South Florida mom with son sentenced to Life after he rejected a 5-year plea deal starts organization for second chances and transparency in plea bargains.
— 2023 Plea Bargain Task Force ABA Criminal Justice Section:
MIAMI, FLORIDA, USA, September 13, 2023/EINPresswire.com/ — A South Florida mom with a son sentenced to Life after he rejected a 5-year plea deal has launched Balanced Justice Network – Changing The System. This criminal justice reform organization specifically advocates for second chances and transparency in plea bargains and sentencing.
“No weapons. No drugs. No serious injury. No death involved in my son’s case,” adds Evelyn Castillo-Bach – the mom and now founder of the organization and its website Balanced Justice Network.
Her son rejected the 5-year plea because he believed innocent people don’t take plea deals. He was determined to prove his innocence in court.
In Florida, according to data provided by the Florida State Courts, only a small percentage of criminal cases actually go to trial. In fact, approximately 97% of all criminal cases in Florida are resolved through plea deals. This means that the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a reduced sentence or other concession rather than take their case to trial.
The goal of this determined mother is to demonstrate to Miami-Dade County prosecutors that her son is worthy of a second chance and merits immediate release. “We don’t seek to relitigate the case or point fingers. We simply want the Miami-Dade prosecutors to give Mitchell a second chance. They have the power and discretion to release him immediately. Put him on probation if they want, but release him,” communicates Evelyn Castillo-Bach in a video she has released on Balanced Justice Network and posted on YouTube and multiple social media platforms.
On November 13, 2015, appellate attorney Richard Klugh C. Klugh filed an appeal to the Life sentence in THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA
THIRD DISTRICT, CASE NO.: 3D15-1249, MITCHELL FINLAY, Appellant,-vs-STATE OF FLORIDA. APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE
ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF FLORIDA IN AND FOR DADE COUNTY.
There is no parole in Florida for those sentenced to Life.
The decision to launch Balanced Justice Network was born from Evelyn Castillo-Bach’s belief and conviction that at a minimum it is morally wrong, judicially unethical, and fiscally irresponsible to insist on the life imprisonment of a defendant who was offered a 5-year plea deal and has served 22 years with an exemplary record.
It is her hope and expectation that Balanced Justice Network will galvanize others to support the release of her son.
It is also her hope Balanced Justice Network will grow to advocate on behalf of others who warrant a second chance.
First: Bring attention to the sentencing imbalance in her son’s case which led to a Life sentence after he rejected a 5-year plea deal because he believed innocent people don’t take plea deals.
Second: Garner public support for the immediate release of her son who is deserving of a second chance.
Third: Raise public awareness of the imbalance in the plea bargain system.
As reported in the 2023 Plea Bargain Task Force Report of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section:
“In general while some difference between the sentence offered prior to trial and the sentence received after trial is permissible, a substantial difference undermines the integrity of the criminal system and reflects a penalty for exercising one’s right to trial. This differential, often referred to as the trial penalty, should be eliminated.”
Fourth: Lend support to other families in their efforts to achieve balanced justice.
The public is invited to visit Balanced Justice Network to learn more and sign the petition supporting Mitchell’s release.
Prosecutors Offered a 5-year Plea Deal But Got Life.