Joran Van Der Sloot's Habeas Petition Grounds

Update: I think CNN's headline that Joran's lawyer is seeking his release is a bit off. In an interview with the Dutch media today, his lawyer was asked what's next if he wins the habeas: (Google translation here):

The process should be back to square one. In Peru there are just two reasons to dictate detention: one is in flagrante delicto, that is, at the time of the offense, and the other is by court order. In the case of flagrante delicto Joran has not been because they have not caught when he allegedly committed the crime. There has been an injunction based on research that has been made fraudulently. Then the prosecution would be null too. Not that Joran van der Sloot will go free, because once you take your statement with all the guarantees of the law, and he is back to his arrest.

Q: In other words, habeas corpus is a priority. MA: It's a key point to achieve, because in this second statement he will say things as they have happened. We are not basing a defense denying the facts or trying to misrepresent the evidence, we are making a defense that respects the rights of my client, their due process, this has not happened.


CNN reports it has received a copy of Joran Van der Sloot's Habeas Petition. It would be nice if the media would publish it, the same way they published his confession and other documents indicating his guilt, but of course they don't. CNN does give a summary of Joran's allegations, which include, in their words:

  • Joran doesn't know how to read very well in Spanish and the prosecutor and the homicide police have made him read and sign documents written in Spanish, without the presence of a defense attorney.
  • There has not been an official translator in the criminal investigation.
  • Joran did not have an on-duty defense attorney appointed by the state, nor the attorney generals office, nor the Judicial Ministry. The Peruvian police brought in an unknown attorney, who is not Joran’s attorney and have had her intervene without his consent. [More...]
  • By opening his laptop the prosecution and the police have violated his constitutional guarantees to secrecy of communications as stated in the complaint.
  • The police have pressured Joran to incriminate himself in the murder of Stephanie which violates the presumption of innocence.

As to the attorney who reportedly appeared with Joran when he confessed, CNN confirms with the public defender appointed for him that it wasn't her, and that Joran refused to make a statement while she was with him.

[Carla]Odria said that she spoke to Joran and advised him of his rights including his right to remain silent. She says Joran did not wish to give a statement at that time saying he was too tired after his trip from the border. Since Joran wouldn’t speak Odria suspended the proceeding and left.

We have been able to confirm that the attorney listed in the confession document named Dr. Luz Marina Romero Chinchay is not a court appointed defense attorney with the Attorney General’s office, but a private attorney. We do not know if Joran consented to this attorney.

If the court finds that the confession was botched it will be annulled and a new interrogation will have to take place.

That's not really news. I reported it on June 13:

The lawyer present on his behalf was Luz M. Romero Chinchay. It's not clear if she's a public defender. His first lawyer had told him not to make any statements until he saw the judge.

So the question remains, who hired attorney Chinchay?

There's also a question about the translator that was present. He was Dutch, but it's not clear if he was recommended by the Dutch Embassy or if he is an "official translator" as opposed to someone who merely speaks both languages.

The Court in Peru will decide the Habeas petition. A decision is expected today or tomorrow.

Joran's lawyer, Maximo Altez, tells the Dutch media if Joran loses the habeas issue in the Peru courts, he will appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Costa Rica.

Radar has published the English translation of the statement of the hotel worker who found the body. She says she was leaving at 8:10 am to go home when she saw Joran 1/2 block from the hotel returning with two cups of coffee.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Saw his mom on teevee this AM. (none / 0) (#1)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 12:31:58 PM EST
    Seh pronounces his name as "urine."

    Navarro (none / 0) (#2)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 01:50:35 PM EST
    Wasn't he Joran's attorney before Altez? How many attorneys have represented Joran in the past three weeks?

    I think his name is (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 02:10:57 PM EST
    Maximo Altez Navarro

    Yes, it is (none / 0) (#8)
    by gyrfalcon on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 03:31:12 PM EST
    I don't fully understand how the conventions work, but in Spanish-speaking countries, very frequently (maybe always?) people have three names and are usually known by just the first two.  So Stephany Flores Ramirez is referred to as Stephany Flores and Maxima Altez Navarro is Maxima Altez.

    The same may be true for Elton Garcia, by the way, which could be why people are having trouble researching him in the poker lists, etc.


    They aren't going to let him go (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 01:59:48 PM EST
    Even if his confession was coerced.  The police seem to think they have tons of evidence aside from the confession, and he has a passport and would likely flee the country.  According to one Peruvian legal expert:

    "A habeas corpus petition is not relevant in this case. He confessed to the police  not the judge, making the confession part of the evidentiary process. The confession alone is not transcendental to the case," says Ricardo Brousset, who heads Peru's national court for cases involving terrorism and organized crime.

    Then there's this:

    Van der Sloot refused to answer questions from the judge at a closed hearing on Monday, but the case will move ahead even with him remaining silent. The court will hear testimony the rest of this week from three men who drove van der Sloot from Peru to neighboring Chile after he allegedly killed Flores. She was murdered May 30 and van der Sloot left that same day for Chile. He was arrested there and brought to Lima, Peru's capital, on June 5.

    In addition to the interrogation, Judge Morales has ordered that van der Sloot undergo psychological and psychiatric evaluations, as well as a review of the evidence gathered during the investigation. There is also the possibility, according to court sources, that the judge could order the exhumation of Flores' body for further tests as part of the discovery process. Sources say that there are 10 components to the ongoing investigation in the case, including a closer examination of van der Sloot's computer.

    Another Peruvian lawyer said this:

    While he agrees that the confession is only part of the body of evidence against van der Sloot, Sandro Monteblanco, CEO of a Peruvian law firm, says that the case would be extremely complicated if the judge decided to expunge the testimony from the record.

    "There is evidence without his testimony to the police, but a decision by the judge to exclude the confession could create a kind of double jeopardy," says Mr. Monteblanco.

    thank you for your opinion (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 02:16:03 PM EST
    please state it as such. The Judge will decide if he's going to be released.

    He could also be asking for release on bond.

    Is he likely to be released? No, but please don't state things as fact until they are fact.


    Yes, it's my opinion (none / 0) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 02:20:27 PM EST
    But I don't believe there is anyone out there who actually believes the judge is just going to let him go.  The whole world is watching and they've already had Interpol looking for him once - it won't happen again. Of course his lawyer has to make the argument - that's what lawyers do.  His lawyer would be engaging in malpractice if he didn't.  But common sense should tell everyone that VDS is probably not going anywhere.

    his lawyer says he isn't asking for release (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 02:42:13 PM EST
    CNN's headline is wrong, see my update at the top of the post. Thanks.

    Luz M. Romero Chinchay (none / 0) (#9)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 04:58:32 PM EST
    Just heard, but it is not confirmed -

    The first court appointed attorney, Odria, left for the day as Joran was very tired from his trip and had been advised not to give a statement and did not and would not give a statement.  

    However, it would seem when Odria left, they called in a girlfriend of one of the interrogators, Chinchay, and she presented herself as his defense attorney on the confession.

    girlfriend lawyer (none / 0) (#10)
    by pac on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 06:42:46 PM EST
    Hey, maybe the experience with the police girlfriend lawyer is what caused Joran's psych test to come up with disregard for women considering no obvious past history?

    Exactly ;) (none / 0) (#11)
    by Untold Story on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 07:24:12 PM EST
    As it turns out, (none / 0) (#13)
    by JamesTX on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 02:33:15 AM EST
    Joran was lying when he told investigators he was abused at 16 years of age by George W. Bush in the full vesture of a Catholic priest. Authorities became suspicious when van der Sloot described Bush as wearing a stole in the course of their rendezvous. The stole is not a vestment donned during the diddling of youth. This is a fact Bush would have known, and the interrogators didn't want to misunderestimate an accomplished decider impersonating clergy.  Joran has since admitted Bush was not disguised as a Catholic priest, at all. He was masquerading as Anglican clergy ordained under the archbishop John Wand of London in 1954. As such, a stole would have been among the requisite vesture. Van der Sloot subsequently admitted he used the Catholic priest story because he had an ongoing fling with an American investigative journalist whose ratings were dropping. She had told Joran they could score if he only went public with the details of the event, provided the episode was consistent with the prevailing investigative journalistic narrative of the times. They fudged a little. Nobody would ever buy Dubya in a preaching scarf.

    Google Translation Here



    Rubbish (none / 0) (#23)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:00:40 AM EST
    You Missed the Satire (none / 0) (#24)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:09:53 AM EST
    Many times commenters post satire without a satire warning so that some extremely focused and serious commenters will realize that there is a possibility of injecting humor in a very serious discussion....  but in this case there is a clear disclaimer:


    Obviously you did not check the link, and did not understand the disclaimer. Now you know.


    Got it, thanks (none / 0) (#25)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:32:18 AM EST
    so where's the holloway girl's body? (none / 0) (#12)
    by cpinva on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 02:19:37 AM EST
    supposedly, i thought he gave the police that information? yet, i've heard nothing of her remains being recovered in aruba. you'd think the aruban authorities would have jumped right on that.


    reply (none / 0) (#18)
    by AlohaMade on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 06:59:49 AM EST
    I read that Peru, would allow Aruba to question Joran after this investigation, might not be until August or later, he has not told them where she is yet, as far as I know.

    He's given several stories (none / 0) (#20)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 10:01:58 AM EST
    of where her body supposedly is. Not surprising they haven't found anything since he's a proven liar.

    JamesT X (none / 0) (#14)
    by pac on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 06:00:47 AM EST
    No doubt more people are dead as a result of George Bush than most serial killers all put together. Is there a particular type that he likes? Maybe you could work up one on his serial killing?

    Yes, even Joran's mother has been discussing his tendency to lie. The fact that Joran would lie about sneaking out of the house is not really too surprising or anything that usually leads to his current type trouble?

    I wasn't able to keep up with the story as much during the period of time that Joran later decided to tell the various stories about what happened to Natalee. Was it as if Joran told whatever he heard or read that was suspected at one time or another although what happened couldn't be all of those possibilities?

    I have some Question's (none / 0) (#15)
    by AlohaMade on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 06:38:11 AM EST
    and theories, but first I would like to say Mahalo (Thank You) all, for your opinions, some have given me a lot of great insight, some a little odd, but whatever, we all have a right to express ourselves.
     I had read somewhere that, Joran claim's when the police grabbed his computer, he said something to the fact of "please, don't touch my computer (IOW)," but if you watch the film clip's, you clearly see Joran calmly communicating with the police, as he is taking his personal item's from his backpack, and handing them over. Not only do I not see any "worried" reaction, but I also see him communicating quite fluidly (however I was not there, nor do I speak Spanish). Do you think it is possible that Joran, realized after his incarceration, that he now realizes he was infact caught on video trying to create his alibi? I feel (IMO), that he has begun to see that, in his confession about Stephany snooping around on his computer while he was getting coffee, or playing poker online is a lie. If the go into it, more than likely it will not corroborate, with his confession. I mean Radar, has pictures of him leaving to get the coffee, and he is wearing the pink shirt. And Jeralyn I agree with you. I would like to see the full 72 hours of video too!
     I know I asked this question earlier, in another post, but I'm not sure it was really answerd. If Joran has any Psychological studies done outside of Peru, could the Judge supena them, just for comparison with the one's that he has ordered. I know this is not the United States, but I wonder if there is some similarity in Peruvian law?
     Also this may seem graphic and I apologize, you don't have to read any further, as this will be my last theory, and end of my post..... I have read, and heard a lot of people theorizing, and wondering wht Stephany's pants, and shoes were off, I have several, but I keep going back to this with my 79 yr old Mother. Joran mentioned, he was going to try and put her body in a suit case. IMO, maybe he was trying to bend/curl her body to see what size suitcase he would need, but the jeans were too tight, which made her legg's straighten back out. That would explain why her shoes were off, Joran would have to take the shoes off to get her jeans off, I know there wasn't as much blood on her jeans as was her shoes, but according to the autopsy report, from what I can tell, most of the severe damage (bleeding) was around her head/face. If he bludgeoned her from the backof her head, she would have leand forward getting most of the blood on her shoes, rather than the jeans, what do you all think? I hope this post doesn't upset anyone.
    Mahalo Nui Loa!

    Aloha (none / 0) (#19)
    by pac on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 08:46:07 AM EST
    Aloha: Without looking back and just from vague memory, it didn't appear to me that Joran had a suitcase on him that he could fit Stephany with or without jeans or shoes but who knows? what someone will try under such circumstances.

    Just as possible and if Joran's confession statement is true that Stephany was snooping around on his computer and some message popped up then maybe he considered himself in imminent danger of an evil terrorist?

    It makes sense that Stephany was hit first and then choked or smothered, as reported, but could the hit have come later?

    Without much thought or theory the described scene sounds like rage. All of the reported details about the confession cause me to have trouble with other possibilities. I am uninformed how to evaluate a coerced confession. A fair trail for Joran?, I don't know.

    One point, I don't think Joran intended or was in his right mind if he killed a person in a hotel room in his name. I first suspect that if Joran did the reason was sudden rage. I suspect other ladies have turned down Joran for sex so I don't lean toward the idea he killed her for that reason but can't rule out anything.

    If Stephany was on speed, as reported, then would it be less likely that she took her clothes off to sleep? although she could have taken them off to rest? Also, whether or not the drug had worn off and was only remaining in her system enough for a test to show?

    Do you think a coerced confession (none / 0) (#22)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 10:30:27 AM EST
    -- one's own defense attorney left for the day with the knowledge and consent of the investigators.

    Immediately thereafter, the investigators, without informing Joran or his duly appointed defense attorney, gather together a bucket of water and an attorney-girlfriend.  Surprisingly, there is a prompt confession to match the crime scene!


    Psychological testing (none / 0) (#21)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 10:19:50 AM EST
    Judge Morales has ordered psychological and, more importantly, psychiatry testing, be done which would meet their criteria for reliance, imo.

    Joran has never been convicted of any other crimes and any psychological testing done prior to this arrest in Peru, imo, would be irrelevant.

    Having sustained three concussions myself, I know first hand the quantity of blood.  The face and nose contain more blood vessels and they are closer to the surface so there is much more blood.

    What I find surprising is the hotel girl did not mention a room full of blood - did not mention blood at all except that the victim's nose was bleeding.

    The police report indicates luminol was used to detect blood in the room.


    Due Process - (none / 0) (#26)
    by kasey9 on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 03:49:04 PM EST
    If Jorans due process rights are found to be violated...is her really going to get a fair trial any how, considering the entire confession was already released to the media and there will be only a poanel of three judges that find his fate?

    Also, what will happen with the computer or any information obtained from that - without asearch warrant or the correct process in Peru?

    Apparently, today HLN News is reporting a little bit of Skin has been found under the nails of Stephany Flores...Joran has been reported to have no scratches...?

    HLN also reporting he will be transferred within days to Lurigancho...is this true?

    Overall, will Joran Van Der Sloot ever get a fair trial in the Peruvian System?

    Seems typical to me (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by waldenpond on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 04:32:15 PM EST
    His attorney seems to be doing a typical defense... VDS was advised not to speak and the strategy is to challenge everything.  There is nothing inherently 'wrong' with a panel of judges.  Individuals in this country by-pass jury trials in some instance and go before one judge and appeals are done before panels.

    A search warrant for the computer,if not done will be done by the judge.  There has been no info that data was retrieved off the computer that is being used in any of the charges against him.  For me, they have enough info to charge him without any computer data and as the investigation is ongoing a search warrant can be done at any time.

    Skin sheds very easily so having barely enough to test is consistent with no scratches.  If the police claimed blood and tissue, that would be inconsistent.

    Seems he has been treated fairly for their system (for ours also).  He has representation, translators and is being kept safe while the legal charges proceed.  The judge is taking time to review his opinions/complaints about his representation and translators.


    Why do you assume he won't? (none / 0) (#27)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 04:03:38 PM EST
    Because you are seeing posturing by both sides and "leaks" and pundits' and bloggers' interpretations of what is really there and what the evidence means? Just because there is a bunch of cr@p before a trial does not mean a fair trial can't be had - Look how much we heard about Michael Jackson and all his um, oddness, and he was acquitted - did he not get a fair trial (media circus that it was)?  

    Or is it only a fair trial if a defendant is acquitted - regardless if they are guilty or not?


    Michael Jackson (none / 0) (#31)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 04:47:03 PM EST
    The majority were in favor of his acquittal. Some reporters, like Nancy Grace, may have stated him guilty before the trial began, and before the jury returned with a verdict, but the majority questionned the evidence actually presented.

    please stop (none / 0) (#32)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 04:55:53 PM EST
    this is a defense site and you know that. Comments like these are baiting and out of line:

    Or is it only a fair trial if a defendant is acquitted - regardless if they are guilty or not?

    If they are acquitted, they are not guilty, period.


    Jeralyn you know better (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 05:20:43 PM EST
    If a defendant is acquitted it means that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt - it does not mean that they didn't necessarily commit the crime i.e. it does not mean they are "innocent".

    And just because it's a criminal defense site, does not mean that common sense is left at the door. I don't know any criminal defense attorney (and I know quite a lot) that would say only an acquittal means the defendant got a fair trial.  And any criminal defense attorney who reads this blog knows your position and would not assume my comments reflect the position of the blog owner.

    If we can only assume that a fair trial = not guilty, then that gets in the realm of tin foil hat-land and conspiracy theories. It's one thing to have a presumption of innocence, but when people keep going around implying that if someone is found guilty, it MUST be because he didn't get a fair trial, then that's just crazy and dead wrong. Notice I didn't say anything specific about VDS' guilt or innocence, but my question was: why should we assume he won't get a fair trial?  It's a perfectly valid question.


    I said "not guilty" (none / 0) (#40)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:20:00 PM EST
    I did not say "factually innocent." A not guilty verdict means the case was not proven and the person is not guilty of the crime.

    Thought that would happen (none / 0) (#29)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 04:35:40 PM EST
    filing a complaint against a corrupt investigator or investigation will do it every time!

    He was charged and convicted the first minute, if not before.  

    BH wanted a Midnight Express prison and Stephany's father asked for life.  Life may prove to be very short within a ME prison system.


    Exhume the body (none / 0) (#37)
    by Untold Story on Sat Jun 26, 2010 at 07:01:00 PM EST
    Mr. Flores indicated they were not going to cremate due to the possiblity of later collecting fingernail scrapings.

    As the skin shrinks the nail bed pulls away, making minuscule material available for DNA testing. I thought today they were able to grow DNA from a minute sample, but perhaps not.



    Planted Evidence: (none / 0) (#38)
    by kasey9 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 11:39:21 AM EST
    We also heard from day one: Stephanys father say there was dna under her fingernails and it would PROVE Joran "MURDERED" his daughter, so if there was...why not get the testimg done immediately...before they bury her, especially seeing how far developed and advanced technology is. (Reports say Peru is also is very equipped for Forensic testing) We are just hearing reports this week that they have very "little" skin from under her nails, certainly makes you wonder if evidence was been planted? We have certaily heard accusations in other high profile trials that lean towards corruption & planted evidence, its certainly not unheard of!

    Yeah (none / 0) (#39)
    by squeaky on Sun Jun 27, 2010 at 01:12:33 PM EST
    The quick burial was really odd. And then exhuming the grave?

    An earlier report (none / 0) (#30)
    by Untold Story on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 04:41:26 PM EST
    which, surprisingly, didn't get much coverage by the blood thristy - he did have a small mark photographed on one of his hands.  It was not an open cut, but a straight line of perhaps four inches, slightly red, abrasion.

    Of course this could have occurred while he was in custody in either Chile or enroute to the Peruvian jail.

    It would be odd for a slight abrasion to remain after four or five days.  But since, imo, he is being railroaded, anything seems possible.

    false confessions (none / 0) (#34)
    by pac on Sat Jun 26, 2010 at 04:48:54 PM EST
    I think Joran has a history of giving false confessions.

    Pac (none / 0) (#35)
    by Untold Story on Sat Jun 26, 2010 at 06:16:46 PM EST
    Considering what this kid has been through in the past five years, he might well be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.  

    PTSD victims do elaborate stories, contradict themselves, become very emotional in telling their story.  They often recite fragments only.  As a result they are deemed liars. Escape from reality and addiction are often other symptoms.
    Feelings of guilt and anger also are symptoms.  

    In my opinion, Joran has displayed all of these symptoms at one time or other over the past five years.  


    One more thought (none / 0) (#36)
    by Untold Story on Sat Jun 26, 2010 at 06:23:31 PM EST
    His confession, taken under suspicious circumstances, seems to be the only piece that fits in this puzzle -- well, fits the new crime scene orchestrated after the fact as it doesn't resemble the original reporting from the reliable sources.