Keep an open mind toward defendants

Many stories have been written and reported about the Resendiz case. As family members, it has been difficult to read the inaccuracies and not respond. The few times we spoke to the press, our words were taken out of context or words have been written that we did not speak. Therefore, we would like the opportunity to make this statement to the citizens of Carson City.

We ask that the community keep in mind that they have only heard the prosecution's side of this case. As in any case, the defense does not present its case until trial. Remember that everything you read in the newspaper is not always true and is often based on personal viewpoints.

Understand that Sheriff Rod Banister and District Attorney Noel Waters are just human beings who can be blinded by their own biases and prejudices. Just because they are elected officials does not make them more or less honest or better than any other citizen. If they look objectively, they will see how their case is flawed; for example, the way the defendants were rounded up based on names given to a witness by the police. Also, the conflicting accounts from the prosecution witnesses or to the fact that there is no physical evidence linking the defendants to the crime or crime scene. No matter how hard they push this case, they cannot change the fact that the defendants are innocent.

We live in a time where the slightest appearance of guilt can get you convicted. Despite the fact that our children are innocent, we understand there is a possibility that they can be convicted. If you believe that an innocent person cannot be convicted, then you need to look at numerous cases from across the country. Prisoners are being released from prisons because they were really innocent. Police officers make mistakes and are capable of telling lies. District attorneys are capable of sending innocent people to jail to make themselves look good.

We sympathize with the loss Sammy Resendez' children must feel, and like his family and friends, we want justice. More than that, we want the truth. It is important for them to remember that the defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. This is how the law works in this country.

The defendants are in school, doing the best they can, uncertain of their futures. As family members of the defendants, trusting the system is difficult for us because so often in the past the system has let us down. All of the defendants were born and raised in Carson City or the surrounding area as were their parents. We are citizens of this community, and we would like to be treated as such. We would also like the District Attorney's Office to prosecute the cases when we are victims instead of deciding not to pursue the cases.

Those of you who know the defendants and who know our families know that they are not gang members. Not one defendant claimed to be a gang member; this is a label put on them by the police and district attorney's office. The fact is, the police routinely misidentify Native Americans as gang members. This practice needs to stop. NRS 193.168 defines gangs and the sheriff's department needs to follow what is defined by law. Misidentification in this case could negatively influence potential jurors.

We are not asking for any special treatment, just fair treatment. We ask that you keep an open mind until you hear both sides of this case.


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