Metamorphosis / Osvaldo Rodriguez Diaz

2_osvaldoBy Osvaldo Rodríguez Díaz

Of how a common citizen is transformed into common criminal in minutes.

On the morning of October 23, 2012, William Estevez Acosta, 51-years-old, married and with no criminal record or police, was summoned to the Criminal Cotorro Municipal Court for a hearing in which he would be declared insolvent and, immediately afterwards, he would be tried for the offense of Breach of the Obligations arising from the violations; that is, not paying a fine for lack of money.

The origin: His home was searched and an uninstalled and shabby satellite dish was found for which he was fined 30,000 pesos, which, after a month, the time to make it defective, is doubled, and must pay for this item 60,000 pesos.

Unable to verify that obligation as soon narrated occurred.

In the court, William confirmed that he didn’t have the economic capacity, as an ordinary citizen, to pay the fine and that for four years he’d had no job, because he suffers various illnesses that prevent him from working in the kind of occupations his intellectual capacity allow him to perform.

The defendant provided a summary of his medical history which includes diabetes mellitus type II, chronic migraine, circulatory problems and others, with their respective treatments.

The result after deliberation by the court, was that he did have money, because they had taken an antenna, they did not believe in his illnesses, and they dismissed the summary of his medical history, something he was experiencing at this time.

The sanction was: six months in prison, and he was arrested on the spot. Not being accompanied by anyone, a member of the public was provided to alert his family and, unable to leave, William should have filed the appeal in his own right.

Supposedly, everyone sentenced is responsible for a crime. William was sentence and the crime proved. Having woken up that day as a citizen, he became a common criminal after the story told here.

Article 170.1 which was applied, in section 2, enjoins courts to replace custodial sentences by correctional work with internment, but Opinion 305 Agreement 43 of 11 July 1989 the Governing Council of the Supreme Court  says that does not preclude the option of other measures such as limiting freedom.

William was unfortunate, he said that if the fine had been appropriate he would have paid it, but he committed the crime of not having money.

February 6 2013