October 31, 2018—
The Center for Constitutional Rights was recently made aware of the unjust indictment of its board member, civil rights and criminal defense attorney Leonardo Aldridge, on malicious and unjust charges stemming from a homicide police investigation that occurred in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 21, 2018.
Mr. Aldridge was in the process of counseling a client of his who the police had already questioned as part of what was then a homicide investigation. Rather than being permitted to conclude that counseling, Mr. Aldridge was unlawfully arrested by officers at the scene.
We are deeply concerned about the authorities’ unlawful interference with people’s access and ability to consult with lawyers. The right to consult with a lawyer in matters such as this are basic and fundamental. That the authorities not only impeded that lawful, constitutional process in this case, but also arrested and indicted Mr. Aldridge for seeking to confer with his client is an outrage to the constitutional protections that govern the sacrosanct lawyer-client relationship and the right to counsel.
Moreover, the government's actions, meritless as they are, seemed designed to intimidate Mr. Aldridge and all lawyers who zealously ensure that due process is complied with in every case. Finally, the government’s action sends a clear message that it no longer regards the constitutional rights of its citizens as bedrock principles around which government must navigate, but as mere inconveniences that can be overridden by law enforcement at its whim.
We demand that the charges against Mr. Aldridge be immediately dropped and that the state commence an independent investigation into the unlawful overreach of law enforcement investigators and superiors in this matter.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.