Saturday, January 9, 2010

Neither of You are Worthy of Being Buried in This Country

"Neither of you are worthy of being buried in this country" said Judge Walter Komanski to co-defendants Juan Hernandez-Monzalvo (left) and Richard Morales-Marin (right) at their sentencing hearing on Thursday.

After monitoring their trial in October, I would have to concur.

The co-defendants abuducted and repeatedly raped a 12-year old girl as she was on her way to school last February. The case was a slam dunk for prosecutors, with DNA evidence, confessions, and conflicting testimony by the defendants. The only thing that defense attorneys could possibly hope for at the sentencing was a 25 year minimum mandatory sentence instead of LIFE in the Department of Corrections.

Judge Komanski, after listening to prosecutor Linda Drane-Burdick read the child's impact statement, paid careful attention to letters on behalf of Hernandez-Monzalvo written by him and his family.  Morales-Marin made no requests for leniency.

The judge indicated that there are four things that must be considered when sentencing:

  1. Protecting the public entails sending a message to the community that predators like these men need to caged, like dangerous animals in zoo, in order to assure public safety; as well as putting other would-be rapists on notice that this type of crime will not be tolerated.

  2. Rehabilitation was not likely in what Judge Komanski referred to as valueless lives.

  3. Restitution was not requested by the victim.

  4. Accountability (which is a nice word for "punishment")

Prior to announcing their sentences, Judge Komanski wondered aloud how Hernandez-Monzalvo, whose family pleaded for the judge to show leniency for this good, hard-working family man, would react if someone had brutalized one of his children in a fashion similar to what the victim in this case endured.

He then gave Hernandez-Monzalvo two life sentences plus 15 years, all consecutive to one another.

Morales-Marin received three life sentences plus (4) 15-year sentences, all consecutive to one another.

Both defendants, illegally in this country, were ordered turned over to Immigraion once they've completed their sentences. The Florida Department of Corrections was instructed to transport their bodies to INS because neither of them "are worthy of being buried in this country."

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