9 a.m. Wednesday at Stockton courthouse - Family, clergy, UFW president at hearing over plea deal in death of teen farm worker
9 a.m. Wednesday at Stockton courthouse Family, clergy, UFW president at hearing over plea deal in death of teen farm worker
Stockton, Calif.—After a two-day vigil at the county courthouse in Stockton to protest a proposed plea bargain for criminal defendants responsible for the 2008 heat death of 17-year old farm worker Maria Isavel Vasquez Jimenez, United Farm Workers President Arturo S. Rodriguez will join the victim’s family, farm workers and clergy at 9 a.m. on Wednesday for a hearing so Superior Court Judge Michael Garrigan can rule on the plea deal.
The plea bargain would let the defendants—Maria De Los Angeles Colunga, owner of the now defunct Merced Farm Labor Contractors, and her brother, Elias Armenta—escape any jail time in exchange for probation and community service, and could set the precedent that farm workers’ lives do not matter, vigil organizers say.
On May 14, 2008, Maria Isavel collapsed after working in the blazing sun for nine hours without accessible water or shade at a Farmington-area vineyard. Instead of summoning medical aid, Merced Farm Labor Contractors told the girl’s fiancé and father of her unborn child to take her to a clinic in Lodi. By then, her core temperature was 108 degrees on a day when the state work safety agency issued a heat-danger warning to employers. She died two days later. The contracting firm was fined for similar violations of the state heat regulation. UFW members are organizing other events and vigils throughout California, Oregon and Washington state.
WHO: Family of dead teen farm worker, UFW President Arturo Rodriguez, clergy, farm workers and supporters.
WHAT: Sentencing hearing where the judge will rule on a plea bargain for two defendants in the criminal case.
WHEN: 9 a.m., Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
WHERE: San Joaquin County Courthouse, 222 E. Weber Ave., Stockton 95202.