Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Freedom for Jason Puracal!

Post by Brian O'Neill on Sep. 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm with 4 Comments »
September 14, 2012 7:23 pm

The latest news on Jason Puracal, a Foss High School and University of Washington alum, is nothing short of fantastic – Jason is a free man.

The latest update on Puracal came from the Idaho Press-Tribune (9/14) at 4:17pm PDT, which stated that Puracal had been released from prison (Thursday) and had since left Nicaragua for an undisclosed location. Given the way the country treated him for the last two years, who would blame him for making a hasty, if unauthorized exit (I would have dug my way out of Nicaragua with a fork).

Puracal in appeals court/ AP Photo

Puracal spent two years rotting in a Nicaraguan prison following a money laundering conviction in large part due to the presiding judges inexplicable and unjust decision: He deemed all of the defense’s overwhelming and indisputable evidence to be inadmissible for the trial.

Fortunately, that reprehensible decision was overturned by a Nicaraguan appeals court, and on Thursday Puracal walked out of the infamous La Modelo prison outside Managua, got into his lawyer’s car and sped away.

I received periodic updates on Puracal’s status the last few months from the David House Agency, an international crisis firm hired his family engaged to handle public relations as well as government and media outreach on Jason’s behalf. With newspapers, politicians, diplomats and CNN’s Anderson Cooper turning the screws, all possible pressure was applied to Nicaragua’s justice system. The outcome was, in a word, correct.

For all of us who do not know Puracal but followed his odyssey, we did so with the idea that this man – a father, son, brother and husband – could have been any one of us. As a free people, the thought that one’s property, reputation, and freedom could be stolen so quickly and easily by a heavy-handed government is beyond our experience or tolerance.

We can be proud that our system, our elected and appointed officials, our media and our businesses, all worked together on Jason Puracal’s behalf. It was a noble cause, and its conclusion was also a welcome comparison to Amanda Knox’ four year ordeal in an Italian prison which also ended with her release, in 2011, following an appeals court’s decision.

And it is with that same sense of relief, satisfaction and joy that we express our best wishes to Puracal and his family following his release.

Hurry home, Jason.

Leave a comment Comments → 4
  1. mizusugimura says:

    Brian –

    I just wanted to ensure this morning that I follow through on my intention of the last few weeks or so to leave a comment and compliment you on your skill as a highly thoughtful, intelligent and often eloquent writer, communicator and law enforcement professional.

    It is a pleasure to read your copy when I am able. However, it is far more meaningful to be aware even amidst the busier, disconnected days in life that we all individually negotiate as members of society, that the presence and talent of such gifted and generous individuals as yourself in our community is too often a blessing that goes quietly unnoticed and without the proper fanfare and salute.

    Your blog is something I look forward to and a present I give myself.

  2. Brian O'Neill says:


    Thank you for your thoughtful comment, for your generous endorsement of my column, and for putting a smile on my face.

  3. BlaineCGarver says:

    Hear, Hear! Beware living overseas. Almost everyplace in the World truly sucks compared to the USA…at least for now.

  4. When justice is done everyone should feel happy and
    a bit warm inside, the police especially.
    Think of the number of people down there without
    the high power help who rot in prison.

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