I have sent the attached letter to two judges at the Third District Court. I have also sent a copy to the District Attorney, asking them to route it to both their investigations and justice departments. My public defender has also received a copy. I authored and sent this on my own, and was not acting on his legal advice. The unsigned document is also published on-line: (Link is in the title to this article to the "Bail Waiver Demand Letter", a signed copy of which was attached to the emails this text is pasted out of.)
... and you may share copies of the unsigned version; (I'm not sure about the security of having my signature inside a PDF like that, so I want to limit distribution of the version I've signed.) Also, this next link is to a "table of contents" linking to all of the documents pertaining to this matter that I'm published via the cloud; The indented ones are the contents of the DVD I brought in evidence to the protective order hearing. (That Table of Contents document is presently up on Ubuntu One; I plan to move things to Google Docs before I publish links in this blog.)
In brief, a woman I have a son with used false information to obtain a protective order. She has made trivial complaints to the Salt Lake City Police Domestic Violence Unit (Detective Woodbury), and they have screened charges against me. Each time she complains, they escalate the bail amount, despite the fact that the first set of charges was dismissed at the preliminary hearing, and that I've not been convicted of any of the charges. I have never failed to appear in court, and I sent them a "Promise to Appear Upon Summons". I am not accused of any violence; in fact, the complainant explicitly states that she did not feel physically threatened by me.
The first set of charges alleged that I had "written several emails that did not pertain to our child, under a protective order that limits email to only those that pertain to our child". The protective order has the word "email" whited-out of the standard boilerplate form's "No Contact" clause, and the words "email allowed" written in and initialed by the court commissioner who granted the order. For this, I spent three weeks in the Salt Lake County Jail. I was placed in a small cell with a heroin addict who retched and coughed for an entire week, and who had a reaction to the TB test the size of a silver dollar and had to go get chest X-rays. I was then moved to a cell with a man doing a year for fighting, who would kick the bottom of my bunk to wake me up every time I snored. He was moved, and replaced with an old man recovering from pneumonia he contracted as a result of advanced AIDS, who was also coughing and puking the entire time I was locked in with him. My court "roll call" hearing for this was on April 1st, and on April 7, I was transported from jail to court in a transport bus that had one more prisoner than seats. The young man sitting next to me, wearing the brown uniform of a medium security prisoner, was excitedly describing an altercation involving money, drugs, and clinging to a speeding automobile while the driver tried to swerve to make him fall off as he attempted to strike the driver over the head with the barrel of a snub nosed revolver. He had been in trouble with the law since he was a teenager, and said he was likely to spend the next 20 years of his life in prison. And there I was, being taken to court for allegedly "writing several emails...", bail set at $10,000., charges later dismissed at preliminary!
The present charges, for which there is an outrageous $100,000. bail, are probably (I have not seen discovery; I've been evading arrest) alleging that I phoned her, and that I sent her a text message. The Judge did not think that an SMS and an email are equivalent, despite that she initiates communications with me using SMS on a regular basis. The text message simply asks "Is he home [from his grandparents] yet? I'd like to spend some time with him.", in reference to our 22 month old son. When the police officer came to my door to ask me if I'd called her, I said that I had not, and that in fact it was her who had called me. I took out my phone and opened up the call log, and showed that to him. He touched the screen, and it began dialing her number; he pushed the stop button, and it hung up, maybe before connecting, though it shows as a 6 second call, IIRC. He said he would note that in his report.
Again, the protective order clearly says "email allowed", and there's a $100,000. bail set on this! At the hearing by proffer where the protective order was granted, I was denied the right to present evidence and to cross examine my accuser. I brought a request for continuation to a formal evidentiary hearing with me to the initial hearing. I do not believe that the protective order is valid because it was not obtained through due process of law.
The real issue here, is that the law that creates these "protective" orders is unjust, and probably represents a violation of basic constitutional rights. I'm not a lawyer, nor am I an expert on the constitution, but my instincts tell me it's just wrong. There are several studies out there, done by people who want these laws repealed or modified. She did not have to present any evidence, and I was denied my right to present the evidence I brought, and did not have the opportunity to cross examine my accuser. For trivial and frivolous complaints, she has had me locked in jail and I've had to pay outrageous amounts of money to purchase bail bonds to secure my personal liberty. The "protective" order doesn't protect anyone; it is instead a form of legalized abuse of authority. I would like to see the law repealed, or at least, rewritten in important ways.
I'm told that in most states, a protective order applies bilaterally, such that it's mandates apply to both the Petitioner and the Respondent. In Utah, she can send me a text message, and if I reply, it's technically a violation of the no-contact agreement. In fact, she has done just that! And, the judge ruled that a text message and an email are not the same thing, despite that she initiates contact with me via text messages on a regular basis... so she's reported a violation for a text that's identical to an email I'm not reported on for. I think the law should state that SMS is functionally equivalent for the purpose of defining "contact". A woman from New Zealand whom I'm in contact with via a Facebook "intactivist" group explained that the protective order law there allows the petitioner (holder of the protective order) to invite the respondent to meet, and that automatically suspends the PO for that meeting; they don't require a court-order for that, it's written into the law and standard-form PO contracts. I'm accused of a violation of PO for having gone to the grocery store after she texted me, insisting that I do that! She's angry because I refuse to buy diet coke for her using support money.
Another problem is that in this case, and likely in many others, the version of the protective order in the statewide domestic "violence" database shows clause 2, the "no contact order" in it's standard form, unmodified. That's the version the police will see if I don't carry a copy of the order as issued by the court, which has the word "email" whited-out, and the words "email allowed" written in and initialed by the court commissioner. This was noticed during the investigation of the first set of charges brought against me, months ago, yet they have not updated that in the system yet. Perhaps the software they are using lacks that feature?
Certainly there must be a higher standard of evidence enforced at these hearings to obtain licences to use the police as pawns in a personal game of harassment of someone... For confronting her about her drinking and other things like it, she has declared that I'm not allowed to contact her; and the police are supporting this by screening charges and putting me through a lot of hassle. They act like I've done something terrible by violating this protective order, and say things about how serious that is; But I have done nothing violent; I have done nothing that is illegal in the absence of the "protective" order; and, I probably have done nothing illegal even under the terms of this order.
For text messaging her, I'm charged with a crime, and there's a warrant for my arrest with a bail set at a level on par with murder 1. This is a violation of my rights under the 8th amendment. Please make some influential phone calls on my behalf, if you have the capacity to do so.
I recently received a text message from my son's mother, wherein the claims that she still intends to get our son "circumcised". It's a blatant threat of violence against him. I submitted a Request for a Child Protective Order, which includes that text message along with sufficient evidence to show that "circumcision" is another word for genital mutilation, and that it is, in fact, malum in se, and that it certainly fits the definition of serious physical harm in the child abuse statutes.
The judge, a male, denied the Child Protective Order on the grounds that I “failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” That judge does not belong on the bench.
Never start a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel, or paper by the ton.