Opinion: The right to remain silent

POSTED: 10/16/12 1:20 PM

The much anticipated Vesuvius-trial has yet to gain momentum. The seven gang members on trial opted to keep their mouths shut, at least most of the time, and that allowed Judge Rick Smid to sail through the case files in less than a day. By a quarter past three the seven defendants were already on their way back to the Pointe Blanche prison – and that while the court started well after nine o’clock and took a two-hour lunch break at noon.

And yet, the trial is dealing with four murders that followed the murder that set the cycle of violence in motion: the killing of Amador Jones on April16 of last year.

For now, the status remains unclear of two other murders that are linked to the war between the drugs gang of Hector and Rodolfo Arrindell on one side and the gang led by Omar J. on the other. The killings of Sheldon Thomas and Anthony Whyte almost certainly have something to do with the Vesuvius-case. Whyte is listed as a member of Omar J.’s gang and Thomas was killed execution style just two days after the August 17 murders of Eric Lake and Kevin Gumbs.

Because most of the defendants kept their mouth shut, and it now stands to reason to expect that they will stick to this attitude throughout the trial, the proceedings will go much faster than expected.

This week four court days were planned, but only one will go through after yesterday. That session is scheduled for Thursday when the prosecution will present its case.

That the defendants live in a different world became clear from the Facebook-page of Carlos R. The lieutenant of alleged gang leader Omar J. published a rather rude post on Facebook wherein he establishes proof that he is not HIV-infected and that he does not have another venereal disease either. But his attitude in court is best explained from another picture found on his Facebook-page. It is an icon that simply reads Stop snitching.

Carlos R. may count himself lucky to be alive because he was the man Devon Otto was after when he killed census office employee Stanley Gumbs on March 31, 2008 in a case of mistaken identity. Otto and Carlos R. are now both detained in Pointe Blanche.

The question remains what the defendants think to achieve with their continued silence in court. They have the right to remain silent so they are simply exercising a right the law provides. But one could wonder whether this benefits defendants, given the fact that judges take the attitude of a suspect into account when they hand down their verdicts. Exercising the right to remain silence will not easily be interpreted as a cooperative attitude.

But maybe some of these defendants have already taken a reality check and realized that they will have to get used to calling Pointe Blanche home for the foreseeable future. In that case street cred is more important for their survival than any sympathy they could get from a judge or a public prosecutor.

Did you like this? Share it:
Opinion: The right to remain silent by

Comments are closed.