- Posted March 18, 2014 by
Brooklyn, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
A lifetime to be free
Quesada 2381, (cp 1429) Barrio Belgrano
Capital Federal. Buenos Aires. Argentina.
March 18, 2014
Everyone makes mistakes in life, some more than others, however, the consequences all impact on who we are and our lives as a whole. I would have never imagined the lifelong effect on how attempting to do the right thing would result so adversely for me and the ones that I care for.
Since a young adult, I have always wanted to be an American. Every attempt that I have made has been diminished. I am now deported to Argentina, a country I don’t know and without any family. The Honorable Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey once said: “not every wrong or even every violation of the law is a crime”. On occasion, one just gets caught up in the tangles of the judicial system and no one takes the time to unravel the root of the issue. Below is a brief timeline explaining my circumstances
I was born on January 15, 1954 in Argentina. After my birth, my father became a successful contractor. We lived a happy life until 1973 when he left our home. Leaving my mother, sister and myself to fend for ourselves.
I legally entered the United States in 1975; I come to this beloved country in the pursuit of the American Dream and to help my mother and sister survive. They have since become American Citizen. We were living peacefully until 1981.
In 1978, I was violently accosted, robbed and stabbed, left for dead. Sustaining skull fracture as a result of this vicious attack, I remained hospitalized for four days at St. James Hospital in Newark, NJ. The police never apprehended the individuals that accosted me. I feared for my life and I began to carry a pocketknife for protection. Which later proved to be a mistake. Now, I would rather lay down my life, than break the peace and dignity of this country that unjustly I am accused.
In 1981, I get stop by INS when I was visiting a friend in Texas, after ONE YEAR of incarceration I get release on a bail bond of $4000 dollars. At that time my attorney told me that I still have a chance to adjust my Status. I transfer my case to New Jersey, I hire at the time Mr. George Hahmm, an attorney with offices across street of the Federal Building, in Newark, New Jersey. After a few months my landlady and neighbors told me that the FBI was looking for me. I went to see my attorney but I found out that he was disbar, thru the New Jersey Bar Association. His offices were empty of any furniture and his name was not on his door anymore. Unfortunately, my former counsel Mr. George Hahmm disappeared and with him all my legal papers that I legally filled for my Permanent Residence and also my money. The 30 calendar days to appeal my case have expired. I become an illegal alien again. I went to the Federal Building in Newark, New Jersey, to every floor to find out if anyone was looking for me to straight out my situation, but to my despair no one have any information about my status.
In 1983, I was living in 111 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, New Jersey and a retired lady, don’t stop on the stop sign and hit me on the passenger side, on the rear, the accident was huge, that rendered me paralyzed for seven months and on therapy at the Hellen Kessler Institute in East Orange New Jersey. I hired Mr. John Vantuno an attorney with offices in Bloomfield Ave, Bloomfield, New Jersey. It appeared that the settlement would be in my favor and would receive a large portion of the monies awarded for his representation.
In 1984, I was working at the Pleasandale Pizzeria, New Jersey and my co-worker Mr. Cala from Mexico; miss his bus to East New York and his bus runs every hour. After fourteen-hour work I was very tired but I see him standing there and I offered to take him to his apartment. On the way there he was very happy and he feels like to pay me in some way and offered to buy me a beer near his apartment at a place called “Las Vegas”. Inside we was sitting at the table, when near us six men start harassing us, obviously they were intoxicated already, they were from his town in Mexico, Mr. Cala knows them.
Because I have a bad experience six years ago and left me for dead on the street, I know better. I told Cala, let’s go, I will take you home. [(1) I avoid the confrontation the first time]. When we was walking to my car those six people follow us and taunted us, and they were very nasty to us, before I close my car door, they hold the door and keep harassing us, I plead with them, please I have a mother and sister to take care, we don’t want to fight, please let me go, and I closed the door. [(2) I avoid confrontation second time]. When I was turning the car on they start hitting, punching and kicking my car, yelling told us that they going to beat us, they make mimics that they going to sodomy us, they going to kill us. When we got to Cala’s apartment I realized they follow us and they park behind my car, at that moment I said to Cala, try to hurry up home, don’t listen to them, they are drunk, but he never got a chance, they jump him and beat him unconscious and fell in front of my car. Having psychologically damaged, from my own vicious attack I froze in fear, I lock the doors and start my car. [(3) I avoid confrontation third time]. At that moment they broke my car window on the driver side and dragged me out of my car. They began to beat me in the same fashion as my co-worker, using a bat, a chain, their fists and foot. I instinctively knew I must fight back in order to protect myself. Desperately, I fought back with my pocketknife and they run away, unfortunately someone died as a result.
As the detectives canvassed the neighborhood they found a witness, Mrs. Kay. She has seen the altercation and was in fact the individual who called 911 to report the incident. She was the perfect witness to this aggressive crime. Unfortunately, I did not this witness existed until I had completed my sentence, but Mr. Vantuno, my attorney knew, and should have a deposition with this potential witness. This failure to raise the issue of the witness and her statement and those people who harass us and their statements was excluded from my trial by the Prosecutor at the time Mr. Edward DeFazio and the Judge Mr. Dowden. I asked to Hon. Judge Dowden what you would do if you were accosted by a gang of six people to harm you?. He responds, “I always carry a .45 with me”. My case was heard in Hudson County, East New York, New Jersey.
She is my only hope; her statement and the police transcripts will indicate that it was impossible for me to run away. Her residence at the time was 5300 Palisades Avenue, West New York, NJ 07093. She can clear my name.
1963 Brady v. Maryland. “ The suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution”.
I understand that I should call the police at the time, in a normal situation, the normal thing to do, but if you are in my position, hurt, beaten, tired, terrified, angry and I was afraid that, more friends of this group, will come back, and we left. Not knowing at the moment that someone gets hurt. I take Cala to my house and cured his cut and bruises, my body was very sore and a cut in my arm, I thought I have a broken rib. Next day I went to work, and I never imagined in my good state of mind and never believe – it can happened to you also—that I am guilty for defending myself. At work (because I have no reason to hide) someone call me on the phone and ask—this is Pedro? And soon after I say –Yes? Suddenly eight police officers surround me with their guns pointing at me inside the pizzeria and I ask them –what happen? Why you arresting me? And they told me –you know what happens, the guy is dead---and I told them --how I am going to know anything, if I was fighting for my life, getting hit, punch and slash by six crazy and irrational people--- the police was very mean and rude and they pu