Injustice Experienced By Michael Mendoza In Rhode Island
Injustice Experienced By Michael Mendoza In Rhode Island

Prosecutorial Misconduct Is Rampant In Our Courts. Is That What Happened To Michael Mendoza?

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Complaint One

On 12-15-91 Mr. Erickson Diaz was caught in gunfire and killed outside the home of Mr. Michael Mendoza. Mr. Mendoza was eventually tried and convicted of murder on 1-27-94. Mr. Mendoza admits to a criminal past but asserts he was wrongly convicted of the murder of Mr. Diaz. Mr. Mendoza asserts the following wrongdoing in his case:

A Mr. Nunez, the chief and ONLY witness against Mendoza, gave testimony at Mendoza's violation hearing. This testimony can only be described as ludicrous because:

  • Mr. Nunez lies about key issues, including his real name and date of birth and
  • Mr. Nunez denied having a criminal record when he had an extensive criminal record with convictions and
  • Mr. Nunez's testimony is at great odds with the witness statements of others at the murder scene. For example, Mr. Nunez claims that he went to Mendoza's house with a fellow named Rufino Ramos; however, Mr. Ramos's testimony implicitly denies that scenario.
  • Mr. Nunez's description of the murderer does not match that of Mendoza.

There is evidence of unethical and perhaps illegal behavior by Special Assistant Attorney General Michael O'Connor at the State's grand jury hearing. Note that Mr. Mendoza's case was handled by Attorney General Pine's administration which has a history of similar abuses.

Mr. O'Connor repeats Nunez's contention that he has no criminal convictions without comment, as if it were legitimate. This suspicion is strengthened by a slip of the tongue by Mr. O'Connor. At one point Mr. O'Connor calls Mr. Nunez Juan Hernandez. This is one of Mr. Nunez's many aliases included in Mr. Nunez's FBI file. Mr. Mendoza also asserts that lead detective Michael Panzarella lied to the Grand Jury and State Prosecutor David Prior suborned perjury from State witness Mr. Nunez during the trial.

On 6-27-92 after Mr. Mendoza's violation hearing but before the trial, Mr. Nunez was booked on a charge of raping a 13 year old girl. On 6-29-92 the charge was dropped to child molestation. Mr. Nunez was remanded to the ACI but nothing ever came of his case. Mr. Nunez was deported to the Dominican Republic. However in late January, 1994 the State flew Mr. Nunez into Rhode Island for Mr. Mendoza's trial. The State paid Mr. Nunez thirty dollars a day for meals and put him up in a hotel. The state then allowed Mr. Nunez to leave the country without prosecuting his pending molestation charge. The family of the alleged victim of the molestation was outraged that they were left in the dark about the prosecution of Mr. Nunez. This obvious "deal" with Mr. Nunez was never presented at Mr. Mendoza's trial by anyone including Mr. Mendoza's attorney Gilbert Walker.

The state's pre-trial memorandum states Mr. Nunez was mentioned by a Mr. Rufino Ramos when there is not a shred of evidence that supports this. At Mr. Mendoza's violation hearing, Mr. Nunez says he went to the nightclub "with somebody." [page 7, lines 13-20 of transcript] Yet, at trial, Mr. Nunez says, "I went there by myself." [page 219, Line 4 of transcript]

Mr. Ramos's testimony is also full of holes. [See transcripts page 279, line 9 and page 219, line 10] Mr. Mendoza's attorney, Gilbert Walker never asked Mr. Ramos about the holes in his testimony. Also see transcript pages 219, 221, 279 and 288 where Atty. Walker accepts the prosecution's stipulations and conducts his case based on these faulty stipulations.] Attorney Gilbert Walker also never explored other contradictions in testimony of Mr. Ramos and Mr. Nunez.

Mr. Ramos says he saw a fight involving a guy named Alexis and a Dominican black guy. Note: Mr. Mendoza is not a Dominican or black. At trial, Mr. Ramos denies at least 3 times that he saw the fight. [see transcript pages 290-291] Evidentially there were at least 2 different statements attributed to Ramos both made on the same date at the same time. This was not explored by Mr. Mendoza's attorney Gilbert Walker either.

There was no indication of tests for Mr. Mendoza's fingerprints by either the local police or the FBI. Also documents discussed at trial do not match any of the documents handed over before trial.


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