Land of the Free, Part II
Land of the Free, Part III
Land of the Free, Part IV
Land of the Free, Part V
With my court appearance scheduled for 8:45 am on Friday January 21, 2011, my mom and I left for Indiana on Thursday afternoon. Due to the heavy snow and single-digit temperatures, the drive was both dangerous and time-consuming. Nevertheless, we made it to Putnam County in one piece.
Early the next morning at the courthouse, we met my public defender, Scott Adams, for the first time. Considering there was no merit to any of the charges against me, Mr. Adams was confident that I would be acquitted. Still, even though I knew the charges were baseless, I was very nervous because I'd been screwed over by the legal system before. Just the fact that I had to be there for court that day is a pretty good example of what I'm talking about, considering I was the victim of serious crimes, not a perpetrator.
In the courtroom, I was surprised to see that both Sheriff Fenwick and Corporal Chadd showed up to testify against me. I figured they had satisfied their sadistic need to victimize me several months earlier when they harassed me, beat me up, kidnapped me, and ultimately forced me to spend three nights in jail. But apparently that wasn't enough for them. So here they were again, taking pleasure in their quest to further punish me for crimes they committed against me.
(Every time I read that last paragraph, I feel so much disgust and hatred for those piece-of-shit scumbags. It takes a really sick-minded person to commit crimes against someone you're paid to protect, then to go out of your way to try to punish the victim even more than you already have. And that's after having six months to grow a conscience. Unbelievable!)
With court in session, the prosecutor called Corporal Chadd to testify. At this time Scott Adams requested that the judge instruct Sheriff Fenwick to leave the courtroom during Corporal Chadd's testimony. When Sheriff Fenwick left the room, testimony began.
As Corporal Chadd began his testimony, he explained that in response to a report of a suspicious pedestrian walking east near the Putnamville Correctional Facility, he stopped his vehicle near the Lincoln Park Speedway and established contact with a pedestrian who met the description of the suspicious person. When the prosecutor asked Corporal Chadd if he could identify the suspect, he said he could. Quickly identifying me as the suspect, Corporal Chadd then added that my hair isn't as long as it was when he stopped me. I don't specifically remember much more of what Corporal Chadd said as a witness for the prosecution.
Eventually Scott Adams began his cross-examination of Corporal Chadd. As nervous as I was, I don't remember any specific questions Mr. Adams asked Corporal Chadd, but I do remember Mr. Adams masterfully setting the bait to reel in Corporal Chadd. With the greatest of ease, Mr. Adams took Corporal Chadd out of his comfort zone, much like I had done in July of 2010. This time, though, Chadd had to think even harder to keep his responses in line with the lies he had already told. This time he was being watched, so he couldn't just make things up and get away with it as he had done the previous summer when the only witness to his crimes was his co-conspirator, Sheriff Steve Fenwick.
Without much effort, Mr. Adams used a kind of intellectual misdirection to confuse Corporal Chadd into unknowingly admitting that his suspicion of me was based entirely on hearsay, rather than any real evidence. Once Corporal Chadd finally realized he was saying exactly what Mr. Adams wanted him to say, Corporal Chadd had already damaged his story beyond repair. As a result, Corporal Chadd began altering minor details of his story, trying to make it appear as if he was clarifying his story, hoping no one would notice.
With the minor changes, Corporal Chadd's new story went something like this: "Actually my first contact with the suspect was in the cemetery near the speedway." By saying this, Corporal Chadd apparently hoped to establish that he initially encountered me more than a couple hundred feet from the road, with me trying to hide in a wooded area. If that had been true, it may have suggested that I actually was behaving suspiciously, thus justifying his investigation. However, Mr. Adams quickly reminded Corporal Chadd that his own testimony and arrest report had already established that I was neither hiding nor attempting to hide. Here's what Corporal Chadd said in the arrest report: "When I arrived in the area, I observed a male subject sitting in the grass on the north side of US 40, just east of the Lincoln Park Speedway entrance." (That doesn't really make it sound like I was trying to hide, does it?)
Corporal Chadd is not a good liar. In fact, he's a very bad liar, and every word from his mouth made his story even more difficult to believe, especially because Scott Adams is damn good at catching the lies, then asking follow-up questions that expose the lies. Over and over, Mr. Adams pointed out the inconsistencies in Corporal Chadd's ever-evolving story. As a result, Corporal Chadd's testimony unintentionally helped my case. Corporal Chadd's testimony effectively proved that his "investigation" of me was based entirely on hearsay.
Well, hearsay is almost never admissible as evidence. Legally, this meant that as far as Corporal Chadd was concerned, there was never a suspicious person to investigate. And if there was no suspicious person, Corporal Chadd had no reasonable suspicion that I (or anyone else) had committed an infraction or violated an ordinance.
This law exists precisely because of situations like what happened to me. The report of a suspicious person was a total lie. Since there was not actually a suspicious person in the area, there was nothing for Corporal Chadd to investigate. If a cop tries to investigate someone for something that never happened, that person doesn't have to cooperate. In fact, the prison guard's false report of a suspicious person is the only crime that had occurred prior to Corporal Chadd's arrival on the scene.
In case you still don't get it, think about it like this:
If I had called 911 yesterday from a pay phone and reported anonymously that the resident of 123 Main Street murdered Ryan Powell (yes, me), then left Ryan's body in "the woods near the high school," the first thing the cops would have done is attempt to contact Ryan in case he was actually still alive. If they were unable to contact Ryan, they would have immediately begun searching for his body in the woods near the high school. (In fact, they probably would have done both of those things concurrently.) If they couldn't find a body in the woods near the high school, yet they still thought that Ryan may actually have been killed, the cops would probably have then attempted to contact the resident of 123 Main Street to ask some questions about the reported murder. However, since there is no evidence that a crime has even occurred, the resident of 123 Main Street would not have to cooperate with the cops, nor should he. Until there is some evidence that Ryan is actually dead, the resident of 123 Main Street cannot be considered a suspect in Ryan's murder, particularly because I am obviously still alive.
No one can be forced to cooperate in the investigation of a crime that hasn't happened. Because I am alive right now, the resident of 123 Main Street cannot possibly have killed me. Furthermore, he doesn't have to prove that he did not kill someone who is very much alive. Similarly, because there was no evidence that a crime had occurred that day in Indiana, I could not have been suspected of having committed a crime that never occurred. And since I was not suspected of having committed a crime that never occurred, if a cop chose to treat me like a suspect (which is what happened), I had the right not to cooperate. End of story.
Establishing that Corporal Chadd's "investigation" was based entirely on hearsay is all it took for Mr. Adams to dismantle the foundation of the prosecution's case. Corporal Chadd's argument essentially became, "When I saw some guy sitting near the side of the road, I assumed he had committed a crime, just because. I treated him like a suspect, and he didn't like it, so I charged him with offenses that he could not possibly have committed, then I sent him to jail."
Sadly, as obvious as it was, I don't think the judge ever figured out that Corporal Chadd had lied with almost every word he spoke, both throughout the arrest report and during his testimony. If the judge did figure it out, he didn't care.
I remember essentially nothing about Sheriff Fenwick's testimony, I guess because there was nothing memorable about it. All I remember is that when Mr. Adams had finished his cross-examination of Fenwick, Mr. Adams asked me if I wanted to testify. He indicated that he felt good about how everything was going so far, and that I didn't need to testify if I didn't want to; he was just making sure I knew I could now testify if I wanted to. I responded by telling him that I trusted him and that I was too nervous to testify.
Since I chose not to testify, the prosecutor gave his closing statements. Mr. Adams then followed with his closing statements.
I was already impressed with Mr. Adams, but his closing statements blew me away. Having established long ago that Corporal Chadd's suspicion was based solely on hearsay, Mr. Adams used that as a stepping stone to his remaining arguments. Citing the case of Adam Starr vs. State of Indiana, Mr. Adams demonstrated that "a passenger in a car is not subject to the same criminal penalties by refusing to identify himself when, unlike the driver of the vehicle, there was no reasonable suspicion that he had committed an infraction or violated an ordinance."
OK, toss out the 'Failure to Identify Self' charge. That was easy.
Now let's take a look at Bobby Greeno vs. State of Indiana:
"The Fourth Amendment permits a police officer, without any reasonable suspicion of any wrongdoing, to approach a citizen to ask questions; however, that citizen remains free to ignore the questions and walk away. Accordingly, when a citizen in such a circumstance walks away from the officer, the officer must have reasonable suspicion a crime is, was, or is about to occur prior to yelling stop and chasing the citizen. Because the officer had no reasonable suspicion when he yelled for Greeno to stop and then chased after Greeno, his warrantless search of Greeno was improper."
This says that Corporal Chadd had the right to approach me and ask me questions, but it also says I didn't have to answer any of his questions. Since the report of a suspicious pedestrian was hearsay (which effectively means there was no suspicious pedestrian), and since I was not legally obligated to identify myself or speak at all when Corporal Chadd approached me, at no time was Corporal Chadd enforcing a law. This means I could not possibly have resisted law enforcement, no matter how hard I tried.
That means we get to toss out the 'Resisting Law Enforcement' charge, too.
With that charge gone, since I had not committed ANY violations, the search that yielded my pipe was a warrantless and illegal search. The pipe was fruit of the poisonous tree, and thus it never really existed.
Slam dunk. 0 for 3, prosecution.
The judge clearly wanted to rule that I was guilty, without even hearing a word of my side of the story, but Scott Adams gave him no choice. Mr. Adams basically said, "Here's the law. The law clearly says he didn't break any laws. We're done. See ya."
The judge took a minute to look through a couple law books before APOLOGIZING to the prosecution team for the 'Not Guilty' ruling he was about to make. He said, "If I convict him, it's just going to end up being overturned in appeals court." After explaining to the prosecution team (particularly the sheriff) why he had to find me not guilty, the judge then lectured me about how I'm such a punk for doing what I did. He said if he had been in the cops' position, he would have done exactly what they did. He said if I was his son, he would have kicked my ass.
Basically, the judge revealed that he is almost as much of a scumbag terrorist as Sheriff Steve Fenwick, Corporal Jon Chadd, and the Putnam County District Attorney. He showed that they all believe they're above the law, and that it's wrong for the general public to know their rights. Even more unbelievable, he obviously thinks it's wrong for someone to stand up for his constitutional rights when he's been victimized by the people who are paid to protect him. Essentially, he proved that they are all very stupid, and that they all get off on wasting the taxpayers' money to fuck with people who clearly have not done anything remotely illegal.
So yeah, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on that one, judge, because YOU ARE WRONG. You are very wrong and I was very right. Not only was I legally right, but I was also morally right. If I had it to do over, I wouldn't do anything different. So you can go fuck yourself, and you can also thank me for standing up for your rights, asshole.
With all the bullshit I'd been through, all it took was about 200 words to prove that all the charges against me were bogus. Like I said several posts ago, this was not a difficult case. So if any of the people who were trying to crucify me are reading this, what do you have to say now?
Now that it's all over, let's flash back to something Corporal Chadd said in his testimony.
Remember when Corporal Chadd identified me as the suspect, when he said something about my hair being shorter now than it was back in July 2010? That remark was kind of interesting because the day I went to court, my hair was actually about an eighth of an inch longer than it had been when he victimized me last summer.
Could it be that Corporal Chadd's memory was just off a little when he said that, or did he actually possess something that he thought was an accurate reminder of the length of my hair? Something like my drivers' license, which I haven't seen since he illegally confiscated it from me back in July 2010 near the Lincoln Park Speedway?
I took the following picture a week after the false arrest (and I didn't get a haircut during that week). My hair is the same length in this picture as it was when Corporal Chadd identified me in the courtroom.
It's kind of interesting that his memory told him my hair was longer during the incident than during court, considering it was actually shorter. Again, I wonder if his inaccurate memory of longer hair has something to do with the fact that I haven't seen my drivers' license since the moment Corporal Chadd illegally confiscated it from me. I'm not alleging that he kept it as a trophy (like serial killers keep their victims' possessions), but the evidence seems to point in that direction.
This is about how I looked in my drivers' license pic:
One more thing:
In case you're wondering, I almost never smoke pot. In fact, I almost always turn it down when someone passes me a joint or a packed bowl. However, the weed I found was a gift from the tramping gods, as was the pipe, so hell yeah I smoked it. I most certainly did inhale, and I also enjoyed it. I'm not ashamed to admit it, just as I'm not ashamed to admit I drink a beer every once in a while, too. If that lowers your opinion of me, I'm over it.
Also, Scott Adams, if you ever find your way to this story, I want you to know I have tons of respect for you, and I truly appreciate the passion you displayed in your quest for justice. Keep it up, man. Thank you!
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