When A Family Is Sentenced

Video by Jean Melesaine

This video was produced for New America Media’s “Growing Up Poor In The Bay Area” forum. 24 year old Moaseni Jr. Leasiolagi and his fiance Christina have 2 children, currently live in a 10×10 studio with his father and younger brother. They have been on welfare since their son was born and have been looking for jobs which has been hard since they both have criminal backgrounds.

San Jose Mercury News: Justices: Prosecutor committed ‘substantial’ misconduct but defendant should not have been freed

On Friday, September 30, 2011, a California appellate panel found that Santa Clara County prosecutor Troy Benson committed “substantial misconduct” in a criminal case that then resulted in a reversal of conviction for defendant Agustin Uribe.  Judge Andrea Bryan further freed Uribe, and her actions caused then District Attorney Dolores Carr to call for a boycott of her courtroom by her prosecutors.  Post submission by Charisse Domingo

Justices: Prosecutor committed ‘substantial’ misconduct but defendant should not have been freed

By Tracey Kaplan

In a blistering decision that could jeopardize the career of a Santa Clara County prosecutor, an appellate panel found Friday that attorney Troy Benson committed “substantial misconduct” by testifying “untruthfully” about a child sex-assault case he handled, but ruled a local judge went too far when she freed the defendant in response.  Read more here….

San Jose Mercury News: De-Bug Increases Role as Legal Watchdog With Soros Justice Award

by Tracey Kaplan, April 5, 2010

Ramon Vasquez’s urban nightmare began when San Jose police surrounded him at gunpoint in a parking lot of a Coca-Cola distribution center. Instead of coaching his son’s Little League game that day, the soft-drink deliveryman wound up jailed for a gang-related murder, facing a possible life sentence.

Few outside his family and friends believed he was innocent until his fiancee heard about a free legal clinic offered every Sunday near downtown San Jose by the grass-roots group De-Bug.

With De-Bug’s help, all charges against Vasquez were dismissed and he was set free five months after being arrested.

In February, he was deemed factually innocent by a judge, erasing his record and increasing his chances of remuneration from the county.

“It was like I had a law firm behind me,” Vasquez, 29, said of De-Bug’s efforts, including urging his government-appointed attorney to mount a more aggressive defense. “I probably would have fallen through the cracks if it wasn’t for my family and De-Bug.”

Continue reading…

Once Facing a Life Sentence, Man Given Factual Finding of Innocence

Ramon Vasquez was an innocent man wrongfully charged with murder. Though his court appointed attorney told him to plea at one point, Vasquez remained steadfast in his belief that the truth of his innocence would be proven. His family dissected the case against him, and with the attorney, proved Vasquez could not have committed the crime. Here is his story. Video produced by Adrian Avila.