Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez gets 10-year prision sentence (Flashback 1991)
|Remember these were the news in 1991:|
Martinez Should Resign
The Miami Herald – Editorial
THE PENALTY is stiff, but in no way harsh. And the 10-year prison sentence dealt suspended and convicted Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez is eminently justified. U.S. District Judge James W. Kehoe’s sentence was a fraction of the maximum possible, but more than sentencing guidelines recommend.
The sentence ought to send the precise message that Judge Kehoe intended, and it ought to be given thorough, thoughtful consideration wherever it lands: The message is that power conferred by a trusting, reliant public must be inviolate. Public officials who contort that power until it is no longer recognized as the public trust that it is cannot be condoned.
Martinez is a sad case of that abuse, and the judge correctly made him an example.
When he was ascendant, Martinez was a political star imbued with the shining talent, commitment, and integrity to make a difference in his city and, it was envisioned, beyond. Instead, he got corrupted. In March a Federal jury decided that Raul Martinez put his vote on zoning matters up for bid, taking land and almost $1 million from developers in exchange. He was convicted of six of eight counts of racketeering and extortion.
For that, Martinez deserved the 10 years in prison to which Judge Kehoe sentenced him on Tuesday. Judge Kehoe allowed Martinez to remain free while he exhausts the appeals process, which could take years.
It’s no surprise that Martinez maintains that he is innocent. Nor is it surprising that he vows to exercise his legal right to appeal all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary. But he cannot dismiss the gravity of his conviction and its repercussions.
Therefore Martinez, suspended by governor’s decree, should resign. Only that way can he leave Hialeah, riven and immobilized by its opposing loyalties to his administration or to that of acting Mayor Julio Martinez, free to choose a new mayor, a new vision.
If Martinez insists on retaining the office that he has dishonored, he must remember that both a jury of his peers and now Judge Kehoe have spoken, with ringing clarity.