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News Statement
August 8, 2009

“Justice for Custodio Family Trial Update: Judge Grants Motion to
Dismiss Marilou Custodio’s Case while Jury Denies Justice to Romel and
Marlo Custodio”

Reference: Rowena Tomaneng
Filipino Community Support,SV
focus.balita@gmail.com

San Jose—Friday, August 7, 2009 marked the close of the Custodio Family
Trial, which began after the prosecution finished its closing arguments
mid-morning and the Jury was instructed to deliberate on the evidence
presented to them for two weeks. This evidence included a grouping of
graphic photos of Romel Custodio the day after he was tased repeatedly
and beat by several members of the San Jose Police Department. By 2:30
p.m., the Jury was back in Department 37 amidst the overwhelming
presence of community supporters. The Jury found Marlo Custodio guilty
of the two charges against him: 1. resisting, delaying, and
obstructing a police officer from duty; 2. possession of marijuana.
Romel Custodio was also found guilty of resisting, delaying, and
obstructing a police officer from duty. The Jury, however, was in a
6-6 deadlock on Marilou Custodio’s case, resulting in a mistrial.
Marilou’s attorney, Mike Armstrong, motioned for Judge Arthur Bocanegra
to dismiss Marilou’s case in the interest of justice. Despite the
prosecuting attorney’s objection, Judge Bocanegra granted the motion to
dismiss Marilou’s cas
e.

The San Jose Filipino community and our allies—National Alliance for
Filipino Concerns, Coalition for Justice and Accountability, Silicon
Valley
Debug, Asian Pacific American Justice Coalition, Students for
Justice, Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute–are disheartened
and outraged by the Jury’s decision to penalize the Custodio brothers,
especially since they–like many other young men of color in San
Jose—ARE victims of police brutality and racial profiling. We are also
appalled by this outcome because for more than two years the violence
imposed on the Custodio family since February 5, 2007 continued as
their case was drawn out and delayed through the judicial system in
order to discourage the family’s quest for justice. Their trial was
pushed back more than 30 consecutive times, and the family had to make
special arrangements with their employment and other family
obligations.

While the denial of justice to Romel and Marlo Custodio is a
disappointing set back for the broader San Jose community’s ongoing
struggle to end use of torture weapons such as tasers and police
brutality,we have increased the community’s strength, unity, and
capacity to mobilize and demand that “real change” happens within SJPD
and our judicial institutions that systematically sanction
discriminatory practices. We can claim victory in the dismissal of
Marilou Custodio’s case as Judge Bocanegra
’s decision validates
Marilou’s unjust arrest. We can claim victory in the fact that for over
two-years the ongoing community support for the Custodio family has
been consistent and strong. From the first press in conference in
Spring 2007, to the first and second year anniversaries on February
2008 and 2009, and throughout the two-week trial, there has been a
steady presence of community members supporting the Custodios—family,
pastors, student organizations, non profits, grassroots organizations,
working professionals, appointed officials, community leaders, and
other victims of racial profiling and police brutality.

The struggle for justice within the court system continues and the
morale and determination of the San Jose Filipino community and
Custodio family remains strong.

Justice for the Custodio Family!
Justice for All Victims and Families Affected by Racial Profiling and
Police Brutality!
Demand SJPD Accountability!
Ban Tasers and Other Weapons of Torture!
Immigrant Rights are Human Rights!

FOCUS MISSION
As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community
Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests
of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic
injustices.

FOCUS VISION
We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley with
our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist, and
advocate for our mutual and collective inte
rest against exploitation,
oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to build a broad
comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the rights gained by
previous struggles and upholds the welfare of Filipinos. With
nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater social,
cultural, and political resources for the Filipino community in Santa
Clara County
that would benefit everyone and promote greater equity and
justice.

For more info contact: email focus.balita@gmail.com

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