In a scathing ruling accusing police and prosecutors of being "merchants of chaos," a federal judge has ordered a new trial for a Mexican sentenced to die for killing a police officer in 1982.
Supporters of Ricardo Aldape Guerra insist he is the victim of angry police out for revenge and anti-illegal immigration sentiment.Prosecutors stand by the evidence and theorize that Aldape Guerra shot the officer and switched guns with an accomplice, Roberto Carrasco Flores, who was later killed by police.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt ruled last month that Aldape Guerra didn't get a fair trial and deserves a new one. The state attorney general is deciding whether to appeal the ruling.
Hoyt attacked police and prosecutors who worked on the case, saying their actions "were done in bad faith and are outrageous."
Authorities' "misconduct was designed and calculated to obtain a conviction and another `notch in their guns' despite the overwhelming evidence that Carrasco was the killer and the lack of evidence pointing to Guerra," Hoyt wrote Nov. 14 after listening to testimony at a hearing a year ago.
The city's police chief, the Harris County district attorney and Richard Bax, one of the prosecutors in the case, rejected the judge's accusations.