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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Justice system

I'm going to take a moment to write about something that is very off topic. I, however, believe it is very important. It's not just important because it deals directly with my family, but it is important because it can happen to any of you reading this.

If you recall this post, back in April, my family was in a state of shock. As unbelievable as it still seems when I think about it, the reality is really setting in - and I miss my uncle very much. I miss seeing him, I miss laughing and joking with him, I miss him interacting with my kids, especially Landon. Landon still doesn't really understand, but he still asks about Uncle Richie quite a bit. All they would do when they were together was joke, laugh, punch, one another. Uncle Richie was notorious to be the instigator and sit back and laugh. A laugh I long to hear so badly.

My grandma lost her youngest of five children, her baby. Her child. My aunt Michi, lost her high school sweetheart. They would have celebrated 20 years of marriage this past July 8th. My cousins lost their strongest mentor, their father. And the list continues. A very long list continues and trickles to everyone who knew and loved him.

The reason for this post is to shed a little light to those who are interested how screwed up our justice system is. I know legislature is written, and we need to stand by and abide by the law. But, now, I question - why? I'm not going to go out and commit acts to challenge the law, I just wonder what kind of image we are giving youth.

Facts regarding this case:

- My uncle was on his own property, walking to retrieve his mail.
- Alfredo Antonio Ramirez hit and killed him, and ran.
- Witness saw Alfredo drive recklessly, run stop signs/lights, speed and 'stagger' blocks away as he went to inspect damage to his vehicle (aka his weapon of choice)
- Alfredo turned himself in days later (we believe to evade signs of alcohol in his system)
- Alfredo was TEXTING before, during and after the incident (records prove this)
- His family lied to authorities
- Alfredo was NOT remorseful, and judge even made a point in court about it
... and the list continues with SO much more incriminating information.

Alfredo Antonio Ramirez's punishment:
2 years in state prison, 3-4 yrs parole and restitution paid to the family

This equals approx 288 days actual time served. He will be walking amongst us as a citizen, next year.

N-E-X-T Y-E-A-R

You can read the Daily Bulletin article that made front cover detailing this past Tuesday.

My uncle died in 2009, and the man who took his life in such a senseless manner will be free in 2010. This past Tuesday, July 22, was the sentencing. We knew ahead of time the max would be 2 years, there was a possibility of him just getting probation. I will save the details of the court, and the heartwrenching testimony from my grandma, aunt and 2 cousins. Basically, the judge imposed the most he could given the plea bargain, 2 year max, etc. The judge actually brought forth details of the fateful night that he did not know prior to offering the plea bargain. He also acknowledged the families pain, and informed us Antonio does not seem remorseful, which was obvious. He also read over 100 impact statement letters we all wrote, including friends of how his death has impacted us.

A slap on the wrist for such a terrible crime. Alfredo had many choices that evening. He continued to choose the wrong ones. Choices that have forever changed the lives of so many. I don't understand how posession of marijuana, selling of marijuana, drugs, etc.. can bring a higher sentence than a LIFE taken. One of God's creations, as my aunt stated it. My uncle was a beautiful person, inside and out and he is worth much more than the punishment that is being given to the person who took his beautiful life. It's still so raw, and upsetting, and now after the sentencing, I see how our system works. And, sorry, but it sucks.

I do know however what punishment does not get met here through our system, will one day be met. I truly believe that. Until then, our family will be a voice to try to get some changes with our system. Because we are not the first, and sadly, not the last. The strict punishment comes when someone has killed 2, 3 or even 4 people on seperate occasions. Alfredo will be out one day, and he is a threat because of the lack of remorse. Odds are, he will be back in prison. And that is such a shame.

Uncle Richie, you are loved and missed! My kids will know you through my stories, and my pictures and my videos of you and that breaks my heart.


Fun times w/ 2 aunts, 1 uncle and a load of cousins! This was taken just this past January '09. My uncle is in the hat.


This is a pic of me and my dad and Troy. I am sharing this with you because this was the last day I saw my uncle, and from what I hear, the last day many of us family members saw him. We all spent the day at the racetrack, and close to 48 hours later, my uncle was taken from us. I was so happy on this day, my dad was happy, and we were all together. My grandfather's death was still so fresh for my dad and my aunts and uncles. It was a good day, and the last picture on my camera before our lives turned upside down 2 days later. It's kind of the 'old us' in a way if that makes sense. We are the same, but changed. Sadly I didn't get a pic of my uncle on this day, but I have the memory of this day, and our last hug.

Hold your family longer when giving hugs. I wish I had. It also reminds me to please look over the petty, and embrace the time you have with your loved ones.

We love you Unlce Richie, you will never be forgotten, or less treasured.

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice." - Martin Luther King Jr.

7 comments:

  1. Oh, Jenn. I have been praying for your family. I haven't seen updates but I knew this week would be challenging so I didn't bother you but you have all been on my mind.
    I have never met a more tight knit family than yours. honestly. I know that makes this even harder because he wasn't a distant uncle but a very active family member in all of your lives in a very consistent way.
    Our system is a joke and when will people wake up! I pray for courage and strength for your family Jenn, you are all so courageous but I feel so badly for all of you.

    Prayers, God's love and treasured memories is what I wish for you.
    ~ Nic

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  2. Your uncle sounds like a wonderful man. I read the article and none of it seems right. DA, judges and the court system at a whole are more interested in money and getting that pat on the back for plea bargains. I don't know why this didn't go to a trial jury? My sincere condolences to your family. I saw the front page article of the Bulletin and the picture of his son, wife and parents crying. My heart pours out to your family.

    I live in the Chino area and this has impacted me even before knowing this was your uncle. I often read your blog, you are a courageous writer and applaud you for your advocacy with your child. God Bless! Angie Warhousen

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  3. I am so sorry this is so wrong! You are exactly right.......what are we teaching our youth?!?!?!?!
    How is the legal system showing a regard to human life??
    TAttoos?? Are you guys still getting them, I would like to see the photos when you are all done or you can make a special trip to see me!!! I will be in Brea next week. I am here if you need anything at all. You do know the inmates will have a field day with him right? Sounds very bad but it is the hard truth of that part of the system and right about now after reading all of this I am ok with that!

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  4. I am so sorry for all the pain your family is going through. My uncle was also taken from us to soon. I just can't imgaine to have to go through everything else you guys have been on top of it. You guys are such a strong family and that helps having to go through such hard times. You will be in our prayers. I will also pray that the man that took his life will one day see the pain that he has caused.

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  5. Oh Jen this is so wrong! I can't imagine and I don't even know what to say...I admire you in so many ways!! Your family is so blessed to have you. The Ryan family is praying for your family. Love, Bridget

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  6. I am so sorry for your loss, Our Justice system is very messed up. When I was younger I had a very close friend that was killed by a man driving intoxicated by drugs and alcohol, he also did not have his drivers license at the time which had been taking from a prior alcohol offense. He killed a 12 year old boy and almost his mother. He got less than 1 year in prison. On the 1 year mark of his death we decided to go out and celebrate his life when we ran into the man who killed him. The sisters were in shock, when they commented to him he told them to "get over it" "it was over a year ago". That was even harder than his death. Again I am so sorry and wish he would have gotten more.

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  7. Thank you everyone. :) Brianna and Bridget, so sorry to hear you lost an uncle too soon as well. Megan, we did the tattoos this past weekend, about 21 of us! Anonymous, I am so sorry to hear of your tragedy, I can only begin to imagine how much this affected you at such a young age. I pray for you and your friends family, as I'm sure time helps, but the pain will always be present.

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