Hialeah Raul Martinez Helped by Jury Misconduct in Criminal Case (Flashback 1991)
|Who is former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez? In 1991, these were the news about Raul Martinez:|
Raul Martinez: Fallen Star
The Miami Herald – Editorial
HILANDER, Dorrego, Cardoso, Mejides, and, now, Martinez. The list is so continuous that if the names on it were stones, one could pave a road with them from Hialeah City Hall to a sad place called Corruption.
On Tuesday that history once more came back to haunt Hialeah. Only this time, the stone was a boulder. A Federal- court jury convicted Raul Martinez, perhaps Hialeah’s ablest mayor ever, and until his indictment one of Florida’s most charismatic political rising stars, on six of eight counts of racketeering and extortion.
The verdict shocked and angered his partisans, who saw in Mr. Martinez “the great Cuban hope.” They perceive the trial as a political vendetta. His detractors see his conviction as the inevitable result of arrogance and greed by a power-hungry man who almost had it all. Justice, they call it.
Mr. Martinez continues to affirm his innocence, and he plans to appeal his conviction. His best hope for a reversal would seem to be the bizarre behavior of some jurors after deliberations had started. Federal Judge James W. Kehoe overruled defense motions for a mistrial after it developed that some jurors, disobeying the judge, had read news accounts about it. Judge Kehoe grilled the jurors, satisfied himself that they could reach a fair verdict, and ordered the deliberations to continue.
Controversial or not, the jury’s decision must be respected. Mr. Martinez is free on $100,000 bond. He faces a sentence of up to 120 years in jail and $1.5 million in fines.
It is a sad day for the whole Martinez family, which already has suffered greatly since the mayor’s indictment last year. More than that, though, the verdict is a another disappointment for all the residents of Hialeah. For 10 years they placed their trust in Mr. Martinez. Now he stands convicted of violating it.
His colleagues on the City Council should learn from this painful lesson. They must make sure that Hialeah buries forever the legacy of corruption that for so long has characterized their city’s wheel-and-deal political system.
For now, the Raul Martinez era is over. It is time to go on.