April 12, 2001
For a beautiful navy blue T-shirt
with "J.A.I.L." on the back and www.jail4judges.org large and visible over
the pocket, imprinted in a bright yellow-gold lettering, send your check payable
to J.A.I.L. for $11.95 plus $4 S&H. (Discounts on volume quantities.) Wear
them to your next courthouse function and watch the
Looking At Jail
From The Bright
(Mocking The System)
It's jail, and he likes it just fine
By Christy Gutowski,
Daily Herald Legal Affairs Writer
James Pihera describes
his living conditions this way: He's in a gated community, dines on free cuisine
and has dozens of servants at his beck and call.
For nearly four years,
Pihera has lived at 501 N. County Farm Road - more commonly known as the DuPage
County jail. And that's exactly where the 69-year-old man chooses to be. He's
even fought efforts to put him back on the street by threatening to
commit a crime. "Being in jail is hell," he says. "But at my age, it doesn't
matter where I'm at. It doesn't bother me one bit. I've never had it so good."
Not only that, he holds the dubious distinction of being the
longest-running inmate in a county jail where the typical stay is less than one
year. Defendants sentenced to anything longer are transferred to state prisons.
"I told the judge I like it here," he said in an interview from the
jail. "It's better than under a viaduct. Hey, I live in a gated community with
free food and free servants. I never had it so good."
diabetic, is confined to a wheelchair after falling in October 1997 while
being taken from court back to the jail.
He spends most of his time in
the jail alone, either researching
in the law library (even filing his own
legal briefs on occasion),
watching the news or sleeping. He is kept in a
segregated area, away from direct contact with other inmates due to his age,
medical condition and past history of squabbles. ....
conspiracy theories have landed him in the Elgin Mental
twice since his arrest. One psychologist noted in a 1997 report, "despite a
cheerful demeanor and ability to relate in a personal way, he's manifested clear
evidence of a paranoid psychotic disorder."
Despite that, experts at the
mental health facility found Pihera
stable enough to return to the county
jail both times after 90-day
stints in Elgin.
Besides the questions
of mental fitness, there's another reason for the length of Pihera's stay at the
county jail: His distrust in the legal system. He refused to cooperate with two
defenders assigned to the case. Pihera now is represented
by two taxpayer-paid private attorneys who are working together on both civil
and criminal proceedings.
Pihera hasn't been successful in convincing judges he was swindled, one local
advocacy group is behind him, even passing out flyers on his behalf that suggest
Pihera's been denied medical care. "Jim was a successful businessman in DuPage
County who was swindled out of his retirement property, house, business,
equipment and Social Security by corrupt ...Illinois lawyers and judges,"
according to the FAIR and Justice Seekers flyer.
shedding any tears for James Pihera. In fact,
they've tried to get him
sprung - temporarily that is.
It costs taxpayers about $60 a day to
house Pihera - and that doesn't account for the thousands of dollars in attorney
and medical fees that are paid out of public coffers since he's considered
Prosecutor Steven Knight tried to get Pihera's $300,000 bond
reduced, saying the man has no criminal history and, if convicted, likely would
be sentenced a term comparable to what he's already served while awaiting trial.
Pihera fought the move, though. He even told
DuPage Circuit Judge Ann Jorgensen he'd never show up for court and likely would
commit a crime if released. "I won't tell you where I'm at, nothing," he said,
looking up defiantly from his wheelchair. Pihera got his
wish. The judge sent him back to his jail cell.
jail volunteers routinely work with inmates such as Pihera to help them find
housing when they're released, he admits he has no interest in halfway houses or
the like should he be found eligible.
He clings to the belief that he'll
ultimately be vindicated by the
courts, and that his property will be
returned. "I don't want to get out (of jail) until they give me my house back,"
Pihera said. "They thought I'd cave in. I'm not going to. I get stronger all the
time. I'm a survivor. I know I'm going to win."
J.A.I.L. is an acronym for (Judicial Accountability Initiative
JAIL's very informative website is found at www.jail4judges.org
JAIL proposes a
unique new addition to our form of government.
JAIL is powerful! JAIL is
dynamic! JAIL is America's ONLY hope!
JAIL's is spreading across America like
a fast moving wildfire!
JAIL is making inroads into Congress for federal
JAIL may be supported at P.O. Box 207, N. Hollywood, CA
To subscribe or be removed: add-remove-jail@...
E-Groups may sign on at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jail4judges/join
Open forum to make your voice heard JAIL-SoundOff@egroups.com
"..it does not require a majority to prevail,
but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's
minds.." - Samuel Adams
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of
evil to one who is
striking at the
-- Henry David Thoreau