Jul 06 2008

Double-Crossed?

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It appears I’ve been double-crossed for Independence Day here in Compassion Central.

You see, when I went to court last Wednesday expecting to either be arraigned or begin another trial, my lawyer said the D.A. was willing to drop both charges and she ‘advised’ me to take the deal.

Now, I’d written previously on Weedtracker that I would have told the judge my lawyer wasn’t representing me and demanded another lawyer except I didn’t see that I’d get any better. Even though I resented and protested the suppression of any mention of prior arrests (all for medical marijuana and the crime of sleeping), I felt I had a good chance of not being found guilty, as I was innocent. And looking back it does appear my attorney prepared the most unflattering defense possible for me.

Here is what I wrote on WeedTracker on 06-26-2008 at 1:00pm:

Yesterday I finshed the first of several trials I am being put through by the compassionate and medical marijuana friendly city of Santa Cruz.

I was charged with battery for allegedly spitting on someone the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a long story, but basically I was homeless then, had just bought and ate a pizza, and got up to go to the restroom. As soon as I got inside someone began beating on the door. After they did this several times I said “occupied”. Then they started yelling as well, things like “did you go to sleep in there”, “are you taking a bath”, etc. Well, the fact was I was in the middle of giving a s-h-i-t. (Why would anyone -take- one of those?)

When I came out the coast was clear but before I could get past the corner in the narrow hallway and out of there it was blocked by this person who was obviously looking for any excuse to beat the crap out of me, and then have me arrested and prosecuted for it. I had taken my laptop (in a JanSport very nice, snug, padded laptop backpack) and soda into the restroom with me for fear someone would steal them, so I was wearing the backpack and holding the soda when I came out. And their was this big, angry guy who practically spit at me “What were you doing, taking a bath in there?”

I reasoned I was cornered, I was in a blind spot where noone could see what was happening, it was busy and the staff weren’t paying attention to what was going on, and I couldn’t get past this lunatic without touching him, which he would use as an excuse to beat the crap out of me and then have me arrested and charged, tried, and convicted for it.

I thought about throwing the soda on him but figured he would be expecting that and it would only make matters worse and what I wanted to do was startle him so I would have a few seconds to get past him and out of there. And the best I could come up with at the time was to spit at him (my mouth was too dry to really spit…)

And that’s more or less what happened.

The trial ended for that yesterday with a hung jury, 11 to 1 for conviction of me. They didn’t believe the plaintiff, and one of the big reasons they thought I was guilty is because my public defender (against my wishes) suppressed any mention of previous contact with police, which would include prior convictions. All of which are for marijuana, or about marijuana, or about being homeless (because I’m a medical marijuana patient).

Anyway, there will be a retrial beginning Wednesday and I’m thinking I should stand up and say my lawyer isn’t representing me, but I can’t afford a lawyer and probably won’t get any better.

This was the day before Thanksgiving and the police took my medicine, a LOT of it as I had bought to get me through the holidays.

After this trial is over I also have a trial for possession. This was on Pacific Avenue at 9pm on a Friday night, in front of Border’s bookstore. The police humiliated me in public, with statements like “a child might see you.”

In the middle of this, I have a trial for pissing, because I was homeless and there’s nowhere to pee and that is the first thing I have to do when I wake up in the morning.

None of this would have happened except that when my landlord in Brookdale evicted me for having marijuana (knowing I was a medical marijuana patient before I interviewed and filled out an application), the homeless services here refused me shelter or any assistance whatsoever. Every social service in the county slammed their door in my face.

There are 1,000 ‘units’ of emergency and transitional housing in Santa Cruz and not one for medical marijuana patients. Every single one is an SLE (Sober Living Environment) and their attitude is that medical marijuana patients are junkies in serious need of being beat over the head daily with a Big Book. And they require a drug test. And they consider marijuana an illegal drug.

And here is what I wrote on The Sentinel’s Forum on Wed Jun 25, 2008 at 4:14pm:

At 3pm the jury declared itself irrevocably hung.

There will be a retrial, beginning Wednesday.

They did not believe the plantiff and I was told they were all relieved to not return a guilty verdict.

The criticism I heard was that my attorney did not undercut the plaintiff’s credibility enough, and they felt bound to follow the most narrow interpretation of the law.

They did not feel it was a waste of time, but they did feel it was a tremendous waste of money.

I also feel badly about saying what I did regarding Robert & Becky. They were trying to help.

On the Sentinel’s Forum on Thu 26 Jun, 2008 at 10:30am:

I forgot to state that it is thanks to Becky, who sat waiting for the jury in front of the courthouse, and interviewed those who were willing to speak with her afterwards, that I know the above.

Becky also told me that a big consideration for the jurors was that the D.A. wouldn’t be prosecuting this, especially since the plaintiff was such an uncredible witness, unless there was a ‘good’ reason. This was supported when the prosecution attempted to ask the police officer about other encounters with me and was admonished by the judge per a motion by my lawyer to exclude any mention of marijuana or my prior convictions, (all for marijuana), during the trial. (I didn’t agree to this myself, and had considered asking for another lawyer because of this, but then there was all the drama with Robert & Becky. And besides, how am I going to get representation that is any better?)

I have a feeling a weak little pirate radio station somewhere in a musky basement in Santa Cruz will be airing a show about this either tonight or Sunday.

I was told not to mention marijuana. I asked, how am I supposed to explain how I became homeless? I told the public defender I couldn’t explain anything without mentioning marijuana – like why I know most of the police force by name, for starters.

The more I think about this, the angrier I get.

One of the things I was told was that the jury took 4 votes, two of them secret ballot, and there was 1 ‘hold-out’. That juror was pressured into changing their vote by the others, but then another juror became the ‘hold-out’. And they determined they were irrevocably deadlocked, and nothing would change things.

The implication is that if they’d taken another vote, there might have been two hold-outs, and a retrial might have been avoided.

In The Sentinel’s forum Thu 3 Jul, 2008 at 9:43am.

I was fully prepared to go through two more jury trials beginning yesterday. But my public defender said the D.A. was willing to drop the battery and marijuana possession charge if I get a test for communicable disease. And that I don’t get arrested for a year.

I thought about it a few minutes and couldn’t find anything wrong with it, and accepted, in the spirit of cutting my losses.

The marijuana they took wasn’t mentioned, and it was a considerable amount. Particularly what they took the day before Thanksgiving as I had just purchased a large quantity to get me through the holidays. At least half an ounce.

I didn’t think about that until after the deal was done.

And it seems to me that the arrangement will mean that there is no opportunity for me to get my medicine back. They aren’t going to dismiss the charges right away, but are going to wait a year to do that. I have an appointment for July 9, 2009 to have the charges dismissed.

So the terms are: Have a test for communicable disease, don’t get arrested for a year, and forget about the $300+ worth of medicine they stole.

I’m not sure about the last but it seems implied.

And the more I think about it the less good I feel about it.

For one thing, I hadn’t considered that I allowed my Medi-Cal to lapse because it was absolutely useless to me after they increased my MONTHLY ‘share of cost’ from $0 to $147. That meant I would have to pay the first $147 of my medical expenses per month.

And now that I’ve had a chance to think about the deal, a blood test is probably going to cost hundreds, maybe more. I certainly can’t, and DO NOT intend to pay for it. They told me to take the court order to Emeline and see what happens.

The more I think about this the more I think I will be going to trial in August, because I certainly do not intend to pay for the test.

It has already cost me $300 for the medicine they stole from me, on Thanksgiving, when I needed it most.

Yes, the more I think about this the madder I get.

And then, after calling Robert’s show Thursday night, in The Sentinel’s forum on Thu 3 Jul, 2008 at 9:36pm:

The first thing I intend to ask, again, is what happens if I should get arrested.

The first thing I told the public defender was that I wasn’t interested in any kind of probation, and she said it wasn’t probation. When I asked what would happen if I got arrested she replied, “What are they gonna do, refile the charges and have a trial again?”

Well, Robert thinks I may have forfeited my right to trial, and that what it means is that all the police have do to now is arrest me to send me to jail for battery and possession of marijuana.

So I will be worried about that all weekend. Now all I can think is that I have been screwed by the public defender. Totally, royally, screwed. And that they lied to me, and betrayed me.

I called and left a message about the marijuana this morning.

Well, it’s certainly good to know the ACLU is right there on Pacific Avenue, and they don’t know, don’t care, and DO NOT want to know.

Santa Cruz has truly taught me to long for death.

And in the Sentinel’s forum on Thu 3 Jul, 2008 at 10:13pm:

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that my public defender sold me down the river.


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