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Argentine judge who freed a suspect because he used a condom while raping a woman is fired

Leandro Spies was accused of raping a woman in April 2021 and was released from police custody two months later when judge Rodolfo Mingarini sided with his defense team that fought against his pre-trial detention.

Mingarini based his decision to allow to fight his case without being detained because he had used a condom during the sexual encounter.

We can think that there would have been forced intercourse, but I cannot understand how if he is going to have forced intercourse, pushing her, subduing her, he took the time, I cannot reconstruct how he puts on the condom and then advances on the victim’s body … who is here, refused,’ the disgraced judge said at the time of his ruling. ‘The truth is that this is where I have the greatest doubt.’

His decision was overturned by a Santa Fe appellate court in July 2021 and Spies was sent back to prison, where he is now awaiting his trial to start. The prosecution is seeking a 12-year sentence.

Maurio Gómez found himself in Mingarini’s court chamber after he tossed a pot of boiling water at his girlfriend during an argument at their home in March 2020. The woman was suffered first and second degree burns to her legs, arms, abdomen and chest and spent two weeks hospitalized and required an additional two months of medical attention after she was discharged.

The woman’s daughters provided testimony to support the 20 years of spousal abuse that she Gómez inflicted on her.

During an April 2020 court hearing, Mingarini indicated that the case went ‘beyond the moral connotation if you will, it has to do with issues that have to be resolved in another area, in another jurisdiction, within the family’ and that he was going to ‘deal with the issue.’

He backed his decision by arguing that he would not place Gómez in pre-trial detention because the crime carried a sentence of three years and that a lesser sentence would have made him eligible for house arrest.

Gómez found himself back in court on March 21, 2022 and was ordered held in pre-trial detention three days before the start of his trial by another judge because he had violated the terms of the release that he had agreed to under Mingarini. Gómez accepted his guilt and was sentenced to five years.

In 2019, a woman came forward with charges that her two disabled children, aged six and nine, had been sexually abused by at least three men – one of the suspects was her partner at the time. Two of the individuals ended up being formally accused of sexual assault with carnal access.

According to court documents, one of the children who was interviewed made a drawing of a snake and mentioned her mother’s boyfriend and another man. The child indicated that he experienced bad things and that the serpent left him with a lot of pain. Investigators were able to prove, through medical exams, that the boys were sexually assaulted, and also discovered that pornographic images of the children were taken and uploaded to the internet.

Despite all of the proof, Mingarini declined to hold the mother and her boyfriend in pre-trial detention. He argued that the boys’ genital injuries could have been caused by the application of a suppository.

‘I understand that these injuries are more likely to be caused by a boy with gastric or intestinal problems due to his diet, which cannot be disputed in this instance to an act as serious as penetration,’ Mingarini said.

The prosecution appealed the judge’s rulings, but the mother and her partner were never taken into custody. Moreover, all of the defendants were able to obstruct the investigation by making threats and even destroying evidence that had been obtained by those who participated in the investigation.

In 2019 Santa Fe teachers noticed that a high school student was frequently fainting during school hours. She opened up about the abuse she suffered at the hands of her next door neighbor and father’s friend, Jorge Oviedo. The young girl said. That the man stopped her after she got out of his inflatable pool and locked her in the bathroom where he sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill her with a gun if she said anything.

Oviedo appeared in court on October 21, 2019 and prosecutors requested his pre-trial detention, arguing that the defendant continued to make threats against the girl and her family, including firing shots at their home and setting it on fire.

The prosecution has enough evidence that would have kept Oviedo in custody, including police reports that accused him of other domestic violence incidents, Mingarini said it was not his job to go forward with a ‘mini trial’ and said that Oviedo has never been found guilty in the past.

He allowed Oviedo to leave the court and banned him from being with 400 meters of the young girl, ordered him to make monthly court visits and revoked his access to possessing a firearm.

However, Oviedo continued to threatened the family. He was due in court March 28 but failed to appear for the start of the trial and was eventually arrested April 7. The trial is expected to start in six months.

In April 2021, Mingarini was forced to recuse himself from presiding in the trial of Dr. Pablo Nadalich, who was being accused of sexual abuse and drugging his victim. Nadalich practiced medicine in Buenos Aires and had been represented in years past by Mingarini as a public defender before he was named judge. Before the case started, Mingarini had also reached out to the accuser’s attorney to share his opinion and even pressured her into not making any arguments that would have hindered Nadalich’s freedom. The start of his trial is still pending while he undergoes rehabilitation for a drug addiction.

In another sexual assault case, Mingarini was the lone judge to dissent in a case involving rape suspect Carlos Baldomir, and voted against an 18-year prison sentence, opting instead for 12 years, because the victim, his 12-year-old was not beaten and then overcame the ‘traumatic events’ because she had a new boyfriend.

‘I do not agree with the perceptions of the complaint regarding the impossibility of overcoming these traumatic events, since the victim has shown that she has the strength and ability to overcome them and develop normally,’ Mingarini opined.

‘She was able to start her sexual life without sexually deviant conduct, experiencing an adolescent romantic relationship with a young man that even lasted over time, ending the relationship without major inconveniences and for other reasons,’ he added.

Mingarini joined two other judges in presiding over the case of Rodolfo Villafañe, who was accused of sexually abusing his granddaughters, aged nine and 12.

Prosecutors were seeking a 20-year sentence, but the judges decided 12 were sufficient.

In his opinion, Mingarini downplayed Villafañe’s criminal actions, noting he volunteered to leave the family home and severed his relationship with his granddaughters.

‘This voluntary disappearance from the girls’ lives limited the initial damage, at least as regards their psychophysical development,’ he said.’ None of the qualified and well-versed witnesses, particularly the psychologists and to a lesser extent the teachers, verified ‘serious damage’ and much less its intensity and consequences, remaining again in the realm of the hypothetical and discursive, but unverified.’

The appeals court stepped in later and overturned the judges’ decision and handed down the 20-year sentence that the prosecution has requested because Mingarini disregarded seven aggravating factors that proved  Villafañe’s guilt.

Mingarini and two judges presided over the sexual abuse case of Miguel Brites. In a February 2020 hearing, Brites was sentenced to 10 years after the prosecution sought 20 for the rape of his granddaughter. Mingarini made some of the same arguments he made in the trials of Baldommir and Villafañe to support his light sentence. But in September 2020, three judges reviewed the sentence and increased it to 14 years.

Judge Mingarini also released Gaspar Mourullo from police custody in 2021 after he was accused of restraining his six months pregnant girlfriend against her own will while beating and threatening to kill her.  

On one occasion, Mourullo told the woman, ‘I am going to get a gun and I am going to shoot you.’ Several months passed when he visited her home and punched her belly and blocked her path to the door as she attempted to escape.

During a court hearing, Mingarini said the the domestic violence incidents were mutual and that the former couple’s acts of fighting was ‘the way to solve the problems that they shared.’

On January 29, 2019, Mingarini also rejected the prosecution’s request for the pre-trial detainment of Jorge Caceres, who also faced a sexual assault charge.

Prosecutors provided evidence that showed there was “a while liquid” in the victim’s genitals, but the judge thought the girl was not abused because ‘with regard to the (vaginal) tear … and the liquid that was not we can know because we are not doctors or biochemists. It may even be due to a matter of fluids from the female genital area.’

He also declined the prosecution’s attempt to hold Gustavo Ramos in prison while they investigated sexual assault charges that were brought up against him. Prosecutors slammed him for basing his decision on ‘the hygienic situation of the girl despite the medical reports that confirmed injuries.”