As I last left my legal situation, I had an upcoming court date in which it would be decided whether I could be charged with Blocking Rail Transit, and in the meantime, my retrial was put off into the indefinite future. In the meantime, the group that was supposed to start trial on January 15 had been postponed to January 30, and then to March 11.
That court date was today. My retrial has been set for March 25, 2002. If the other group is in fact tried starting on the 11th, there is almost no way their trial will be done in time for mine to start on the 25th. I don't know if they've been moved, or if there's something funny going on with my court date, or theirs, or if the city of Long Beach simply can't count (wouldn't surprise me), but there is something a little peculiar about this set of dates. I do not want to go back to California for this, but there is good news to accompany it: I am being tried only for failure to disperse.
After I was acquitted of conspiracy to riot, apparently my prosecutor realized he didn't have a case against me for the charges related to conspiracy, and dropped riot, rout, and unlawful assembly. He dropped his motion to charge me with blocking rail transit, perhaps because, in the sarcastic words of my attorney, he heard that double jeopardy was illegal.
The plan is now that at the end of next month, I will pack up my nylons and my dry cleaning and get on a plane to Long Beach, where a crazy man with a degenerative spinal disease will try to explain to a group of strangers that I failed to disperse, and that this makes me a danger to America equivalent to the September 11 attacks, if not worse.
Failure to disperse is a very petty misdeameanor, kind of like a parking ticket, or maybe littering. My trial is estimated to take 2-3 days, although the last one was estimated to take 5 days and I was there for 3 weeks. My dad is again certain that they won't bother trying something so lame. There has been talk about getting me a new judge, but I don't know if we've done that. A new judge might dismiss it, either as a matter of principle - no one tries misdemeanors, let alone twice - or because trying it would be a waste of money.
Even stranger than all of this were the letters I received in the mail today. There were three of them, in two envelopes. One was my acceptance into grad school.
The second was a letter from my attorney, saying that one of the people who was arrested at the same time I was had recently been raided by the FBI. Apparently he'd been running a website that the FBI found ojectionable, and they'd come and taken away all of his computer stuff.
The third was a letter from one of my jurors, juror 11. She had given it to my attorney for me at the end of the trial, after I had gone home. Frustrated with the process, and furious with some of the other jurors, she wrote to me to tell me that she believed me, that she thought the whole thing was ridiculous, that she thought it was obvious I hadn't had anything to do with all that crap. She said I hadn't been acquitted because some of the other jurors weren't following the law. She sent me a pin, with an image of a skull on crossed writing implements that says "write hard, die free". She included her contact information, and I've started writing to her a little. The interaction is strange and awkward - what's the protocol for talking to someone who was paid twelve dollars a day to decide your fate? - but she seems nice, and I'm glad of the opportunity.
To see how this started, please see my daylog for May 3, 2001.
For difficulties in dealing with court dates, please see my daylog for May 7, 2001.
The charges against me are listed on May 10, 2001.
For an account of my first arraignment hearing, please see my daylog for May 24, 2001.
For an account of my bad dealings with my codefendants, please see my daylog for May 30, 2001.
For an account of my second arraignment hearing, please see my daylog for June 22, 2001.
For an account of my decision to go to trial, please see my daylog for October 31, 2001.
For an account of pretrial matters and my journey to LA, please see my daylog for November 17, 2001.
For an account of jury selection, please see my daylog for November 19, 2001.
For an account of my codefendant's plea bargaining, please see my daylog for November 24, 2001.
For an account of my testimony, please see my daylog for December 5, 2001.
For my verdict, please see my daylog for December 13, 2001.
For an account of my January court date, please see my daylog for January 9, 2001.