Thursday, July 10, 2014

Judge denies Ramos bail request

Trial for alleged Megan’s Law violation starts Tuesday

January 17. 2014 11:43PM

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WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas denied a nominal bail petition filed by child molester Jose A. Ramos on Friday, four days before Ramos faces trial over an alleged Megan’s Law violation.

Ramos, 70, was arrested Nov. 7, 2012 on allegations he gave a false address as a sex offender, just minutes after he was released from the State Correctional Institution at Dallas at the end of a 27-year sentence for molesting children in Erie County.

Lupas also rejected a prompt-trial motion filed by defense attorney Tom Marsilio. Under that rule, a trial generally must commence within one year of charges being filed, and unless bail is prohibited by law, a defendant may not be held in jail before trial for more than 180 days after being charged.

Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Alexis Falvello argued Ramos, who has no ties to the area, remains a flight risk. Falvello cited his history and correspondence she said was intercepted between the jailed Ramos and a woman named Janet from Arizona, who invited Ramos to come and molest her underage grandson, Falvello said.

Address issue

In the Luzerne County case against Ramos, state police allege he gave a relative’s address in Bronx, N.Y., where he would be residing as a convicted sexual offender under Megan’s Law, knowing the relative had not lived there in decades. Authorities also alleged the relative had no intention of allowing Ramos to reside with her.

Marsilio told the court he was not aware of the alleged communication, and that it had not been provided in pre-trial discovery documents.

A two-page letter attached to a prosecution brief filed Nov. 5 is labeled by prosecutors as a message from Ramos to Janet prior to his 2012 release from prison. In it, the writer — purportedly Ramos — asks the woman about sending money for transportation and arranging a hotel room in New York City, following his release, for Ramos, herself and her grandson. Following that, he suggests they either buy an old bus or take a bus or train to Florida.

This letter mentions nothing about molestation, but the writer asks Janet whether her grandson’s father will let the boy leave town with them, and asks why the boy “wants me to be his father.”

He tells Janet to have the boy go to a library and write him a letter, instructing her to tell the boy “that he’s to let me know what kind of hobbies does he have and what are the favorite things he likes to do. Also if you have any recent pictures of him, please send them to me.”

In addition to Ramos’ alleged desire to go to Florida, Falvello also said Ramos has made threats against the prosecutor who tried him nearly three decades ago.

Finally, Falvello referred to Ramos as “an original suspect” in the disappearance of 6-year-old New York City boy Etan Patz in 1979.

Marsilio countered that Ramos is no longer a suspect, but rather a witness in the case against Pedro Hernandez, 51, who is scheduled to be tried in New York this spring in the boy’s death.

Age, lack of ties

Marsilio told Lupas Ramos’ lack of Luzerne County ties shouldn’t factor against the granting of bail. He also suggested the defendant’s age mitigated concerns about his proclivity to molest.

“I would suggest he is not a danger to society,” Marsilio said. “I don’t want to go into the ability of one’s ability to function physically, but it’s quite clear he’s an old man.”

Lupas also rejected defense arguments that prosecution delays pushed Ramos beyond the 180-day “Rule 600” threshold, noting that the case was delayed by actions sought on both sides, but primarily by Ramos’ own actions.

Ramos’ is scheduled to appear Tuesday for a jury trial.

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