- Published on Tuesday, 11 August 2009 20:41
- Written by Advocates For Ajay
On August 7, 2009 Ajay Dev, a man whom hundreds of supporters have come to believe is innocent was sentenced to 378 years, 4 months. Local newspapers commented on the fundamental unfairness of a 378 year sentence for a first time conviction. Four days later, Ajay's friends, coworkers and family felt compelled to gather in front of the Yolo County Superior Court and District Attorney's office to speak out against the wrongful conviction and show their support of Ajay, even though he had just been convicted of rape.
- Statement by Reverand Ashiya Odeye of the Justice Reform Coalition
- Statement by Advocates for Ajay
- Statement by Mani Nepali Paneru of Nepal Association For Global Cooperation
Slideshow: March August 11, 2009
Racial profiling is alive and well in Yolo County. Under DA Jeff Reisig, 80% of all arrests in connection with alleged rapes where people of color who make up only 42% of the population in Yolo County. Under his regime there has been a 52% increase in the number of people of color arrested for rape and a 48% decrease in the number of White people arrested for rape. These statistics are well askew of national statistics. Nationally, since 1993 rape in general has declined 50% with White rapists still in the majority. According to US Justice Department statistics, 52% of all rapists are White. There is a problem here in Yolo County , and now an innocent man's life and family hang in the balance because of it. The case of Ajay Dev is another view into the corrupt and racist Yolo County justice system at the center of which is DA Jeff Reisig and his gang at the Yolo County District Attorney's office.
With no evidence, except the word of the accuser, the DA has chosen to prosecute an innocent man accused of rape simply because of his race, and to pad the Yolo DA's highest in the nation conviction rate. Through blatant lies, the obfuscation of the only factual evidence, and Judge Timothy Fall not allowing the jury to see all the evidence of the defense, an innocent man now faces 378 years in prison for a crime there is no evidence he committed. Judge Fall would not even allow official documentation from the government of the nation of Nepal that would show that the accuser was not only lying but guilty of criminal passport fraud for which she was arrested. It would also show the accuser as a manipulative, not so innocent girl contrary to the picture the DA's office has painted in the press and in court. Judge Fall has set a dangerous precedent here refusing these documents and needs to be called to the floor by the State Department.
Brett Pedroia, a White man, receives 1 year in County Jail after pleading guilty to molesting a 9 year old boy multiple times, where there was physical and other evidence, but Ajay is given 378 years on a weak case with no evidence. As a matter of fact, the evidence that is available exonerates the defendant and directly contradicts the DA's only witness, the accuser. This along with many other instances of impropriety and collusion in the court is why the JRC and the supporters of Ajay Dev, are asking for the appeals court to review this case and release Ajay from incarceration while this happens and his appeal goes through.
This case illustrates most of the problems with the Yolo system of justice we see in our work in Yolo County . This is why the Justice Reform Coalition feels that not only do we need a full Federal investigation of the Yolo County Court system and the conduct of its officers, but we need to have citizen review over all aspects of law enforcement.
We are here on behalf of Ajay Dev, a man who faces 378 years, 4 months in prison despite evidence that proved him innocent. Ajay was accused by his 26 year old adopted daughter, a Nepali citizen, of rape, which she claimed occurred over 750 times during a period of 4 years and 10 months, since she came to the United States in 1999.
Ajay and Peggy Dev adopted the accuser and brought her from Nepal to America to give her more opportunities, including a good education. They tried to preserve her Nepali culture and values, but the accuser chose to disregard their parental guidelines, began indulging in aberrant behavior and moved out of the home in December 2003. Family relationship deteriorated. The accuser blamed Ajay for all that was happening to her, including her loss of their financial support and her boyfriend breaking up with her. Out of retaliation and fear of being sent back to Nepal, she filed rape charges with the Davis police. Ajay took a lie detector test which demonstrated his innocence. In May 2004 the accuser requested that the charges be dropped.
A month later the accuser travelled to Nepal to attend her sister's wedding. During that time, the Nepali police filed charges against the accuser, aged 21, and her birth father for falsification of birth records-she reduced her age to qualify for adoption and immigration to the US. She was prosecuted by the Government of Nepal. As she had dropped the charges, there was no need for him to try to keep her out. She was convicted of passport fraud, fined and sentenced to time already served in jail (19 days). Yet DDA Mount still brought charges forward on Ajay for keeping her in Nepal to try to escape charges and moved the judge to not allow the evidence proving his innocence in front of the jury and Ajay was convicted.
Ajay was convicted despite testimony from the accuser's medical doctor, social worker, a psychologist, family and friends, who stated there was no sign of any abuse. It is impossible for all of these people to miss 750 rapes. DDA Mount had no evidence other than the accuser's testimony which was filled with statements that were proven at trial to be false, at times by her own admission. The prosecutor was allowed 16 days to present his case, while the judge allowed the defense only 6 ½ days to present 24 witnesses. The judge only allowed 3 hours of closing arguments to defend 92 counts.
Since the accuser's testimony was not credible, the prosecution's argument hinged on one sentence taken from a 58 minute pretext phone call taped and scripted by the Davis police, between the accuser and the defendant. The Deputy District Attorney convinced the jury that this one statement was an admission of guilt. It was not. Ajay told the accuser she was lying 27 times, before and after this statement – in English and Nepali. The accuser even admitted on the call that there were no admissions. Any misunderstanding is due to language and cultural issues which are often times lost in the translation process.
Over 2 million Americans are incarcerated in US prisons. According to the Truth & Justice Foundation at least 200,000 are these are innocent - 1 out of every 10. If we were talking about a disease, this would be considered an epidemic. There would be demands for a cure. The legal system is broken. Ajay Dev is an innocent man framed by his adopted daughter when she was 21 years old. We seek truth, justice and an investigation into this case.
With due respect to this great nation's constitution and laws, which promises liberty and justice for all, we take the liberty to use our constitutional rights of freedom of speech, and solemnly make the following statements with no ill feelings to the system and law but with the positive intention, so that our constitutional rights become a practical reality now and forever.
On the basis of publicly available information it has come to our grave attention that DDA Steve Mount and Judge Timothy Fall have made not only prejudicial, but also unacceptable comments against an independent nation and millions of its people round the globe. As a global Nepali organization, Nepal Association for Global Cooperation declares this statement.
DDA Steve Mount said that Nepal is a communist country. If Mr. Mount had any regard for the truth or respect for the 6,000 + Nepalese Community in Northern California he could have easily looked on the State Department's website and found that Nepal is not a Maoist or communist country. Nepal is a Democratic country, with a Legal System molded after the British Legal System, which is also similar to the United States. He said Nepal doesn't issue birth certificates. Nepal issues birth certificates for all its citizens and has done so since 1975; many years before the accuser was born. And people do not have to live in government housing to work at a cigarette factory. People live in and own their own homes. He said women don't have rights. Women have rights in Nepal and hold positions in government and have been Ministers in government.
Judge Timothy Fall denied the Nepal court documents on the basis that the words "correct copy" was not used in the attestation, but the words "true translation" was used instead. The documents were not copies. They were original translations of the certified court copies and were translated from Nepali the official language into English by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. They certified the documents and then pursuant to California Evidence Code 1530 the documents were then certified by Nepal's Foreign Ministry and finally the Nepal Embassy in Washington, D.C.
These Official Nepal Court documents were denied as evidence despite the fact that all requirements were followed according to California Evidence Code 1530 regarding public documents in a foreign country.
By not allowing official court documents from another country that does not speak English as their official language, thus requiring translation for use in the United States, a precedent could be set that any judge in California, and possibly all of the United States, could refuse “certified copies” of documents requiring translation. This not only affects Nepal, but all Non-English speaking countries and their citizens in the United States.