By Ryan Yousefi
By Chuck Strouse
By Terrence McCoy
By Terrence McCoy
By Terrence McCoy
By Michael E. Miller
By Kyle Munzenrieder
By Michael E. Miller
Despite vehement denials (83) of the allegation by the girls and parents, the Nogueses were arrested for interference with custody, a third-degree felony. But before being brought to trial in criminal court, the parents were ordered to appear in juvenile court to disclose the girls' whereabouts. At a June 5 hearing, on the advice of his attorney, Andres refused to testify, invoking the Fifth Amendment. He insists he didn't know where the children were but was fearful he'd be charged with perjury (a more serious crime) if he told that to the court. Judge Gelber, who was presiding, found him in contempt and sentenced him to six months minus a day, the maximum sentence allowed without a trial. While still awaiting arraignment on interference-with-custody charges, Nogues was hauled off to jail. Three weeks later, at his criminal arraignment, Andres had his $1000 bond revoked when he pleaded not guilty. Now there was no way he could get out of jail, even if the contempt charges were dropped. Andres remained in jail for five months. During this time, the Nogueses' appeal for a new juvenile-court trial based on Aimee's recantation was turned down by the Third District Court of Appeals.
Lisette, who got approval from her lawyers to skip the June 5 hearing due to chest pains, received a call from her daughters a few days later. The girls were crying and panicky. They said they had no place to go and were worried their mother, too, would be jailed. "When that call came, with my girls crying, saying they didn't want to be alone, I stopped caring about going to jail," Lisette says now. She met up with Aimee and Jeanette and they fled as fugitives.
With the girls and their mother bouncing from hotel to hotel on the lam, the State Attorney's Office began a series of what the Nogueses characterize as Draconian visits to friends and relatives. For instance, given permission by Judge Bruce Levy to visit *(the Nogueses' eldest son) Andy Cabo's home to check on Javier, an HRS investigator and two Hialeah policemen broke into Cabo's residence -- shattering windows in the process (84) -- and searched the premises, apparently without the required warrant. (85)
Aimee continued to stay in touch by telephone with June Shaw, Shelly Snodgrass, and Robin Greene, and she told them she would gladly surrender (86) to the court on three conditions: that they promise not to send her to a shelter or hospital, that she would be allowed to take a polygraph test, and that Greene would remove herself as Aimee's lawyer. Greene's response to the third request? "I am not going to let your fucking parents get away with this," she said in a tape-recorded conversation with Aimee. "You understand me? If you want to stay in hiding, fine!" (87)
Likewise, the Guardians' refusal to let Aimee take a polygraph, which dated back to Det. Ellen Christopher's requests in the first weeks of the case, remained steadfast while Aimee was on the run. Attorney Ira Dubitsky, brought into the case to mend fences between the two parties, recalls wanting to have Aimee tested, but says he was told by June Shaw there was a court order forbidding it. (89) On June 21 Shaw even sent him a letter stating that the Guardian Ad Litem policy regarding polygraphs "is very clear. We object to this procedure." (90) The program's rules actually state that children should decide the matter themselves in an atmosphere free of pressure. In September of last year, Aimee and her mother, still on the run, took the matter into their own hands. They flew to New York City to be tested by Richard Arther, one of the nation's foremost polygraphers. After two separate half-day tests, Arther concluded Aimee was telling the truth when she said that she had not had sex with Andres and that Michelle had asked her to lie about her parents' abuse. (91)
On October 12, Lisette and the girls were captured while visiting Lisette, Jr., at Hammocks Junior High School. Aimee spent four days in the county's juvenile detention center after being charged with resisting arrest. Lisette spent two months in jail for interference with custody before her bond was reinstated.
When he signed on to the case in early August of last year, attorney Ed Carhart intended only to represent Andres Nogues in his interference-with-custody charge. But soon the attorney found himself entangled in all aspects of the ordeal, and he quickly sensed how far the state was willing to go to break the Nogueses. "It was obvious to me that this case was being managed at the highest levels because I had to take everything to Shay Bilchik [chief assistant state attorney for administration]. It didn't make any sense. The state attorney is moving for no bond on a man charged with a third-degree felony. I've gotten rapists bond. I've gotten high-powered drug dealers bond. And I can't get a medical doctor bond on a nit-pick charge. I mean, nobody goes to jail on these charges."
What infuriates defense attorney Jesus Bujan, who inherited the case from Juan Carrera and is working with Carhart, is HRS's refusal to settle on a "performance agreement" that would allow Lisette Nogues to get her children back. "All you hear out of the juvenile court is this endless lip service about reuniting the family," Bujan says. "Well, I've been trying to negotiate a performance agreement with the other side since October of last year. I've been through 35 different drafts, and every time they come back with something new." Bujan says the Nogueses are caught in a Catch-22: the state wants Andres to complete a program for sexual offenders and Lisette to enter a program for wives of sexual offenders, both of which require that they admit guilt to crimes they insist they never committed.