Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office – The Rap Sheet

September 1, 2002

trs20021sept copyEnforcement Officers Enrique Gonzalez’ case came up for sentencing last month. Unfortunately, not an unusual case by Miami-Dade standards, the defendant, angered because his car was ticketed, went to the Virginia
Gardens Police Department to “express his displeasure”. Not letting the fact that the department was closed to the public on the weekend discourage him, the defendant went to the entrance marked for police officers only. When an officer came to the door and tried to explain to him that the department was not open to the public,
Gonzalez proceeded to create a scene, scream, yell and carry on. His verbal abuse escalated and he ultimately punched Officer James Chohonis and Officer Charbel Abud, inflicting visible injury to Officer Chohonis – a cut above his eye – and other unobservable injuries to both officers.

The charges proceeded to trial. The ASAs who handled the trial, Michael Padula and Jonathan Davidoff, commented on the excellent presentation of all officers who testified. “Their testimony was very direct and credible – they spoke from their hearts – and they kept their cool on crossexamination” (police brutality had been alleged by the defense). The defendant was convicted of two counts of battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting with violence and disorderly conduct.

At time of sentencing, Officers Chohonis and Abud testified, as did Chief Free. The extent of the defendant’s rage, over a simple parking ticket, was not lost on the presiding Judge, Manuel Crespo. Although the defendant had no prior criminal history, he was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Crimes Against LEOs Subcommittee
The above case obviously progressed appropriately through the criminal justice system to a successful conclusion. The Crimes Against Law Enforcement Officers subcommittee of the Police- Prosecutor Coordinating Committee was created to assure the proper handling of cases involving police officers as victims. Cases where officers have been seriously injured are now reviewed and referred for special handling if the circumstances warrant it. The co-chairs and subcommittee members are listed on the last page of The Rap Sheet; you should feel free to contact any one of  them if you have questions about the handling of your case


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