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Jun 1, 2011

Bar Association says prison may have violated rights of Saldivar’s clients

Arthur Saldivar

While Cano is accused of attempting to bring in an illegal substance at the northern border, a Belize City attorney is accused of all things, facilitating an illegal telephone call. Since the owner of La Cabana Bar in Belmopan and his wife were locked up after a police raid at their home on May twentieth, the public has been divided on whether or not the Gang Suppression Unit overstepped its boundaries in the use of force. Mike Menjivar gave a prison call to the media in which he explained why he shot at who he deemed as late night intruders on his property. But their attorney Arthur Saldivar has been banned since the Kolbe Foundation, which manages the Belize Central Prison, says he violated prison rules. This afternoon the attorney for the Menjivar family says that the prison is violating the constitution and the rights of his clients.

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for Menjivar Family

Mike & Illiana Menjivar

“Under section six of the constitution which affords every person the protection of law, it is the person who is accused who has the right to legal representation and to the facilities for the conduct of his or her defense. Under that provision, certainly it wouldn’t be in line with the constitution to have the prison then dictate that a legal practitioner should not be made to have access to his or her clients. Now Jose, the whole thing about this situation is that certainly it is the intent of the persons who are guiding or imposing their will upon the persons at Kolbe to make this a situation about me. What has been advanced as the reason for this unprecedented step is the fact that my clients gave an interview to the media. Now when a person is arrested Jose that person is told by way of caution that they have the right to remain silent that right is a personal right. Anything they say could or would be used against them if these decide to speak. Now that is in line with a recognition of what the constitution upholds as the protection of the right of freedom of expression.”

Jose Sanchez

“What about the Bar Association, has it been notified? What are they’re involvement?”

Arthur Saldivar

“Well again, the letter coming from Kolbe indicates that this restriction or ban is only in so far as the Bar Association takes to respond to them. It seems to me as if they want the Bar Association to reprimand me, but reprimanding me for abiding by our constitution, by affording my clients the rights and privileges that the constitution guarantees; that’s a stretch. Basically at the time, I didn’t receive a letter, I received a call. I had to go to Kolbe to get the letter into my hands and in so doing I made representation at the time that as a result of the health issue that my clients are basically afflicted with that I would require to see them. I was denied that access. So the infraction has been compounded with the fact that they have actually followed through on what they claim to have a right to but in law, they have no real right to that.”

This afternoon the Bar Association’s response to Kolbe was clearly in support of the law and Saldivar. A letter written by Jacqueline Marshalleck, the Bar President, quoted section 5(2)(b) of the Belize Constitution which demands that detained persons shall “…have adequate opportunity to give instructions to a legal practitioner of his choice.” The letter goes on to inform the prison officials that the association is concerned that its actions to deny Mike Menjivar and Iliana Chacon access to their attorney may be in violation of their fundamental rights. Marshalleck also advised the prison on how to make a formal complaint against any attorney. The letter concluded by asking Kolbe to send the prison rules so all members of the bar can have a copy.  Well Kolbe may want to revise its rules before sending it to the bar association, since it has already pointed out that the prison had already violated constitutional rights of the Menjivar’s.

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25 Responses for “Bar Association says prison may have violated rights of Saldivar’s clients”

  1. WTF says:

    Since when is it not allowed to make a call from Prison? It’s done everyday. So what they used a cell phone. It’s not like Saldivar left it for them. Someone is pulling strings and Kolbe is puppet.

  2. Farmer Giles says:

    Personally, I am very concerned about this whole issue.
    We have a man that was badly beaten by the police whilst handcuffed. Denied medical attention for several hours. Had his home destroyed on a mere tip off to the Police. Has his wife and housekeeper / babysitter locked up even though it is as plain as the nose on your face that they cannot be guilty as charged.
    And now they are denying him the right to be heard as well as the rights to the attorney of his choice.
    Something smells worse than the tip here……

  3. rod says:

    this is what happens when the prison is owned and financed by americans they think they can dictate whatever they want whereever they want these people have rights and as far as i am concerned these peoples rights have been grossly denied i would sue this gov. and pm for every onecent they have especially that big bank account the pm has in miami.

  4. islander says:

    Has the GSU changed its name from gang suppression unit to Attorney Suppression Unit now? I BET 500 bucks that the GSU guy has something to do with this and he is the master using colbe as its puppet.

  5. Benqueno says:

    If lawyers/attorneys are so dedicated in protecting and caring for the constitutional rights of detainees at KOLBE….why are the not doing so to the others who are locked down at the same facility??????….MONEY TALKS AND BS WALKS…..Saldivar is following the money….its all about MAKING MONEY…if you dont have MONEY (poor) you dont have Constitutional Rights…..who cares about the poor anyway….so let those who infringed the Law suffer the consequences…..poor or rich….

    Saldivar and any other attorney are never kind at heart to voluntarily protect those who are ignorant of their Constitutional Rights….ITS ALL BUSINESS AND $$$$$$$$….MY PEOPLE, WHO CAN UNDERSTAND THEM!!!!!!!!….

  6. Storm says:

    Lawyers are not above the law!!!

    Search EVERYONE, INCLUDING LAWYERS, before they enter ANY detention area. Otherwise they will smuggle phones, drugs, and weapons to the gangsters for whom they work.

    It just goes with the territory of being a criminal lawyer.

  7. what is belize getting to? says:

    this is very sad? we don’t have any rights are belizeans anymore … this gov’t is making it worst everydat. i think this is pure corruption…. i know La cabana doesn’t encourage the police man with drinks and free entrance so they hate him and willt ake it out on him and his family.

    they shot up that house like noone was in there, thank God that no one was murdered. GSU is full of crap. now the entire family is in there including the babysister -what is wrong with these people?
    they need to lock up the real criminals them!!!!!

  8. Outraged says:

    interview the learned constitutionalists, Young-Barrow, Young, Lindo, Williams et al lets see what they have to say on this matter

  9. Jeebo says:

    Why is everyone so concerned about the rights of these people? Their rights have NOT been violated. The attorney violated the rules of the prison and is now banned from going there. GET A DIFFERENT ATTORNEY!!!! – simple as that … and the rights continue.

  10. Bruce says:

    The way it looks is there was a little more than communication with a lyer SEEMS the TV was contacted, SO WHAT ARE THE RULES?????? PUT IT TO TRIAL ON TV BEFORE IT GOES TO COURT????????????????

  11. Dan Armeneau says:

    Jeebo – You should be VERY concerned about the rights of these people as ultimately you are entitled, through the Constitution of Belize, to those exact same rights. The total disregard of those rights on behalf of those in power should make you very very scared. You are delusional if you don’t think what happened on May 20th in Belmopan couldn’t happen to you!

    Please take a careful look at your Constitution http://www.belizelaw.org/e_library/constitution_02.html before you go weighing in here on matters that should be a very real concern to each and every Belizean. Even the first paragraph of Part II of the Constitution should give you pause and jar you into giving sober thought before commenting any further on what is a very real and serious threat to basic human rights and freedoms in Belize.

    Pressing a personal agenda with innuendo and clear animosity has no place in serious discussion. You just show you are clearly no better than all that you despise.

  12. ivan says:

    why d police officers/GSU no get charge for shooting the home of the Menjivar family? tatz damage to property and attempted murder also,so they can kill and abuse and still like nothing happened tat is wrong,ITS ABUSE OF POWER FROM THE GSU.lone corrupt officers like the UDP governemnt.

  13. LARGE AND SEXY says:

    WHEN IT COMES TO THESE LAYWERS ARTHUR SALDIVER, DICKIE BRADLEY AND LIZA SHOMAN BWAY MY JAW GET LOCK, THESE THREE RATS DEFEND EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG IN THIS COUNTRY, EVERYTHING, AND THEY WANT TO BE LEADERS HMMM,
    I WONDER WHAT KIND OF LEADERS THEY WOULD BE!!!!!! THE DRUGS WOULD PASS THROUGH BELIZE SO EASY JUST LIKE IF YOU SEND A PACKAGE THROUGH BPMS.

    TO ME JEZZZZ I HOPE THIS PEOPLE NEVER BE LEADERS FOR OUR COUNTRY, NEVER

  14. Elgin Martinez says:

    All this injustice is happening because we the Belizean people are afraid to stand against corruption and nepotism.

  15. Belizean Girl says:

    Why isn’t any one asking if it is normal for a citizen to answer their front door with gun shots directed at anyone calling outside. I don’t believe any normal Belizean responds to knocks at their door to be life threatening, so much so that he had to start shooting at whom ever was outside his house. No one has the right to shoot out at anyone without having justifiable reason to believe his life is threatened. And yes, it could have been my house, but it also could have been me knocking at the door, scary for sure. Menjavar’s irrational response to the police calling at the front door makes me believe he either has something to hide or has done something wrong and is expecting danger.

    The police is doing their job, the public need to realize that the police is a authority that enforces the law, and when their life is threatened, they have every right to respond with equal force. The Menjavar family should have thought about the safety of the family first and inquired who was at the door before assuming. They are not above the law nor above any authority in Belize. The Menjavar’s are responsible for the manner in which the search unfolded.

    Besides, a licensed holder of a gun, knows that there are safety measures and risks that come with owning a gun. Using a gun in any situation is not a right, but a privilege and so it should be used in justifiable situations. Gun license holders know that owning a gun comes with taking responsibility for when it is used unjustly. In this case, he had no reason whatsoever to start shooting outside his house. He could have caught an innocent officer who, by the way is being paid to do their job.

    Anyone who knows the risk involved in being an officer, would understand that the officers had a right to also protect their life. This is why not many Belizeans apply to become a law enforcement officer, because it takes courage to be one knowing that there are people like the Menjavar’s who believe they can just shoot at anyone including the police.

  16. Fairman says:

    This one is for you “Storm”: No one is saying that the lawyers are above the Laws. Every one is looking at the flagrant violation of fundamental rights by the police and John Wood at the Kolbe Foundation. If you have any fish brains in your head you would know that the next victim could be me or you.
    “Large and Sexy” should remain focused on sex or pornography only.

  17. pringles says:

    promoting prison contraband Arthur Saldivar ? what s the big deal … i am my laptop right now in Tango 3 (cellblock) Next week my lawyer deh bring my fax…..:)

  18. Dan Armeneau says:

    Belizean Girl – Why isn’t anyone asking if it’s normal to knock on someone’s door with, what looked like a 20 pound sledge hammer in the police video? Furthermore, no one should have been on the inside the locked gate of what appears to be a substantial eight or ten foot security wall!

    Why isn’t anyone asking if it’s normal for a highly trained SWAT Team to show up at the scene of a raid forgetting something as basic as a loud hailer? I suppose they could have flicked on the red and blue lights of their police vehicle so that maybe the occupants of the house would some how clue into the fact that it might be the police. Wait a minute…, it appears they forgot the Christmas lights too! Oh well…, being the highly trained professionals they are at least they didn’t forget their fully automatic weapons. Thank goodness no one forgot the ammo. That would have been really embarrassing. OK…, time for “Plan B”. Just rip a few clips of automatic gunfire through the doors and windows. That will surely convince the occupants of the house that it couldn’t be anyone other than the police!

    How about dropping off one of the goons in the Goon Squad Unit at the local police station in Belmopan to let them know you’re out of your jurisdiction conducting a rouge raid on “information received”? Lots of ways this could of worked. That might even be an arguably smart thing to do just in case someone in the house being raided calls to report someone trying to smash down the door. Just might save your professionally trained a$$ should local officers decide to respond with deadly force to reports of an armed home invasion.

    You want to talk about guns and responsibility? You’re just getting me started!

    ASP Marco Vidal in a statement to police says, “The Gang Suppression is trained in operating these firearms and they will not randomly shoot if they cannot see their target so it’s not like the police officers were in anyway indiscriminately firing gunshots.”

    I suppose they were just firing off a few rounds to light up the night seeing as they forgot their hand torches. That should provide enough light to see the targets. Gee whiz Mr. Vidal, would you care to elaborate?

    So somehow all this justifies shooting up the windows of an innocent child’s bedroom from the outside and then once the main door is busticated, gaining entry and spraying hot lead up the inside walls of the child‘s bedroom? This is responsible use of firearms? Sorry Belizean Girl…, I beg to differ! Where I come from we call this reckless criminal endangerment and you could do hard time for a long time for that foolishness.

    This whole affair is wrong on so many levels it just boggles the mind. For someone to attempt to justify it almost leaves me speechless. I said almost!

    What’s important to remember here is that this should be a wake up call to each and every Belizean. Does the Belizean legacy need to be lumped into the historical record in the same chapter as that that includes Fujimorim, Amin, Pinochet, Franco, Samoza and the like? Only if you let it!

  19. concerned says:

    JAJAJAJA!!! Some coments are funny but the fact is that these so called police officers are paid to secure our communities and country as a whole.

    This is not the first time they act in this arrogant manner almost 15 yrs back I was pregnant with my first born and due to some report the police got they came to my house broke the windows ,tore the screens and broke my glass door and came in with guns and screaming .Plus I was about to enter the shower when I turned and saw a pair of white eyes looking at me through the window . I got so scared and was crying and was in so much confussion …..so yes I know what it is to be violated in this way . Nothing was found no one was detained all they said was that it was a report they got ..

    How can police act in such manner from just a simple report I say ???? Don’t they at least try to investigate first who lives there ?? What jobs they do??? Any children and ages ??? I mean come on !!!

    and at the time all you hear when they are breaking your stuff is shouts and screams you can’t even hear what they saying …so I know perfectly why Mr Saldivar reacted in that way.I for once didn’t own still don’t so I couldn’t have reacted the same .I’m sure that because of his business he owns one . Anyways all I’m saying is that there has to be a protocol to go about when recieving reports.

  20. Belizean says:

    What is wrong with you people , and what is wrong with the media? GSU finally did something good, they took drug dealers of the street. GSU gave these criminals a second chance, they are lucky to be alive. GOOD JOB GSU, Come back soon, we have more drug dealers, in fact the cabana drug cartel only stopped for a few hours, they are still in business

  21. boo hoo says:

    I have to state that this case involving the Menjivar family scares the HELL OUT OF ME !!!

    Based on an unknown tip.. a non documented tip .. the police INVADE the property of the Nenjivars, shoot dead their dogs, ram down their front door and open fire upon the house at a time when all had been deep asleep.

    The fact that two different telephone calls were made to the Belmopan police by the Menjivars in a frantic and desperate attempt of getting help from the police to fend off what the Menjivar’s thought was a criminal attack on themselves, shows without any doubt that the Menjivars were not aware that the attack was being conducted by the police.

    In an attempt to defend themselves from this criminal attack, Mike Menjivar uses his gun and starts shooting.. this is not a crime.. in actual fact, it is his constitutional right to defend himself and family against a deadly attack.

    As it turns out, the attack came from the Police.. CRIMINALS.. POLICE.. all the same in my books..

    There is simply no doubt in my mind that the police DID NOT follow procedure in making an effort to identify themselves, thus they themselves being criminal in their conduct.

    An independent investigation must be conducted to determine who specifically, in the police department, was responsible for this.

    To think that the Menjivars were taken into custody, beaten to unconsciousness, refused medical attention, not for hours, but for days ..

    My God, can anyone see this happening to themselves.. I can..

    To all Belizeans.. be in fear.. be very much in fear that a similar attack could take place against you and yours at any time.

    BE FEARFUL !!

  22. BZNinCALI says:

    Arthur, a very prominent politician who is trying to run for President of the US explained that women cannot do certain jobs in the military because “they get sick every month”. Let me help a brother out, pregnancy is not an affliction & I believe in previous stories, we were told that Mr. Menjivar went to Guatemala for surgery from an “accident. Just last week I asked for consistency when presenting your “facts”. Breaking the rules then pretending to be surprised that you are facing suspended privileges & reprimand suggests that this was all about strategy, NOT YOURS, DICKEY’S.

    Is it possible that the tip(s) that got this ball rolling was simply a smoke screen to create another crisis & the GSU failed to kill your client which all of you expected them to do after he fired the first shot.? Just a question brother? I still like you in that crisp white shirt & fresh haircut..

  23. papa says:

    So this is a constituional right very interesting. While UniBAM is using the constitution; people ar now saying how dare you.

  24. jose says:

    now take kolbe @$$ to court and mek some money off his @$$ .. please note people KOLBE is run by an American now apparantly belizean who the GOVERNMENT PAYS a huge amount of money to run the prison

  25. jose says:

    its like this ok let say i supported UDP and i tell the man who is to become prime minister if the party win that i want to run the prison and try mek back some money that am spending on the party and he agrees then thats it that man runing kolbe is now milking everyone @$$ of tax payerw money then it can go on like even the minister will get his cutt who incharge of the prison so as to speak that he would never question why so much money is needed at kolbe ok and that is why the kolbe chairman jonh woods mek and broke laws because them politician cant deal with him how them feel like ah.. then again he the bloody tour alot of white people in the prison to milke there @$$ too with donation that is never use at the prison ah

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