By: Michael Campbell | Twitter: @itsthesoup
Posted: Feb. 22, 2018 | 11:50 a.m.
Jimenez required to surrender criminal justice credentials, never serve in law enforcement again
DINWIDDIE – The county’s lead prosecutor confirmed that charges against a former Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Office deputy accused of indecent liberties with a child and aggravated sexual battery have been withdrawn as part of an agreement where he is prohibited from ever serving as a law enforcement officer and required to surrender his Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services credentials.
According to Dinwiddie County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ann Cabell Baskervill, the agreement came only a short time before 46-year-old North Dinwiddie resident Hector Jimenez was scheduled to go on trial after he was indicted by a grand jury on allegations he sexually abused a teenage girl “by force, threat, or intimation.”
Jimenez was arrested in April of 2017 as part of a Virginia State Police investigation into the allegations and subsequently terminated from his position with the Dinwiddie Sheriff’s Office. At the time of his arrest, prosecutors said he employed with the Petersburg and Richmond Sheriff’s Offices when the alleged offenses occurred in 2015.
Following last week’s outcome, with both charges against Jimenez being withdrawn on the condition that he never serves in law enforcement anywhere ever again under any circumstances, Baskervill spoke about why that condition was important.
“That [was] a very important concession and is the most important thing that we needed to accomplish for public safety and public trust,” Baskervill said. “Unfortunately and surprisingly, it is nearly impossible to get and keep out ‘bad apples’ from law enforcement positions, especially out of state.”
She continued, “In seeking to resolve this case without the risks and heartaches inherent in trial, no misdemeanor outcomes were available in this case because the statute of limitations has long passed, and any misdemeanor conviction other than domestic assault or something larceny-related would not result in law enforcement de-certification anyway.”
“This is why obtaining his removal from law enforcement is such a victorious and important outcome here,” she said. “It is enforceable because it is by agreement and because failure to comply would result in reinstating the charges. It is the longest-lasting, farthest-reaching outcome available.”
Baskervill said one of her concerns when trying the case was the toll that would likely be imposed on everyone involved as it moved forward.
“The defense adamantly denies the allegations, and the scrutiny and cross-examination of the victim and her family would have been quite aggressive and publicly humiliating,” she said. “Subjecting someone to that is a major and potentially traumatic event.”
Baskervill continued, “And as often happens with crimes against our most vulnerable, there is no physical evidence to corroborate, which I completely understand and expect because it is the nature of my work, it also provides a defense argument that can be difficult for jurors. A guilty verdict requires unanimity of twelve people beyond a reasonable doubt. If reasonable doubt were raised in the mind of any one of twelve jurors – even if that juror fully believes a victim and thinks a defendant is guilty, but is not comfortable adjudging this beyond a reasonable doubt – then it can be extremely difficult for a victim to receive what feels like a devastating attack on her credibility.”
“Sometimes prosecutors seek justice by pursuing a victim’s day in court and his or her ability to confront an attacker and tell his or her story, and sometimes the most important goal is to honor and publicly advocate for a victim despite an inability to control a jury’s outcome,” the prosecutor shared. “Here, however, there was another factor, another goal which absolutely must be accomplished – and that is the removal from law enforcement an individual whom the public cannot trust.”
While she couldn’t speak specifically to the feelings of the victim regarding the case not moving forward to a jury trial, noting that the charges could be brought back against Jimenez if the conditions of the withdrawal are not met, she said that conversation can be difficult.
“I have the privilege of trying to balance all of the factors and concerns on behalf of the community, the Commonwealth,” she said. “My colleagues statewide and nationwide do not represent just one person or one concern, but rather we are charged to seek justice. Sometimes justice looks very different from one perspective than from another, and where there are infinite perspectives there also are infinite manifestations of justice. Rarely is there one right answer.”
Baskervill elaborated further, saying, “What we do not do, though, is represent one person or one group against another. Prosecutors represent the community, here in Virginia, the Commonwealth. Thus we pursue positions on behalf of everyone as best we can, within our ethical obligations and our mission to seek justice, and within the laws, including laws criminal, evidentiary, and procedural.”
Even as the case enters its final stages, Baskervill expressed her support for the teenage victim in the case by praising her for bravely coming forward.
“In the strongest way, I commend and admire the victim for coming forward in this case and for supporting and wanting prosecution,” she said. “Her bravery and strength should inspire all of us. Her courage brought this to light and allowed us to take action and achieve results. I confidently believe in her and her truth, and I share in the grief and anguish that she and her family feel and always will feel.”