Thursday, March 31, 2011

Highlights - Post Arrest to Present

As you know since just after the 2007 wildfires Marvin has been in a court battle with the tribe to keep them from running him off his land. Although their claims of pollution and subsequent potential harm to the tribe have been refuted by multiple outside professionals, Environmental Protection Agency, Fire Marshall, and a Hydrogeologist, the back and forth in court continues. Once their claims were proven false the next ploy was to argue jurisdiction: tribal or federal.

In the meantime, while the lawyers and judges do their wrangling, at least three businesses are being unnecessarily negatively impacted: our trucking company, Marvin's trucking company and Automotive Specialists, the towing company that was leasing space from Marvin. Steven and I also rent our home here so I'm sure you can imagine the headaches that come with the day-to-day of negotiating living this way.

Because of the tribal court's actions we, Automotive Specialists, Steven and myself, believed it necessary to hire an attorney and file a civil suit of our own in an effort to have the tribe remove the barricades so we can maintain our respective livelihoods while the courts adjudicate Marvin's case. So far, the court has been unwilling. The tribe tried to have our case thrown out, arguing that it was frivolous and we should be suing Marvin instead of them. The judge disagreed and the next hearing is set for April 18th.

Steven's arrest has been just another nightmare. He was required to appear January 6, 2011. The ADA offered Steven three years probation on the misdemeanor charge of obstructing/resisting a peace officer. First, I have always been of the opinion that Steven did nothing wrong and the three deputies who were dispatched to the "scene" overreacted from showing up en masse in the first place to actually arresting him. The arrest report reads like Steven was an out-of-control madman who may have run them down with a bobcat at any moment. Second, Steven doesn't even have an arrest record, how does he rate three years probation?
View Steve's Arrest Report

As of the January hearing we had had the arrest report for a few days, so our first request for discovery was made then. There were a few items listed in the arrest report we were interested in seeing: photos taken by the tribal security officer while she was waiting for the sheriffs to show up, her initial call to have the sheriff dispatched to the "dispute" and Deputy Boer's statement. Our lawyer has made two more appearances on Steven's behalf, February 23, 2011 and again on March 23, 2011; still no discovery and the judge keeps granting extensions. The next hearing is set for May 25th, which will be well over four months from the initial request for discovery! So the lawyers keep racking up billable hours, the judges keep allowing the state to impede the gathering of timely discovery, and Steven is completely at their mercy. Where is the justice in that?

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