Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jennifer Hampton: Her Death Demands Justice

Valentino Vasquez Miranda brutally beat, raped, and murdered Jennifer Lee Hampton. He then disposed of her body in a nearby lake where it remained for seven days. His skin and semen were found on Jennifer's body, and his victim's blood was found on the clothes Miranda wore the night of her murder. Rosa Hernandez, Miranda's common-law wife, saved the clothes her husband wore that night, clothes with Jennifer's blood on them. Now Miranda's defense attorney says his client has been illegally detained for the past 14 months. Why? Valentino Miranda did not understand his Miranda rights when they were read to him.

Joe Fanduzz (pictured), Miranda's court appointed attorney states that his client understands little or no English and may not have comprehended the fact that he did not have to answer the questions posed him by Knoxville, Tennessee, detectives. Did the Knoxville police not provide an interpreter for the suspect?

It seems the Knoxville Police Department did indeed provide Miranda with an interpreter, but the individual used was not certified by the correct authorities, whoever they may be. Does that mean the interpreter did not adequately inform Miranda of his rights--rights guaranteed by the United State Constitution? No, it seems that point is not really in question. While Miranda did not sign a release (apparently he cannot write his name), he did nod in agreement and acceptance. Fanduzz's argument is simply the lack of official status of the interpreter. A Knox County judge is set to rule on the defense motion on December 15th. Miranda's trial is still scheduled to begin January 11, 2010, at which time Fanduzz and his step-father John Eldridge will attempt to defend Miranda.

We say attempt to defend, because there can be no defense for what Miranda did. Does he deserve the death penalty? In most cases, we oppose the death penalty for a variety of reasons. In this case, we have no doubt of Miranda's guilt and feel that he, unlike most of us, would actually enjoy a better life in prison than he would in the free world. Pray for justice for Jennifer Lee Hampton.

Yes we said it: God help us, judging by his photograph and a little Freudian psychology, if we ever need Joe Fanduzz to represent us.