(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.