HRLR
Los Tocayos Carlos
Chapter 5
Page: 7 of 17
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Medical and psychological tests118 revealed that the twelve-year-old had a “language learning disorder.”119 He had the I.Q. of a 10-year-old, the expressive vocabulary of an eight-year-old, and the small motor coordination (for “pencil and paper tasks”) of a child “between 7½ and 8½ years old.” He was two years below grade level in reading and three years below in math. He could understand words in isolation, but he used few of them in his own speech and had trouble with phrases and sentences.120

Carlos’s comprehension and memory were abnormal. When it came to understanding things in the moment, he could make a lot more sense of visual than of auditory cues — what he read as opposed to what he heard. But when it came to remembering what he had just learned, it was the opposite. So, he had problems either way: Things he read, he could understand but not remember. Things he heard, he could remember if he understood them, but he rarely did.121

The psychologist recommended special education classes in reading and math.122

Two years later, when Carlos was fourteen and in the eighth grade, the school district’s Special Education Committee put Carlos through another round of medical and psychological evaluations. They concluded that Carlos had “low average I.Q.,”123 “fine-motor difficulty,” possible “neurological difficulties” or “cerebral dysfunction,” and a “specific learning disability.”124 They recommended extending Carlos’s special education placement to history and science.125

* * * * *

One thing Carlos was good at in junior high was football. His older brother played, as well. But in the eighth grade, the school kicked Carlos off the team for failing his classes. No pass, no play. That was a big deal for Carlos and the other kids. He got tired of them laughing at him for being slow and quit school without finishing the eighth grade.126

Margarita was fine with Carlos quitting junior high because he quickly got a job at the Whataburger.127 But looking back on it, Rose saw the setback as a turning point—when Carlos lost confidence128 and started heading in a different direction from her. For Rose, who fought her way into the middle class with good jobs in accounting and a husband who did well in real estate,129 the whole focus was on doing well in school and getting away from the life she saw around her.

“I didn’t want to live like that,” she told the investigators. “I didn’t want to have ten or fifteen kids, from all these different men and be on welfare and not be educated. So I was looking ahead.” But it was different for Carlos. Rose felt that he knew he couldn’t even keep up with the kids around him and decided he “didn’t care” what happened to himself.130

Rose believed that many things frightened Carlos, including the teasing he faced in school. But he was a good-looking kid, so he adapted by being “cocky,” a flashy dresser, and a “showoff.”131

See Judy Braselton, Educational Diagnostician, Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Psychological Report (Apr. 9, 1974) at 1–2 (“Tests Administered: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (Bilingual administration); Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (Bilingual Administration); Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities (Revised); Bender-Gestalt Test of Visual Motor Skills; Benton’s Visual Retention Test; Wide Range Achievement Test; Wepman Auditory Discrimination Test.”).

Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Medical Assessment Record for Carlos DeLUna (Feb. 26, 1976) at 4 (reporting that “Carlos was tested on 3–8–74” and found to have “language learning disorder LLD” and was recommended for assignment to the resource room).

Judy Braselton, Educational Diagnostician, Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Psychological Report (Apr. 9, 1974) at 1–2:

Test interpretation: Carlos’ overall intellectual skills appear to be on the level of a ten year old. His ability to do non-verbal tasks seems to be somewhat better than his ability to do verbal tests with his non-verbal skills being in the low average range. Although his receptive vocabulary skills seem to be in the average range, his expressive vocabulary is more like that of an eight year old. However, it seems likely that his receptive vocabulary might be below average when phrases and sentences are involved rather than just single words.

Carlos’ visual motor skills seem to be stronger than his auditory skills. He probably understands what he sees more readily than what he hears. Thus, when information is presented verbally, it might help Carlos if as many visual cues as possible are used. For instance, when directions are given, as in an art activity, he may have difficulty if they are presented only verbally. He may need to see a demonstration in order to understand what is expected. Carlos also seems to have difficulty discriminating between words that sounds similar.

Although in general, Carlos’ visual skills are stronger, in the area of memory he seems to remember what he hears better than what he sees. However, this may not hold true when words are used rather than numbers, or he may be able to repeat something but may not understand it. When he is being asked to learn and remember, it may help him if he can use both sight and hearing, as well as any other senses that could be involved. Also distractions in the class may prevent him from using his auditory memory skills to his best advantage.

Carlos appears to have difficulty with coordination. On pencil and paper tasks he seems to perform more like a student between 7½ and 8½ years old. On same tasks requiring him to copy designs or reproduce designs from memory, his most frequent errors occurred when the stimulus figure was on the right side of the page. The latter may suggest visual difficulties particularly in the right visual field.

In terms of measured achievement, Carlos’ math skills appear to be on a high third grade level. He can do problems with regrouping but it seems he needs to extend his skills in multiplication and division. His reading skills appear to be on the fourth grade level. He tries to attack words phonetically but has some difficulty with medial sounds.

In summary, Carlos is performing overall more like a ten year old. His visual skills seem stronger than his auditory skills in general. At present he appears to be achieving two years below grade level.

See supra note 120.

See Judy Braselton, Educational Diagnostician, Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Psychological Report (Apr. 9, 1974) at 2–3:

When he is being asked to learn and remember, it may help him if he can use both sight and hearing, as well as any other senses that could be involved. Also distractions in the class may prevent him from using his auditory memory skills to his best advantage. . . . Recommendation: The local Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee might consider the following recommendations: . . . Placement in a resource room instructional setting.

See supra note 120 (documenting DeLuna’s deficits in reading and math that led to the special-education recommendation).

Review Committee, Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Special Education: Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee Report (Apr. 9, 1976) at 1 (“Essential Information: Low average I.Q. Has been a discipline problem. Has weaknesses in abstract reasoning & visual memory; strengths in visual reception, . . . & auditory memory. . . . Summary and Recommendations from Committee: Placement: Initially, this student might benefit from 2–3 hours/periods each day in the resource room; . . . Recommended subject areas in resource room: recommend resource in history and science.”).

Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Medical Assessment Record for Carlos DeLuna (Feb. 26, 1976), at 1; Review Committee, Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Special Education: Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee Report (Apr. 9, 1976) at 1.

Review Committee, Corpus Christi Ind. Sch. Dist., Special Education: Admission, Review and Dismissal Committee Report (Apr. 9, 1976) at 1 (“Essential Information: Low average I.Q. Has been a discipline problem. Has weaknesses in abstract reasoning & visual memory; strengths in visual reception, . . . & auditory memory. . . . Summary and Recommendations from Committee: Placement: Initially, this student might benefit from 2–3 hours/periods each day in the resource room. . . . Recommended subject areas in resource room: recommend resource in history and science.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:12:12–20:17:56:

Carlos never did well in school, we knew that. He was always slower in education. We always had to help him in school. And there again, when your parents don’t encourage you to do, to do well in school. My mom just, for some reason, never encouraged—There again, you have to understand, she never went to school. So I don’t blame her. . . . And we knew that Carlos had a learning issue. Did we ever bring it up? No. Because it was one of those things, well he didn’t need education. He can grow up and get a job. He doesn’t—What’s the education for? So you have to understand that part of the lifestyle. I knew Carlos had education issues, that’s why he gave up in school. Because he was tired of kids making fun of him cause he couldn’t read that well. Or spell that well. Or do well in school. And he wanted to be in sports, which my mother allowed him to play football. And then he was dropped out of football because he wasn’t doing well in school. So, when your kicked out of a sport, because you’re not doing well in school and you know you have a disability. He knew he had an issue in school. . . . I think he went into a depression situation as far as, “Hey, I’m not good at school. I can’t even play a sport. Who cares I’m just going to hang out and do whatever.” If you don’t have parents encouraging you to do something with your life and improve yourself, then what choices do you have? To hang out and do things you’re not supposed to be doing. And I think, in some kids as far as my case, in my situation, with me not being encouraged not to go to school. . . . I also think that if you have a learning disability, if there is something not right there with you, I think you’re just going to go on the path, like “I don’t care what happens to me.” In my situation, I cared, I didn’t want to live like that. I didn’t want to have ten or fifteen kids, from all these different men and be on welfare. So I was looking ahead. Do I want to live like this? Do I want to live like the way my mom lives? Not saying that she had fifteen kids from all these different men, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying I just looked ahead of—Do I want to be like this? Do I want to grow up to be with all these kids and not educated, and not do this and not do that? I mean, I’ve had some bumps in my life. But I also picked myself up and moved on to improve my life. I think Carlos gave up because he was laughed at, at school. And he knew he had a disability problem. And he just didn’t know where to go to get the help that you could get help. And a lot there again my mom just really didn’t care, not care, that really wasn’t an issue. So what if you can’t read or write. So what? You can always go work, you can always get a job and work. But I think Carlos didn’t want that, and I think that’s where he gave up. He just gave up.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:17:56–20:18:39, 20:26:00–20:28:29 (“[Carlos] dropped out of school because people were making fun of him at school because he wasn’t doing well and he just gave up. I believe Carlos dropped out at 7th grade. And then he got a job.”; “As Carlos got older, he realized that he was different from Manuel, older brother, and I. He knew that. I know for sure what hurt Carlos the most was when he was kicked out of football. When he was kicked out of football, he gave up. I saw Carlos give up. That’s when he dropped out of school. He didn’t care anymore, just didn’t care.”);

see also Pre-Disposition Investigation for Carlos DeLuna, Al R. Reyna, Intake Coordinator, Probation Dep’t (June 27, 1978) at 3 (“B. Education: Carlos DeLuna was attending the eighth grade at Tom Browne Junior High School in Corpus Christi, Texas and dropped out in 1977. He did not attend school for the entire school year of 1977–1978 [which would have been his ninth grade year].”);

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:28:30–20:28:40 (“I know Manuel would know what position [Carlos played] because Manuel was also in football”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005), at 20:12:12–20:14:13, 20:14:13–20:17:56, 20:17:56–20:18:39:

But did he ever bring it up? No, there again you have to understand, my mother wasn’t encouraging for us to do well in school. It was no big deal. That’s just the way she was brought up. So there was never any help given to Carlos like they have help now. If you know your kids are having some problems with learning, you can hire tutors to help your kids. That wasn’t the case with Carlos. So Carlos gave up. He just gave up. . . . Carlos never did well in school, we knew that. He was always slower in education. We always had to help him in school. And there again, when your parents don’t encourage you to do, to do well in school. My mom just, for some reason, never encouraged—There again, you have to understand, she never went to school. So I don’t blame her. . . . And we knew that Carlos had a learning issue. Did we ever bring it up? No. Because it was one of those things, well he didn’t need education. He can grow up and get a job. He doesn’t—What’s the education for? So you have to understand that part of the lifestyle. . . . [And] again my mom just really didn’t care, not care, that [Carlos’s dropping out] really wasn’t an issue . . . . [Carlos] dropped out of school because people were making fun of him at school because he wasn’t doing well and he just gave up. I believe Carlos dropped out at 7th grade. And then he got a job.

See infra note 183 (noting that Carlos worked at the Whataburger).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:12:12–20:14:13:

But did he [Carlos] ever bring it up [his difficulties in school and the teasing [because of it]? No, there again you have to understand, my mother wasn’t encouraging for us to do well in school. It was no big deal. That’s just the way she was brought up. So there was never any help given to Carlos like they have help now. If you know your kids are having some problems with learning, you can hire tutors to help your kids. That wasn’t the case with Carlos. So Carlos gave up. He just gave up. . . . I knew Carlos had education issues, that’s why he gave up in school. Because he was tired of kids making fun of him cause he couldn’t read that well. Or spell that well. Or do well in school. And he wanted to be in sports, which my mother allowed him to play football. And then he was dropped out of football because he wasn’t doing well in school. So, when you’re kicked out of a sport, because you’re not doing well in school and you know you have a disability. He knew he had an issue in school.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:17:56–20:18:39, 20:23:24–20:24:25:

I think he went into a depression situation as far as, “Hey, I’m not good at school. I can’t even play a sport. Who cares I’m just going to hang out and do whatever.” If you don’t have parents encouraging you to do something with your life and improve yourself, then what choices do you have? To hang out and do things you’re not supposed to be doing. And I think, in some kids as far as my case, in my situation, with me not being encouraged not to go to school. . . . [Carlos] dropped out of school because people were making fun of him at school because he wasn’t doing well and he just gave up. I believe Carlos dropped out at 7th grade. And then he got a job. . . . I think a lot of that had to do that Carlos didn’t feel good about himself. Carlos was not confident about him. He didn’t have the confidence. Even though Manuel, my older brother, got into some issues, but Manuel had confidence. Carlos never had confidence in himself. That’s the reason why he was so cocky. Carlos was very cocky. If you would have known Carlos from the beginning, he was very cocky, and always played this tough guy. In reality, he wasn’t anything like that. When you went one-to-one with him, he was the nicest person. You could not believe this person, Carlos, was convicted of such murder.

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:26:00–20:28:29 (“As Carlos got older, he realized that he was different from Manuel, older brother, and I. He knew that. I know for sure what hurt Carlos the most was when he was kicked out of football. When he was kicked out of football, he gave up. I saw Carlos give up. That’s when he dropped out of school. He didn’t care anymore, just didn’t care.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 19:44:14–19:45:15, 20:16:05–20:17:56, 20:20:52–20:21:50:

I moved to Dallas and from Dallas to where I met my husband. Got married, 2 kids, a daughter that’s 23 years old and a son that’s 21 years old. . . . In my situation, I cared, I didn’t want to live like that. I didn’t want to have ten or fifteen kids, from all these different men and be on welfare. So I was looking ahead. Do I want to live like this? Do I want to live like the way my mom lives? Not saying that she had fifteen kids from all these different men, I’m not saying that. I’m just saying I just looked ahead of—Do I want to be like this? Do I want to grow up to be with all these kids and not educated, and not do this and not do that? I mean, I’ve had some bumps in my life. But I also picked myself up and moved on to improve my life. . . . I’m not a follower, but when we were kids, I recall our older brother starting up, “We’re going to do this, we’re going to plan this, and you’re going to do this, Carlos, and Rose, you’re going to do this” . . . .

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:37:01–20:39:58 (“We had free lunch tickets. You fill out the paperwork—I forget how it works—and you get free lunches. That’s real embarrassing, when you’re a teenager, and you have to go stand in line and get your free lunch ticket. . . . That was a big deal for me, not having to be embarrassed, going to school every day and having to stand in that line for the free ticket.”);

Susan Montez’s Notes on Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna (July 19, 2004) at 4 (“Rose loved school, because it got her away from the house. As a teenager, she took two busses to school. She had to get up at 4 a.m., make breakfast for Manuel and Carlos and herself and clean up the house before she coud go to school.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:14:13–20:17:56 (quoted supra note 128);

see Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005) at 20:26:00–20:28:29 (“As Carlos got older, he realized that he was different from Manuel, older brother, and I. He knew that. I know for sure what hurt Carlos the most was when he was kicked out of football. When he was kicked out of football, he gave up. I saw Carlos give up. That’s when he dropped out of school. He didn’t care anymore, just didn’t care.”).

Transcribed Videotape Interview with Rose Rhoton, Sister of Carlos DeLuna, in Houston, Tex. (Feb. 26, 2005), at 19:59:44–20:02:48, 20:23:24–20:24:25:

And I know he was very cocky, very showoff. When he would go to jail, my mother was there to bail him out all the time. And he would tell police officers, “you know, I’m going to be out here in 10–15 minutes. I’ll be out of here in an hour. Watch my mom walk in, and she’s going to get me out.” And that’s exactly what would happen. She would walk in and get him out. . . . I think a lot of that had to do that Carlos didn’t feel good about himself. Carlos was not confident about him. He didn’t have the confidence. Even though Manuel, my older brother, got into some issues, but Manuel had confidence. Carlos never had confidence in himself. That’s the reason why he was so cocky. Carlos was very cocky. If you would have known Carlos from the beginning, he was very cocky, and always played this tough guy. In reality, he wasn’t anything like that. When you went one-to-one with him, he was the nicest person. You could not believe this person, Carlos, was convicted of such murder.

See infra notes 132–140 and accompanying text (discussing Carlos’s attention to how he dressed and looked).

Chapter 5
Page: 7 of 17