By: Paulina T. Jiménez
She is short of stature but not so short on work titles.
Single and happy Myrna Padró opens up to talk about the Department of Justice of Puerto Rico and her life experience.
Myrna Padró Pérez, born in March 24, 1955 and raised in Arecibo, describes herself as a responsible, organized, positive, and a cheerful person.
Her experience growing up was very diverse. She participated in extracurricular activities that in one way or another helped shape her character. She learned to be very responsible, punctual, competent, and sociable.
She also does charity work as a member of Garden’s Lions Club International in San Juan.
“My parents are my role models. My dad taught me about responsibility, punctuality, and to fight in the adversities for our goals. He always said to me that failures are lessons and that real friendship goes further than social pals.” This means that we need to learn from mistakes, and to stick with the ones we trust.
From her dad, Myrna learned about religion and politics. She always looked at him as a motivation because he was also a well-known lawyer.
“From my mother, I learned about true and unconditional love of a mother for her kids, to be multifaceted and to appreciate the love for our home,” she added.
Completing her metamorphosis, Myrna graduated from accounting at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras in 1974.
The Magna-Cum-Laude lady continued studying law in Universidad Católica at Ponce and obtained a Juris Doctor in 1979.
Most people think that women in those days studying law faced discrimination but Myrna’s experience deny that.
While there were mostly male students in law school, Myrna really didn’t feel and didn’t experience any rejection, discrimination. She studied and worked like everybody else.
Her first job was at the Justice Department in 1980. She worked in the Extraditions Unit as a legal tech and later in the Habitual and Dangerous Criminals Unit. Appointed Special Prosecutor in the Criminal Division in 1982. She was appointed Assistant District Attorney and then assigned to the Sex Crimes Unit in 1983.
After working almost a decade, Myrna realized that the cases she liked to work the most were the criminal ones but that the sex crimes were the ones that marked her.
Myrna tells the five of the cases that marked her life. The first case is about a nine year old raped by her stepfather and infected with human papilloma virus. Another is, a nine years boy sodomized by his maternal uncle. A case of four young girls kidnapped on different dates.The case of Francisco Rivera Robles that established the doctrine of Violated Woman Syndrome, and a Negligent Homicide case where two children died.
The challenges and rewards Myrna obtained from working with the Sex Crimes Unit where very important for her. The challenge she faced during work was creating a great research to be able to file criminal charges to the sex offender at trial and rebut the presumption of innocence for an outcome of guilt. As reward, Myrna’s satisfaction and duty of being able to help victims of sexual crimes, especially the children in their healing process and to ensure that sex offenders were punished for their crimes.
“I’ve received a lot of appreciation messages from the victims of sexual crimes when they hear that the sex offender is declared guilty,” she recalled “Once, I received a picture of an angel shaped cloud with this message: “A la Fiscal Padró, un ángel en la tierra” (“To the prosecutor Padró, an angel on Earth”):
Her eyes watered.
From 1990-2000, Myrna represented the Public Minister in cases of misdemeanors, civil cases, jury trials of serious crimes such as murder, theft, Act 54, misappropriations and so much other cases at Carolina City.
She also served as Attorney Interim District Attorney in Carolina, Assistant District Attorney, Director of the Research Unit Carolina and Spousal Unit and Child Abuse. Can you tell her greatest strength? Myrna is responsible and perseverant.
Myrna retired on April 30, 2010, after 30 years of service.
After retiring, she worked at a Committee, which prepares recommendations to the Supreme Court on the new rules proposed of criminal procedure.
Her greatest weakness? A very strong temper.
This job required a lot of work and you were obligated to have a hobby for a stress relief if you wanted to survive. Myrna found that making crafts, jewelry, listening to music, and swimming helped her to manage her stress and work pressure. Even though she loves to travel the world and tries to enjoy life without stress. “I wish I have more people who shares my passion for traveling.”
Direct Access from the prosecutor.
For our benefit, she shares her opinion of the Department of Justice: “Department of Justice procedures are functional, I understand that most of the cases pays the justice deserved.”
What are the criteria used to assess whether there is a direct and immediate threat to the life of the victim? “Crime involved, the relationship of the victim with the aggressor and the emotional condition of the victim. The witnesses and / or victims are referred to the Victim Witness Program for the guidance of program services.”
“If the person fears for his life you are offered services Witnesses and the Hostel can also transfer to other city or town in the US or PR.”
Myrna’s goal was to investigate and process people that commit criminal acts, to protect the victims. “To maintain a safe coexistence in Puerto Rico is my goal.”