Judge: Bluffton man's accusers must be revealed

cfoss@islandpacket.comDecember 5, 2011 

  • Get breaking news and story updates about courts, crime and emergency services in southern Beaufort County by following Lowcountry Blotter on Twitter.

A 59-year-old Bluffton man charged with posing as a bail bondsman and targeting Latinos has the right to know who his accusers are, a judge ruled Monday.

Henry Roldan, who faces misdemeanor charges of obtaining goods under false pretenses, will be told the names of the two people who accused him in August of posing as a bail bondsman to dupe them out of money.

Hardeeville police and the 14th Judicial Circuit's Solicitor's Office are required to hand over the victims' names within 30 days of Roldan's trial date, Circuit Court Judge Carmen Mullen ruled during a hearing in Ridgeland.

A trial date has not been set, said Roldan's attorney, Hector Esquivel.

When Esquivel received the police reports, both victims' names had been redacted, he said.

On Oct. 17, the attorney filed a motion in Hardeeville Municipal Court asking that the names be released. The motion, which argued Roldan's Sixth Amendment right to confront his accusers had been violated, was denied by Municipal Court Judge John Carroll.

Esquivel said investigators have argued that Roldan targeted Latinos in Jasper and Beaufort counties when they paid him to get loved ones out of jail but instead were duped out of their money.

Hardeeville police Lt. Arnold Middleton has said he believes Roldan has conned hundreds of undocumented immigrants out of as much as $100,000 in the past five years.

So far, however, no other victims have come forward, Esquivel said. Police say that could be because they fear deportation.

At Monday's hearing, assistant solicitor Casey Rankin said the names had been redacted because prosecutors and investigators feared Roldan would attempt to threaten and coerce them.

Esquivel said Roldan has a right to know who his accusers are despite their possible illegal status.

"I don't see how they can deny telling him who his accusers are," Esquivel said. "I guess they feel the people need it for their protection, but it's not going to be an issue."

Attempts to reach Middleton and Hardeeville Police Chief Richard Nagy were unsuccessful Monday.

Follow reporter Cassie Foss at twitter.com/LcBlotter.

Related content

The Island Packet is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service