By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
This is one important reason why my attorney told me the prosecutors were creating a "trap" for me and were "selectively prosecuting me," and that the State Attorney had a "conflict of interest" in this case. Why? Because you don't need two legal pads full of questions to find out who owns a car and who had permission to use it. Because they are treating me differently from any other victim of a car theft in the history of Dade County. And because the present state attorney who was formerly the Chief Assistant State Attorney, Katherine Rundel, is publicly supporting my opponent in the current County Commission elections. Just read my opponent's campaign literature, her name is on it. Selective prosecution is unconstitutional and unfair, it's discriminatory even against real criminals. But it's un-American when used for political purposes against a victim of crime.
Remember, Assistant State Attorney Michael Band claims that he needs to ask me hundreds of other questions in order to discharge his responsibility of prosecuting the car thieves. The volumes of questions he wants to ask me speaks volumes about the real motives of the State Attorney's Office.
Please consider another "truth," for comparison purposes. The prosecutor made a plea bargain with the drug-addicted prostitute and her career criminal boyfriend that allege that I spent a fun-filled evening with them. The prostitute, Claudia Lira, recently confessed to the crime of kidnapping and armed robbery and received, for these life-in-prison crimes, two years probation. The boyfriend got eight years, instead of life, for the same kidnapping and robbery and his lawyer publicly bragged to the media about what a great deal he got. Also remember, this is the same criminal who offered to sell my attorney his testimony for $10,000.
What you are asked to believe is that prosecutors need to charge these two career criminals with auto theft in order to put them away, in order to serve justice; please let me emphasize again, they had both in custody for kidnapping and armed robbery and they let one free on probation, and plea-bargained a much reduced sentence for the other. These convicted, violent career criminals pose a threat to our community, but they got the deal-of-a-lifetime from the prosecutor for their latest violent crime. What kind of sentence do you expect me to believe they would get for the heinous, uspeakable crime of car theft?
Now, think about this. Hypothetically, if I did do everything these drug-addicted, violent career criminals said I did, and remember, I said if (please remember all the evidence has exonerated me: the FBI drug test, fingerprint tests, offers to sell testimony), look at what would happen to me. Since I have no criminal record in my entire life, the first offense for soliciting prostitution would be a safe-sex course. The first offense for drug use would be a drug program. That's it!
The justice system should not be manipulated to harass or to "trap" people, but to enforce the law and mete out justice, protect society, and punish criminals. If state prosecutors have enough to charge and convict me, why haven't they done so? Because they don't. But they have mislead the public and prevented the media from asking the hard questions that should be asked of the State Attorney's Office. The question is "Why?" The personal humiliation, the destruction of my political and personal life, have not come cheap for Dade taxpayers. The price tag has escalated to a whopping $1.3 million and keeps growing. Yes, you read it right. At a time when Dade's crime rate is at critical proportions, and getting worse, our law enforcement dollars are being wasted on nothing more than a political vendetta by a vindictive and demagogic State Attorney's Office, aided and abetted by a media blinded by frenzy. I apologize to you, the taxpayers, but it's not me who owes you an explanation.
Look at what $1.3 million, wasted on persecuting the victim of a crime, could have been spent on: dozens more police officers to provide better protection to our families, our property, and our neighborhoods for a full year. Instead, it's been spent to jail Joe Gersten for 30 days for civil contempt? If you had the choice, what would you choose to do with your hard-earned tax dollars?
Let's tell it straight. No auto theft deserves this much attention and waste of our tax dollars. But politics is a very strong motivator. It has no limits when the power of the entire State Attorney's Office is aimed at one citizen. I ask you, The People, what's the real motive behind the "Gersten Case"?
If I would play their game and fall into their trap, you and Dade County will not be safer, but they are already $1.3 million poorer. And what would have been accomplished? The destruction of Joe Gersten. They may destroy me yet, but not with my help. But in reaching this goal, they also will erode the basic fabric of our justice system and begin to chip away at your confidence in it. This entire matter is a farce, perhaps funny to many. But in reality, it's a Greek tragedy with Lady Justice dying on the public stage. Here, in America.