Does Case of Illegal Immigrant Show Mexicans Can’t Get A Fair Trial in TX?


To some observers, the case of Rosa Jimenez, an illegal Mexican immigrant, is a symbol of the inequality of the justice system, says the New York Times. Jimenez has spent nearly 10 years in prison in the Central Texas for a crime she says she did not commit: forcing a wad of paper towels down the throat of a toddler in her care, making him choke and die. A 2007 Mexican documentary showed the prosecutor saying of her, “Despite being from Mexico, she's very intelligent,” and that enraged the mayor of her hometown. At her trial, the defense's medical witness — a forensic pathologist who was not an expert in pediatrics or choking came off as an amateur.

Thousands of poor Mexicans are in American prisons and, like Jimenez, were heavily outlawyered and outspent at trial. Her story is that of many like her, yet she has been cast as a kind of hero by some. A Texas appeals judge ordered a new trial. In April, the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals overturned that ruling. The Supreme Court is reviewing a petition for a retrial, a filing joined by Mexico's president-elect, Enrique Peña Nieto, who contends that there is a widespread perception that Mexican nationals cannot get a fair trial in Texas, and says that is “bad for the citizens of both our countries.”

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