In the early 80’s Nelson Rodriguez, a man in his early 20’s, still young and naive had dreams of becoming a professional boxer, In the meantime, he worked as a computer data operator for Manufacture’s Hanover Trust Bank. in New York City’s famed wall street.
Rodriguez eventually decided to take a chance and resigned from his job. He took his first steps into becoming a professional Boxer and trainer. Soon Rodriguez was to learn that the real world of professional boxing would be very different than the one of his childhood days.
Twenty years later, Rodriguez is no longer boxing nor has he returned to employment in the Finance industry. He still fights, but now he fights for his life and his freedom.
Nelson Rodriguez, has been convicted of two counts of Second Degree Murder and one count of Attempted murder. Crimes for which new evidence shows that he was indisputable not present at the time they occurred. It is not possible to summarize the crime and the trial. The story fills volumes of court documents.
The first trial ended with the jury unable to make a decision on the guilt of Nelson Rodriguez. So the prosecution tried again in the second trial with another hung jury with a request to the judge for an acquittal based on the evidence presented by the prosecution, the jury was unable to make a decision.
So in a rare move of “prosecutorial tactics” ( as commented on by the judge in transcripts of Louis Diaz’s sentencing minutes page 14 and from the 1997 440 motion in the Bronx Supreme Court) the prosecutor tried the case again, and got a machinated conviction, and at the end of this third trial, the jury was still not convinced that Rodriguez was guilty.
After two days of deliberation the jury asked to have the testimony of the only star witness read back to them. The testimony was read and the jury sent a note back to the court. The note asked if the jury could find one defendant guilty and acquit the other (Rodriguez) because the District Attorney failed to place him (Rodriguez) at the scene.
The judge’s response implied that the same verdict should be found for both defendants, Even still after finding the other defendant guilty the jury agonized for another twenty-four hours before caving in to the misguided and misdirection of the court.
So a life was changed that day, Nelson Rodriguez, a man with not even so much as a traffic ticket, was locked away. He was sentenced to so much time that he unlikely will ever again see freedom.
The fight for justice must now go back where it all began 17 years ago at the Supreme Court State of New York Appellate Division First Department. However, given the extraordinary number of documents in the case, the process will be time consuming and expensive.
The only hope left for Mr. Rodriguez is that the members of the community will feel compelled to support this cause in whatever manner their situations allows.