective Services) then you are signing all of your parental rights away so that they can abduct your child(ren) on the spot and send them somewhere else to live. I did not get my daughter back until over 3 years later. All of this was based on a lawyer's advice, whom we hired ONLY to protect my daughter from CPS (Child Protective Services), and yet he advised us to sign and talk to them anyway. It was the worst advice from an attorney we ever received.
Seek a reputable lawyer's advice immediately if you are arrested or threatened with arrest (criminal lawyer, preferably Board Certified and who has a good background and experience in your kind of case). Get a second and third opinion, and shop around. Not all lawyers are created equal. Even the best in the book, which we hired, failed miserably. Find out if your civil rights were violated. Non-profit civil rights organizations are good resources. Don't hesitate to find a new lawyer if the one you hired is not doing his/her job. Make a complaint if they aren't, and get your money back ASAP. Don't wait until the statute of limitations runs out.
If a cop or other official does violate your rights, MAKE A COMPLAINT AGAINST THEM IMMEDIATELY! This is one thing we failed to do, and would have helped prevent that corrupt cop from getting on the witness stand, if there had been a record. Also, when a complaint is made, if you feel your life or safety might be in danger, get a restraining order against them at the same time.
The District Attorney's office can and may use extortion against you, to coerce you into testifying against someone you know. Do not sign anything they force you to sign without telling you what it is. If they make any extortion or other illegal attempts, turn them in to the FBI.
Head off any Prosecutorial witnesses that are corrupt from being put on the stand. If the Prosecution does use such witnesses, ensure that their credibility issues are well known to the jury. Such credibility issues can include a failure to do their job, obstruction of justice, coercion, failure to read Miranda warning, unreasonable searches and seizures, violating spousal privilege (what is said in private between you and your spouse is just that, private!), ignoring or suppressing exculpatory evidence, altering of documents, not having another officer present at time of interrogation (if that is the policy of your local Sheriff's or police department), or Brady material, and so on.
If your case was supposed to be dropped (but wasn't) because of such a violation due to a corrupt officer of the law, ENSURE that the DA drops it PRIOR to trial! Same goes for false charges or allegations.
Ensure a proper investigation is done by authorities greater (such as the FBI) than the DA or other public servants officials, especially if the latter doesn't do one, or does a shoddy job at it. The sooner the better. Negligence or outright abuse should not be tolerated!
The police should not be able to get you fired from your job (upon arrest) by calling in to your work claiming false allegations or charges.
Prosecutors are not allowed, by law, to make threats against witnesses (especially against those on the side they are prosecuting). Hold them accountable to the law.
Prosecutors are committing a crime if they violate your or your family's victims rights! Turn them in for doing so! Make official complaints at every level possible allowed by the law. Expose the injustices done whenever possible. Victims rights are protected by law!
You are allowed by law to enter a court to watch how the court system works, especially if you are being prosecuted. Educate yourself! Do not let the prosecutor make threats against you by telling you that you are committing a crime (or potential crime) by watching a court session that is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! Turn them in immediately upon any threats or coercive tactics or other unethical behavior(s).
Do not let your lawyer allow exculpatory evidence (that helps support your innocence, if that be the case) of corrupt officials involved in your case to be suppressed or ignored by the DA/ADA's office or staff. Also, do not allow the prosecutor to suppress exculpatory evidence provided by any witnesses or the victims his/her/themselves. Also, do not allow the prosecution to twist or fabricate motives, or stories, surrounding the facts, thereby prejudicing the jury and the Judge. Lastly, if your attorney does not object when they are supposed to, then you object. If the attorney does not object to a prosecutor yelling or screaming or asking trick questions (such as multiple-part questioning requiring a single umbrella answer that does not apply to all the parts) to the witness, then you hold them accountable on the spot. Do not show anger, but do not be afraid to calmly address the problem.
Do not allow your attorney to ignore blatant non-evidence based questions and answers, such as a cop saying to the jury, "I think he lied" when nothing but the truth was told.
Do not allow an attorney to ignore their duties to protect your life by doing a bad job before or during the trial. If they say they are going to prepare you all week long before trial, and then only give you an hour or two, then hold them to the original deal. They are there as your attorney - make them do their job! Ensure that the jury and Judge are informed of any illegal practices or errors that they should know about associated with your case or how it was handled in the beginning.
Fight all fabricated charges so they will be dropped!
If a witness has cognitive problems, or did at the time of initial interrogation, then make sure the jury knows it!
A videotaped interview should not be allowed in court as a video cannot be cross-examined. Also, errors are hard to pick out, and can easily be missed, compared to a transcript of the interview.
Do not allow your court proceedings to be "rushed" so that the judge can leave town on a trip. It is your constitutional right to have a full, and fair, and just trial, by law.
Do not let the Judge decide whether you can or cannot have a particular kind of defense. Any suppression of an otherwise allowable defense (due process) is a constitutional rights violation!
Do not accept derogatory or discriminatory comments by a Judge against you, especially if you are not the one on trial. Turn them in!
If you are being falsely accused, and the real perpetrator already took a guilty plea (especially if they did), do not allow your lawyer to NOT put them up on the witness stand so the jury can see who actually did the crime and already confessed to it!
If the Judge makes a judgment against someone, and it is in your favor, do not let that judgment go unenforced! Keep the Judge and any affiliated officials in complete transparency as to that judgment.
Lastly, if anything goes wrong, make complaints through the proper channels. For the DA, or an ADA, or attorney, go to the State Bar. If it is with a Judge, go to your local/state commission on judicial conduct. If it is an officer of the law, ensure that you not only make a complaint, but FOLLOW UP to ensure that they follow up and enforce it. If there is any corrupt occurrences it will be here, where the departments tend to protect their own (at least where I live they do). If Internal Affairs takes a statement and says they'll do an investigation, hold them to it! Do not let your rights be stepped on. Do not let them wrongfully take away your children, life, liberty, property, or pursuit of happiness!
December 21, 2009