The San Juan Daily Star
Charges against ex-boxer ‘Juanma’ López dismissed
By John McPhaul
Judge Ana Cruz Vélez on Wednesday dismissed the case of alleged gender-based violence against former boxer Juan Manuel “Juanma” López after the victim, Andrea Ojeda Cruz, failed to reappear in court as a witness.
“Domestic violence is complicated; domestic violence has many faces. We all know and have read about the battered woman syndrome, about the processes that in many cases the victim can retract,” Judge Cruz Vélez said in court. “We cannot say that this is the case because my role as a judge is to ensure that the rights of the accused man and the alleged victims and witnesses are guaranteed; and that proof is presented to me and I decide. In this case, it was decided that it was going to be a jury [trial]. If the defendant committed the alleged acts, that was the responsibility of the jury. I had to ensure that it was a fair process, that it was a worthy process. That is my responsibility as a judge.”
“In this case, it has been commented on why she was not given psychological help. Yesterday morning, the Prosecutor’s Office explained how it had referred a person to help victims. She is a witness for the Public Ministry,” the judge continued. “The court cannot be giving orders or instructions to the witnesses of the Prosecutor’s Office who have to receive x or y treatment. That may happen in the Castellón hearings, but in ordinary processes, no. In this case, the dismissal under Rule 64N of Criminal Procedure proceeds on all charges.”
Cruz Vélez said the prosecutors can resubmit the case “within a reasonable time.”
Thus she ordered the removal of the electronic monitoring shackle from the former boxer’s ankle.
The dismissed charges are for physical and psychological abuse, threats and property damage.