Saturday, July 18, 2009

Victim Participation Does Make a Difference

After Thursday's bond hearing in this case, I'm left wondering why only the mothers are speaking out about their daughters' victimization by 18-yr old Edwin Cintron (see my earlier blog entry). Four mothers of the victims were in court for this brief hearing. I commend them for taking the time to attend. I believe that it does make a difference to the Court when victims are represented. Many important decisions regarding a defendant's prosecution are made in these pretrial hearings (particularly bond motions and motions to suppress). The stronger the State's case, the more leverage they have with respect to future plea negotiations. The presence of the victim does have an impact in these hearings, even when they don't address the Court.

Mr. Cintron’s bond was posted and his passport was surrendered subsequent to the June 26th hearing. However, his grandmother was unable to house him because her landlord would not permit it. Thursday's bond motion was to ask if Mr. Cintron could live with his uncle in Texas. Judge Bob LeBlanc denied his request. Since there is nowhere for him to go, he is still at the Orange County Correctional Facility.

As a sidenote, Mr. Cintron’s 13-yr old sister has been sent to another state, removed from her friends (the victims), to protect her brother. Removing her is tantamount to punishing her for the actions of her brother. This will likely cause her friends to feel guilty about their willingness to speak up and prosecute Mr. Cintron. She has essentially been exiled, which can only make their recovery more difficult.

Click here to see WFTV's coverage of the hearing. And here's what can happen to sex offenders who have no place to go. I wish I knew what the best solution is for a situation like this. At the moment, it appears to be jail.


  1. There is almost always more to the story than homeless sex offenders let on when speaking with the media. And, apparently, careless reporters can't be counted on to actually check the official records. Jeff Weiss, the sex offender sympathetically profiled in that WFTV story, is a convicted armed robber who got less than one year behind bars for that crime.

    So why did WFTV take his word for it that he is guilty only of "consensual sex with a 14-yr old"? Was that really the circumstances of his sex crime conviction? Why didn't they go back and check the court documents to record the facts?

    Why is it that other offenders continue to find housing despite the living restrictions? Is there another reason why these offenders are homeless? All of this illustrates the importance of court watching.

  2. Thanks Tina - here's what I found from the Orange County Clerk's records:

    7/04: pled to 2 counts armed robbery, got 72.75 months in DOC (case 03-CF-0013313-O); also pled to 1 count of failure of sex offender to report, got 60 months DOC concurrent to case 03-CF-13323-O (case 04-CF-0003570-O)

    6/00: pled to 1 count of sexual battery, sentenced to 73 days jail (credit 73 days time served) + 5 yrs sex offender probation (case 00-CF-0000875-O). He violated probation and was sentenced 4/01 to 213 days jail (credit 213 days time served) + 2 yrs community control w/sex offender conditions. Probation was revoked. In 5/02, there was another probation violation hearing in which he was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to 2 years DOC.

    6/00: Pled to possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 88 days jail, credit 88 days time served (case 99-CF-0016241-O).

    Tina is right. WFTV doesn't appear to have done their homework on this story.

  3. The media needs to make it a policy to check and report offenders' real records. The homeless sex offenders in Miami get a free pass on their records in virtually all reporting of that story, too.