New Evidence in the Ramsey Muniz Case

Note: the following email from Irma Muniz passes along a claim by her
husband Ramsey that new evidence has been discovered about the
circumstances surrounding his 1994 arrest for marijuana trafficking.–gm

Dear Friends:
What would any person with a past conviction do upon being
out of a car he had just been asked to move? What would he
choose to do with the car key? Ramsey had only seconds
to think as he quickly rushed to a pay phone to try
and reach an attorney. In the rush he thought,
"If I give them the key, it is giving consent to search
a car that doesn’t even belong to me. If I keep the key,
it will implicate me in something." He never made it.
If this was done to Ramsey in 1994, why shouldn’t one
believe that the same happened in his first conviction?

The enclosed is an excerpt of a letter from Ramsey Muniz in
response to a letter received regarding his case against
the United States government. Please forward this letter
to students in Chicano studies programs, Mexicano law students,
law student associations, civil rights organizations,
and listservs. All interested parties may contact the
National Ramsey Defense Alliance for additional information.

–Irma Muniz

August 14, 2004

Dear Armando:
Shakespeare said, "as the waves make towards the
pebbled shore, so do our minutes hasten to their end."
(Sonnet LX). The loss of our friend, Raul, shows us a
very important fact about life, a fact we must remember.
"Life goes on forever toward its end, never slowing down
or going back. Our lives do indeed ‘hasten to their
end.’" (The Movement of Time – Shawn Waddell).

During my almost eleven years in one of American’s
arduous prisons, I have shared the cultural endeavor
that we, Los Mexicanos, have organized throughout the
entire southwest within the state and federal prison
systems of America. Raul, outside, was a clear example
of what Los Mexicanos can do in this country. Here, and
from here, my beliefs and principles against the
oppression and discrimination toward nuestra gente have
been strongly expressed – more strongly than ever. For
this reason, I will never give up on claiming that my
trial was not conducted fairly. Of course, you are
correct by stating that circumstantial evidence tying
me with that vehicle was the basis for my conviction.
And certainly, all the courts are expected to give
deference to jury findings, regardless of my explanation
to the contrary. But your very welcome opinion is based
on a relitigation "doctrine," which is not the basis for
reopening my case. Let me explain.

Evidence only discovered a few months ago shows a
link, prior to my "alleged participation," between the
government and a confidential informant (the owner of
the load found in the vehicle in question), who was
recompensed for setting me up in this case. Of course,
neither Dick (my trial counsel) nor I knew of this
evidence. In Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U.S. 419 (1995), the
Supreme Court reviewed the standard for granting
collateral relief where the materiality of suppressed
evidence was considered. In sum, the court held that
a "reasonable probability" of a different result is
shown when the government’s evidentiary suppression
undermines confidence in the outcome of the trial.
115 S. Ct. at 1566. As you know, Kyles’ holding has
been the subject of explanation and exploration in
subsequent courts of appeal decisions.

For example, in United States v. Smith, 77 F.3d
511 (D.C. Cir. 1996), the court reversed drug related
convictions nothing that, post Kyles, materiality
[of suppressed] information is not gauged by a
sufficiency-of-the-evidence test, 77 F.3d at 512,
citing Kyles. In other words, the
evidence in my case showing that my conviction "hinged"
on a key hidden in my sock, which tied me to the loaded
vehicle, would be irrelevant under Kyles. In Smith,
the reversing panel described the holding in Kyles,
noting "a reviewing court must focus on the fairness
of the trial the defendant actually received rather
than on whether a different result would have occurred
had the undisclosed evidence been revealed." Accordingly,
the question here is whether in the absence of this
evidence, did I receive a fair trial, within the meaning
of Kyles.

As to whether Blakely applies to my case or not, any
response to that would be premature. First the Court must
effectively overrule McMillan, 447 U.S. 79, something it
has twice declined to do, and hold that Blakeley applies
to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Second, any
favorable ruling in this matter must be retroactively
applied before I put my horses to run. Although it is
possible to argue that under Tyler v. Cain, 533 U.S.
656 (2001), in which the Court held that a new rule of
criminal procedure may be retroactive through a series
of that Court’s cases (the combination of Schriro v. Summerlin,
U.S. June 24, (No. 03-526, 2004 WL 1402732 at *5-7), and
Winship,) the Schriro’s Court’s conclusion that Ring v. Arizona
should not be applied retroactively is a problem. The only
difference between Ring and Blakely is the name of the state
(Arizona-Washington), and apparently, more important
(considering Teague’s prong against retroactivity), the
involvement of a lower standard of proof which undermines
the accuracy of the proceeding’s outcome.

Because the Arizona law (in Ring) already required
aggravating factors to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,
it appears that arguably, in Schriro, the majority’s analysis
against retroactivity was limited to the Ring rule. But I don’t
need to torture my brain with this question, after all, "if a
precedent of the Court has direct application in a case, yet
appears to rest on reasons rejected in some other line of
decisions," it is the Supreme Court who has "the prerogative
of overruling its own decisions." Rodriguez, 490 U.S. at 484
(1989); State Oil Co. v. Khan, 522 U.S. 3, 20 (1997) (same).
Thus, I must wait. If I see a good chance, surely, without
doubt, I will be part of that fight. For now, however, the
Kyles argument is my main target.

Thank you for taking the time to inquire about my case.
You will be constantly in our prayers for strength of
your Mexicayotl (consciousness).


Ramiro R. Muniz

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: