Target: Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Goal: Release man who has been jailed for over 900 days without being charged with any crime.
Benito Vasquez-Hernandez has been held in a Hillsboro, Oregon jail for over 900 days, even though he is not being charged with any crime. This is an unacceptable oversight in our criminal justice system. Demand that Vasquez-Hernandez be released at once.
Vasquez-Hernandez and his son Moises were both arrested in 2012 and charged with hindering prosecution. Those charges, however, were soon dropped, and no others brought against the two. Strangely though, that did not mean that they were free to go.
Both Vasquez-Hernandez and his son were kept in jail as material witnesses for a murder trial against another one of Vasquez-Hernandez’ sons—a trial that they only just made their first appearances for in court recently. Moises Vasquez-Hernandez was fortunately released from jail after 727 days following a diagnosis of schizophrenia, but Benito has been kept locked up for over 900 days and continues to be behind bars to this day.
The duration of this imprisonment as a material witness is unheard of and entirely unconstitutional. Benito Vasquez-Hernandez has not been charged with any crime and deserves to be a free man. Sign the petition below to demand that he be released from his unlawful imprisonment at once.
Dear Governor Brown,
I am writing you today regarding Benito Vasquez-Hernandez, a man who has been locked up in a Hillsboro jail for over two years as a material witness in a murder trial. He has not been charged with any crime, and there are no plans for him to be charged with any crime. He deserves freedom at once.
There is no way this imprisonment can be considered just. If a person can legally be kept behind bars for so long purely on the basis of their being a material witness in a separate trial, there is something very wrong with our justice system that needs to be fixed.
In any case, far-off reforms will do Vasquez-Hernandez no good—his situation demands action now. All the prosecutors and the lawyers involved with this case, as well as the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, recognize and acknowledge that Vasquez-Hernandez’s situation is something strange and profoundly unfortunate.
If anyone has the power to get him out of it, though, it’s you, as the governor of the state. This man has already lost over two years of his life that he will never get back. I urge you to ensure that Benito Vasquez-Hernandez is released from his unjust imprisonment at once.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bmwrider1 via Wikimedia Commons