Criminal Procedure 101

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The following sentence in Carol Williams' L.A. Times article on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to decline certiorari in the case of the "Cuban Five" is insultingly misleading:

"Alleged ringleader Gerardo Hernandez, who was also convicted of murder conspiracy in the 1996 deaths of four pilots from the Brothers to the Rescue group for allegedly passing information that helped the Cuban Air Force shoot down the intruding aircraft, issued a statement through the Cuban parliament denouncing the Supreme Court decision."

Legal scholars have argued whether a person is "convicted" upon being found guilty by a jury or pursuant to sentencing. However, there is no disagreement about a person being "convicted" after being found guilty, sentenced by a judge and undergone all feasible appeals. Therefore, there are no longer "allegations."

Geraldo Hernandez was convicted by a trial jury (in which there were no Cuban-Americans), sentenced by a judge, underwent two appeals in the 11th Circuit and filed a writ of certiorari, which was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. If somehow one is still not sufficiently convinced that Hernandez was acting illegally as a foreign agent, then perhaps the fact that he issued his statement through "the Cuban parliament" will be persuasive.