Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nifonged in Nicaragua: Volz Appeal Delayed

Nicaraguan newspaper El Nuevo Diario is reporting today that the appeal of Eric Volz’s wrongful conviction for the rape and murder of Doris Jiménez has been delayed. Contrary to US reports of an anticipated resolution to the appeal by the end of the month, El Nuevo Diario reports that an appeal hearing may be several weeks away. Confirming that the 508 page case file has been transferred to the appeals court, the Nicaraguan newspaper explains that the file has not yet been reviewed by the three judges assigned to evaluate the appeal. According to El Nuevo, a preliminary review to determine whether the case is subject to appeal must be conducted before a hearing must be scheduled. This pending review, and a backlog of cases, appears to be the cause for the delay.

Last week, we cited a report in the Nashville Tennessean that indicated a decision on the appeal was anticipated before the end of April.
The Nashville Tennessean is reporting that a hearing on Eric Volz appeal of his false conviction for the rape and murder of former girlfriend Doris Ivania Jimenez is expected to take place by the end of the month. According to the article by Brad Schrade, papers initiating the appeal process were filed yesterday with the Nicaraguan Supreme Court. Within six days of filing, a hearing must be held with a decision mandated within five days of the hearing.

Tennessean:

Former Nashville resident and Hillwood High graduate Eric Volz, who is imprisoned in Nicaragua on a murder conviction, has filed an appeal with the country's supreme court and a decision could come by the end of the month, a family spokeswoman said.

Volz is convicted of murdering an ex-girlfriend last November, but his family and friends say the American has been railroaded in a gross miscarriage of justice. The murder of Doris Ivania Jimenez occurred in San Juan, but Volz was more than two hours away in the city of Managua at the time of the murder, said Melissa Campbell, a spokeswoman for Volz's family, who still live in Nashville.

The case has drawn national attention with reports in the Wall Street Journal, People magazine and on The Today Show. Campbell said Nicaragua's appeal process requires a case be heard within six days after the papers are filed, and a decision on the appeal must come within five days after the hearing. Papers were filed today, she said, which means Volz and his family are hopeful the high court will render a decision by the end of the month.

"He's hanging in there,” Campbell said of Volz, who is 27. "He's mentally strong and hopeful. He's incredibly encouraged by letters coming in from the Web site."

Volz was sentenced to 30 years in the Central American country's prison system following his February conviction. He had around 10 people offer sworn statements providing an alibi at the time of the murder, but the judge considered the lone testimony of an eyewitness who claimed they saw Volz near the girlfriend's clothing shop at the time of the murder.

Today, El Nuevo Diario clarifies the appeals process in an interview with Armando Mejía, secretary of the Nicaraguan Court of Appeals.
The appeal of the sentence of Eric Stanley Volz, condemned to 30 years [in prison] for the rape and murder of ex-fiancèe, Doris Ivania Jiménez, arrived last week to the Penal Room of the Court of Appeals of the South Circumscription in Granada.

Thus the secretary of this Room confirmed, Armando Mejía, who communicated as well that the file -- coming from the Room of Hearings of Rivas-- has not yet been studied by the magistrates of this court, [and this is the] reason why the case could taking several weeks before being considered.

...

Mejía explained that still the procedure must be confirmed done of the appeal, and if they are expressed and they answered the offenses by each one of the procedural parts, and to verify the tests non-admitted by the Judge of District that the sentence dictated, or to determine if it is necessary to remake tests.

“The court first studies if [the] requirements of appeal [are met]. If one appealed in time and if the sentence is appealable. If the appeal is transacted, a "auto de radicación" is [ordered] or the appeal by the circumstances is [denied if the requirements are not met],” explained Mejía.

Once the court has dictated the "auto de radicación," it summons itself to a hearing in a period of five days, and [afterwards] the court will have a term of [an]other five days to dictate its [judgment].

“But the court does not [have discretion of when to schedule] the hearing once the "auto de radicación" has been [ordered], there is a term to dictate to that [scheduling], a term established by the law, but also it is necessary to [understand] that the court --made up of three magistrates-- is studying a series of other files,” indicated the secretary.

The file of Volz --composed of two volumes that add 508 [pages] -- [first] it will have to be read and to be analyzed by each one of the magistrates of the court before emitting a [decision].

The Court of Appeals of this circumscription is [composed of] Francisco Roberto Rodríguez Baltodano, Alejandro Estrada Sequeira y Ángela Gross, president of the Room.

“The three must see and study the file first to emit a [decision on a hearing], [and then] returns to be analyzed by they themselves to see if it is ratified by the three, or if there are dissident votes”, concluded Mejía
The balance of the article in today's El Nuevo Diario, which includes a description of the anticipated defense arguments, can be read in Spanish by clicking here: Spanish; or in English as translated roughly by Google's language tools here: English.
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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes I feel sorry for Eric stuck in a foreign prison, but I think the US reporters need to look further into Erics lifestyle in Nica, also check his cell phone records the day of and the days preceding the death. Who he called mabe then you can get a full insight of possible conspiracy. At least fill the US citizens on all the actual facts. It was his ex girlfreind i belie Don't mislead us. into giving donations.

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