Justice, One Page at a Time

Don't hold your breath waiting for Miriam Alonso's criminal trial

In fact the Alonsos themselves may have been responsible for the police search and subsequent taint hearings. Authorities subpoenaed all campaign-related documents in February 2002, during their investigation but long before any arrests. In the affidavit supporting the search warrant, signed by Antonio Rodriguez, a detective with the Miami-Dade Police Department's public-corruption unit, Morales said she met with Quiñon and the Alonsos. "At that meeting, José Quiñon told Miriam Alonso that she should turn over all documents requested by the subpoena. According to Elba Morales, at the meeting Miriam Alonso stated that she would not turn over all of the documents requested by the subpoena." A police audit of requested material "revealed that some of the documents in question were not produced and are still missing," the affidavit stated. If it's true Miriam Alonso didn't turn over everything she was obligated to, then she has no one to blame but herself.

When the taint hearings conclude and Judge Emas rules on what documents are protected under attorney-client privilege, a trial could still be months away. Both sides are entitled to appeal Emas's decision, which is likely. Conventional wisdom holds that delays in a criminal case benefit the defense: Witnesses forget things or move away; evidence disappears. But in the case against Miriam Alonso, prosecutors are hoping for the opposite -- that the delay will result in a trove of new evidence to be used against the former commissioner.

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