By not allowing former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja to attend his children’s school functions as he awaits trial in the death of Corey Jones, Raja’s attorneys say the state is punishing Raja prematurely and making him the victim of the same “rush to judgement” that harms black men like the one he fatally shot.
Defense attorney Richard Lubin made the claims in court records Tuesday as part of an emphatic continuation of Raja’s quest to relax some restrictions of the house arrest that has been part of his $250,000 bond since last month, when prosecutors charged him with attempted murder and manslaughter by culpable negligence.
With words that appear to indicate that Raja fully intends to take his case to trial, Lubin fired back at prosecutors’ objections to the house arrest changes, and accused them of pandering to the emotions of many in the community who have called for Raja’s arrest since Jones’ October death.
“Too often in our history, due to societal pressure, there has been a rush to
judgment, often at the expense of minorities, such as Mr. Jones and Officer Raja,” Lubin said. “Thousands have been convicted only later to be exonerated after they had served 10, 20 or 30 years in prison for crimes they did not commit.”
The words come days after Chief Assistant State Attorneys Brian Fernandes took hard line to a request from Raja that he be able to attend school functions for his 6-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.
Attorneys on both sides of the case had previously agreed as part of Raja’s $250,000 bond and house arrest that he could continue to work at a tactical supply store, take his children to and from school and go to a barber once a month for a haircut.
Lubin asked for the additional time away from home Juny 12, two days before a hearing before Samantha Schosberg Feuer.
Fernandes fired back with what so far has been the most critical public words from the prosecutors’ office against Raja, saying Raja “killed a man he had sworn to protect.”
“Corey Jones never gets to participate in family functions again. Corey Jones never gets to attend school or camp performances for his potential future children, because he cannot have children,” Fernandes wrote.
Lubin on Tuesday called those comments inflammatory and asked Feuer to disregard them in making her ruling.