Things That Matter

Days After Getting Life In Prison, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán Has Filed An Appeal

A lawyer for convicted drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán filed an appeal against his client’s life sentence the day after it was handed down, court documents published Monday show. The 62-year-old, who was the former co-leader of Mexico’s feared Sinaloa drug cartel, was convicted in February of smuggling large amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States.

Guzman’s defense lawyer, Marc Fernich, filed the notice of appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with hopes that his client will get another chance at a trial. But according to news reports, the appeal process could take months to a year to be completed. 

Will El Chapo’s grounds for an appeal actually be successful?

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Guzman has already been sentenced to life in prison and sent to a federal maximum security prison in Colorado, which is nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” An additional 30 years were added to Guzman’s sentence and he was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture, the amount was based on a conservative estimate of revenues from his cartel’s sales in the U.S.

But after an expected appeal, Guzman will now have to wait. How long? That could take up to a year, according to the AFP. During his sentencing, Guzman claimed that he had received an unfair trial due to juror misconduct. This is referring to a story that claimed several members of the jury violated a court order by looking at social media and various news pieces about the high profile court trial. 

“I was extradited to the US to have a fair trial, where justice would be blind to my fame and would not be a defining factor in the administration of justice,” Guzman said during his sentencing. “But what happened was actually the opposite.”

According to his lawyer, El Chapo has a “strong issues for appeal.”

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While the odds of Guzman winning an appeal appear to be steep, his defense team is confident that they have a good chance at overturning the conviction. “Guzman has strong issues for appeal. We’ll fight to overturn his conviction and are confident we’ll prevail,” Fernich told the AFP

Another defense lawyer for Guzman said last week the trial was unjust due to various jurors violating the judge’s orders by following the case in the media.  Jeffrey Lichtman is asking to for a fair trial on behalf of Guzman that isn’t influenced by outside voices that would affect the way his client is viewed. 

“All we had asked for is a fair trial. I’m not here to tell you that Joaquín Guzmán is a saint . . . Whatever you think of Joaquín Guzmán, he still deserves a fair trial, everybody does in America . . .” Lichtman told the AFP.

Guzman has gone on the record claiming that the conditions he’s been placed in since he was extradited from Mexico to the United States in January 2017, have been unfair from the start. 

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Besides the trial itself, Guzman claims there was “no justice” in his case from the start due to the media sensationalism and high-profile figures involved. He’s also described his incarceration in the U.S. a “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day.”

The former drug lord of the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel said the U.S. lacks justice and is smeared with corruptness, like other countries. During his sentencing hearing, Guzman said his human rights were violated and had been put in horrible jail conditions that he described as “torturous”. He claims he was unable to sleep well, had trouble breathing and was not allowed to see his wife or daughters.

“I’ve been forced to drink unsanitary water. I’ve been denied access to fresh air and sunlight. The only air I have in my cell comes through in the air vent,” Guzman said. ““It has been physical, emotional and mental torture.”

Many were angry at Guzman’s comments citing the hundreds of lives he’s endangered and were cut short due to his reign over the Mexico drug cartel business. It’s safe to say this won’t be the last time we hear from Guzman as he heads to federal prison for what many hope is his last stop. 

READ: Mexico’s President AMLO Says That ‘El Chapo’ Should Of Got A Different Sentence, Not Life In Prison

A Substitute Teacher In Texas Had Sex With Her Student In Her Parents’ Home

Things That Matter

A Substitute Teacher In Texas Had Sex With Her Student In Her Parents’ Home

Pasadena Texas Police Department

Olivia Huerta, 23, was arraigned Thursday on second-degree felony charges of an improper relationship with a student and sexual assault of a child between the ages of 14 and 16. She’s being held on a bond of $40,000.

The assault happened sometime between January and April of 2018 when Huerta was substituting for a social science teacher at Pasadena Independent School District’s Sam Rayburn High School. A year later, the then 16-year-old victim told his friend what happened, and the friend told school administrators, who called the police, according to the report by KPRC.

The unnamed victim told police that the two were talking via Snapchat.

Credit: Pasadena Texas Police Department

Police reports show that the student alleged that the two had exchanged phone numbers. They texted and had conversations through Snapchat. Later, when police were questioning Huerta, they say she confessed to the crime. She also voluntarily gave her phone to police to show the text conversations between the two. Police say the conversations allude to the inappropriate relationship.

The student couldn’t remember the teacher’s name and described her to police as a short, curvy Latina. After showing him several photos of Latina substitute teachers employed by the school district at the time of the incident, he identified Huerta. She was arrested after admitting to the relationship.

They had sex at Huerta’s parents’ house.

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The victim told police that Huerta and he walked from school to her parents’ house, where they had sex. It was a one-night-stand that left the student a victim of sexual assault and pedophilia.

When the allegation came to light, the school district immediately removed Huerta from campus.

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In a statement made to KPRC2, school district officials made it clear that anyone accused of sexual assault is not welcome on school campuses. “Upon receiving the allegation, the administration at Sam Rayburn High School immediately notified district administration and the Pasadena ISD Police Department. The accused individual was promptly removed from campus and is no longer employed by Pasadena ISD.”

The story and its implications are being lost on some people who are reading about it.

Credit: Frank Huerta / Facebook

In a Facebook comment under the story, AJ Hernandez asked (edited for grammar), “So my question: Why don’t they blast the student as well? After all, didn’t the student go along with it? I blame the kid as much as well.” Many people in the comments seem to think that Huerta “looks like a child as well,” and that the age difference isn’t “so bad.” One Laura Montaño agreed with Hernandez, commenting, “They just act like the victims so they won’t be held accountable for their actions! How is it that teenagers are able to go to jail for murder but are victims when it comes to sex???? Makes no sense! Yeah, adults should know better but she looks like a child to me as well!”

Someone named Maestro Salchicha responded defending the child from the online fury saying, “Because kids are kids and ultimately victims of these adults who know better.”

The legal age of consent in Texas is 17 years old.

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The legal age of consent across the United States varies from 16 years old to 18 years old. There are also “close in age” laws, that allow for a minor to consent to sex with an adult who is closer in age. In Texas, the age of consent is 17 years old, and the close-in-age law provides an age exemption if the person is no more than 3 years older than the minor.

In case you missed it, consent isn’t always consent if the person says “yes.”

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In certain power dynamics, consent isn’t always able to be given freely. Employers sleeping with their employees are frowned upon because of the financial pressure for the subordinate to ‘consent.’ Other forces besides a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are at play. The individuals must be weighted equals in the power dynamic.

In 2003, Representative Helen Giddings (D), introduced a bill that bans sex between students and teachers within the same school district. This all means that Huerta’s victim was not legally able to give his consent, given his age, and a victim of the student-teacher ban.

If you have any information about the case, you can call the Pasadena ISD Police Department at 713-740-0200.

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Men are flooding the comments with, “Where these teachers when I was a teenager attending class?” One woman mocked the onslaught of jokes with a comment, “Derp “wEaR wErr dEEz TeeCheRs WiN eYe WuZ N sKoOl” Someone else commented, “All the men in these comments disgust me.” A child was raped by a teacher in Pasadena, Texas last year. That’s never okay.

READ: One San Francisco Man Used The New Snapchat Filters To Nag A Police Officer For Attempting To Sleep With A Minor

With ‘El Chapo’ Behind Bars The Government Has Seized His Homes And Now They’re Putting Them Up For Auction

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With ‘El Chapo’ Behind Bars The Government Has Seized His Homes And Now They’re Putting Them Up For Auction

RevistaLatitud21 / Instagram

Some would say that interest rates are so low at the moment, that it’s a prime time to buy a house. But you know what’s an even better reason to check out what’s on the market? Three words: El Chapo’s house. That’s right, amigas. Now that the ex-leader of the Sinaloa Cartel is definitively stuck with a pretty hefty life sentence, his goods are up for sale. His house and worldly possessions, that is. Not the drugs and other contraband.

We should probably mention: it’s not just one house being auctioned, it’s six.

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Imagine owning six houses. That’s definitely living the dream. Although, in Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán’s case, he was pretty much confined to his living quarters when he was on the run. Granted, we can make an educated guess that there’s probably only so much you can do, even in a super duper decked-out pad. Poor El Chapo had it pretty rough, what with having to hide from the authorities across six homes. Especially in this economy. Okay, okay, we can only get away with so much sarcasm.

Apparently bidding on the drug lord’s home in Calle Rio Humaya will start at $107,349.

Credit: revistalatitud21 / Instagram

But, don’t be fooled: not all of his houses are worth the same. It’s thought that, altogether, his collection of houses should fetch at least a staggering 19.5 million Mexican pesos – or, 1 million US dollars worth. Despite their impressive price tag, it’s worth noting that each of the properties also come fully furnished, sporting things such as television sets, washing and drying machines, microwaves and even exercise machines! That makes them a bargain, right?

And sure, they’re a bargain for anyone who’s watched too many Netflix true crime specials.

Apparently one of the homes is sporting a secret escape tunnel underneath a bathtub. The story behind this fateful tunnel is that the Mexican military had originally barged into El Chapo’s home in Culiacán, Sinaloa, in the early hours of a mid-February morning, back in 2004. The bathtub tunnel is credited with being the reason why El Chapo was able to escape the military’s clutches through an above ground drainage system. That is, until El Chapo was eventually captured, just one week after the raid.

Rumor has it that quite a few of the kingpin’s houses are connected by tunnels.

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After all, tunneling seemed to be El Chapo’s favorite way to get around: he previously managed to escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 by tunneling out through a shower stall. Unfortunately, though, we’re yet to hear of any word about whether the laundry cart El Chapo used in his 2001 prison break is also included in any of the auctions.

All jokes aside, the real question is whether there will be a lot of interest in the properties, or not.

Credit: haberciyizkibiz / Instagram

And we’re not just talking about the price point. One of the homes was originally purchased by El Chapo for the mother of his son, Ovidio Guzmán López. While the property itself has some pretty substantial draws – we’re talking multiple bedrooms, and an outdoor backyard pool – it’s also connected to a guy who is still on the run, and is very much wanted by the United States. There’s a high chance he might not necessarily want to just let go of a three-storey home that’s worth over half a million dollars. Or other things like the two luxury ships and convoy pricey sports cars. You know, the Ford Mustangs, Jaguars, and Mercedes limousines.

And it may not entirely be up to Guzmán López. El Chapo’s kingpin status fell to his sons after his arrest.

Credit: the economist / Instagram

Word on the street has it that the Mexican government had arrested Guzmán López back in October, trying to deal a real blow to the cartels. However, the cartels retaliated by attacking a housing complex designed for military families. 14 people died during the shootouts, resulting in the government releasing Guzmán López to de-escalate the violence. With a reaction like that from the cartels over Guzmán López’s capture, it begs the question as to whether the sale of El Chapo’s homes may inspire copycat attacks during the auctions themselves, or on the new homeowners themselves.

Anyway, those daunting questions aside, here’s hoping that the Mexican government, who are responsible for the sale, see a proper payday from this series of El Chapo properties. The intention for the funds is to see them donated to a children’s music program based in the Mexican state of Oaxaca.