A week ago, I was contacted by the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt on my cell phone. At first I was unsure of why I was getting this call and then I remembered I had filed a complaint about a guy who sold me a fraudulent oil lease of which he had sold the same interest many times over. Apparently the Attorney General had taken to this case personally and was going to get this ex-con for a violation of his parole and he needed me to help him do it. I am friends with a sitting State Supreme Court Judge so getting a call from an elected official did not impress me.
Historically, I am not against our legal system and would help out. The guy had screwed my company for about sixteen thousand bucks. That was when things took the turn for the bizarre. You see, it appears in the American legal system, everyone but the criminal pays.
I was in Arizona at the time and he wanted me to come down in a few days. I demurred, as I was starting to get the feeling I had been down this road before. I volunteered for a video deposition. No good, Oklahoma only allows “in-person” sworn testimony. He asked me how about the next week. Again, my schedule was tight (I became purposely vague), I was flying to the French West Indies (true), I told him.
It also turns out that I would have to pay the lion’s share of my travel expenses to Oklahoma City. So after me already losing money, I would waste three days plus travel costs? He said he’d get back to me and immediately I began to think that I would end up being subpoenaed. Under South Dakota law, I’d have to be served in state and then transported much like a prisoner to Oklahoma to be a witness. Did I have to go on the lam again?
Back in 2011, I spent six weeks on the lam from a DA in Iowa. I was not a criminal. I was a witness. While working an ER shift, I saw a victim with scalp bruises, and the prosecutor was overreaching and charging the perp with attempted murder. She was brought in by the police, the chart was self-evident. I was improperly served and then threatened and as a result, feeling angered that I would have to go to Iowa and spend my money, I made myself scarce.
I can hardly know where I am sleeping on a good day so bouncing between states and avoiding a process server was really easy. Finally, the Assistant Attorney General for Iowa intervened and I volunteered for a video deposition from my office in South Dakota. The prosecutor asked me nothing. Then the defense attorney spoke up.
“Who brought in the patient?”
“How did you know it was the Sherriff?”
“He wore a gun and had a t-shirt on that said Sherriff. He drove a cop car and the nurse said hi, Sherriff how is it going?”
“Did he identify himself as the Sherriff?”
“Is there an imposter running around pretending to be the Sherriff of Pocahontas Iowa?” I countered. The defense attorney chewed me out for not answering the question and stated only he asked the questions. Finally after thirty minutes of rehashing whether it really was the real sheriff, I summarized.
“Yes, a flying monkey dropped out of an airplane could have caused the injury to her, too and then the patient was left in the custody of the presumed sheriff, where she walked out into the alleged cop car, and drove away in the general direction of the supposed courthouse.” His whole line of questioning was ludicrous and had nothing to do with the case and I had no evidence about anything. I saw a woman with a bruised scalp with a man who sure looked like a sheriff. They wasted my time.
I thought I was done, but then four weeks later the prosecutor called me to inform me that I would be needed to testify at trial. She wanted to ‘clarify’ my testimony. I was thinking, clarify what? Maybe I needed to give all the species of monkeys that could have landed on the victim’s head? Would there be a monkey lineup? I politely hung up still having not been properly served my subpoena, I was across the Minnesota state line with in thirty minutes and remained outside of South Dakota and Iowa till the trial was over. There was no way I was going to be part of such a stupid line of questioning and the Assistant DA, who had not bailed me out was going to find herself with one very angry witness for wasting my time if she could find me and serve me.
The guy pleaded guilty to battery. I came home and life went on. Now Oklahoma wanted me. Do I go out on the lam again? Why should I have to pay all of these expenses? Why would I ever bother to even report something like this again? Who is the victim?
I have had my share of experiences with the law and had the law waste my time like it didn’t matter at all. Cancelled cases, and BS like that all the time. I even flew to Pennsylvania as a witness once, again on my own dime, and the only question asked me at trial was about a patient’s morbidity and mortality discussions, which I had told them I was never at. I produced from my pocket my passport with a Grenada stamp on it on the same date as the meeting and I was discharged as a witness. They wouldn’t let me say this to them over the phone. Again, a lazy attorney who presumably just didn’t care, it was only my life he was interfering with. That was the last time I ever voluntarily agreed to help out anything legal.
I am beginning to find and suspect that the legal system is about nothing more than punishing the victims and the average citizen’s lives and it is about the ‘wins’ for the police and the DAs. Those charged are forced to accept plea bargains because they lack the resources to fight and the system is stacked against them. I know the guy who defrauded me may not go back to jail but in a system that continually punishes me as the victim is one that needs to be changed. How many not really guilty went to jail? Why should I give more? I already gave. I haven’t been impaneled on a jury but I once wrote that I would have a hard time ever voting to convict anyone of anything as quite probably the guy has a bad defense attorney or the DA took short cuts.
I don’t think any attorney would ever be so stupid as to not strike me from a jury pool, as I don’t think anything short of a gun to my head would make me vote guilty. After having had my time wasted in pointless legal systems I would like nothing more than to return the favor by wasting the court’s time with a hung trial as I would be the lone dissenting juror, no matter what. It would make a great book. Something like that would make my day, shucks, Grisham beat me to it.
Out on the lam, again