Officers Charlie Daboub and Raul Fernandez will see jail time for their role in pinning a string of burglaries on a black teenager. They had been offered reduced sentences for providing the FBI with information on their boss, Raimundo Atesiano, who pleaded guilty in September for his policy of keeping his department’s closure rate at 100%.
Atesiano’s department had an improbable 100% clearance rate, but it was discovered that the Chief encouraged his officers to pin cases on young black men instead of actually doing legitimate police work.
Atesiano told the court that he directed three of his officers to pin home invasions on men he had no reason to believe were responsible for the crimes. Atesiano will now serve time in prison and so will two of his former officers who offered to rat on their boss in exchange for lenient deals.
Officers Will Face Federal Prison
Federal prosecutors offered the two police officers a sweetheart deal and recommended the court sentenced them each to 8 months of home confinement. U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore, however, took extreme issue with the prosecutor’s recommendation. He sentenced each officer to the maximum of one year in federal prison. Moore went on to say that a “slap on the wrist” would have sent the wrong message to the African-American community which is no stranger to being targeted by malicious police officers. He also went on to say that the slap on the wrist was a slap in the face to legitimate law enforcement officers who diligently and legitimately attempt to solve crimes as opposed to avoiding that process entirely.
Did the Prosecution Need Their Testimony?
Much of the reason why the judge eviscerated the federal prosecutors in court was due to the fact that they leveraged Atesiano into a pleading guilty using the two other officer’s testimony. Judge Moore argued that none of that was necessary as the case against all parties would have been a slam dunk in court. He accused the federal prosecutors of “sentencing manipulation”.
What Prosecutors Can and Cannot Do
Prosecutors can prosecute charges, but it’s important to remember that they can’t promise you or any individual pleading guilty to a crime a lenient sentence. They can recommend a sentence to the judge, but the judge is under no obligation to take their recommendation. In this case, you have lazy police officers pinning crimes on black people in order to avoid doing their job and lazy prosecutors offering deals to those officers as a way of avoiding doing theirs and trying the case before a jury. This fact did not go unnoticed by the judge.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm P.A. has successfully defended our clients from a wide range of criminal charges in West Palm Beach. This includes violent and white collar crimes as well as routine DUI charges. If you’ve been accused of a crime, our expert attorneys can help. Give us a call or contact us online and we will begin discussing your options immediately.