(WSVN) - Her brother is homeless. She says she let him come to her house to take a shower and relax, and then a few minutes later she was in jail and barred from coming back into her own home. Why? It’s a special investigation that Patrick Fraser has called “Family Fight.”
We found Miriam sitting in her truck. Her house was 500 feet away.
Miriam Rodriguez, accused by her brother: “Very sad. It hurts.”
On a Sunday night, Miriam’s brother, who is homeless and has a long criminal history, came over to her house to pick up his mail, take a shower and watch TV. Miriam let him in and went upstairs.
Miriam Rodriguez: “Flashing lights. I was awakened by the slammed doors of the police cars.”
Miriam came downstairs and was slapped in handcuffs.
Miriam Rodriguez: “I was only told by the police officer that I was being arrested for domestic violence.”
According to the police report, Miriam’s brother said they got into an argument, Miriam grabbed a knife and cut him on his left arm. Miriam says she saw the pictures from the back seat of the police car as the officer loaded them into the police computer.
Miriam Rodriguez: “And I see my brother in my kitchen extending his hand, and I see a little little scratch. You can see that it’s not even a cut, but it’s a scratch. They grab the knife from the floor and they took it as evidence.”
It was a domestic violence case. Miriam was charged with battery and taken to jail.
Miriam Rodriguez: “Very hard, especially that I was naked, in my nightgown.”
Her neighbors knew about her brother’s history and collected the money to bail her out.
Miriam came home to find out she could not come near her house.
Miriam Rodriguez: “Because I have a restraining order direct from the court. Police told me to stay away from him and my home, 500 feet.”
The restraining order blocked Miriam from going near her brother, who had decided to stay in her house, leaving her to sleep in her truck 500 feet away for 11 days.
On the 12th day, she saw fire rescue pull up in front of her house. Her brother had called 911.
Miriam Rodriguez: “He fell from the stairs, and I guess it was so bad that he called the ambulance himself.”
When he was taken away, Miriam rushed back into her house and locked the door in case her brother tried to return.
Miriam Rodriguez: “There’s not enough paper in the printer to print the whole nine yards that he has a record.”
Miriam’s brother is Jorge Rodriguez, and he does have a long criminal history ranging from aggravated stalking to battery.
The state attorney investigator noted Jorge Rodriguez had eight domestic violence cases.
Miriam Rodriguez: “He knows the system so well.”
Broward criminal defense attorney Howard Finkelstein says the law was changed to protect the woman in a domestic violence case. Normally the person injured, but…
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “He has blood coming from his arm, maybe from a knife cut, maybe self-inflicted, maybe inflicted by her. When he tells the police she did it and they see the blood, they are going to take her to jail whether she did it or not.”
The state attorney wrote that Jorge Rodriguez would not meet with them, and told them on the phone he was getting over a kidney transplant and did not want to go forward with the charges against his sister.
The domestic violence charge against Miriam was dropped. Miriam went to court to make it official.
But even though the charge was dropped, the arrest is still on Miriam’s record, and she let the judge know that upsets her.
Miriam Rodriguez (to judge): “What about the charges that were brought against me? My record is not clean as it was before.”
Miriam Rodriguez: “I feel betrayed. I feel very bad because the system failed me. In this case, I am the victim and the person that accused me is still out there. Nothing happened to him.”
We could not find Jorge Rodriguez, and he did not return several phone calls.
As for Miriam, she is settling back into her home with her six dogs. She lost trust in the system and she lost a brother.
Miriam Rodriguez: “Brothers like that, family like that, I don’t need, so now I am all by myself, God and my dogs.”
All by herself, now fighting to clear her record after a family fight that Miriam says never happened.
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