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Motion to isolate prisoner denied

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Recent legal action in the case of the murder suspect connected with the West Glenwood fatal shooting made waves at the Garfield County Jail.County attorney Don Deford appeared on behalf of the county and Sheriff Lou Vallario. Three jail officials were also present and ready to testify.Tina Fang and Garth McCarty, of the regional public defenders office, had filed motions concerning jail procedures. One apparently asked for Jesus Hernandez de Jesus, accused of first-degree murder, to be held with no cellmate and kept from Spanish speaking prisoners.Defense argued that a jail “snitch” could obtain information about the case and relay it to prosecutors, tainting the fairness of a trial or damaging Hernandez de Jesus’ constitutional rights. Defense also had requested the media not be allowed access to Hernandez de Jesus and that “government agents” not be allowed access to certain jail records.”We are aware that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) representatives are speaking with (Hernandez de Jesus),” McCarty said. ‘It seems to me that everyone wants a piece of this case – the media especially.”McCarty argued that the vulnerabilityof such a high-profile defendant in jail threatens the fairness of trial.Ninth Judicial District Judge Daniel Petre denied one motion, saying the court could not “micromanage” the jail.”A number of these motions purport to have the court tell Mr. Vallario where to house prisoners, who they should or shouldn’t see, and what to do regarding various records held by the jail,” Petre said. “The court is not required or able to micromanage (Hernandez de Jesus’) incarceration or every aspect of the run-up to trial.”Hernandez de Jesus, 33, was arrested in Clifton on June 26. Police suspect Hernandez de Jesus shot to death his 20-year-old nephew, Ricardo Navarrete-Prudencio the night of June 25 at the Ponderosa Lodge. It’s alleged that Hernandez de Jesus shot and killed his nephew because of an affair he had with Hernandez de Jesus’ wife in Florida. Navarrete-Prudencio told his mother he feared for his life and planned to return to Mexico that week to avoid his uncle, according to an arrest affidavit.District Attorney Martin Beeson argued against the requests made of the jail. He said if evidence were somehow inappropriately obtained as the defense argued it might be, the proper sanction would be for the court to exclude it.Deford said total isolation would not be in the best interest of the defendant, and the jail simply couldn’t comply if motions were granted. As an example, he said, the jail must provide medical care to prisoners. Hernandez de Jesus could choose to discuss the case with medical personnel who might report information to authorities.McCarty said it’s “heartwarming” that the jail is so concerned about Hernandez de Jesus’ welfare, but that the public defenders office is more concerned with his welfare in the long run.One aspect of the defense’s arguments was that Hernandez de Jesus’ right to remain silent could somehow be compromised.”The first and primary way to preserve his right to remain silent is to keep his mouth shut,” Petre said.The hearing scheduled for three hours was cut short due to scheduling conflicts. Petre said only about one of seven motions were able to be dealt with due to the contentious nature of the case so far.”I can see this is going to be a case in which no one will agree to anything, ever,” Petre said. “It does appear that everything is going to be contested, no matter how petty.”Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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