Accused Murderer And Rapist Remains Incompetent For Trial Because He Is Deaf And Mute
Mar 16, 2017 01:06 PM EDT
A deaf and mute man is considered "incompetent" to stand trial on a 2005 murder charge. The 45-year-old man can't read, write or speak more than a few words.
Oswaldo Martinez is charged with rape and murder by strangulation death of 16-year-old Brittany Binger in James City County, Virginia, on Jan. 2005, the Washington Post reported. A judge declared in 2013 that Martinez is "unrestorably incompetent" to stand trial due to his inability to communicate and stand for his defense.
While the murder charge goes on, Martinez is being held in a state hospital to maintain efforts of teaching him sign language. The efforts, however, have not succeeded as experts say learning fluent sign language can only be done during a critical childhood period that is fertile for learning the language.
In fact, experts have conducted mock trials to try to teach Martinez how his murder case would be decided, but he "would saunter into the bathroom" once he figures out what is going on. Meanwhile, Martinez's lawyer, Timothy Clancy, is arguing the case should be dismissed because of violations of his client's right to equal protection, speedy trial, and due process.
The prosecutor, Commonwealth's Attorney Nathan Green, on the other hand, argues that suspects are to be held indefinitely without a trial when charged with a capital crime such as murder and rape - according to a provision mentioned in the state's competency law. The law states that capital defendants can be imprisoned "without limitation" while continuing "medically appropriate" treatment.
According to ABA Journal, Martinez entered the U.S. illegally from El Salvador about one year before the murder was committed. Green stated that he has declined to seek deportation because justice would not be served.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has not shown any eagerness to take custody either, he said. That includes ICE, that has not been able to verify Martinez's alienage or potential for removability due to his inability to communicate.