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The Case of the Cuban Five: Justice or Injustice?

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Washington, DC -  On Friday, September 13, 2013, at 6:00 p.m. in the UDC-DCSL Moot Court Room, Actor and Producer Danny Glover and First Amendment attorney Richard Klugh are headlining a very informative panel presentation on the case of the Cuban Five. They are the five Cuban men who were arrested fifteen (15) years ago on September 12, 1998 and accused by the United States government of espionage, conspiracy, and other charges.  These were crimes the Cuban Five maintain they did not commit, and strong evidence calls into question whether the men were wrongfully convicted and whether they received a fair trial. The Cuban Five have been in federal prisons now for more than fifteen (15) years.

This forum will be very informative.  The Legal Writing Program, the Alumni Affairs Office, and various UDC-DCSL student organizations, including the Latino Law Student Association, Black Student Law Association, National Lawyers Guild-UDC, Criminal Justice Society, and the Black Men’s Law Society, are working in conjunction with the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five campaign organizers to bring the Cuban Five panel presentation to UDC-DCSL.  

Here is a link to an analysis that gives an excellent explanation of the issues involved in the Cuban Five case:  

Here is a brief biography with pictures of the Cuban Five:

A few details on the case are below. The Cuban Five maintain that their mission was not espionage or any other crime, and they did not conspire to commit espionage or any other crime. Rather, the Cuban Five maintain they were monitoring the actions of the Miami-based Cuban extremist organizations in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the people of Cuba. The Cuban Five sought a change of venue from Miami, Florida to another location where the residents of the town would not be biased against the Cuban Five, but the trial judge denied several of their motions. They were tried, convicted, and sentenced to terms of fifteen (15) years to double-life. The three-judge panel of the Eleventh (11th) Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their convictions in 2005, but the Bush administration appealed and the en banc panel of the court agreed to hear the appeal. One year later, the panel affirmed the convictions. Since then the Cuban Five's defense team has been involved in appeals to the United States Supreme Court (the Court refused to hear the case in 2009), and now they are seeking Habeas Corpus appeals.

The central basis of their appeal is the fact that in 2006 it was discovered that Miami journalists were on the United States government's payroll for the purpose of releasing news stories to vilify the Cuban Five and influence the outcome of the case. Since then, the National Committee to Free the Cuban Five and the attorneys on this case have investigated and uncovered evidence that dozens of Miami reporters received millions of United States government dollars (through Radio and TV Marti), many of the reporters working for Miami television, radio and newspaper outlets, to help convict the Cuban Five with highly-prejudicial and questionable news coverage against them.

The panel presentation will feature the following:

1. Danny Glover, actor and humanitarian, who has visited one of the defendants, Gerardo Hernandez, numerous times;

2. Richard Klugh, trial and appellate attorney for the Cuban Five;

3. Gloria la Riva, Coordinator, National Committee to Free the Five;

4. Shelley Broderick, Dean of UDC-DCSL;

5. Crisarla Houston, Associate Professor and Legal Writing Program Director; and

6. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of Partnership for Civil Justice, which filed the FOIAs and lawsuit to obtain much of the information on the United States government's collaboration with the Miami media.

Although the case is not well known in the United States, it has received coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and other media sources. The National Committee to Free the Cuban Five is working in the United States and internationally, along with many other committees that have formed around the world, to advocate for the Cuban Five's freedom. Please join UDC-DCSL for an information-filled evening that will prick your conscience and stimulate your mind in a major way!

For more information please contact Crisarla Houston 202.274.6813, 713.208.5807, or