(Per trial of Patrick Murrillo for death of Stephanie Houston)
ACQUITTAL LEAVES FAMILY QUESTIONING COURTS
By Linda Atkinson
N.M. Victims Rights Project
Regarding the article, "Jury Clears Driver in Woman's Death":
A more accurate heading for the article would have been, "Jury Acquits After Prosecutor Fails To Prosecute."
Justice is a word
that evokes constant debate and discussion, and often it's the only thing that
grieving families have to help ease the pain of loss when a loved one has
fallen victim to a crime. Unfortunately, for yet another
The recent acquittal
of the defendant in the Stephanie Houston case is one more tragic illustration
of the flaws in the
Two State Police
officers took over this cold case and developed strong evidence against the
defendant. In addition,
There were witnesses available to testify that the defendant had beaten Houston the evening prior to her death, and that she had made repeated visits to the emergency room because of other beatings (suffered) at the hands of the defendant.
None of this evidence was presented to the
jury in the case, and
Although the system properly protects the rights of defendants, there are no checks, no protections, for the victims of crime and their families. As a consequence, when the state is inattentive or worse, victims pay the price, again.
This is a call to action. New Mexicans must step up and demand that their public officers, whether police or prosecutors, respect and support the rights of victims of crime. Too many families in this state fight to bring an accused to justice only to see that elusive goal slip through their fingers as the police and prosecutors who should be supporting them fail in their duties.