Prosecutors insist a father must face a jury for a traffic accident that killed his ailing daughter, who was riding in her mother's arms instead of a required car seat.
Jury selection was set for Monday and expected to take two days in the vehicular homicide trial of Ramiro de Jesus Rodriguez, 30, who may be the first parent tried in the United States for failing to use a seat belt for a child who died in a car accident.The case has prompted letters to the Dade County State Attorney's office from all over the nation.
"Hasn't this man suffered enough by losing his daughter?" one letter said. "Why should he be punished twice?" said another.
Rodriguez, a Nicaraguan refugee and short-order cook, agreed.
"It was an accident," he said. "Why does the law want to punish me on top of what has already happened to me? It's not going to bring my daughter back to life. It's not fair to have more misfortune fall on me on top of what I have gone through already."
Prosecutor Sally Weintraub said, "He drove so recklessly that he caused the death of another person. Why do people think there's a lower level of responsibility for a life if you are a parent?"