On this day 34 years ago, an amazing young man was born.
It seems like such a short time ago that we were posting Paul Cortez’s 33rd birthday. As our lives have moved forward, Paul remains suffering in prison for a crime he had absolutely no part in. Paul must fight to stay alive and functioning in a violent, abusive, terrifying hell every day.
Despite Paul’s surroundings, he continues to bring light and hope to men he is imprisoned with. Paul attends Church, bible study and sings in his church. We have been so proud that in spite of the terrible circumstances, he has never lost faith in people or that the truth will be uncovered. Sadly, however, it is near impossible for Paul to advocate for himself from inside the prison walls and finance his legal battle.
As you may have read on the FreePaulCortez.org web site, we have spent the last year awaiting a ruling from the New York Court of Appeals. While the Court ruled in Paul’s favor on two major legal issues, it explained that it could not remand the case for a new trial without Paul’s legal team expanding the trial record to show that the legal errors impacted the outcome of the case.
While we are disappointed that we could not go right to a new trial, the Court had laid the roadmap for what we need to do legally next to get Paul his freedom. The next step in this exhausting legal process is to file what is called a 440 motion which is essentially a legal process allowing new evidence to be added to the record that Paul’s conflicted inept attorneys never brought up in his trial.
Specifically, this is a murder case where Paul’s attorneys did not even hire an investigator or consult with any forensic experts despite the fact that there was skin under the victim’s fingernails, blonde hairs intertwined between the victim’s fingers, a very controversial partial, smudged fingerprint, blood ignored in the victims bath tub, video film right outside the victim’s apartment that was not turned over to Paul’s attorneys, missing phone records, a timeline that was changed and puts Catherine’s ex-boyfriend/roommate (who’s police statement is filled with lies) in the apartment at the time of the murder, a delivery man exiting the building that was never questioned, a Hispanic tall man that was harassing Catherine and injured her arm named Paul -who she had fired from her job (another Paul that is) was ignored by police, etc.
Paul’s attorneys’ were incredibly unprepared for the case (and under simultaneous indictment for drug smuggling by the same prosecutor) and pocketing the money given to them by New York State to hire forensic experts (which they did not hire). The only witnesses they called to the stand were character witnesses. So many of the key witnesses that could have helped Paul if they had taken the stand have subsequently said that they never heard from Paul’s attorneys (they only heard from the prosecutor).
At the advisement of Paul’s attorneys, we have been silent and not posting updates on the site as we awaited the ruling from the Court of Appeals. Rest assured, however, we have been hard at work pouring through the evidence and preparing for the 440 motion.
All of our collective work and support from supporters the last many years have put us in a position for success with the next legal step towards Paul’s ability to prove innocence. But, as you must be able to imagine, this next step is incredibly costly even with significant attorney and forensic expert discounts. We are hoping that all fair minded people will consider supporting this monumental fight. ANY financial contribution you can make would be greatly appreciated and helpful. Thank you to every one of you who have supported Paul through all these years. It is people like you that give us hope that Paul will achieve the freedom he so justly deserves. We all look forward to time Paul’s birthday will be a true celebration!