Thu, June 27

Editorial: Garcia-Soto case the ultimate example of slow-moving wheels of justice

Few criminal cases stretch the boundaries of slow-moving justice as does the bizarre death-penalty case involving Cesar Garcia-Soto.

As with many death penalty cases, the one against Garcia-Soto is complicated. There has been delay upon delay. One lawyer was allowed to quit. That required more time to find a new lawyer willing to take the case.

Lawyers for Garcia-Soto tried to have the death penalty taken off the table. They have alleged judicial misconduct. They asked the presiding judge to replace the judge assigned to the case. Then the judge who was hearing the case was reassigned to mental-health court and a new judge had to take over.

If ever there was a way to delay holding someone accountable, this one has to be the case study in how painfully slow the wheels of justice can move.

Here is the clincher: Garcia-Soto was arrested in February 2008. We are closing in on nine years since the man was first arrested.

He was 33 years old at the time. He was arrested after his infant son was found unconscious and not breathing is his VOC apartment. The baby was taken to St. Joseph's hospital in Phoenix, where he died three weeks later. Doctors said he had "highly suspicious" injuries: a fractured skull and pelvis, according to YCSO investigators, and a broken arm and several broken ribs that appeared to be a result of older incidents.

Further complicating the case was the fact that the child's mother, Gladys Yamileth Rodriguez-Paz, was not home at the time of the 911 call, and she pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse in 2008 and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Today in Yavapai County Superior Court, lawyers will be at it again going through the machinations required to move this case to its ultimate legal conclusion.

Supposedly it is going to trial this year; 2017 may be more realistic given the history of this case.

A baby died in 2008.

It shouldn't take nearly nine years for the justice system to hold someone accountable for this horrific crime.