You may remember the case of ErnieLopez, who was convicted of horrifically raping a 6 month old baby girl to death. He was sentenced to 60 years, and served 9 of them until it was decided that hey, what do you know, her injuries were more likely caused by a severe blood disorder. He was released in early 2012, but prosecutors announced that they would try the case again.
Well, it looks like they hooked him up with a plea deal, felony injury to a child, in exchange for time served. How did he injure the child? What did he do that left broken blood vessels that looked like bruises all over her tiny body, and blood oozing from every orifice? Well, it was something he admitted to during his first interrogation; He may have been a little rough changing her diaper.
“Last year, Lopez explained that the first time he went to trial he believed innocent people don't get convicted. Then he spent nine years in prison. This time, he would have had key medical experts and a more developed defense. Yet he still faced the risk of conviction.
Is it logical to believe that injuries from being raped to death could be mimicked by a diaper change? If the prosecutors truly believed he was guilty, why offer the plea deal? Why allow this guy, a monster in their eyes, to roam free? On the flip side if they, like I, had any doubt about how someone could cause injuries like that by changing a diaper, why force him to take a plea deal? Lopez would have been eligible for around $720,000 for his years of wrongful incarceration;
“Under the terms of the plea agreement, he is prohibited from proclaiming his innocence or encouraging anyone else to do so.”
Although part of me wishes that Ernie Lopez would have taken his second case to trial and proven his innocence, I can’t fault him for caving. When those whose job it is to defend an individual from the depredations of the state come out and say, “Take the deal”, how can you have any confidence in the justice system? Coy was offered a plea deal before he went to trial; five years for admitting something to that he has said for the last 11 years that he didn’t do. I suspect the rational behind that offer was similar to that behind Lopez’s deal. “Due process be damned; we really, reeeeeeeally think he’s guilty, but we can’t prove it. Maybe we can use the threat of a trial to get some small win out of this.”