by Virginia McCullough 11/20/09

Attorney Rene Sotorrio appeared November 20, 2009 at 9 a.m. before Judge Jorge E. Cuerto who conducts bond hearings in the criminal division of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, Miami-Dade County. This was Attorney Sotorrio’s second appearance on behalf of his client Jimmy Hughes who is fighting an extradition request from California that, if granted, would find the evangelist facing charges in the 1981 triple execution of Cabazon Indian Fred Alvarez and his friends Ralph Boger and Patricia Castro.  Mr. Sotorrio was successful in seeking a continuance and the next court extradition hearing will be held before Judge Cuerto on December 3, 2009 at 9 a.m.

Miami Dade Superior Court Clerk confirms that the Hughes case remains under Judge Bertila A. Soto based on information contained on the court docket. However Robert in Judge Soto’s chambers indicated that the November 20th hearing was not on Judge Soto’s calendar for that day.

Terry Chavez, spokeswoman for the Florida State Attorney’s Office confirmed that Judge Cuerto had conducted the hearing for Hughes. Chavez explained that the defendants are usually not present in person during extradition hearings but are present by a television hook-up which monitors everything in the courtroom where the judge, attorneys and courtroom personnel conduct the hearing. They communicate with the defendant who is physically in the chapel of the county jail where he can monitor the court and communicate through the television present in that room. Therefore, defense attorneys conducting these hearings normally waive their client’s presence. One of the reasons for this procedure is that the Dade Courts are the 4th largest in the United States and heavy calendars necessitate employing efficient courtroom procedures that also guarantee the defendant’s right to a fair hearing.

This reporter questioned Ms. Chavez about whether or not the second continuance granted to James Hughes since Mr. Sotorrio declared as his attorney was an unusual event. Ms. Chavez emphasized that this was normal procedure where defense attorneys timely appeared on behalf of their client and kept the hearing judge informed. Ms. Chavez stated, “that in the pursuit of justice the defendant and his attorney is always given sufficient time to review and consult on any complaint to assure that everything is as it should be.” She said that Rene Sotorrio is a well known and respected attorney well versed in their court’s procedures.

California Deputy Attorney General Michael Murphy, in an telephone interview this week, said that no one from his office would be present for Friday’s hearing in Miami

In the meantime James George Hughes, named in the felony complaint for extradition as the killer of three people, remains in jail in Miami held without bond.

Many readers who know and have worked with Jimmy Hughes have contacted this reporter asking how they can send letters to Hughes while he awaits extradition. His address follows:

                              James George Hughes Jr.|
                        Jail No. 90082914
                        Metro West Detention Center
                        13850 NW 41 Street
                         Miami, Florida 33178

Virginia McCulllough © 11/20/09