Balanced Justice Network Launches 'Second Chances Matter' Campaign & Seeks Collaboration with Miami Top Prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle
The Executive Director of Balanced Justice Network, Evelyn Castillo-Bach, announced today that her organization wants to work collaboratively with Katherine Fernandez Rundle, State Attorney in Miami-Dade County, to promote ethical prosecutorial responsibility in support of second chances. Balanced Justice Network advocates for criminal justice reform focused on second chances and transparency in plea bargains and sentencing.
"Second Chances Matter" is seen by Castillo-Bach as critically important in returning balance to the criminal justice system. "When one is offered a plea deal of a few years, chooses to go to trial and ends up with an extreme sentence it undermines the integrity of the criminal system, asserts Castillo-Bach who is the mother of Mitchell E. Finlay sentenced to Life 22 years ago after he rejected a 5-year plea deal believing that innocent people don't take plea deals.
As reported in the 2023 Plea Bargain Task Force Report: American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section:
"In general while some difference between the sentence offered prior to trial and the sentence received after trial is permissible, a substantial difference undermines the integrity of the criminal system and reflects a penalty for exercising one's right to trial. This differential, often referred to as the trial penalty, should be eliminated."
On the website for Balanced Justice Network anyone can listen to podcast episodes from Mitchell E. Finlay. "These podcast episodes are a window into the integrity and goodness of a human being who deserves a second chance," stated Castillo-Bach.
The Balanced Justice Network website also gives a concise summary on the case and includes a link to the last legal brief filed by Finlay's appellate attorney Richard C. Klugh.
On November 13, 2015, appellate attorney Richard C. Klugh filed an appeal to the Life sentence in THE DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF FLORIDA, THIRD DISTRICT, CASE NO.: 3D15-1249, MITCHELL FINLAY, Appellant,-vs-
A video by Castillo-Bach posted on YouTube also appears on the website.
Previous press releases from the organization can be viewed here. (https://balancedjusticenetwork.org/