. 12 The Texas Observer BROWSE TILL 10:00 P.M. MONDAY thou FRIDAY Now in Our 13th Year of **tyke to Austin GARNER ANO B4WKSTORE 2118 Guadalupe Austin, Texas 78705 477-9725 FISH UNTM, MIDNIGHT. On the only river in town. Now open until midnight, seven days a week. Shrimp , oysters, crab AND fish, with fabulous drinks and cheesecake. 11:30 AM until 11:30 PM,with limited menu until midnight. All major credit cards 512 Riverwalk, San Antonio, Texas. Dallas Less than a year has passed since Ricardo Morales was killed, and already he is a martyr. In San Antonio they write elegiac cor. ridas to his memory. His name is invoked religiously at civil rights demonstrations in Hondo, San Antonio, and elsewhere. His ‘story has been told before, but now that the U.S. Justice Department is listening, it deserves retelling. It takes place in Castroville, a South Texas town of 1,893 that prides itself on its Alsatian ethnic history, and it takes place in the dead of night on a secluded gravel road. Morales, a 26-year-old day laborer, lost his life on that farm road in the hinterlands of Medina County, and only God and Frank Hayes know why. Hayes is the 53-year-old Castroville police chief .who took Morales seven miles into the country for what he called “questioning.” There Morales was released from his handcuffs, beaten, threatened, then killed by a single blast from Hayes’ shotgun. The body was found two days later in a shallow grave near Midyett, almost 400 miles away. Hayes’ wife had taken it there in the trunk of the family car. After ten months of barely contained racial tensionespecially in Medina County, which is 48.5 percent chicanoHayes came to trial. D.A. Earle Cadell asked for a murder conviction, but a two-man, ten-woman jury listened to three days of testimony including Hayes’ claim, “as God is my witness,” that the gun discharged accidentallyand returned a verdict of aggravated assault. Jury foreman Luther Sheldon admitted that the jurors had thought they were convicting Hayes of murder by aggravated assault since Morales had been killed. He and three other jurors, according to the San Angelo Standard Times, agreed that they had been confused by the choices for conviction and the judge’s charge to the jury. The judge says their mistake is “tragic,” but its too late to alter the verdict. Now, 11 months after the crime, Hayes has begun serving his twoto ten-year term at Huntsville. But the pyrotechnics are just beginning. The Frank Hayes file, riddled with unanswered questions, has been officially closed two timesfirst by Gov. Dolph Briscoe, who said “due process of law” was followed, then by U.S. Attorney Bloom is a reporter for The Dallas Times Herald. John Clark of San Antonio, who decided in mid-July that the federal government shouldn’t meddle in cases that have been prosecuted by the states. The only reason the case is open again today is that Mexican-American leaders in South Texas have been raising nine kinds of hell over fundamental questions of civil rights, equal protection under the law, and due process. U.S. Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, never one to mince words, has called the trial a whitewash and Hayes a murderer. San Antonio Bishop Patrick Flores was among a group of chicano leaders \(including Gonzalez, state Sen.-elect Carlos Truan, and threatened to camp on U.S. Atty. Gen. Edward H. Levi’s doorstep until they got a hearing. They got one, and now Levi says he will “determine whether any federal action is appropriate” in the case. Two weeks ago in San Antonio a demonstration organized through the League of United Latin-American Citizens raised $21,000 for a Ricardo Morales defense fund, and a half dozen activist groups have joined in calling for civil rights charges against Hayes. More recently, U.S. Sens. Birch Bayh and Edward Kennedy, both Judiciary Committee members, have promised to call for congressional hearings if the Justice Department continues to drag its feet. At first, Governor Briscoe said he would let the feds handle the matter, but now he has ordered Atty. Gen. John Hill to direct his own investigation of the Hayes case. And one of the by-products of that inquiry may be new planks for Briscoe’s anti-crime package. The governor has expressed tentative support for a law giving the state a “limited” right to appeal criminal verdicts, a right that is currently limited to defendants. Ed Idar, Jr., who is preparing the actual report for Hill, says that recommendations might include legislation regulating the conduct of law enforcement officers, an idea first proposed by Gonzalez. It is impossible to tell what Hayes himself thinks about all this, since he refuses to talk to anyone about the case. But his attorney, Marvin Miller of San Antonio, says federal prosecution would set a bad precedent. “If Frank Hayes gets indicted in federal court,” he told The New York Times, “it’s going to intimidate every jury in this area.” There is ample precedent for federal intervention in state cases, especially since Hayes case won’t die By John Bloom
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