Just finished an interesting, productive week. Some of it personal and some that probably has broader interest.
I was in the library Wednesday and stumbled on an announcement that our Congressman, Kurt Schrader, was in town, for the first time in quite a while. I found it pretty much as the town hall was ending, but I closed up the computer, high-tailed it over there anyway and managed to walk in as the last folks were leaving. I hadn't talked to him in a couple of years, nice guy, a couple of significant opinions that I disagree with, but I haven't had the chance to sit down and present a different case to him yet, so I'm not giving up on him. He's a smart, very decent man and he works hard for his constituents. I like him immensely and I support him totally.
In an unusual bit of luck, he was staying over for a fisheries roundtable in the morning, so his staff wasn't, for once, dragging him out the door to be late for another obligation, so I got to spend a few minutes with him. I used to have business cards with my warmblood stallion's pic on them, and I had saved the last one to give to him, because I knew that he'd recognize Chance. So I handed it to him and gave him a quick update on what had been happening in my world (previously). And I asked him, point blank, if the 4th Amendment still applied all the way out here in Oregon, so far away from anywhere that matters. He said he was pretty sure it did and I showed him a sheaf of pix taken of two horses that our local dogcatcher, Kerri Tyler, (aka the Frank Burns of Animal Control), had ignored for ten months in exchange for help with a personal vendetta against me, (still have two images to scan, planing to post that diary this week). We also got to chat a little about mutual acquaintances, my vet, a former colleague of his, and well respected in the state, and a couple of more mundane things, (Washington's a very frustrating place, apparently. Who knew? ;-) /snark ).
It used to be Dr Schrader, he was a good vet and an organic farmer before he went into politics, and he has concerns about the PETA wing of the Humane Society getting out of hand, so he understood a lot more, right off, than a lot of people would have. People who hold strong, uninformed opinions can be a pain, but they have a right to those opinions. When those people aggregate and hide their agendas to raise money and use it, they can be dangerous, as we see daily in Washington and everywhere else. (Humanewatch.org)
I managed to traipse into town the next morning for the fisheries thing. Can't tell you how wonderful it was to be the least informed person in the room. About forty people there, all bringing in well researched and supported data and findings to present. A whole room full of grownups, talking knowledgeably and civilly about real things, even when they were from competing interests. Astounding and I wish to hell I'd had a decent video camera to preserve the image of a working group of adults to prove that they have not become extinct, and to show an example of how government is supposed to work. Don't suppose it would do any good showing to the GOPer's, but Americans sure could use to see it.
Then it was Friday and I had to present a case as to why I should be appointed a different attorney. Here's what I read into the record:
I am ready to go on the record. First, I didn't want this to be adversarial, I had hoped that Mr ------ and I would be on the same page in recognizing that there is no fault in there not being enough hours in a day and his workload being too heavy to allow him to give the necessary attention to my case, so I was caught off guard Wednesday. I apologize for not being able to pull together and articulate the issues fully at that time, but I don't work off the cuff as well as I used to, so it took me a full day to organize my thoughts. Another couple of days and a few more drafts and I could have gotten it polished and more cohesive, but this will have to do.BTW- I did get assigned to a different attorney. It put resolution of the damned mess off another couple of months, but I'd rather do it right once than scramble around and try to fix something improperly done. ::sigh::
While the court noted Wednesday that the law regarding the warrant hadn't changed in the past 16 months, if the motion had been filed when I first directed Mr ------ to address it, or even in the next several months when I tried to follow up on the subject, then it would have had plenty of time to have been seen by the appellate court and ruled on before now, so that 16 months is an issue for that, so close to trial. And there may not have ever been a forfeiture hearing if that had happened promptly. But one way or another, it would have been settled by now.
I wholeheartedly believe in teamwork, I have been instrumental in saving lives as part of dedicated teams and I welcome the opportunity to assist in my defense. But it shouldn't have been me that had the time to pore through the statutes regarding animals in Oregon and discover ORS 167.335(4) and recognize the implications. That wasn't my job. Again, animal law is a specialty area and I don't blame Mr ------ for not being familiar with it. That's the clumsy analogy I was trying to use Wednesday to illustrate by referring to a cardiac surgeon being asked to do bunions. But according to 167.335(4) horses and goats, livestock basically, but horses are specifically included in 'animals subject to good animal husbandry practices', and are exempt from 2nd degree neglect, which is all I've been charged with. Officers Tyler & Lorange needed to show probable cause, more likely than not, of 1st degree neglect, an element of recklessness with death, serious injury or gross negligence of any animals subject to good animal husbandry practices, and they did not have evidence of any of those things to show in order to obtain the warrant. And when Mr -------- tells me that none of that matters, that yes, what they did was improper, but there is nothing that can be done to rectify those actions, I have difficulty believing that's so. Researching demurrers shouldn't have been my job. I asked twice, and he never answered, so I'm assuming that he has never filed one As far as Tyler, I don't know where the line is between culpable negligence and intentional misconduct, but one should be able to reasonably expect an animal control officer, a certified law enforcement officer employed by the state for many years, to be thoroughly familiar with Oregon laws regarding animals.
As the Court noted, on the record, in November, the DA's office had been treating this case in a very sloppy and unprofessional manner and as I noted Wednesday, the case law & citations that Mr ---- provided in the motion that we will be considering shortly were very enlightening. I fully understand now why Officers Tyler & Lorange were hiding from the Court the fact that their informants were coerced and criminally involved and not actually just 'concerned citizens', because the standard of credibility applied is entirely different for those two groups. That the other part of their information was obtained during multiple trespasses and illegal search, I already knew. I can't imagine that if the Court had been aware of those facts that the warrant would have been issued. And when Mr ----- tells me, over and over, that there is no legal mechanism for addressing that situation, I have difficulty believing that's so. I have much less difficulty believing that the officers were hiding those substantive facts from the Court, going fishing and looking for anything, a paintball gun or anything else that could have been used as leverage to make me plead out, give the County a couple of years of state subsidized probation, and not force the DA's office to back up their allegations by putting their case in front of a jury. That I don't have any trouble believing at all.
When Mr ----- tells me, time and again that there is no legal mechanism to address the 4th Amendment issues and improper actions taken by the officers and the DA's office in this case, I have difficulty believing him. Congressman Schrader was here this week and I had a chance to chat with him and I asked him specifically if the 4th Amendment still applied all the way out here in Oregon. He was previously a vet, not a lawyer, but he told me he was pretty sure it did. So I am a citizen who is guaranteed the right to be secure in my person and my papers, in my home and my property and to due process. We also had the chance to talk about mutual acquaintances, he remembers my stallion, who is now a gelding because of Kerri Tyler and her cronies. And his former colleague, and my vet, ---------. And I made sure he had Dr ------'s current contact info, since they've both been too busy to keep in touch. Along with a complete set of the complaints and documentation I had previously submitted to the sheriff's department regarding Deputy Tyler's multiple and well documented breaches of the 4th Amendment and Oregon law. All of which LCSD has not yet acted upon. All these are things that I have been being told, over and over, weren't able to be legally addressed. The congressman was concerned given that there is now a new federal installation here, and that animal rights activists might have had undue influence in a law enforcement action. I also promised him I'd coordinate with his staff regarding the federal violations of the HIPAA Act and the civil rights of the mentally ill that I had been given the opportunity to observe when I was thrown in jail here after an illegal traffic stop. The time I was held, incommunicado, for 36 hours, denied a phone call, either to inform my family why I hadn't come home or to contact a lawyer. And when Mr ----- tells me that there is nothing that can be done about that instance of retaliation and attempted intimidation that happened within hours of my having sent an email to Deputy Tyler intimating that I might go to the Attorney General's office about the illegal and improper actions taken in pursuit and service of this warrant, I have a great deal of difficulty believing that that's so.
I believe that I'm entitled to an attorney who has the time to research and find the mechanisms with which to address the deficiencies, illegal and improper actions that have been taken against me in this case. If I'm not mistaken, the Court was on the verge of dismissing the case in November because it had been so badly handled by the State. I would respectfully ask that the Court reconsider that now. And I thank you for your patience.
It was an interesting week.