On Friday, the Second Judicial Circuit of San Jose vacated the criminal court conviction against United States citizen, David Strecker. In a 40 page ruling the appellate court found serious legal flaws with both the decision of the lower court, and evidence presented by the prosecution. Unfortunately for Dave, however, the court did not automatically grant a release from prison and it appears that Dave will remain in a Costa Rican prison, despite being completely innocent of the criminal charges against him.
Although courts in Costa Rica commonly release their own citizens when cases go to appeal, the same protections usually do not apply to United States citizens, living or traveling through Costa Rica. Even Costa Ricans accused of serious crimes, such as murder or narcotics trafficking, typically go free pending trial in Costa Rica. In Dave’s case the appellate court renewed the order of preventative detention, through at least December.
Three Days Left to Free Dave During Appeal
Dave is fortunate to have the representation of Lic. Luis Diego Chacon Bolaños, of CRC.legal, who took over his case, after Dave ran out of money to fund his legal defense. According to Chacon, there is a three day window where he may appeal the preventative detention, and secure release. However, Dave who has never lived in Costa Rica, and is a visitor in the country does not have a home in Costa Rica.
In order to be eligible for release, Dave needs to a place to stay. Anyone who is willing to host Dave is encouraged to contact his attorney, at [email protected] Court rules require a private home, where the person hosting Dave has either a written lease or title to the property. The host would be asked to sign a statement, which Dave’s attorney would prepare and present, and may be asked to receive a phone call from the judge in the case.
Release Likely to Improve Chances on Appeal
Anyone who has faced a tough criminal trial can tell you that being a free man during the trial can make a big difference. Instead of being handcuffed and brought before the court as a prisoner, a free man can better assist their attorney while managing their own personal affairs.
In Dave’s case, he would be able to open his own Paypal account and receive money for his legal defense, from both his supporters and friends in Key West. Last year, Dave lost his primary means of support in Costa Rica, when his sole connection to the outside world and recipient of Paypal donations, passed away from cancer. Navigating the prison bureaucracy to visit and bring items to Dave is not for the faint of heart, especially those who do not speak Spanish well.
For the better part if a year, Dave’s attorney Luis Chacon has gone well beyond the professional call of duty to assist Dave in prison. Freeing his attorney from the prison support activities will allow him to focus on arguing the case.
If you or anyone you know in Costa Rica can help Dave with a place to stay, then please email his attorney Luis Diego Chacon at [email protected] You can also help with a donation, paid directly to his attorney by way of a deposit to Luis Diego Chacón Bolaños at Banco Nacional (Account No. 200-02-087-1555-6 and Cedula 107000666) in Costa Rica. Or please contact his attorney for international wire transfer instructions.