QCOSTARICA – The Sala Tercera (Sala III) has exonerated the mayor of Coronado, Leonardo Herrera Sanchez, sentenced to three months in prison, for using his official vehicle to go to a motel.
The judges of the Sala Tercera on Friday, in their decision 2015-01329, acquitted Herrera of all penalty and liability for the crime of embezzlement.
Herrera was arrested on April 20, 2012, when he went to lunch with his girlfriend to the Cascada Azul motel, in San Francisco de Dos Rios, San Jose.
The couple entered the motel in a vehicle owned by the Municipality of Coronado and assigned to the mayor for his “uso discrecional” (discretionary use). The mayor was arrested on leaving the motel.
Herrera was acquitted in December 2013, but the Court of Appeal (Tribunal de Apelación) ordered a new trial, which was held in November 2014. At the second trial, Herrera was sentenced to three months prison, but did not go to jail after being granted the benefit of a suspended sentence.
The ruling was upheld by the Court of Appeal in May, so an appeal was made to the Sala Tercera.
Herrera’s lawyer, Jose Miguel Villalobos, said “it was demonstrated that (Herrera) was at lunch, which is within his private and personal activity, which is not a crime.”
Source: La Nacion