This is an update on the egregious miscarriage of justice being perpetrated in the Monterey County judicial system against Eva Ruiz Gomez, an upstanding mother of three with no prior criminal record, charged with felonious deprivation of a right to visitation. If convicted, Eva could spend three years in a state prison:
A community group, The Friends of Eva, is working to bring the bewildering story of Eva’s case to the public as well as raise funds for her defense. It is revealing that two highly educated and experienced attorneys recently signed on to defend Eva because, after reading the court documents, they believe that this is an absolutely groundless prosecution.
Eva’s lead lawyer, Dario Navarro, recently requested, among other things, that the arrest warrant and police report from Eva’s arrest be produced immediately. This is the third time in the past year and a half that these documents have been requested by Eva’s lawyers. Why have they not been produced?
On June 14, Mr. Navarro filed a Pitchess Motion, focusing on the gross misconduct of the Monterey County District Attorney’s investigator, Manuel Infante, which may include perjury, fabricating charges against Eva and lying under oath. It appears from the public records that Mr. Infante may have been instrumental in the “set-up” for Eva’s wrongful arrest on September 28, 2010.
This case dates back to September 2002, when the Family Court in Monterey granted Eva full legal and physical custody of her minor child, as well as permission to relocate to Mexico with him. Two months after receiving that permission, Eva married Mailo Garcia Jimenez, and they began preparing to move with Eva’s two children to Mexico.
Prior to her marriage with Mailo, Eva had a child with her former boyfriend and the complaining witness in this case, Ramon Munoz, but they were never married and his name does not appear on the child’s birth certificate. With the advice and assistance of Mr. Infante, Mr. Munoz filed a motion to change custody and visitation in 2004. However, the notice to Eva was not served on her, as she was in Mexico, but rather on her younger sister, a minor, at the home of Eva’s mother in Seaside.
Mr. Munoz and Mr. Infante were both well aware that Eva was in Mexico; Mr. Munoz even acknowledged to the court that she was in Mexico. Still, when Eva did not appear at the hearing, the judge gave Mr. Munoz joint custody of the child and visitation arrangements were ordered to take place in Seaside. (Why didn’t someone check the Family Court record to determine that Eva had been given permission to relocate to Mexico–and that she had been given full legal and physical custody of her son?)
The actions of Mr. Infante in aiding Mr. Munoz, to obtain a fraudulent court order for joint custody, was part of a “set-up” leading to Eva’s wrongful arrest when she returned to the Monterey Peninsula, unaware of the changes in custody and visitation.
On September 28, 2010, Mr. Infante used the fraudulent joint custody order to illegally take the child from Carmel Middle School, without notifying Eva. Mr. Infante left only his business card with the school secretary, who in turn alerted Eva that her child had been taken. Mr. Infante then turned over the terrified child to Mr. Munoz, a man with whom the child had no relationship because the parents split up when he was two years old, and the father had shown little or no interest in him whatsoever.
Eva immediately telephoned Mr. Infante, who told her to meet him “behind the courthouse” in Salinas and he would tell her where her son was. But when she, her husband Mailo and their 11-month old baby arrived, Eva was arrested, hand cuffed and taken to jail where she was strip-searched in the presence of Mr. Infante! Mailo was left standing in the parking lot, baby in arms.
Mr. Munoz has close relatives in the law-enforcement community, including his sister, Ana Hernandez, a Monterey County Deputy Sheriff, whose active intervention in this case is well documented. How else to make sense of a groundless prosecution of a young Mexican-American mother? Eva has shown remarkable courage; for example, her first three lawyers urged her to “cop to a plea bargain.” But Eva says, “Why would I do that? I haven’t done anything wrong.”
The mounting trail of illegal activity on the part of law-enforcement grows from there and, we believe, accounts for the now desperate and undisguised attempts to put Eva in prison in order to avoid having incriminating evidence see the light of day. The Friends of Eva believe that in the interest of justice, the public needs to know what is being done IN THEIR NAME.
Fortunately, Eva now has excellent representation with Mr. Navarro, who is working tirelessly on Eva’s behalf. If Mr. Navarro’s Pitchess Motion produces the results that it is legally meant to produce, perhaps Eva’s case will move one step closer to justice and ultimately to dismissal.