Monday, 30 August 2010

SBS: Trudy Munoz appeal to Obama

March 19, 2010
Mr. Barack ObamaPresident of United States of AmericaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NWWashington, D. C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:First of all, I would like to express to you my deepest respect and admiration for what you represent to millions of Americans and people all over the world, for your brilliant political ascension and for your incredible determination to reach your goals. Your presidency has broken through prejudicial dogmas and is forging a new era in American democracy.My name is Hernani Ames and I am an immigrant of Peruvian descent who came to the U.S. in 2001 with my wife Trudy Muñoz and daughter Renata, who was then only five years old. Then, in 2003, our second daughter Jimena was born, and we settled in the city of Alexandria, in Fairfax County, Virginia, where we have been living continuously to this day, paying our taxes and working honestly in order to achieve our “American Dream”.And so it was that in 2004 my wife Trudy set up a daycare center to take care of children, complying with all the permits, inspections and courses required by Fairfax County, ensuring that the nursery was equipped with everything necessary so that the infants´ stay would be safe, calm and enjoyable. With a lot of effort, dedication and professionalism, she gave her love to every child who came to the house, always offering much more than just “a place to pass the time”, taking care of their nutrition, teaching them a new language and motivating them in their development.On April 20, 2009, there was a tragic incident with Noah Whitmer, one of the children under her care, who went limp and stopped breathing while she was feeding him a bottle. Trudy realized this and immediately began performing first aid according to the procedures she had learned in the courses dealing with this type of emergency situation. Trudy responded with professionalism and diligence when faced with such a delicate situation and immediately called 911.Trudy managed to revive the infant and saved his life, after which the paramedics arrived, stabilized the boy and transported him to the hospital.A few minutes later, the police arrived to investigate the situation. They remained in our home for about 5 hours, while they took notes and photographs of the entire house.For an hour and a half they questioned Trudy about what had occurred, and she – far from refusing to cooperate – agreed to be interviewed and answered each of their questions time and time again trying to explain in detail what had occurred, thinking that all this information would be vitally important for the child´s immediate medical treatment.As the police were leaving, they told us that the next day there would be investigators from Fairfax County Child Protective Services coming to the house to investigate the events; when they came, Trudy welcomed them in and agreed to a second interview. They identified themselves as a detective from the Fairfax police department and a social worker from the office of Child Protective Services of Fairfax County.During the interview, the social worker also served as the interpreter. Trudy once again went over the events that occurred, but during the four hours that this interview lasted, both interviewers insisted over and over again that Trudy should “tell the truth” because “the child´s condition is getting worse with every minute that goes by”. The interview became very tense and finally the interviewers concluded that Trudy “had confessed”, and accused her of physically abusing a child through the so-called Shaken Baby Syndrome – SBS. Trudy was placed under arrest and denied bail since, according to the Judge, “the crime that she is being accused of is very serious (a Felony) and there is a risk that the accused may not appear for future court dates”. She remained incarcerated for seven months until finally, thanks to the work done by her lawyers and with the help and support of the Peruvian Consulate which assured the court that she would not be provided with any identification documents, she was set free on bail.During the trial that was held from the 11th until the 21st of January of this year, the jury found her guilty and recommended a sentence of 10.5 years in prison; immediately thereafter, she was taking into custody and is currently held in Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for the 9th of April, of this year, with Judge Dr. Jane Brodie.We used to have faith in the impartiality of U.S. justice system, and that Trudy´s innocence would be acknowledged, but apparently we were wrong. During the entire process, the prosecutor was not able to present one single piece of evidence that clearly incriminates Trudy. Quite the contrary, the defense presented medical evidence which shows that the child had been afflicted with medical problems since birth, and that it would have been impossible for the injuries found on him to have been caused by physical abuse.During the course of this trial, the medical experts testifying for the prosecution were not able to present any conclusive evidence that the child had been shaken.Quite the contrary, the evidence showed that:1. The child had been diligently attended to, since as soon as the child stopped breathing and Trudy performed the appropriate first aid maneuvers, in order to save him from asphyxiation. Court testimony given by Trudy Muñoz.2. That the child did not exhibit one single sign of physical abuse, such as bruises, fractures, head trauma, or muscle tears. Court testimony by the paramedic on the scene, a prosecution witness.3. That in order to generate injuries associated with “the shaken baby syndrome”, one would need to generate a minimum force of 50 g and a maximum force of 500 g – according to the testimony in court of the President of the National Shaken Baby Syndrome, Dr. Craig A. Futterman, a witness for the prosecution. (That is 50 gravitational forces)4. A healthy adult woman is capable of generating a maximum force of 8 gs, while a healthy adult man can generate a maximum force of 20 gs – according to the court testimony of the Biomechanical Engineer, Mr. Kirk Thibauld, a witness for the defense.5. That, the physical examination performed on the child immediately after the events took place revealed a prior bleed at the base of the skull, which is not the result of blunt trauma or abuse, but rather occurred during the birth process as the baby´s head emerges through the mother´s vaginal canal and it is compressed – according to the testimony in court of Dr. Ronald Uscinski, a Pediatric Neurosurgeon, witness for the defense.6. That, as a result of the continuous accumulation of blood at the base of the skull, there is an increased pressure generated from the inside out, and thus the baby´s skull exhibits an abnormal growth (that is, the baby´s head had undergone accelerated growth) – according to the court testimony of the Ophthalmologist, Dr. Horace Gardner, a defense witness.7. That Trudy never admitted guilt during the course of the interrogation. What she did instead was to explain the way in which she had interacted with the baby both before and after the incident. Furthermore, she had never refused to be questioned; she answered all their questions in the hope that any information which she provided could be useful for the medical care of the infant.To convict Trudy, the Prosecution presented false evidence alleging a confession of guilt. In other words, the prosecution called as its witness Mrs. Joselyn Waldron, the woman who had acted as the interpreter during the second interview, and she testified that Trudy had admitted to shaken the baby. This was a complete fabrication because Trudy never said that she had shaken the baby in the course of her interview with any of the investigators. Mrs. Waldron, nonetheless, had jotted down in her notes that Trudy had admitted to shaken the baby. In contrast to the first interview that Trudy had with the other police investigators, where the entire conversation was recorded, Mrs. Waldron did not record any portion of this second interview with Trudy, and did not even ask Trudy to sign her supposed “confession”.There is also an audio recording which reveals a conspiracy on the part of the Fairfax County Police Department to incriminate Trudy, which was submitted to the court and admitted into evidence, but which obviously was not heard by the Jury during their deliberations.Mr. President, it is clear that intolerance is what prevailed in this trial. The Jury completely discarded all the evidence that actually showed Trudy´s INNOCENCE. Instead, they found her guilty despite the fact that the prosecution was not able to establish her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense was able to prove Trudy’s innocence at every step of the process.I sincerely believe that the most fundamental legal principle in a criminal trial has been violated in this case: any doubts must be resolved in favor of the defendant.I would like to be able to describe how I feel upon seeing my family torn apart in this way, but I cannot find the right words to describe this pain. I can only say that as a father, I am very sorry for what happened to the baby, and that I wish with all my heart that he recovers fully and is able to have a full and complete life. At the same time, I also wish for this injustice to come to an end because I believe absolutely in the innocence of my wife, as the facts prove her to be, and I yearn with all my soul to be able to provide my daughters with the family they once had.It is for this reason that I turn to you, Mr. President, because it is critical for the Federal Government to intervene through the Department of Justice and review this case. I firmly believe that my wife Trudy was unfairly convicted, and that the only reason her testimony was so thoroughly dismissed is due to the simple fact that she is Latina. Each of the evidence presented by the prosecution was refuted at trial by the medical experts of the defense. Moreover, there is clear evidence of police misconduct from the very beginning of the investigation. Yet my wife was still found guilty. Could it be that being a minority makes us criminals before the eyes of the law? I believe in the Law, and in the equality of justice, and yet I also believe that when our rights have been violated, we must demand that they be restituted.Thanking you in advance for any interest you can give to this matter,
I remain,
Sincerely yours.HERNANI AMES

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