Miami Justice – When a Deal is No Deal

On Tuesday 13 October in Miami, Federal Judge Joan Lenard imposed a sentence of 21 years and 10 months, plus five years probation, on Antonio Guerrero, one of five Cubans unjustly convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage in 2001.

Clearly still smarting from the Appeals Court throwing out her earlier sentences on the grounds they were manifestly excessive, and ordering the resentencing of three of the Five
, Judge Lenard ignored the agreement reached between Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Heck Miller and Guerrero’s lawyers, who had settled on 20 years.

Antonio Guerrero

Guerrero attorney Leonard Weinglass said after the hearing, "When you approach the United States government in good faith and all seriousness, you would expect a federal judge would honor that."

Unfortunately, this judge continues to demonstrate that all she honours is upholding the discriminatory and racist predilections of the Miami mafia, and their terrorist acts.

As the United States Committee to Free the Cuban Five stated in their Wednesday press release, since the 1959 Cuban Revolution terrorist attacks launched from Miami have caused the deaths of 3,478 Cuban men, women and children, and injured 2,099.

“In the interest of defending its people - as any other responsible government would do - the government of Cuba assigned to the Five the task of infiltrating the terrorist organizations of the Cuban American extreme right wing...Stopping terrorism was the mission of the Cuban Five,” they wrote.

Judge Lenard consistently refused to move the trial to a venue uncontaminated by anti-Castro sentiment, refused defence lawyers access to 80% of the alleged evidence, presided over numerous abuses of the trial process, and handed down such exaggerated sentences that even her own peers and superiors rejected them.

Like a dog in a manger, she has now over-ridden the deal made by U.S. prosecutors, and imposed on Guerrero a longer sentence than that agreed to, ensuring no doubt about who is calling the tune.

Weinglass hopes the last verse of the song of justice is yet to be sung - he plans to appeal Guerrero's conviction next year on constitutional grounds.

By Julie Webb-Pullman

Declaration of the U.S. Movement in Solidarity with the Cuban Five to the rest of the International Movement for the Freedom of the Cuban Five.