In Nicaragua, still no verdict on Puracal case

Judges ask for more time to deliberate case

(posted Sept. 6, 8:15 a.m.)- The legally established time limit for a final verdict on the Jason Puracal case has come and gone without a ruling from appellate judges, who are now asking for more time to deliberate and aren’t expected to hand down a verdict until at least next week, according to a judicial system spokeswoman.

Maria Elena Campos, spokeswoman for Nicaragua’s court system, told The Nicaragua Dispatch that head judge Roberto Rodríguez says the final verdict will take a bit more time due to the heftiness of the case—a voluminous file that includes the evidence, testimony and defense for all 11 codefendants.

Campos said Rodríguez—as of Wednesday afternoon—does not expect the verdict will be ready before the end of this week. According to Nicaraguan law, judges have five days after the hearing ends to hand down a verdict. In the Puracal case, judges asked for 10 days due to the large number of codefendants. The judges have now taken nearly three weeks and counting.

Jason Puracal, 35, was convicted last year of drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime and sentenced to 22 years in prison. The U.S. citizen claims he is innocent and hopes the appeals court will free him after two years in jail.

  • nicafred

    Thank you for the update and continued coverage of this case. Even handed justice should not only be a concern to the ex-patriot community but to the Republic as well.

  • Ken

    Hate to be so suspicious, but it sounds like the judges are waiting for someone to return a phone call. Surely they could weigh the evidence in the allotted time, so I have to suspect they’re waiting to receive orders from whoever is really deciding this case.