Friday, October 2, 2020

Rosa Jimenez: Texas: International Wrongful Conviction Day: (Part 2): Podcast on her case makes Best True Crime Podcast list... Link provided..."Rosa Jimenez is serving a 99-year sentence for the 2005 murder of 21-month-old Brian Gutierrez, whom she was babysitting at the time. While many in the legal community, including five Texas judges and the Innocence Project, which is working on her release), agree that Gutierrez’s death was an accident and that no crime had occurred, she remains in prison, suffering from stage-four kidney disease." District Attorney's mailing address provided. HL.

PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  International Wrongful Convictions Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the principal that we all should be concerned about wrongful convictions - and do whatever we can to rectify them - regardless where on the planet they may  occur. It also gives us an opportunity to bring pressure to bear from outside the jurisdiction on the officials in the jurisdiction where the travesty has occurred who have the power to do something about it.  As you will see below, immediate action is required as Rosa Jimenez, an innocent person whose health has deteriorated while she spent almost half her life  imprisoned for a murder that never even happened, has been sentenced to serve 99 years for the 2005 murder  of the 21-month old child whom she was babysitting at the time. This is brutal uncivilised, inhumane, and yes, it is the State of Texas. To make matters worse, although a federally appointed judge  overturned the murder verdict and ordered a new trial on the basis that she had been denied her constitutional right to present qualified medical experts at her trial in August 2005, state authorities have thus far been reluctant to move the case forward.  Texas has the power to exonerate Rosa Jimenez - and to remove the ever-present  threat of catching Covid-19 while behind bars - by immediately effecting her release.

Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog.


BACKGROUND:  "United States District Judge Lee Yeakel has overturned the murder conviction of Estela Rosa Jimenez and ordered a new trial based on Jimenez being denied her constitutional right to present qualified medical experts at her trial in August 2005. The decision is grounded on the earlier recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin issued in September 2018. It has been almost 15 years since Jimenez was convicted of murder for the death of a 21-month-old child in her care. Jimenez has always maintained her innocence and stated the child’s death was a tragic accident and not murder.  Lawyer Bryce Benjet:  “Rosa Jimenez was convicted based only on the scientifically invalid medical theory that was physically impossible for an infant to have choked on a wad of paper towel. There were no signs of abuse, Ms. Jimenez immediately tried to resuscitate Bryan Gutierrez and called for help. As any parent knows, the state’s theory made no sense. We have since presented leading experts in pediatric choking who described similar incidents of accidental choking and confirmed that nothing about this case suggested foul play.  Unfortunately, Ms. Jimenez’s appointed defense counsel failed to hire a competent medical expert and the jury made its decision based on invalid science. Judge Yeakel’s decision today granting a new trial confirms the findings of both the trial judge and the state habeas judge that there is a reasonable likelihood Ms. Jimenez was wrongfully convicted. There is simply no evidence that this little boy’s death was anything but a tragic accident. Ms. Jimenez and her family have likewise suffered immeasurably. Her children have grown up without their mother, and Ms. Jimenez’s health has deteriorated while she spent almost half of her life imprisoned for a murder that never even happened."


STORY: "Best true crime podcasts, September, 2020, by writer Chanel Dubfosky, published on September 26, 2020.

GIST: "Rosa Jimenez is serving a 99-year sentence for the 2005 murder of 21-month-old Brian Gutierrez, whom she was babysitting at the time. While many in the legal community, including five Texas judges and the Innocence Project (currently working on her release), agree that Gutierrez’s death was an accident, she remains in prison while suffering from stage-four kidney disease. In the latest episode of Unjust and Unsolved, a podcast examining the cases of innocent people serving time for crimes that have yet to be solved, journalist Maggie Freleng dives into the nooks and crannies of Jimenez’s case via interviews with her lawyer and Jimenez herself. There are a stack of blatant errors in this case, including the fact that the forensics “proving” her guilt actually don’t play out in favor of the prosecution, and when Jimenez, who was undocumented and not an English speaker, was interviewed, she had not been read her Miranda rights and didn’t know she could ask for a lawyer. Tune in for Jimenez’s story, and pay careful attention to the issues of ethnicity, class, and xenophobia keeping her in prison."


Link to Podcast: (Apple podcast note): "In 2005 Rosa Jimenez was sentenced to life for the murder of a three-year-old child in her care. Twenty-year-old Rosa was babysitting twenty-one-month-old Bryan Gutierrez at her house when he came into the kitchen choking. Bryan was choking on a paper towel and at Rosa’s trial experts said it was impossible for him to get it lodged in there himself. A re-trial for Rosa has been granted, but the process will take months or years and she has developed stage four kidney disease and is starting dialysis this month. The DA can release her now but they won’t. Rosa has been in prison for seventeen years.


WIND-UP: Five  state lawmakers implored Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore by letter dated February 3, 2020, to “take any necessary steps to ensure that justice and basic humanity carry the day...Jimenez’s continued imprisonment, despite significant evidence of her innocence, harms not only Ms. Jimenez and her family, but also the public’s confidence in our justice system.” I hope,  in the spirit of this International Wrongful Conviction Day, dear readers,  that you will  send your  personal message  in support of Rosa Jimenez's immediate   release   and exoneration to Margaret Moore: District Attorney; Travis County. P.O.Box 1748. Austin Texas, 78767. USA.


PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;

FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."
Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;
FINAL, FINAL WORD (FOR NOW!): "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they’ve exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;