Presumption, Liberty and Law
By Henry Nicolle
Exclusive first publishing granted to The Seattle Sinner December, 2007
This year, Henry Nicolle was arrested, accused of an infraction.
Ventura City Police rookie, Cindy Rudas, read aloud her mandatory "Miranda Notification", in which she acknowledged that police (and jailers) may not demand an arrestee to answer any questions without the advice of counsel.
Ventura Sheriff's deputies immediately began demanding answers to interrogations and signatures on documents. When reminded of the legal prohibitions controlling their conduct, the Deputies stripped Nicolle buck-naked and tossed him into the "Penalty-Box", a cold, stark, empty cell consisting only of floor, walls, ceiling and a barred hole in the floor for nature's calls and occasional hose-down. Their advice was, "Submit to our commands: Answer our questions and sign our documents. Then we will permit counsel."
For several hours Deputies offered various threats and inducements to submit, or absent submission, to suffer continued imprisonment "naked and semi-incommunicado, perhaps for days or weeks before being brought before a magistrate".
From time to time a visiting law enforcement officer would look through the little window on the cell door and ask, "Who do you have in the Penalty Box?" "Oh, that's Henry Nicolle." "Oh? Why do you have him in there?" "He won't cooperate. Wants to see counsel or a magistrate." "Really? Why was he arrested?" "Burned out license plate lamp." "What?!? An infraction?" "Yeah. We offered him O.R. (Release on Own Recogizance) if he would cooperate, but he insists on counsel or a magistrate." "What? You've got to be kidding.. He refused O.R.?" "Yeah, he's one of those 'Liberty People.' " "Oh. Well, they're all crazy anyway."
At trial, Nicolle asked Cindy if she had observed a crime, to which she responded under oath, "Yes." "What crime was that?", she was asked. "A burned out license plate lamp", Cindy replied. The judge immediately forbid further questioning of Rudas and asked if there was any evidence to be introduced by Nicolle. There was none. Nor was any evidence introduced by the People, since the "People" were absent. The judge then denied judicial notice of California law declaring infractions non-criminal and higher California court decisions confirming the Legislature's intention to remove infractions from criminal offenses. Judge Daily stated and demanded, "The witness has testified that a burned out license plate lamp is a crime. Now, did you have a burned out license plate lamp or not? That is the only question (I will allow)."
Guilty, guilty, guilty . . . no unauthorized questions, no evidence, no prosecutor, no proof, no law. Just "Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!" The first appeal will be heard December 12th.
Lawless police activity, lawless prosecution, lawless verdicts and other lawlessness have been common throughout our American governing experience, but never so rampant, unapologetic or unaccountable as now, the close of 2007.
Our free society has been consumed by presumption. Common presumption consumes our initiative. Economic presumption consumes our future. Political presumption consumes our liberty. Presumptions of law consume all expectations of justice and self-determination.
Perhaps you have never been told. Perhaps today is not too late for you to learn. The government is presumed to always act within the law and in compliance with our Constitutions. The conduct, no matter how outrageous, of every government representative, agent, official or employee is presumed to be properly authorized and executed. These are all rebutable presumptions. They should always be argued. They rarely are.
What if they are not argued on a regular basis and refuted when found wanting? Welcome to Henry's Law - that obscene state rulers desire and free people abhor. A condition where the law is for all to understand and heed, but respected by rulers only when obedience advances their ambitions. For others, Henry's Law is unreliable, often destructive of rights, liberty and property.
Approaching 2008, our America is in transition from an experiment in Liberty for each self-governing man and woman in a free society to something in the nature of an examination of data gathered during the experiment. In 2008 we open the media and begin testing the cultures. Have we spawned a benevolent or pathogenic brew for our future? The Peoples of our World wait and watch to see if Liberty for a man or woman will live in a renewal of Free America, the land of Liberty or die in the squalor of authoritarian Amerika, the Great American Experiment, Failed. Will we choke on our brew or toast with it to restoration of sanity?
If we are here in January, we will explore the Promise of America, envisioned through contrary Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian perspectives and link our future, naked in a cell or tall in the saddle to the presumptions necessary for each view, illustrated in modern terms by Henry's continuing adventures in subjugation, arrest, trial and appeal and redress.
Thank you for reading and Good Luck to all in our new year. (We'll need it!)
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