Case Jorge A. Covarrubias/When Translators Are Inaccurate/Gross Miscarriage of Justice.
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Please join me in asking California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to commute my brother's wrongful conviction and 30 years to life sentence. Please read the facts in the Petition below, before you send your e-mail. This is a case of injustice and a gross miscarriage of justice of 18 years in the making.
To The Honorable Edmund G. Brown Jr. Governor of The State of California.
Dear Mr. Brown:
Wrongful convictions in the United States of America, have stolen at least 20,000 years from innocent defendants. Also, in California over the past 24 years, wrongful convictions cost taxpayers $282 million.
My brother Jorge Armando Covarrubias, CDCR T23089, was wrongfully convicted and sentenced to 30 years to life under the terms of an unknowing and involuntary plea bargain.
At the time of his arrest and court proceedings, my brother neither spoke nor understood any English, and had NO prior criminal record in the United States and Mexico. Not even a traffic ticket.
On October 08, 2000, he was arrested and booked for Assault with a Deadly Weapon California PC 245 (A) (1). Court records clearly shows that during a court hearing at the Downey, California Court, Jorge declined a plea bargain of 12 years while being represented by the Los Angeles Public Defender Craig Purcell and assisted by the court interpreter Lucia Daley. However few days later at the Superior Court of Norwalk California, while being represented by Jon A. Divens, SB 145549, (DISBARRED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA), and assisted by the Court Interpreter Cecilia Alcaraz, he supposedly agree to enter into a plea deal of 30 years to life.
Jorge's conviction and sentence was obtained by fraud and duress. Because the court's proceedings prior to the "Plea hearing", during the "Plea Hearing" and "Sentencing hearing" were inaccurately translated by the court interpreter Alcaraz. He was convicted and sentenced by the Hon. John Torribio, under the terms of an unknowing, unintelligent and involuntary plea agreement for the charges of Second Degree Attempted Murder PC664/187 (5 years) plus the gun enhancement, 12022.53 (d)(25 years too life). For a total of 30 years to life.
Jon A. Divens my brother's trial counsel (DISBARRED) just admitted he used my brother's inability to understand English to improperly advised him to enter into a plea bargain of 30 years to life, for a crime he did NOT commit.
The Honorable Lillian Vega Jacobs, former District Attorney who prosecuted the case presented an affidavit stating that she observed my brother hesitant and reluctant to enter into a plea of guilty, and that she did not believe that Jorge would accept such plea, because that is not a plea bargain at all.
We have tried unsuccessfuly for the last 18 years to prove the truth and we don't know what else to do. All our atempts to show the truth have been denied by the courts due to the statute of time limitations.
My brother attests that the court intérpreter Alcaraz never explained to him the truth in Spanish about court proceedings nor about such plea bargain. He was unable to understand because at that time he was complete iliterate un writing and speaking English . At this time we are trying to obtain a declaration from the Court intérpreter, but we have no concrete answer from her. She is afraid of something.
In the last conversation I had with her, she informed me that the Los Angeles' County District Attorney Office told her to avoid problems, "Keep her mouth shut," and not to answer my emails or phone calls. However, we continúe with our figth to show the honest truth.
The conviction and sentence of 30 years to life against my brother, was not the result of a fair trial, an impartial tribunal, and of a due process of law, but was the direct consequence of raw prejudice of his trial counsel, of the interpreter Cecilia Alcaraz, of the deceased probation officer Daniel Crespo, and from the complicit silence of all the public officers of court who were present at the hearings, and were full aware of my brother's language disability, but they remain mute during the commission of a great injustice, as to deduce that the constitutional rights of fair trial and due process of law resulted in an empty charade in this case.
As a simple matter of humans my brother deserved more than to stare in total incomprehension as he was wrongfully sentenced to spend his life in prison for a crime that he didn't commit and an illegal plea of guilty.
Jorge told me that all he wants is to show the truth, that he is innocent of the charges, that he did not sign nor agree to accept such plea bargain, and to be deported to México.
To declare that my brother, an immigrant functionally illiterate in English, that received a false translation of court's hearings and represented by an incompetent counsel, should be in prison serving a 30 years to life in silence, IS NOT ONLY PATENTLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL, BUT IS A CLEAR INJUSTICE, not only for him, but on the fairness, integrity and public reputation of the state and national systems of justice as a whole.
My brother's case:
People of California vs Jorge Armando Covarrubias. Case VA-061911. Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County Southeast District. Norwalk Branch.
Thank you for your time.
EMAIL TO THE GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA.
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Edmund G. Brown Jr.
Governor of California
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, California 95814
RE: Commutation of Sentence. Inmate Jorge Armando Covarrubias. CDCR # T23089.
Dear Governor Brown:
In the spirit of The Holiday Season, I ask you to please provide justice to Mr. Jorge Armando Covarrubias, CDCR ID T-23089.
On 2001, Mr. Covarrubias, a Mexican immigrant who was illiterate in the English language, was wrongfully convicted of Attempted Murder under the terms of an unknowing, unwillful and involuntary "Plea of Guilty," because his "Guilty Plea" was the result of fraud and duress by his disbarred trial counsel Jon A. Divens, (SB 145549 DISBARRED BY THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA), and the inaccurate and misleading translations by the court interpreter Cecilia Alcaraz.
On August 5, 2010, the Honorable Lillian Vega Jacobs, former prosecutor, provided her declaration stating that during her prosecution of the case, and court proceedings she observed a conflict between Divens and Mr. Covarrubias, and that he was very hesitant and reluctant to accept the plea.
On September 26, 2013, in Case No. S212140, the Supreme Court of California ordered that Divens be disbarred from the practice of law in California. Also, in August 21, 2014, Divens provided a signed declaration in which he admits of misadvising Mr. Covarrubias due to his inability to understand English, and of providing an incompetent and inadequate assistance of counsel.
I applaud the historic number of commutations that you have granted and hope that you will continue to recognize that people have the capacity to change, grow and be rehabilitated, as well as the flaws in the judicial system. I also hope that you will recognize the prejudice done to Mr. Covarrubias.
I look forward to your Pardons and commutations, and for your order granting Mr. Covarrubias' commutation, release and the opportunity to get back to Mexico with his family.
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