Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Michigan: Commutation of Sentence

Governor Granholm has commuted the sentence of 81-year-old Joseph Puertas for reasons of health. He had served 15 months of a 14 to 40 year prison sentence. The Detroit Free Press reports:
Puertas, who had a prior drug conviction in the 1980s, was arrested in December, 1997, after 100 police with drug sniffing dogs raided a family owned bowling alley. They found no drugs, but located $1.8 million in cash. Prosecutors moved to seize the cash, saying it was proceeds from drug dealing. They also seized the bowling alley and other assets, totaling $5 million. The case against Puertas rested on the testimony of a drug addict, recruited by police, to purchase drugs from Puertas. No purchases were ever observed, but a jury convicted him of dealing drugs and running a criminal enterprise.
The conviction was overturned after an internal probe called into question the veracity of some of the investigating officers, but Puertas was sent to prison in April 2007. Prosecutors and police have also had to return the money to the Puertas family. See story here.

1 comment:

TheKaisho said...

have requested a pardon from Governor Granholm for the crime of Larceny in a Building. The item stolen was an LCD video projector from Grand Valley State University.
I am absolutely innocent of this crime.

Now, the short version is that I was convicted in Ottawa County after a one day bench trial.

Some facts:

1) No physical evidence linked me to this crime.
2) Two unannounced searches of my home did not turn up the missing property.
3) Not one witness stood up in court pointed to me and said, "Yeah, that is the guy I saw."
4) Of the two witnesses who identified anyone from the photo array presented to them, one of those witnesses wasn't even any where near the scene of the crime when it happened.
5) Of those two witnesses, they each identified different people from the photo array, neither one was me. Each of the two different people who identified someone picked out a photo of a man who had a mustache; which I did not have.
6) One witness, who was there when the alleged crime occurred, did not identify anyone from the photo array or at trial.
7) In may of 2005, despite knowing beforehand that I was convicted of this crime, the Judicial Review Board of Grand Valley State University determined that I was NOT responsible for violation of the Student Code Theft/Vandalism.

Even an official body of the university did not think that I stole their property, yet, I remain a felon.

I made my request for a pardon on November 4, 2007. In April, I heard from MDOC that my request was forwarded to the Governor for her decision. To my mind that means that the Parole Board decided that my application did not have merit. I do not know that for sure because, despite a FOIA request, MDOC will not tell me of its decision until after the Governor makes hers.

I has now been almost 10 months since I made my application and I have not heard a bloody thing from them except that it is in the Governor's hands.

The fact that they won't tell me, the applicant, anything about the status of my application is particularly frustrating.

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