We are publishing this letter with permission of the writer.
Dear Redwood Curtain Cop Watch,
I just spent four hours in the Willows, CA Court house and am watching the assembly-line of sending people off to prison. I could see the bulk of them are getting sent away because they don't have enough money for anything but a bad public defender.
I have a former student who is very, very smart, and has three little kids. He was drinking at a bar in Orland, CA. He stumbled out drunk, got in his car, drove a few feet, stopped the car, and got out to walk. Unfortunately, a cop saw him attempting to drive, and after driving around the block, the officer, Cessna, stopped my student who was by this time walking and asked to see his drivers license and registration. According to the policeman's testimony at the Preliminary hearing, the young man did as he was told, and was very compliant, but then for no apparent reason, the cop turned him around, started to handcuff him, and tasered him.
My student ran. I got all of the information, not from the young man, but from reading every scrap of material in the case, and listening to all the tapes and audio, and looking at all the arrest videos, etc. The cop, who fell down during all of this, fired off his weapon three times rapidly, sending one bullet from his Glock through a man's house who was sitting watching TV and almost had a stroke. You can hear the cops talking about "getting their game plan together" at the hospital where they took my student (he was subsequently arrested after he ran, and beaten, and had to go to the hospital -- again, all of this is on in the records).
I know the Public Defenders in Glenn County who are a real pieces of work. So when my student, Justin, said he had been assigned a public defender after the preliminary hearing because he did not have enough money to keep his first attorney, I worked with his mother to get a private attorney. We hired an attorney from Chico, who handled Justin up to the preliminary hearing. We paid $10,000 plus expenses for other costs. Cheap by any standards, but I am a part-time instructor at the community college.
Thursday morning (March 10, 2011), at the trial readiness hearing, the new attorney tried to file as the new attorney of record and for an extension of the case until May, but the awful Public Defender said he was ready (which he is not), and so the judge (not the regular judge, but a substitute judge) said they would go to court in a week! The public defender hasn't filed for a Pitchess motion, for discovery, or any evidence. He has done absolutely nothing, and basically threw Justin under the bus. At one point, Justin and I, after listening to the DOJ investigation, the Arrest statements, the 911 tapes, the audio tapes, the Internal Investigation, and the preliminary hearing summarized about 16 different discrepancies in the Police Officer's statements (the police officer apparently has been on Mental Health leave in the past, but since the Public Defender has not filed a Pitchess Motion, how would we know?).
Because the cop needs to cover his ass on the wild shooting spree in downtown Orland, he concocted a story (honest to God, I was willing to believe the worst when I started reading the file ) that Justin, after he was stunned with a taser, drunk as a skunk, tried to grab the cops gun and turn it toward the officer's head to kill him, although there are no fingerprints other than the cop's on the gun. So, now Justin is possibly facing attempted murder on a cop, assault and battery on a cop, and 22 years for attempted murder of a police officer.
There is a new DA, Bob Maloney in Glenn County who hasn't read through the case, but told the new attorney (he is not the new attorney of record because the substituting judge would not accept him this morning) that he knew the case was fishy and a mess, but he didn't want to upset the cops either. So, here is a 30 year old kid, who has three kids that he loves dearly, who was trying to get through school and earn a decent living, about to be railroaded into the glorious prison-industrial complex, where his white skin, blue eyes and good looks will send him into the awaiting arms of the Aryan brotherhood.
Next Wednesday (March 16), the attorney from Chico is going to file a motion with the usual judge, but if the case is not given a new date, if the judge does not give the lawyer we hired the case, it will go to trial without any discovery or a Pitchess motion being filed, or any investigation of what happened. Justin wrote several letters that he hand delivered to the Public Defender showing him the dozen inconsistencies in the Policeman's statements, requests for motions to be filed, requests that the policeman's duty gear be looked at (there is even evidence that I dug up that the cop tasered himself and fell down as a result). There is no evidence of gun residue or fingerprints on the gun that tie Justin to grabbing the gun or firing it, and in a couple of statements, the policeman said Justin ran off after he was tasered. But the DA still wants to send the kid away for 22 years.
After the hearing, in the hall, I heard the Public Defenders laughing and talking about the new DA, Mahoney, calling him John Wayne. When I worked in Congress, and in the California Legislature, I used to work on occasion with different Constitutional or Legal Justice organizations on much more famous and known cases, but I don't think I have seen anything quite like what I saw Thursday morning in Willows. Please let me know if this case can be looked into.
My name is Peggy McCormack, and I live in Chico, CA, and am reachable at email@example.com or 530-591-9505