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** California JAILer Stands Tough on "Dog Off Leash" Case**

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  • jail4judges
    J.A.I.L. News Journal _____________________________________________________ Los Angeles, California May 6, 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , May 6, 2003
      J.A.I.L. News Journal
      Los Angeles, California                                               May 6, 2003
      HotSeat4Judges/M-Th/5pmPT   TheJAILerMakers   What?MeWarden?
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      California JAILer Stands Tough
      On "Dog Off Leash" Case
      Our thanks to Michael Stephen Chacon, snorahs12@...,
      for putting the judiciary to the test in Whittier, California.
      *  *  *
      Even though I am viewed as the defendant in this case, the way I am looking at it is this: I am not on trial here, the court officers are. 
      - Michael Chacon
      (By Mr. Chacon):
      During my recent exploits in the Whittier Courthouse, I have become quite the fly in the ointment.
      For those of you who don't know, in Dec. of 2002, I was cited with a misdemeanor offense of "Dog off the leash".
      From Jan. 31st to March 11th it was being prosecuted as a misdemeanor offense until a biased judge "amended" the charge to an infraction after wearying of my constitutional conclusions and self presented grandstanding.
      All I really wanted was:
      1. a complete written accounting of all of my rights
      2. clear unchanging definitions of the offense charged and other legally 
          substantive text/issues. Definitions that would not be subject to
          change as a result of judicial discretion late in the game
      3. straight reasonable answers to straight reasonable questions
      4. assistance of counsel, not representation of a lawyer
      5. a jury trial
      6. the unobstructed ability to make my own audio transcript recording
      Not too much to ask from a fair and unbiased court interested only in seeing the truth prevail, right?
      But yet in one way or another, I've been denied all of it up until this week. Now I am being denied just most of it.  
      As most of us have learned, not all judges "excrete" their discretions the same way.
      As far as I am concerned, my legislated inalienable rights are mine just like a dollar bill in my pocket is mine. No judge is going to use discretion to rule my dollar bill worth only 23 cents. Just try it! With that in mind, it is no small miracle that I have not been rolled up for contempt of court yet.
      My case is now back in a court Division geared to hearing infractions under a Commissioner. I like this Commissioner. She seems fair and genuinely interested in making sure that I receive all that I am entitled to by law.
      I was in Her court to begin with but when I asked for a jury trial with stenographer present, the case was transferred to a different court with those "accouterments". 
      My case has since been busted down to an infraction (I maintain unlawfully).
      I have made some small gains with the Commissioner. I finally got a couple of motions granted that I could not get passed in the "big bad Judge's court" when the case was being heard as a misdemeanor.
      This week I was granted a continuance on the trial date. I had to waive my right to a speedy trial in order to do it. I didn't want to waive a thing but for my purposes, I am certain this was the wisest thing I could do.
      The motion I wrote for the continuance clearly and exclusively holds the court's generally uncooperative resistance to affording me the "constitutional defense basics" as the reason for the need to continue the trial date.
      Simply put; Pretrial ain't done! Apparently, the court Commissioner agrees.
      The Bailiff in the Comissioner's court has shown a friendly interest in my case and has been courteous and helpful. While the motion for continuance was still pending, He approached me privately and explained he wished to help speed things along if he could and asked "How much time do you need?"  One week? Two weeks? A month?
      I had purposely left a specific time extension request out of the motion with the intent that the court might make an offer. I told the Bailiff I was unsure as to how long it would take to settle all pre trial matters satisfactorily. I said to the effect "A lot depends on how the court responds to my coming motions I suppose".
      The court eventually granted a five week continuance without me asking for anything but more time to satisfactorily complete pre trial proceedings. Probably more time than I need but better than not enough.
      At the time He asked, I was unable to really pinpoint why I felt so uncomfortable estimating "how long" it might take and then it hit me several hours later when I was at home reflecting. In my recent experiences, the court has been excessively notorious for cutting hearings and discussions short. I am almost certain I could have settled the entire gamut of pre trial issues inside the first two weeks after the arraignment but the judge upstairs jerked me around so much and cut me off before nary an issue was even raised, let alone settled.
      Looking back on all of my court experiences over the years, this seems to be the way of the court.
      I know that this is a common place complaint made by people being "held on suspicion" of "this" or "that". All too often,  defendants unable to make bail go thru hell being shuttled back and forth from the county jail to the courthouses while lawyers and judges casually continue "this" for two weeks and that for "thirty" days.
      I can tell you from a very unfortunate personal experience that there is nothing quite like like being rudely and forcefully awakened in your jail cage at 4:00 AM to appear in court at 11:00 AM for five lousy minutes and then have to wait until 5:00PM for the Sheriff's bus to take you back to your cage.
      Sleep is the only lawful escape from prison and on a court day, all you get is a cold hard floor to lay on for 8 to 9 hours. A day trip to court sure makes your cage bunk look good!  
      The time defendants suffer being hereded back and forth could largely and expediently be reduced if the lawyers and judges would just roll up their sleeves and get in the mud like ol' Perry Mason and behave like it was their ass in lock up and not some prison scum criminal.
      More things would get done muy pronto I tells ya!
      Don't get me wrong, there are some prison scum criminals that do belong in lock up, but they are a very small minority.
      I am also of the mind that a fine solution to unnecessary court delays and jail overcrowding would be to work the judiciary 'round the clock on three shifts just like other busy service industries. Hey the cops are always arresting people 24-7. Suspects ought to be taken straight to a judge or magistrate along with any accusing witnesses. If they don't have enough to convict you when they arrest you, you probably shouldn't have been arrested. You'll notice judges need to be just about proven guilty before you can even indict one, let alone arrest one!
      Anyway, I am standing tough in a pretty good place right now. I lost a little ground upstairs but I believe I can use it to my substantial advantage in the near future.
      I have made some progress and I am working diligently on dropping what I believe will be a significant legal bomb* shortly. ( * symbolic for powerful legal documents.I make this disclaimer because you never know who might be reading this how your words might be twisted! )
      I realize that many people are looking at this case like "What the hell is this guys problem? It's a piddly little dog off the leash ticket. Why is he trying to make it into a federal quesadilla?"
      My answer is this: The max fine on the infraction is $77.00. The max penalty on a misdemeanor can't be more than a year in the county jail, however there is a law somewhere on the CA. Penal Code books or case law precedence that indicates to the effect that if a plea bargain was offered, the penalty if convicted, can't be more than the plea bargain offer or it suggests that a defendant is being punished for exercising His constitutional rights to contest the charge. I need to research that again. I have it somewhere in my disasterous stack of stuff zone.
      I have excessive evidence to prove my innocence conventionally. I have some unconventional whammies that I wish to whup out that must be seriously entertained by the court. If they are not thoughtfully entertained and reasonably considered, it will tend to disturb the very underpinnings of their declared authority in law UNDER GOD.
      The bottom line is I know that there is a lot of rotten dirty business going on in there and a lesser equipped person will get screwed 7 different ways from Sunday and not be able to ever articulate exactly how they were swindled.  
      I see tremendous advantages to being the accused. Especially when I know I am perfectly innocent.
      Even though I am viewed as the defendant in this case, the way I am looking at it is this; I am not on trial here, the court officers are.  
      California JAILer, Los Angeles County

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