IDIOT OFFICIALS BELIEVE MONEY AND EFFICIENCY MORE IMPORTANT THAN JUSTICE
WHY A CONCIENTIOUS CITIZEN SHOULD
JUST VOTE NO
THE DECLINE OF JUSTICE, COMMON SENSE, KINDNESS TO THE ALTER OF EFFICIENCY AND REVENUE. A LAWYERS AWAKENING!
I had just purchased a car. I the dealer put the old plates on the car as well as the temporary sticker on the back. On the way from the dealership, I was stopped by a Boulder policewoman because I had both a license plate and a temp sticker on my car. Since it was new, I had no insurance certificate and was issued a summons for no proof of insurance, which requires a mandatory court appearance. I went abroad for 3 weeks and returned two days before my mandatory appearance. However, my return was not to my home, but to the hospital with pneumonia. While in the hospital, I missed my court appearance. The municipal court automatically issued a warrant for my arrest and ordered a $500 bond. I called the court, explaining to a clerk that I was hospitalized and was told to appear when I got out of the hospital. I was released Fri afternoon and was told that that division of the court was at the jail that day and to report there, which I did immediately after discharge. The judge left early, and I was arrested on the warrant. I had to post a $500 bond through a machine because the Jail would not accept cash and the bail system was privatized. The phones were privatized so that only collect calls could be made. Imagine a collect call from your lawyer in jail? WE DO NOT HAVE JUSTICE, we have automated, privatized revenue generation, with high paid idiots administering a collection agency while wearing robes. How can this be rectified? Even an activist such as myself can’t afford to sue them and, even if I could, the result would be insulting. While stewing in a bare holding cell because I would not sign a blanket medical release, I thought about the countless poor people, uneducated, young, confused, afraid and powerless who had to suffer the same indignities. This is what happened.
I survey my surroundings. I am in Boulder County Jail-in a cell with no furniture-with a cement slab to lie upon-with a stainless steel commode and wash basin- with nowhere to sit but the commode. I am fuming. I am frustrated. I feel betrayed by a community to which I have contributed for 50 plus years. I also wonder where I’ve been the last two decades. This isn’t at all what I remember from my days as a Criminal Defense Lawyer. Now, I understand that I am not on the best friend’s list of the police establishment. They generally resent all defense attorneys and me in particular. It wasn’t always that way. But that was before this nation went to a war footing on marijuana and other drugs. I sit, staring at bare walls and wonder how this could occur in a democratic, sane, free society. It can’t happen. But it did happen. If it happened the society must not be democratic, sane and free. I am experiencing first- hand the police state. I’ve heard clients complaining, but this was worse than any of them described. What I really don’t understand is why I am the only one that is concerned about things. Why don’t people talk about these things or write their officials? Why are some people allowed to have a public paycheck?
But, I still had doubts. This was too much like Kafka, only this is the United States, not some dictatorship operating under Napoleon Code. Maybe, with all my medications, I was hallucinating. Maybe I had been too long without my oxygen or my insulin. That was it. I was delusional. They gave me something at the hospital before I left. I am actually home dreaming, or more likely a nightmare. But, it seems so real. What had I done to deserve to be locked up without trial? Why was a bond set at two times my monthly social security check? The original charge was not having proof of insurance in the new car I had just purchased. Although the information is readily available on the computer systems in patrol cars now, it doesn’t matter. A mandatory appearance is required. I was in the hospital on the court date. I did not, therefore appear for Court. With zero tolerance, I must be arrested. What justification warrants putting me in the slammer without my medications, my oxygen, my insulin, or watch? Where is the oversight of these people? How did anyone get into a decision-making office or position to do this to a person? There was no one with which I could share my outrage or frustration. Most importantly, why had I not paid attention when this type of system was evolving? Because, it wasn’t happening to me!
Some background is in order. Boulder recently sent out a questionnaire about the need for additional police as an attempt to justify the hiring of more police to keep the Commies, the poor, the young and other undesirables leashed or driven out of town. A tax in the form of traffic violation citations are imposed upon the citizenry and enforced by the police. As described in my comments about Boulder’s parade of lights, three cars participated in the issuance of a citation for expired plates. It should be obvious to the most casual observer that more cops aren’t needed to control crime or protect the citizens. The only possible explanation for the addition of more police is additional revenue generation. One now can see the police out in wolf-packs almost on a daily basis, hunting unwary drivers like Nazi U boats on the Atlantic in the 40’s, preying on the public and generating revenue for the City. The wolf packs are camouflaged and disguised as ordinary citizens. But, with a significant difference. They are equipped with equipment to stop motorists and inflict punishment. If cops are lucky, the vehicle can be seized as prize for certain offenses, just like the old days when privateers ruled the waves. The system works with the collusion of the City Attorney and the Municipal Court organized and maintained to increase revenues and maximize profit. Their job is no longer to represent all the people and promote fairness, it is to terrorize citizens and collect revenue. To do this, officials generally market fear, or the need to protect children or some other variant of Chicken Little’s cry that the sky is falling or “Wolf”.
Ordinarily, there is a spotter with a radar gun and a gaggle of motorcycle cops lined up to pursue the victim. Additionally, some areas are automated with photo radar and photo red light cameras, which can record violations without ever involving human thought or compromise.
A person can tell that the system is rigged for revenue by observing the patrol cars used currently by “law enforcement” tax collectors and the behavior of the police. The police have all kinds of special laws that can punish for exhibiting an unfavorable opinion or expression disappointment, frustration fear or anger. We, as motorists are expected to Kow-Tow to these petty tyrants and give them far greater respect than they deserve as the whores of politicians. For instance, a cop arrested a driver recently for saluting him with “the bird”. The officer believed this was a showing disrespect. Respect no longer has to be learned.
Also, an officer can write his evaluation of the driver’s attitude on the back of the citation. If attitude is marked as bad, the prosecutor is expected to add some form of additional sanction not applied to others. This gives the policeman the opportunity to lie and punish if he doesn’t like a particular motorist. Police delude themselves with the dangers of the job, when in fact, more teachers are assaulted annually than are police. They claim that the public doesn’t understand the stress which causes them to be rude, oppressive, assaultive and murderous. If we did, we would let them beat people up, push them around and kill them. The Public is the “Other,” or as the police refer to them, “scumbags”. This attitude is reinforced by administrations all over the country.
It is clear that the purpose of police is not protection. Any freshman sociology student can cite the myriad of studies that show identification of the police is a large deterrent to crime. That is why in some cities, the police are taken out of the cars and walk a beat. That is why police cars used to be clearly marked so that would be criminals would see them driving in the area and think twice about committing any offense. Now, police lurk around with stealth lights, disguising identifying symbols of police, not protecting the citizenry, but intent upon punishing and taxing. The light bars are no longer, or at least have a slim profile. Paint jobs are no longer distinctive so that a citizen can identify a policeman. Boulder doesn’t even have donut shops anymore.
Other than receiving a summons or complaint, there is very little opportunity to meet a policeman any more. Even the courts have become automated to the point where there is no need for police testimony, and hence, no checks and balances. The police state has effectively cut of any feedback loop. If the function of the police is to issue revenue generating tickets, the police officer doesn’t want to announce his presence with marked car of light bar. To see the disdain that the City has for its citizens, check out the back seats of police cars, where the citizen sits. There is a hard plastic seat which is designed to inflict discomfiture.
What is truly amazing is that the police actually believe that they do not get the respect that they deserve. But who can respect a hypocrite, or a blustering bully? They are not protecting us, they are exploiting us, intimidating us, hurting us. They don’t respect us, they push us around. Respect is earned, not mandated by law. Respect is not earned by a bully. Fear is the resultant product. Coupled with the fear is intense resentment. If police truly were looking out for the public rather than furthering the oppression, they might be respected. Now, only the powerful appreciate the police, but they are also contemptuous of them. Who can really respect a toady who punishes the poor for the pleasure of the privileged? Because of their role as oppressor and surrogate for the rulers, I guess that it is therefore only fitting that the police should be contemptuous of us.
I had a chance to experience this first hand. There wasn’t the least glimmer of compassion in the faces of the jailers. I have seen more compassion shown cattle in a feeder lot. Jailers all seemed up tight and angry. Since I was there, I was obviously a bad ass or I would not have been there. I was being punished for some reason. Since that were the case, the jailers felt they could punish me also. I had been booked and printed. Forms were filled out and I was told that my bond would be onethousand five hundred dollars, which was the equivalent of two months of my social security check. As the night wore on, things became clearer.
I have been ill for a while. (hence, the dearth of commentary) It culminated with a stay in the hospital where I received a transfusion of blood because I was a quart low. Had hospital personnel checked with people who knew me, they could have found this out without all the testing, poking, prodding and other neat things they do to patients in the hospital to keep them from sleeping or even resting. I have been accused of running a quart low for some time now. In any event, prior to the hospitalization, I was issued a citation for not having proof of insurance in my car, having plates affixed while a temporary sticker was in the rear window, and speeding through a speed trap one block before Highway 93 at Table Mesa Drive. Since there was no proof of insurance on my person, I was issued a mandatory court date to present the certificate to someone. It seems that people must now have mandatory papers or face discipline. This really pisses me off because I was told that the data base on insurance is available through the new data bases accessed by computer in the patrol car. However, one should not inconvenience an officer of the law. This is their chance to exert authority. Reason, common sense and fairness must take a back seat. This is the chance to show the citizen that police are no longer servants, but their masters.
However, since the insurance law represents a change in at least four centuries of precedent, and is designed to punish the poor if they dare drive, the burden of proof is now on the driver rather than the person who has the insurable interest. In any event, a mandatory appearance is calculated to make your remember to have the certificate with you and to show people that they better have insurance or else. This does present a problem when a different used car is purchased from a private party. The police do not recognize the grace periods required by law to be in the policy of insurance if a vehicle is changed or replaced. I don’t expect a police officer to understand that, let alone a prosecutor, with or without robe. It necessitates some thought and common sense. Or, if they do understand, they will ignore it, using the rationale that they are just following orders. In any event, since I was hospitalized, I missed the Court date. I should digress to state that the hospitalization was the result of a CAT scan given immediately before and was not scheduled in advance or planned.
In any event, I was transported to the Emergency Room from the CAT scan, where I sat for 5 hours before admittance. People who know me claim that I am impatient. I find that hard to believe. After 5 hours of being ignored, might perceive that the place was busy and maybe another day would be more convenient. The doctor explained that I was the most serious patient in room and they were waiting for a bed. It would have helped had they told me. I explained that I was forbidden food and water for 5 hours and was thirsty. A compromise was made. I stayed for tests and transfusion.
When I was released days later, a warrant had been issued against me, a default judgment entered against my driver’s record, subjecting me to an automatic termination of my driver’s license and a bond set for $1565.00. The process was automated. This is zero tolerance in the extreme. When I called the courthouse, I was told to go to the courtroom at the jail and a new appearance date would be given me. Generally, this is done over the phone with the setting clerk, but the city must do things differently. What wasn’t explained was that I would be arrested until I could be transported to court to appear in front of a judge. I didn’t get another date because, low and behold, I had been found guilty in absentia and therefore could be punished. Form takes precedence over substance. Presumptions of innocence, due process and other quaint medieval ideas must be struck down for the sake of efficiency and control. I was guilty and my license subject to suspension and fines already levied. Since I was in the hospital, I did not appear. Since I did not appear, I committed the offense of failure to appear. Although I had been convicted in absentia, a bond was still required on the original charges plus the new charge of not appearing. If I was found guilty by default and a penal amount in the nature of a fine assessed against me, how can there be a bond required for an appearance on those offenses? There can be no benefit of the doubt. One must now appear to prove innocence, not to be proven guilty. I sat there trying to understand why so many people appeared to have attended laws schools in foreign jurisdiction and wondering where I had been when all this was happening.
I remembered that when I was a judge, I would issue stays of execution for missed dates, giving the citizen the benefit of the doubt in case of mistake or hardship. That was before the days of automation when justice was intended for people not as a device to send messages to terrorize citizens into compliance. We were a tolerant society and not suspicious of everything and everybody. I went to Judging School at Northwestern University and other places. We were taught that, as a judge, our main job was one of public relations for the municipality. The reason was that 90% of the people who had any contact with any court, experience this contact through the municipal traffic court. At that time, studies showed that 90% of that population had an unfavorable opinion of both the courts and the city afterward. The abolition of Justices of the Peace and replacement with Municipal Judges was supposed to have remedied this. I remember spending lots of time explaining things to motorists. Most left with the belief that I cared for them. That was before we became “marks” or “pigeons” to be preyed upon by police. I have now changed my view somewhat. It was not the JP system, but the willingness of the person sitting on the bench to abandon integrity, honor and honesty to move cases and make a profit for the boss. We are told that we don’t pay judges enough. Bull shit. Do we really want someone judging us whose only motive is a paycheck? That puts justice for sale. It is not the amount of pay, but the type of appointee that matters.
In any event, I was arrested. When I told them I was on oxygen and 16 different medications, I was ordered to sign a blanket medical release. The explanation was that I had to prove that I needed various medicine, not the other way around. To prove I was not a liar, I had to disclose over 60 years of medical information. When I balked, I was placed in solitary confinement with a metal sink, concrete slab, and metal commode, no chair and no mattress or blanket. When I asked why, I was told it was because I was not co-operative. At that time, my pulse oxymeter, which I was somehow allowed to keep showed my level at oxygen level at 64%, which is dangerously low.
The conversation with the jail nurse was very revealing. It went something like this.
“Why were you in the hospital?”
“I was bleeding.”
“I hope you don’t expect us to give you all those medications here!”
“I don’t expect anything from you.”
“Why didn’t you bring your medications with you?”
“Do most people have their medications with them when they get arrested?”
“Do you need oxygen?”
“What do you think?”
“You have to sign this release so we can check to see if you are really on all these medications. We don’t even know for sure if you were really in the hospital.”
“Do you have some doubts, with my appearance? I did appear here of my own volition.”
At that point, I expected someone from the jail to call a judge and ask for instructions. I believe that my parrot could have figured out why I missed Court. Something should have ameliorated the situation. At least that is what I directed the people to do when I was a judge. If I wasn’t called in such a situation, I would have demanded that the person be fired for stupidity. In any event, there I sat in a bare cell without a chair. I then realized how some people were able to die in a jail without the jailers knowing anything. It was obvious from the attitude of the jailers that they were looking forward to inflicting pain and suffering on this poor outsider. They did not care about me, my illnesses or my health. Procedure was automated. There would be no exceptions to slow down the revenue generation process. If sick persons were put in solitary, how was any jailer able to tell if a crisis occurred, especially if they didn’t care. So, there I was, on a concrete floor, isolated from any other person, told that that is where I would spend the night unless I signed a blanket medical release, slowly seething. The jailers treated me like I was John Dillinger and were offended that I didn’t kiss their asses as they walked by. After all, they were privileged, I was the scumbag. They were going to show me who was boss. They had me from Friday to the following Monday on their terms and conditions with absolutely no supervision or interference from any court or judge. They were masters of the universe. Who needs education and brains when you have raw, unbridled power?
It occurred to me how sheltered I had been the past two decades of my career. When I first started out, attorneys would visit clients in jail during or right after their arrest. Bonds were set and people were released in an hour or two. Jailers were courteous, sensitive and answered to the Court and the public. Lawyers were the observers and spokes persons for the people. Court personnel were concerned about fairness and justice, not protection and punishment. Then the criminal justice system became bureaucratized for the sake of efficiency. Judges relinquished their roles as supervisors to the prosecutors, willing to allow the change to the police state. Individual inconveniences were ignored for the sake of efficiency and the “greater good.”
When I started, there was no public defender system. When it was proposed to the legislature, Rollie Rogers, Colorado’s first public defender told the legislature that only 10 percent of the criminal cases would be handled by the public defender’s office. Then it grew to where it is now days with 90% of the cases represented by the public defenders. This is a bureaucrat’s wet dream. Public defenders are charged with protecting the rights of the accused, not advocating for them. Private attorneys mediate between the system and the public. Change can occur by the outrage and actions of the private attorney. Public defenders are proscribed from making waves. They make the system work no matter what. Now, few private attorneys are involved in the criminal justice process. Let the public defenders do it.
So, the biggest shock was that no one seemed to be outraged that an old man, on social security with many ailments was to spend the weekend on a cement slab as punishment for not signing a general medical release to prove that he was ill. I was outraged. Additionally, all calls had to be made collect from the jail phone for approximately two dollars each. What a racket!!!
Finally, it must have dawned on someone that there might be some liability attached to keeping me because the attitude of the jailers seemed to change with the shift change. I was talked to. Some concern was shown and it appeared that they were worried. When I told them that I didn’t know any numbers except for what was in my cell phone, I was handed my phone and told to make calls. Unfortunately, because of client confidentiality, client’s names and numbers were not in my cell phone. The only names contained in the phone were reporters, students, and out of state contacts. So I called them. When the press and students started to call the jail to confirm my presence there, jailers took my phone away. I guess that they didn’t want to answer questions by the press and justify their actions. It was OK to have me prove illness, but not for them to justify their dictatorship. Finally, my wife arrived with some oxygen. However, she forgot to fill it. She had rounded up the cash for the bond and would secure my release. To the rescue.
There was a snag, however. The Sheriff informed my wife that the coin of the realm or the official legal tender for all debts private or public could not be accepted at the jail. She was told that she had to deposit the money in a kiosk plus a ten percent fee to a bonding company for a bond. Now I understood. Justice had been privatized and was for sale. Everyone got to take a bite of the poor schmuck before release. Why not, he couldn’t fight back. When I was released and my property returned to me, I was forty dollars short. Apparently, they could collect cash from my wallet for the jail processing fee, but not for a court ordered cash bond. No one seemed outraged by the exploitive nature of the situation. People there were bad and therefore could be punished because that is what they deserved It was just the way it was. The people in power could fuck people any way they chose. As was stated by the bandit in “The Magnificent Seven,” “If God had not intended them to be shorn, he wouldn’t have made them sheep.” This was allowed because the officials view Government as an enterprise and not a service. As such, if a monopoly exists, it is the right of the monopoly to exploit until someone squawks and garners enough power to stop or break up the monopoly.
Finally, I was released from confinement for the modest amount of two times my monthly social security check. But that is just prologue.
When I got to Court, all were amazed that I demanded a jury trial for a failure to have proof of insurance. No one was amazed that it had cost me some $1800 thus far, $180 of which was consumed as fees to vendors. Had I wanted a bondsman, I would have called one. But since I did not, I got to give the fee to the Sheriff’s anointed one, designated under the doctrine of the divine right of Kings or the King could do no wrong. I tried to explain why I was outraged, but no one seemed to understand. That was the worst thing. How could people be appointed to positions of power and not see the injustice or unfairness in what had transpired. My colleagues were not aware of the situation because our clients general made bail or weren’t arrested. Either that or they are too busy to be aware of the situation. Or, just maybe, their sense of right and wrong and of justice has been destroyed by the police mentality brought on by the drug war and such things as the “patriot act.” Maybe what was reprehensible to my father and his WW II buddies is now passé and trite or quaint, like some politicians referred to our constitution.
I guess that is the case. In any event, I doubt if anyone, after reading this would feel outraged enough to call the city and officialdom and demand an accounting from the Sheriff’s office. No one would question the qualifications of an Eichmann like judge who devises rules and procedures to keep the system going and not to achieve fairness or justice. The priorities of the Courts reflect the priorities of the people. As such, the Courts don’t care. Why should they. Go into a courtroom and see if anyone is there to observe. Go to court and see how a judge behaves toward the peasantry. Go to court to watch judges delegate decision making to the prosecutors and police representatives. Go to court and observe how the magistrates claim that the DA has agreed to point reduction of tickets in exchange for guilty pleas, when in fact it is a matter of policy to discourage debate and enforce the idea of zero tolerance. Then listen to the public blame it on the lawyers and not the politicians and power brokers who advance the police state. If the public cared, there would be a flood of letters, articles, protests and no votes until the Courts become responsive to the public rather than the privileged. Until that time, suffer quietly unto extinction. But hopefully, this will be remembered when the City or the State requests more oppression in the form of additional police.
Well, what can we do? I know one thing that can be done. It happened in Fort Collins. Two prosecutors framed a defendant because he was different and was a candidate for persecution because he was perceived as weird. Since people are now willing to believe the worse, he was readily tried and convicted for a particularly heinous crime. Years later, he was proven innocent. In the course of the proceedings, it was discovered that evidence contradicting the official theory of the case was secreted. Also, some evidence was manufactured. The district attorneys on the case thought this was just because they just knew the guy was guilty.
Upon release, he sued Larimer County and Ft. Collins. He collected over $8000000 in a settlement. The prosecutors that framed the man were rewarded with judgeships. Justice was done. However, some citizens were offended. They demanded accountability from the now judges. However, the lawyers came to the rescue of the judges. A poll was taken of the lawyers and they were almost unanimous in their evaluations of stellar performance by these jurists. No lawyer had balls to vote no when he might have to appear before the judge. They knew that the voters re-elect the judges no matter what. However, they were wrong. The case was so outrageous that the voters voted the rascals out of office. The public has a conscience even if the legal establishment doesn’t.
- Posted in: 2d Amendment