After three decades of slipping through the fingers of the legal system, an Elizabeth, N.J. woman is finally facing the consequences of her past. On July 17, Nelly Rincon-Rodriguez, 54, was ordered by a Superior Court judge in Salem, MA to begin serving a one-year sentence for possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute as well as illegal possession of a handgun. The sentence was originally imposed in 1984, but Rincon-Rodriguez managed to escape and evade serving it for 32 years.
Rincon-Rodriguez, who has five children and has been working as a home health aide, was arrested in 1983 along with her then-boyfriend Manuel Carrasco as part of a massive crackdown on heroin rings in Lynn, MA. She was eight months pregnant at the time. Her current attorney, John Haggerty, is hoping to win a new trial, claiming that much of the evidence submitted against Rincon-Rodriguez at the time “would never hold water today.”
Thirty years ago, Rincon-Rodriguez was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail, with one year to be served and the balance suspended for three years of probation. The sentence was stayed pending the outcome of an appeal and Rincon-Rodriguez was ordered to report to a probation officer, but she never honored her probation agreement. After several years of delays, in 1989 a Massachusetts Appeals Court ordered that she serve her sentence. Rincon-Rodriguez failed to appear for the hearing and a warrant was issued for her arrest.
Seventeen years later, during a traffic stop in New Jersey, police discovered the warrant. Rincon-Rodriguez again appeared before a judge in Massachusetts and was told prosecutors were seeking to have her serve her one-year sentence. Once again, she fled the courthouse and another warrant was issued.
Authorities finally took Rincon-Rodriguez into custody on June 21 as she attempted to board a plane to her native Dominican Republic. She spent two weeks in Rikers Island before being brought back to Essex County, MA.
Prosecutors were given three months to file a response to her lawyer’s request for a retrial. Even if a retrial was granted, it could take several more months before the decision is made, meaning Rincon-Rodriguez will likely serve much of her sentence anyway.
If you or a loved one have a warrant for your arrest, avoiding authorities will only make it worse. The best course of action is to hire an attorney who can help you fight the charges against you. Adam H. Rosenblum of the Rosenblum Law is a skilled criminal defense attorney who will help you determine your best course of action, and fight tirelessly to protect your rights. For a free consultation about your case, email Rosenblum Law, or call 888-815-3649 today.