Whom It May Concern,
My family and I are writing this letter on behalf of my uncle Mr. Hector Rivas who is currently serving a 25 year to life sentence in Sing Sing Correctional Facility for the murder of Ms. Valerie Hill, a crime he is absolutely innocent of. The crime was reported to be committed on or about March 29, 1987. Six years after being cleared and never a suspect due to their investigation, a new prosecutor, District Attorney William Fitzpatrick presented the case to the grand jury. The District Attorney of Syracuse, New York managed to build this case with absolutely no new evidence, no finger prints, nothing new. Just a case to build his name and glory. All of this led to my uncle Hector’s indictment and later his incarceration. Hector was found guilty in 1993 and has been incarcerated since.
Hector Rivas has fought for his freedom with appeals. His last appeal, a Writ of Habeas Corpus has been denied. The denial of this appeal has brought so much pain to my uncle and my family. We have put all of our faith and hope in the justice system. My family and I will not give up on this justice system even though it is the same system that has placed and innocent man in jail and persists in keeping him incarcerated. Hector Rivas has overwhelming evidence that proves his innocence of this crime.
My goal is to get someone to interview my uncle Hector Rivas, bring publicity to this case. One of the pieces of evidence we have is the medical examiner changing the time of death six years later. We believe that this change was done six years later to throw out my uncle Hector Rivas’s alibi, and put the prosecution at an advantage. The medical examiner, Mr. Erik Mitchell which years before the crime took place and during the trial had been under investigation by the county for bizarre and criminal behavior such as the misfiling of records and illegally disposing of bodies and their parts. Mitchell could have been charged with 144 misdemeanors and 7 felonies. He was also a suspect and questioned for the murder of his co-worker and prior to being suspected he could not conclude the cause of death the autopsy for the murder of his co-worker. Certainly one could come to the conclusion that some type of agreement was worked out between the medical examiner and the prosecution.
A well known pathologist, Dr. Cyril H. Wecht (I am sure you have heard of him from HBO’s autopsy program), has honored us by working with the case. Dr. Wecht cannot fathom how the former medical examiner could have changed the time of death in our case at the trial in 1993 from his previous statement in 1987. Dr. Wecht had also been one out of five or six pathologists from across the country who reviewed evidence against the medical examiner, Erik Mitchell back and around 1994, a year after my uncle’s incarceration for this 6 year old case. Dr. Wecht agreed not only was the Medical Examiner’s conduct unsatisfactory but it did not comply with the public health law.
One of the other issues is a fingerprint comparison report done by the Syracuse police crime unit. The report states the names of certain people who had been in Valerie Hill’s apartment. It includes the name of an individual who the police never questioned or knew about until 5 ½ weeks after the report was done. We feel this was done to mislead the grand jury in their investigative process. My uncle, Hector Rivas’s chances of a fair trial were never given to him.
One of the other issues is a signed affidavit that states a person who admits to someone else confessing to the crime. A man who was stopped by police driving by Valerie Hill’s home a few days after the March 1987 crime admitted to killing a women in that vicinity, according to the affidavit from an acquaintance. Please ask yourself why an affidavit that was taken back in 1988 was not presented earlier during this trial or during the indictment. We feel this was a vital piece of information which would have brought grounds for a mistrial due to late discovery of the exculpatory material. It wasn’t until my uncle, Hector Rivas obtained a full copy of the court record that He discovered the judge, J. Kevin Mulroy and prosecutor, William FitzPatrick were caught on record in an ex-parte discussion, discussing the same exculpatory material that they both alleged was discovered late. The court reporter was able to record the dates of the memo’s that were discussed. The discussions took place before our lawyer made his opening statement to the jury before they entered the courtroom. How could the District Attorney say that this vital piece of information was inadvertently not placed in my uncle Hector Rivas’s file? Hector has more evidence that ties together and proves the court was bias and prejudicial during the trial. On March of 1987 the police made Hector Rivas give blood, semen, hair, skin, other tissue all this is DNA, till this day the District Attorney’s Office will not comply with us in obtaining all the documents that prove this. Ask yourself, why all the secrets, why all the denials of paperwork, are there hidden agenda’s? The answers to these questions are evident; you have the wrong man, but do not want to admit faults within the District Attorney and Town of Onondaga County’s Office. There was never and ever will be proof of physical evidence. Ex-Judge, J. Kevin Mulroy has been brought up on serious misconducts and is now practicing law because he has been dismissed. One of many allegations made against him was that while presiding over a rape trail in Utica in 1996, he tried to persuade an assistant district attorney to offer the defendant the chance to plead to a misdemeanor to end the trial more quickly. “It’s Thursday night, and its men’s night out,” he said in court. Six to nine commission members found sufficient evidence that the remarks had been made, and that they were inappropriate. In addition to all the evidence Hector Rivas has to prove his innocence his lawyer, Richard Calle was very incompetent. Hector has all the proof in regards to that issue.
I am not the one who can really tell this story, but I can tell you that my uncle has lost 13 years of his life for a crime he did not commit. Someone must hear the truth and bring all the false evidence of District Attorney William FitzPatrick out in the open. My uncle Hector Rivas is not the only person he has done this to. This case was reopened with not an ounce of new evidence and unfortunately for us we are a poor family and everything happened so fast we could not obtain a proper lawyer.
My uncle Hector Rivas’s only son, Jason Rivas is in Korea training for the Army. After his training he will be sent home for a month break to see his wife and daughter. A granddaughter my uncle has yet to meet. My cousin lives in Kentucky, he has not been able to see his father in 13 years but they correspond. Jason Rivas felt that by joining the army he can provide for his wife and child and help his father and family in the fight for his father’s freedom. We are not sure if he will be sent to Iraq, with this in mind, Jason could be sent to begin the battle of serving his country whether at war or here in the home front for truth and justice, but he fights and suffers the battle of the injustice his father is going through at the hands of The District Attorneys misconduct with the law. Why would Mr. FitzPatrick or anyone care about the facts, the truth, and the proof? We want to put are faith in an honest system. My family and I do not want to believe that the American System of Criminal Justice will yield false results, inaccurate results and send an innocent person and other innocent people to prison. We do not want to believe in a system that just wants to win, not to secure the truth. District Attorney William Fitzpatrick would never want to admit error even at the cost of a family and a man’s innocent life.
Justice delayed is justice denied and to deny justice undermines judicial institutions and violates human rights laws and standards.
Please help us! My uncle needs is an interview. Please give My Uncle Hector Rivas and my family the consideration of helping us cure this grave injustice. We have all the documents and more that prove the issues which are stated in this letter and many other issues that are not stated in this letter. We can show them at anyone’s request, should they decide to help us in this matter.
Please Help us, send us in some direction. Help us get the publicity we need to make my family whole again. To bring a mother her only son and a family back together.
We have tried to use the law and its chains of truth to help us, but the chains of strength the District Attorney William FitzPatrick has seem to be much stronger. I and my family will never give up!! The truth shall set us free.
Please help us! The truth needs to be brought out, if someone will listen. We need help from the public we count on. The law that has brought us all the lies keeping Hector Rivas innocently in jail is the same law and public who need to bring him home, set him and us free.
“While America condemns countries across the globe for their human rights violations, we fail to look into our own backyard for similar abuses. Only when the last state forensic specialist taints evidence to gain a conviction, only when the last prosecutor uses perjury to sway the jury, only when the last innocent person leaves their cage can we raise our heads to the world as an example of freedom, honor and justice”.
“The thing is, you don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime. That’s contradictory. If a person is innocent of crime, then he is not a suspect”
Please sign our petition and join the fight to bring an innocent man home.