Peace be with you
I have so many things to write about, but am busy defending myself from an accusation I violated some uncodified, vague, selectively enforced, rule, by a whopping 21 seconds. I’ve been in court Wednesday and Thursday (June 17 and 18). All of you familiar with the court system probably think I am in the middle of a long hearing, but your wrong. I am just trying to get another continuance.
I went to have my suppression motion heard Wednesday morning. It was scheduled for courtroom two, was docketed in courtroom three, and called in courtroom seven. After assuring Judge Cissna that I was ready to proceed with the hearing, Blair Angus, a county council (not the lawyers prosecuting me), caught me in the hall and told me that two of my subpoenaed witnesses were out of town and wouldn’t appear. I didn’t know Blair was county council, and somehow assumed she was with the District Attorney. She came to work out a deal with me on the five county employees I subpoenaed, but I didn’t realize she wasn’t a prosecuting attorney so she ended up sitting around the courtroom half a day.
When I first heard that Phillip Crandall was one of the two violating the subpoenas all’s I could think was, body attachment. A “body attachment” is basically an arrest warrant you get a judge to sign for someone violating a subpoena. I realize that unlike you and me to Crandall a body attachment is nothing more than a phone call telling him when to show up. I decided the best course of action was to move the court for a continuance. Blair promised to bring me a list of dates when all the county employees will be available.
Anyone who has been through any court system in this country realizes that plea bargining is what passes for justice in this nation of profiteering off crime. The judges encourage plea bargaining, asking again and again if the lawyers have reached an agreement. The shitty thing about plea bargaining is that innocent people get harsh punishment, while those who really hurt people get reduced deals. With over worked and under paid public defenders, with elderly and mostly conservative juries, with people’s natural tendency to want the least in punishments, with the cops, the DA, and judges all wanting drug war convictions instead of justice, with the piling on of charges, and with the possible loss of job/housing the plea bargain model of pseudo-justice has slowly replaced our truth based peer system. Because the odds are that stacked against you, especially when you’re innocent, plea bargaining is really coercion. The judges are require to ask if you “have been coerced into accepting this plead bargain,” yet nobody ever says yes.
The “bargain” the DA is currently offering in my case is, plead guilty of count one and they’ll drop count two. My counter is drop all charges, and I won’t ask Jimmy Smith to publish an apology in the papers. I’m not sure that is really a wise move on my behalf though. It seems that the purpose of “bargaining” is to get a bargain. The DA’s goal is to get a conviction, and my goal after all is to force Jimmy Smith, or any other boring supe chairman, to allow me my constitutional/legislated uninterrupted time of their attention. How exactly I get my legal, constitutional, civil right to redress my grievances matters not to me as long as it is obtained non-violently.
When we finally got called in front of Judge Cissna again he had to recuse himself because he is friends with one of my witnesses. This meant we had to wait around for another judge to open up. After about an hour the head court clerk Linda Carter, got us to agree to 8:30 the next morning in front of judge Reinholtsen.
When lawyers wait around the hall waiting to have their cases called it’s pay for by tax dollars. Lawyers bill their hours to each case. Normally it is one DA, but in this case it is a DA and a County council. I have so far invested $3 for bus tickets for every day I appeared in court (though a few have been on days I would have been in Eureka anyway). It appears to me that because the county is facing a law suit they believe the have to keep throwing good money after bad.
Thursday morning’s wait fest didn’t last long – 30 to 45 minutes. This continuance was important at this point, none of the witnesses were told to return. I didn’t even bring a note taker (someone to take notes during the hearing). Judge Reinholtsen granted the continuance, vacated the trial date which was mistakenly set for June 29th instead of July 29, and acknowledged that I received discovery on even more witness from the DA.
When I arrived Wednesday Jeremiah Ross, the DA prosecuting my case, told me we had trial on June 29th. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I checked my notes from when we set the trial date and saw I had written “7/29.” Because my charges are misdemeanor missing a trial date would mean a warrant for my arrest. Though I am sure the warrant would leave a “cite and release” clause one must remember I’m tad and the cops arrest me without reason, let alone a paper saying they can. The clerk wrote the wrong date and I was at risk. Luckily it was fairly easy to catch seeing how it was scheduled the day before the “pretrial conference.”
The DA keeps giving me more and more “discovery.” Some of it makes no sense at all. Like police reports from civil disobedience I was accused of in the past. Understand this “discovery” is not the court records which actually shows I was never found guilty of those charges. If the fact that cops seem to hate me for standing up for my rights is evidence against me then I’d be glad to retry all those case now too. The only one of those old cases I was convicted of anything was once I bargained away 4 or 5 misdemeanor protest related charges for an infraction disturbing the peace plea, with no fine and I plead Nolo contendere to. A Nolo contendere, or no contest, plea means I never admitted guilt. And that means if the DA wants to introduce any bygone shit into this case I get to retry all those old cases I’ve always regretted not getting the justice I deserved on.
It would be interesting if the County decided to spend as much prosecuting someone who dissented against its policies as they would prosecuting a capital criminal. Oh well I can’t concern myself with too much right now past the suppression hearing I’m trying to have heard, and that has been rescheduled to July 16th, at 8:30 am. This time it seems a go. Blair promised me that all the witnesses will show up, I will also re-subpoena them and arrive in court with body attachments ready for the judges signature.