Carlos Montero between his father and baby brother
Fifteen people have been locked up in Riker's Island for more than a year
without being convicted.
Four hundred people have been locked up there for more than two years.
Carlos Montero has been there since 2008—seven years—without ever being convicted for a crime.
“I’m depressed in here. I just want to go home,’’ said Montero, who entered the jail at age 17.
The state statute that is supposed to guarantee a prisoner’s right to a speedy trial—within 180 days—doesn’t apply to murder cases.
There also is a right to a reasonably rapid proceeding under the Sixth Amendment, but the US Constitution doesn’t lay out a timeline.
Under no circumstance is this OK. None.
While Carlos was present when one of his two friends stabbed another man, to hold him for nearly a third of his adult life without ever being convicted of a crime is preposterous. This is not only a complete insult to Carlos, but even to the victim. Eyewitnesses struggle to properly identify people soon after a crime—having to remember back to a random night in 2008 is an outrageous expectation of anyone.
Carlos is not alone. While we do not yet know their names, at least five other people have been held in Riker's Island for six years or more without a conviction. It's believed Carlos may hold the record as the person detained the longest ever in New York City without being convicted for a crime.