15 November 2004 – LAWFUEL – Criminal law, law, legal news – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that the last three (3) defendants convicted in the City of Miami Cops prosecution, Jorge Garcia, Jose “Pepe” Quintero, and Israel “Izzy” Gonzalez, were sentenced by United States District Court Judge Alan S. Gold, in Miami, Florida, to terms of imprisonment. Each defendant was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of sixteen (16) months.
The sentencing of these three defendants marks the final chapter of the City of Miami Cops prosecution. Thirteen (13) current and former City of Miami police officers were charged in this prosecution with being part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice by planting guns and lying about their actions in four (4) different police-involved shootings. The shootings at issue were: (1) the November 7, 1995 fatal shooting of Antonio Young and Derrick Wiltshire after they jumped from the I-395 overpass above North Miami Avenue (the “I-395 Shooting”); (2) the March 12, 1996 fatal shooting of Richard Brown, a 72-year-old man, in his apartment at 1344 N.W. 7th Court; (3) the April 13, 1996 shooting at Steven Carter in the vicinity of 342 N.W. 43rd Street; and (4) the June 26, 1997 shooting and wounding of Daniel Hoban, a homeless man who had been holding a walkman radio, in Coconut.
During August 2001, two of the defendants, William Hames and John Mervolion entered into plea agreements with the government. Pursuant to the terms of their plea agreements, defendants Hames and Mervolion agreed to cooperate with the government in exchange for a potential recommendation for a reduction of their respective sentences at their sentencing hearings. Both Hames and Mervolion testified for the government in the two (2) trials that followed.
On April 9, 2003, after a two and one-half month trial, followed by two and one-half weeks of jury deliberations, a federal jury in Miami found defendants, Jesus “Jessie” Aguero, Arturo “Art” Beguirstain, Jorge Castello, and Oscar Ronda, guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice. The jury did not reach a unanimous verdict as to defendants Garcia, Quintero, and Gonzalez, and the court declared a mistrial as to them. The jury acquitted defendant, Jose Acuna, of some charges and could not reach a verdict as to Acuna on two (2) of the charges. Charges against Acuna were ultimately dismissed. Three (3) other defendants were acquitted at the trial.
On October 9, 2003, the four (4) defendants convicted at the 2003 trial were sentenced by Judge Gold in Miami. Defendant Aguero was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of thirty-seven (37) months. Defendant Beguirstain was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of twenty-seven (27) months. Defendants Ronda and Castello were each sentenced to terms of imprisonment of thirteen (13) months.
On April 1, 2004, after a four (4) week trial and over two (2) weeks of deliberations, a federal jury in Miami returned verdicts of guilty on all counts as to defendants Quintero, Garcia, and Gonzalez in connection with the I-395 Shooting. These defendants were charged with participating in a conspiracy in which they planted guns at the scene of this police-involved shooting and made false and misleading statements to cover-up and justify their actions in the shootings. Defendant Quintero was found guilty of one (1) count of conspiring to obstruct justice. Defendant Garcia was found guilty of one (1) count of conspiring to obstruct justice, one (1) count of obstruction of justice, and one (1) count of perjury. Defendant Gonzalez was found guilty of one (1) count of conspiring to obstruct justice, one (1) count of obstruction of justice, and one (1) count of perjury.
On November 10, 2004, Judge Gold, after taking their cooperation into consideration, sentenced defendants Hames and Mervolion to terms of probation of three (3) years and two hundred fifty (250) hours of community service.
Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Ed Stamm.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls