Where There Is No Law
An Odyssey of Federal Injustice
In The Court of Edward J. Lodge
by Hari Heath ©
This story pales in comparison to many other real tragedies resulting from the American peoples' encounters with their "justice" system. And in the trail of treachery that follows the career of Idaho's Chief Federal District Judge, Edward J. Lodge, this is a relative non-event. In fact, this whole thing is best described as silly. Competent law enforcement at the original scene would have resolved the issue without any need for the roadblock. With a justice system that followed it's own rules the first, First Appearance never would have happened. And certainly the second, First Appearance only occurred because of the gross incompetence of the system itself. Surely, a reasonable person would have thought that this whole affair wasn't worthy of a trial, wasting the taxpayers resources and the court's valuable time when there are so many real crimes in need of government's attention. After all the aggrievious errors that occurred in the course of the trial and sentencing, one would think that the U. S. Court of Appeals would have offered some relief.
The real tragedy here, is the fact that this kind of thing happens all the time. Only the particulars change. As this case shows, a person can be forced to defend against the lies of an officer, compounded by more lies to fix his mistakes. U. S. Attorneys, whom the public should depend on for honest and fair conduct in criminal cases, encourage false testimony and work to secure false convictions. And judges, exercising their judicial power, act in concert with the prosecution to prevent the proof of innocence, the denial of the law, and the fabrication of guilt.
I could have paid the $300 ticket in the beginning and been done with it. But I was innocent, and for me principles matter. If I had known then, what I know now... the days spent researching and studying the law; writing documents carefully crafted to present the truth of the matter --to a judge who could care less, or worse, a panel of appeal judges that hide the truth; or the thousands of dollars I've lost trying to prove my innocence, when I could have been working; or the stress on a family who has to suffer along with the long train of abuses from this system of injustice -- if I had of known then... but it's too late for that now. Besides, it's been one hell of an education. If I hadn't experienced the system first hand, then I would still believe in the illusion of justice; that the law matters. But as the system itself has made all too clear, there is no law.
Many Americans still have a belief in the greatness of their country, as they should, and I once did, so this story deserves to be told. It is my story, told of course from my perspective, but it is a true account of my experiences. Court records and transcripts can verify the facts of this tragedy. I present this to you in the hope that more Americans will discover what a state of ethical and constitutional decay our judicial branch has fallen into; the hope that when the light of day shines long enough and bright enough into the halls of "justice," we will see the problem, and find and apply the solution; that in the end we will take our country back from those who have perverted justice; and America will someday become a nation with liberty and justice for all.
The Body of the "Crime"It began as a cool idea. On a hot afternoon in August, about 20 or so people from the Earth Circle Primitive Skills Gathering drove down in numerous vehicles to the Clearwater River for a swim. Most of us ended up at an area known as Cotter Bar. The people attending the gathering came from around the country, in fact several countries to attend a week of workshops teaching a variety of ancient stone age skills and knowledge. I was teaching the art of crafting wooden bows. At the river, some of the people chose to swim naked. This wouldn't have been a problem if they had stayed at the point of rocks that jutted out into the river near the parking area. The trees there would kept them from the view of the small rural highway that followed the course of the river. But the flow of the current lured them into the eddy below the point and out on the sand bar next to the highway. This did attract some attention from passing motorists, some of whom slowed down and let out a few hollers. Those who were naked and playing on the sand bar continued to play in the sand, apparently oblivious to the proximity of the highway and the attention they were getting.
Although no one was particularly ugly, some passer by thought it offensive enough to report it to the Sheriff. As I was to learn later, the nearest deputy was many miles away and not able to respond anytime soon. Forest service "Law Enforcement Officer," Steve Didier was listening to the Idaho County Sheriff's radio and heard the call come in. He informed the dispatch that he was nearby and could respond to the area. Didier pulled up and parked his forest service police pick up in the parking area near the other vehicles. I saw him pull up and realized that an opportunity had just presented itself. Here was a real live, actual, forest service law enforcement officer in a pick up with lights on top. For years I had wanted to ask one of them what their law enforcement authority was based on, and what kind of limitations they had on their authority. I had heard that their only real authority was to investigate fraud within their own agency. I suppose I could have gone and found one and asked him about the nature of his authority, but somehow, I never did. Now one of the "green" police had found me.
To back up a bit, I used to buy and log small salvage sales from the forest service under the "green slip program." This was a wonderful way for local people to make a living in the forest on a small scale, from natures gifts. This program worked well in our area until it was shifted to a different administrator who was more fond of the big timber interests than us little guys. The new administrator terminated the program and over 60 people in our area were out of a livelihood.
Since many of us were now out of a job, I co-founded the Small Loggers Council with some other loggers in an effort to restore the forest service program and advocate intelligent, sustainable timber harvesting methods with a focus on the small operator. We spent years meeting with forest service personnel, from local workers all the way to the regional forester in Missoula Montana. In spite of our many efforts, we were unable to get the forest service to administer any form of small sales program.
I had also been a "citizen partner," in the Willow Creek Project, where the forest service was trying to develop new forest management techniques to rehabilitate an area that suffered from their even age management technique, otherwise known as clear cuts. After almost two years of attending meetings at my own expense, to help them develop this project, they terminated it with no action taken. It certainly had become my experience, that the real purpose of today's forest service was a mixture of driving government vehicles from meeting to meeting, in the office and out in the forest, then writing voluminous reports, which were mailed to interested parties in an attempt to justify the existence of the forest service and cause another round of meetings. And more reports.
A dozen years earlier, one small sales officer, working 90% alone, was able to sell 5 million board feet of small sales a year on our local district. This was in addition to the large timber sales sold. He worked under the same environmental regulations that are currently in effect, and competently enforced forest clean-up after logging operations. Today, under this new management regime, including larger sales and under same regulations, 35 people in the same office fail to acheive the quality and quantity that the one small sales officer used to. After spending a lot of time trying to get this modern forest service to initiate some intelligent forest management programs, to no avail, I had become rather familiar with their inner workings (not to be confused with work--where something actually gets done).
I had also watched as this law enforcement branch emerged in the forest service. All the police gear, but no real apparent need for their existence. Those pea green 4 wheel drives with the red and blue lights on top began appearing all over the country. Many of us wondered why.
In my efforts with the Small Loggers Council I began to discover there were more things wrong with the government than not letting guys with pick ups and chain saws feed their families by selling firewood and cedar products. My activities with the Small Loggers Council connected me to many other people and issues. I went to a few seminars and began reading some disturbing information about the corruption of our government. Like many Americans I had a great belief in my country. We are, after all, the greatest nation on earth. As I began comparing the writings of the founders of our nation and the form of government laid out by the state and federal Constitutions with the things going on in government today, they just didn't match up. My belief in my country began to unravel.
The Legislatures and Congress were ignoring the limits of authority placed on them by the Constitutions in our American system of government. The federal Constitution only lists a half a dozen or so crimes in the powers of Congress, yet they have passed volumes of criminal laws. The state Constitution grants the legislature the authority to legislate in many more areas, as it should, yet they often made laws on subjects well beyond their grant of authority. Many Americans have discovered that there is much to question after investigating the foundations of government authority. Their research into the facts of government excess were well documented. Almost every component of government, it seemed, was operating outside of the constitutional limitations placed on it.
One question remained particularly unanswered for me. How can the forest service, which used to be a collection of natural resource managers, be turned into an armed police force? After all, those who enforce the law should know what empowers them to do so. An opportunity for some informal research into this question presented itself when forest service officer Didier pulled up to investigate some nude swimmers on a hot August afternoon in 1997.
As he got out of his pick up and began his investigation, I walked up the trail to meet him. My wife had driven our van down the road to look for some other people from the gathering who came down to the river, but had gone somewhere else to swim. She pulled up behind Didier soon after he parked his truck. He talked to her briefly until I came up the trail to the parking area. I asked him what he was doing here. He said he was investigating some nude swimming. I asked him what was the basis of his law enforcement authority. He asked me for my name. I asked him if I was being detained, as I had learned that was an important point to be determined in the protocol of roadside encounters. He said no. I gave him my name and even spelled it properly for him. He wrote it down on his note pad. Remember this, it becomes important later.
I began to question him as to how he could have law enforcement authority with the forest service since they couldn't own land within a state. I told him about the limitations of federal land ownership mandated by the Constitution under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, and how the 10th Amendment limits the federal government to the powers enumerated to it by the Constitution. Clause 17 limits federal land ownership within a state to Washington D. C., forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings purchased with the consent of the state Legislature. Federal agencies claim an "ownership" or otherwise control about 2/3 of Idaho, yet there does not appear to be any legal basis for their claim. Forest lands are not forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings. Officer Didier didn't have any answer to my questions about the source of his federal law enforcement authority. I went over to our van and got out a copy of the Constitution and read those sections to him. He still didn't have an answer to my question. He said he could enforce federal and state laws. He showed me his Idaho P.O.S.T. credentials. Those are state law enforcement credentials. He was less than enthused at my continuing questioning and asked if I was obstructing him. I told him no, I just wanted to know what his authority was. I again asked if I was being detained. He said no. This line of questioning went 'round between us a few times until he walked off towards the beach where some of the other people were. I thought it was rather unusual that a man in a forest service cop uniform with a forest service law enforcement pick up, who obviously was employed in their law enforcement division couldn't tell me where his federal law enforcement authority came from.
When Didier got down to the beach, he started asking for people's names. As I had read in my studies of legal issues, one doesn't have give their name, in fact one can remain silent if they wish. I asked Didier what law required anyone to give him their name. That was another question for which he had no answer. Most of the people had gathered their stuff together and were preparing to leave. Those who were nude before, had clothed themselves before Didier got down to the beach. Many of us had been there for some time and were getting ready to leave anyway. Didier continued to ask for names but no one gave theirs to him. Others also began questioning why they had to give their names and since he didn't provide any answer to their questions, no one gave him their names. My brother had a witty response, "why do you want my name? Don't you have a name of your own?" Didier was less than amused. I also continued to question whether we were being detained. Since he appeared to be conducting an official inquiry, I asked this question repeatedly, and was always told that I wasn't being detained. This is an important legal issue to determine, as my studies had taught me, because being detained is actually a state of arrest in which your 4th Amendment rights kick in. Once an officer makes the transition from questioning to detainment or arrest he must have probable cause to do so. If he had said we were detained, I would have entered the next phase of questioning his probable cause. It never became necessary.
People began walking up to the vehicles to leave. There were about 20 people who caught rides in half a dozen or so cars and trucks. Didier walked up the trail with us as we wandered back to the various vehicles we had arrived in. He was still trying to get names. As far as I know no one but me gave him their name while we were at Cotter Bar. I also did not hear Didier order anyone to stay where they were. He began walking around and writing down peoples license plates while they were loading into the vehicles. Didier seemed bewildered and upset at not having anyone cooperate with him. Having repeatedly asked if I was being detained and always told no, I drove away with a van load of people including my family. I was the first vehicle to leave. About 20 people got in their vehicles and "left the scene of investigation" of nude swimmers. It is important to remember this part of the event, as it will later constitute a "crime."
I drove down the road a mile or so with another vehicle. Since we didn't see any others from the gathering following us, we pulled over and waited until more of the people caught up. When they came along we continued up the hill towards camp which was about ten miles away. About halfway up the grade from the river our convoy met a Sheriff's car coming down the hill. He apparently turned around and began following us. As we neared the top of the grade from the rivers' canyon and passed through the little settlement known as Mt. Idaho, the Sheriff's car turned on its' overhead lights and passed all the cars in our group and went on ahead around a corner. When I rounded the corner I saw he had angled his car so as to create a roadblock and was motioning for us to stop. I stopped near his car, and he came over and talked with me. He said we were to stay right there and to keep my hands on the steering wheel. I asked him if I was being detained. He said I was. He asked if there were any weapons in the vehicle, and I informed him that yes there was, I had a gun in the shoulder pouch that I was wearing, and that I had a concealed weapons license which authorized me to carry it. He seemed a little concerned that I had a gun, and didn't proceed to the usual next question of "drivers license, registration and proof of insurance." Realizing the gravity of the situation, with both of us being armed, and since I carry a gun for defense, not offense, I suggested to the deputy that it would be in our mutual best interest not to engage in violence towards each other. He said that would be a good idea. I then asked him, since I was being detained, what his probable cause was to, in fact, arrest me? He said he had stopped us at the request of a forest service officer who would be along shortly. I began to continue my query as to what constituted his probable cause, and we discussed the subject some, but he did not offer any thing further in the way of an answer. As I was the first in a long string of ve hicles that he had stopped, he said that he had to go contact the other vehicles and told me to stay in the van. He left to talk with the other drivers. Not being satisfied with his limited answer as to his probable cause to effectively "arrest" me, I got out to make further inquiries. By then officer Didier had arrived at the tail of the roadblock and was beginning to contact drivers. Some of the cars in the roadblock were other travelers not connected with the nude swimming event. They were contacted, and when it was determined that they were not involved, they were allowed to leave.
During the course of the next hour and fifteen minutes that we were detained at the roadblock, several other Sheriff's deputies, a female forest service officer and a highway patrolman joined the scene. As I was to learn later, deputy Miller, the Sheriff's deputy that initiated the roadblock, was wired to his car, where a video tape was recording the event, including the conversations occurring near him. I would later receive a copy of this tape in discovery. It was nearly useless as a video, since his car with the camera in it was pointed away from the roadblock, but the audio portion recorded much of the conversations as well as the radio communications with his dispatch. There were many garbled parts of the recording which initially seemed suspiciously covered up, as they contained key parts of our conversations and legal requests. However, deputy Miller later testified that it was just a problem with the transmitter on his person, which was designed to work in front of his car that was pointed away from the scene of the roadblock. Deputy Miller's other testimony at the trial was both honest and accurate, so the garbled portions of the tape may well have been part of the original.
There was apparently some discussion amongst the officers there as to what to do with us. With both federal and county "jurisdictions" involved, they had to determine who was going to prosecute what. It had been initiated by a complaint to the Sheriff, but was responded to by a federal officer, and now a Sheriff had made the traffic stop. Apparently Didier felt it was his opportunity to get back at those people who questioned his authority and bruised his ego. Besides, he failed to contact and identify anyone who was naked. Didier began his attempt to take names and rather randomly tried interrogating people that he thought should be cited. I, of course being rather vocal in the questioning of his authority, was high on his list of priorities. He wanted to know my name and address and wanted to see some ID. I told him I would show him some, but it was in my shoulder pouch next to my gun (which I continued to carry around during the entire event). I repeated the previous statement I made to deputy Miller, that it would be in our mutual best interest if we agreed not to engage in violence towards each other and further noted to them that I was surrounded by several cops who were armed, therefore it was unlikely that I would pull my weapon and do anything stupid. I reached in slowly and pulled out my wallet and got out my Concealed Weapons License and showed it to deputy Miller who was standing next to me. He looked at it and identified it with me (as he later would testify). Didier asked me for it and I told him that it was my property and he couldn't have it, but I would hold it and he could read it and copy information from it. This he did, as he wrote it down on the "Violation Notice" that he was about to give me. Remember this, as it becomes important later.
There was quite a lot going on with a half dozen officers and twenty or so people mulling around on the pavement on a rather hot afternoon. I was engaging several of the police officers there as to what was their legal right to do what they were doing, and trying to get answers that were not forthcoming. I was explaining the clause 17 and 10th Amendment issues to them and stating that since Didier, and now the other forest service policewoman hadn't explained how they had any federal law enforcement authority, the only legitimate police there were the Sheriff's deputies. I did not recognize the authority of the forest service officers, since I believed their existence was constitutionally impossible and they had not been able to answer my questions about their authority.
The deputies and Didier were still trying to get peoples names. My brother and another man were refusing to give their names. Someone asked why they had to give their names. I helped them to clarify their question as a request for what law required them to give their names. That request was then made, and deputy Miller went to his car to "find the law." As the tape later showed, he called his dispatch to find the law, who in turn tried to call a Prosecutor on this hot weekend afternoon. Having difficulty finding the Prosecutor, who was out playing golf, the best the dispatch could do was suggest that they could be charged with obstruction. Deputy Miller returned and told us what he was told, which didn't really answer the question. They hadn't provided the law and the remaining holdouts were still refusing to give their names. Deputy Miller said on the tape, something to the effect that, if suspects weren't required to give their names to police, then it would radically affect how he views his job. Later, during my research into this case, I discovered the Supreme Court case, Brown vs. Texas, in which they ruled that a suspect has no obligation to provide his name to police. I provided a copy of that case to deputy Miller after the trial.
A deputy Murray, who had been on scene helping with traffic and being the amiable "good cop," now took a different approach and began playing the "bad cop" card. He starting threatening my brother and the other man with a trip to Grangeville and then the Penitentiary if they didn't give their names. They still wanted to see the law that required it, not just some, you have to because I say so, from a cop. Eventually, as they were surrounded by numerous officers, including Didier and deputy Miller, they gave their names and addresses, which Didier wrote down on the Violation Notices that he issued to them. Remember this, as it becomes important later.
After all the Violation Notices that Didier wanted to issue were issued, we were allowed to leave. We went back to camp, having had enough excitement for one day. All tolled, six people, including my brother and myself, received Violation Notices for "Interfering with a forest officer engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties," a regulatory violation of 36 CFR 261.3(a). In my case, I was specifically charged on the Violation Notice of "not supplying name, address, and date of birth when asked and by disobeying a lawfull [sic] order not to leave an area of investigation concerning disorderly conduct and Idaho State violations of "Sexual Display." Steven J. Didier Jr. swore under penalty of perjury that it was true and correct to the best of his knowledge. I would eventually find out how unimportant truth or perjury is to the federal "justice" system, as this odyssey continues.
The First, First AppearanceIt came in the mail. Like a junk mail envelope from a sweepstakes mass mailing, the Central Violations Bureau, somewhere in Texas, sent this envelope which contained a Notice to Appear. It was one of those forms with carbon paper on the inside of the pressed together envelope that some type writing device had written the particulars of person and place right through the envelope to the "Notice" inside. There must be some computer controlled machine in Texas that cranks out thousands of these envelopes every day. They look like they come on a roll, preprinted, with blank areas for the carbon to fill in the details. The envelope includes an "official use only" free mailing emblem. What a racket. Kind of like Ed McMann and the Publisher's Clearing House, except this is take away, not give away. Remember this. It becomes important later. It cost me a day of my life attending a hearing that was void of due process requirements because they didn't follow their own rules.
By reading the preprinted and carbon imprinted writing inside the envelope I was barely able to determine that the feds wanted me to go to their court on September 24, 1997. I contacted some of the other "defendants" in what some would later call the Clearwater Six (someone even printed up some "Free the Clearwater 6" tee shirts), and found that they had received similar "Notices" for the same date. We met the day before to plan how we might handle this. I went to the law library the night before the first, First Appearance hearing. I was beginning to learn more about the law. One of the things I learned was that the courts had rules they followed, so I thought it would be a good idea to find out how their game was played. I began reading the court rules that governed the phase of the proceedings that we were at and made an interesting discovery. Rule 3 required a complaint to initiate a case, which no one had given me a copy of, and, more importantly, Rule 4 requires either a warrant or summons to be issued and that whichever is issued must be signed by a magistrate. There was something wrong with this picture. The violation notices we received from the forest service cops didn't seem to be a "complaint" as required by Rule 3. And those Notices to Appear in the carbon imprinted, machine generated, mass mailout from Texas sure didn't have a magistrates signature as Rule 4 required. Armed with this bit of information and the knowledge that failure to follow the rules and give the required notice was a due process violation, I thought for sure they would dismiss this case because of their mistakes.
At the appointed time, four of the Clearwater Six appeared in the federal district court. One woman had car trouble and notified the court she couldn't make it. Eventually she would pay her $300 and have it all disappear. Another man was in New Hampshire and had made other arrangements with the court. Before the hearing, Gerald Smith of the Federal Defenders contacted us. He regularly acted as court appointed counsel. He had a meeting with us and explained what the proceedings were going to be like and what our options were. When we were called into court, Magistrate Mikel Williams began his routine of trying explain matters to us. He wanted to make sure we all had received the tickets from the officers and had received our Notices to Appear. He further told us that the maximum penalty was six months in jail and he asked U. S. Attorney Barry McHugh what fine limit the government would request in this case. Mr. McHugh answered $5,000. The Magistrate then asked if the government would be seeking any term of imprisonment in this case, to which Mr. McHugh answered yes. The Magistrate went through the routine of trying to make sure we understood our rights and the charges against us. We really didn't understand how this could be happening to us. The Magistrate tried to make us understand. One man couldn't understand how he could be charged here, since he didn't even speak with officer Didier at the river, but was chosen out of the back of a pick up at the roadblock miles away to get a ticket from Didier. He also wondered why he could just pay the $300 and all would be forgiven, but if he plead not guilty he would face six months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The Magistrate continued his attempt to explain our options for a private or court appointed attorney, or to represent ourselves. The court eventually appointed Mr. Smith as our standby counsel, which meant he would be there to advise us if we wanted it, but we would "represent" ourselves. We had already discussed our right to a jury trial with Mr. Smith before court and he said that in a "petty offense" like this one the courts had ruled that we don't get a jury. One of the things that I didn't understand, was how we could be denied a trial by jury. I questioned the court on this issue, since the Constitution quite clearly says that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy a right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury. The Magistrate was at that point trying to get us to understand and choose between our options of staying in the Magistrate's court or having this case heard in the district court. The Magistrate had said that both courts would recognize our rights so I wanted to know which court would recognize that right. The Magistrate answered that we would be entitled to any right that exists in either court, but the Supreme Court has already ruled that in cases that are punishable by six months or less, we are not entitled to a jury. We could make a demand for a jury, and raise the issue, but which ever court we chose to hear this case, could rule on that issue. My brother then asked if that since the possible prison term was less than the amount set in the Supreme Court's ruling then is this not a criminal prosecution? The Magistrate answered that it was a criminal prosecution and his criminal rights do apply. My brother tried to read the Sixth Amendment to the court, but was cut off by the court who said Mr. Smith could probably give us a copy of the Supreme Court decision.
The Magistrate continued his artful attempts to make us understand how all this could be happening to us and choose which court we wanted to hear this in. We all opted for the district court. Before we went into the plea phase of the hearing I offered a motion to dismiss on behalf of all of us. The Magistrate said that since we had not consented to this court's jurisdiction and had chosen the district court he would not be hearing any motions to dismiss. We could make that motion to the district court. If I had of known then, what I know now, I would have made that motion in the beginning of the hearing. I proceeded to explain that I looked at the rules and found that there was a violation of due process here. There was no sworn complaint as required by rule 3, and there was no summons signed by a Magistrate as required by Rule 4. All I got was this silly little thing from a Violations Bureau that wanted me to pay $300 to some place in Georgia, which sounds to me pretty close to extortion. Without any signed summons we are clearly without any due process of law here. The Magistrate said that I could put that motion in writing and Judge Lodge would address it. I asked if he was ruling that I could not make an oral motion. He said motions had to be in writing. I would later watch attorneys successfully make oral motions in open court but I wasn't allowed to now. I was beginning to discover that the "justice" system isn't all it pretends to be.
Magistrate Williams then went on to say that he assumed from our discussions that we would be entering pleas of not guilty. I answered that we didn't understand the charges or how they apply to us. It would be hard to enter a plea when there was no sworn complaint, or... he cut me off and said that pursuant to the Federal Rules he would be entering pleas of not guilty on our behalf, and set the matter for trial before judge Lodge. Interestingly, although I didn't realize it at the time, the court refused to have jurisdiction to hear my motion, but somehow had jurisdiction to enter a plea for us.
The Magistrate went on to explain that "each of you'll be presumed innocent of the charges against you. The burden of proof will be on the government to prove you're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." "You'll also have the right to present evidence... and to subpoena or compel witnesses to appear in your behalf," and other "rights" that we have. This becomes important later, so remember it.
Since he had been caught with the Rules violations and their bogus machine made court notices, he ordered the U. S. Attorney to file a charging Information. We were let go with out bail and told to return on November 4th.
"Justice" in Action?I put in a motion to continue the trial, but had not been officially notified that it was granted. I called the clerk and was told that I was not on the docket for November 4th. Not trusting the system, I decided that since the last official word was to show up, I did. As it turned out, I wasn't scheduled, but there were four other trials on the docket. They would only get to one of them.
It was an eye opener. A woman who had chained herself to a tripod of logs in the middle of a forest road to protest a forest service sale was being tried. Judge Edward J. Lodge was presiding and Mr. Smith, my standby counsel, was her attorney. She was also charged with violating the same "interfering" regulation that I was, although she actually interfered on purpose. She had chained herself to the tripod and refused to come down. They had to bring in machinery to get her down. She was using a "necessity defense." It necessary for her to do what she did because, in her view, the forest service was not following its own rules and the timber sale was illegal and must be stopped. She was part of an environmental group that had tried to get the forest service to follow its own rules and when that failed, they necessarily had to resort to their protest methods. This was one of many similar cases which Mr. Smith had defended.
Several interesting things happened here. First, as I walked into the trial in progress, the same officer Didier that cited me was testifying. Within 5 minutes, without knowing anything about the case, I could tell he was lying on the witness stand. The defense counsel had him trip over his own convoluted tales so well that a child could tell he was lying through his teeth. Did it matter to judge Lodge who was trying the case without a jury? Apparently not. The woman's case relied upon the fact that there were some procedures that should have been followed by the forest service and weren't. To prove this she needed the testimony of a man who was both knowledgeable of the forest service procedures and their failure to comply with them. Mr. Smith was attempting to put him on the witness stand to show why her protest was a "necessity." The U. S. Attorney was objecting to the witness. After a valiant attempt by Mr. Smith to get the necessary testimony on the record, judge Lodge refused to allow the witness, claiming essentially that since there was no evidence on the record that the forest service had violated any procedures, there would be no need for the witness (which could offer that proof). Hmm... didn't the Magistrate at the First Appearance say something like "You'll also have the right to present evidence... and to subpoena or compel witnesses to appear in your behalf?"
There was another interesting thing which I noticed after watching for awhile. It appeared as if there was an invisible string attached to the prosecutors butt, that ran under the floor, up to the judge's bench, and was attached at the other end to the judge's jaw. Whenever the prosecutor rose out of his seat to say "objection," the judge would automatically and instantaneously say "sustained." Team work between these two federal employees couldn't have been better. There was something wrong with this picture. The protester was given 30 days and hauled away.
Officer Didier's Grand TaleA few days before the second First Appearance, I received a packet from the U. S. Attorney containing a number of things as part of a "Government's Discovery Response." There was a report of investigation; a map; the sheriff's radio log; copies of officer Didier's credentials; photo's of the area by the river; copies of the Violation Notices; and criminal histories of the defendant's. It said there was a copy of the Information filed in the case, but it wasn't in the envelope.
The report, written by officer Didier some 12 days after the event was most interesting. He began his creative rendition of the event by stating these subjects claimed to be constitutionalist and didn't recognize any Federal authority. I have never made that claim, but it has often intrigued me as to how one can be both an adherent to the principles and government laid down by the Constitution, yet not recognize any federal authority. What became obvious was that Didier had my brother and I confused. His descriptions of our conduct and appearance were mixed up so that what he described about one of us was actually true about the other, except for his many exaggerations and complete fabrications. Understandably, he never met us before and we do look somewhat similar, so he may have been confused. There were many people there and it was a stressful event for all concerned. However the tale he told went well into the realms of fiction.
Correcting for his name switch, in his report he began accusing me of blocking his way down the only trail to the sand bar; that I informed him he was impersonating an officer and would be arrested; that he had no authority to enforce any laws nor did any Federal officer. He said I said that I lived by the Constitution and only it governed my conduct. He said I told him to leave the area. He said he told me to move out of the trail and he said I told him that if he wanted to go down the trail, he could go around me. He said he told me I was obstructing an officer, and he said I then replied, saying he was impersonating an officer and I didn't have to do anything he said. Didier then said he asked for my name which I refused at first stating that I did not have to give him any personal information. His report says I finally told him my name stating that was all he was going to get. He then said I started referring to the copy of the Constitution I was carrying and moved away from the trail (remember, this is the copy of the Constitution that I went over to my van to get, after I met him at top of the trail--the van that my wife parked behind Didier's police truck). Didier then reported that I blocked his way at the bottom of the hill by the beach and told him that nobody had to talk to him and I was everyone's friend and would speak for the group. Didier said he asked me if I was the group's attorney, to which he said I replied that I would speak for the people there. Correcting still for Didier's switch of our names, he then said that my brother came out from behind a boulder and stated that this was a public place, and he was an American who could do whatever he wanted. Didier then reported that my brother and I both ordered him to leave and he would be charged with impersonating an officer if he did not. Didier said I addressed the group of nude people telling them to leave and they did not have to do anything Didier said because he was violating the Constitution (from what I remember people h ad their clothes on before Didier made it down to the beach and he never actually talked to anyone who was nude). Didier said he observed the rest of the still nude people gathering around closer and he addressed the group stating that the Idaho county Sheriff's Office was on the way and everyone had to stay so this could be resolved. He said that nobody acknowledged him and I said no one had to follow his instructions (his report also contained allegations about other people at the scene which are not included here).
He then reported that the two Heaths (my brother and I) were getting more angry and the group was drifting closer around him, so he walked away from the group back up to the highway (some people began walking up to the vehicles and he followed them). He said I asked if he would try to arrest anyone who left. He said he answered that no one was under arrest but everyone would have to stay to be questioned by the deputy. How can you not be under arrest but have to stay at the command of an officer? He said I then informed him that he had no authority and every one was going to leave. He said that when he was at the hill by the highway he addressed the group and again told the drivers to stay. He went on to say that one vehicle driven by a woman (later given a citation) drove right past him with the woman smiling and looking right at him. He said most of the people were "hooting" and laughing as they drove away.
His report went on to further detail the roadblock part of the incident. This time not correcting for his name switch, he reported that Deputy Miller asked "Richard Heath" (my brothers legal name) for some identification who produced a concealed weapons permit (my brother has never had a gun permit) but told Didier that he would have to read it while Heath was holding it. Didier said he wrote down Richard Heath's personal information and issued a federal violation notice. Remember this, as it becomes important later. His report continued confuse the identity of my brother and myself relative to the event. I thought this would be useful to get the case dismissed since it didn't properly identify the correct defendant with the alleged conduct. I didn't yet know it would get worse from here.
Officer Didier's report is a somewhat lacking for proper English composition, and truth, but deserves an "A" for creative writing. How can this be evidenced from his own information? It would seem that blocking his way down the only trail; threatening to arrest him; refusing to move out of his way; preventing him from talking to other people at the scene; encouraging others to ignore his orders and telling them to leave, would be serious acts of "interfering." However, these serious acts, which should have been fresh on his mind, somehow didn't make it on the violation notices issued right after the event. Simple acts like not supplying name, address and date of birth, and leaving a scene of investigation did. If he really wanted to make a good case, he could have used the serious acts of interfering that he alleged in his report, on the Violation Notices issued at the roadblock. But they were already issued. It was twelve days after the event that he signed the report, but not under any penalty of perjury. Plenty of time for some creative writing.
The Second First AppearanceApparently, the court realized that they were dealing with some people that could and would actually read the Rules of their game and hold them to it, rather than just blindly submit to the machine generated carbon copy notices, as many people must do. The court went to all of the bother of properly making out a summons this time and having federal officers deliver them to the defendant's, several of whom lived in remote areas requiring a day long hike for the officers. Our tax dollars at work and for a good cause. At the time, I still had a belief in the justice system, and that surely, by letting the truth be known, I would be found innocent, and this whole silly matter would go away. The local Sheriff called me and said he had a federal summons for me and asked if I would I come and pick it up. I did, and found that I was to have a second First Appearance on November 19, 1997.
As the proceedings began, I made my motion to dismiss, which had also been made in writing this time. I wanted to get it on the record before they pulled some kind of trick to prevent themselves from hearing it. I made my argument for dismissal, and read some higher court rulings that were relevant to my issues. I also made a few complaints about the unfairness of the proceedings and the dishonesty and incompetency of Officer Didier. After I was done Magistrate Williams asked U. S. Attorney McHugh for his response. He said that since I had elected to proceed in the district court, the case was in the district court (Lodge's court, not the Magistrates division) and it would be most appropriate for judge Lodge to hear and decide the motion.
On the surface, that may sound like a good idea. But remember, the reason I was called back in for a second First Appearance was because the carbon copy Notice to Appear was not sufficient under their own rules to establish jurisdiction over me. They had to do it right this time and call me in to the second First Appearance. If they had to do it over again, because of their failure to adhere to their own due process requirements, which caused a lack of jurisdiction, then whatever was done at the first, First Appearance was invalid. Including sending the case up to Lodge's court.
So what happened? The court never answered my motion. There was no ruling on it. Instead the Magistrate proceeded to have the clerk show me a copy of the Information. The one that had been missing from my packet from the U. S. Attorney. I was charged only with interfering with the duties of officer Didier by disobeying a lawful order not to leave an area of investigation concerning violations of federal and/or state law, all in violation of Title 16 United States Code, Section 551, and Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 261.3(a). That was it. None of the other serious acts alleged in Didier's report made it into the Information. He declined to install the more serious charges in his second opportunity to press them.
The Magistrate began to repeat his monologue, from the first, First Appearance, of what my rights and options were. We ended up at the same outcome as the first event, except this time, they followed their rules a little closer, attempting to establish jurisdiction over the defendant this time.
Another interesting thing also happened. The U. S. Attorney dismissed the charges against everyone except me. We all committed exactly the same offense according to the Information's filed, yet I was the only one they wanted to prosecute. In fact, 20 or so people did the same thing, but Didier cited only 6 people. Why? Selective prosecution? Political persecution? If I had of known then, what I know now...
The Pre-Trial Paper FlurryPerhaps the real reason the government came up with the forest service was to have enough trees to keep the government supplied with the paper it needs to exist. As we moved towards the trial phase, a lot more papers hit the mailboxes of those involved. Eventually, the trial documents would exceed a 2" thickness, the appeal documents about an inch and a half, not counting the 3" or so of transcripts. Then there's the briefs. I'm not sure why, but the largest court documents are called briefs. This of course doesn't count all notes and copies of case law and laws I gleaned from the law library during my preparation for the trial and subsequent appeal.
Without trying to fit all those many details into this story, I began with a Demand for Trial by Jury. The jury, after all, has been an institution which has been the right of an accused person since at least the Magna Charta in 1215. The Sixth Amendment guaranties that "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed,..." The Judicial section of the Federal Constitution also says "The trial of all crimes, except in the cases of impeachment, shall be by jury;..."
One would think those words could only mean that all criminal prosecutions shall be tried by a jury. Magistrate Williams had already told us that this was a criminal prosecution. He also said that this category of crime didn't qualify, according to the Supreme Court for a jury. I wondered what category wasn't included in "all" criminal prosecutions. I would soon find out.
A "Petty Offense"The government responded saying that under U. S. vs. Arbo (691 F. 2d 862, 864-865) I wasn't entitled to a jury trial. I looked it up (I would end up looking up a lot of things before this was over) and discovered that contrary to the plain and ordinary language in the Constitution, the Supreme Court (in a case which the Arbo case relied upon) had reached into the "common law" pulled out the phrase "petty offense" and decided that since under the common law those accused of a petty offense didn't get a jury, those accused of a federal "petty offense" wouldn't get one either. They then went on to define a petty offense as one in which there was a maximum of six months in jail and no more than a $500 fine. This was my introduction to what "judicial activism" really means. Courts, by "legislating" in their decisions, can step out of the law by interpreting things as they would like them to be (for who will stop them). Then by layering their decisions like the 9th Circuit Arbo case which relied upon the original Supreme Court case, they build a body of case law, which establishes "law" without a Congress. And I was about to be subjected to this unlegislated "law."
There were several problems with this "law" relative to my case. The Supreme Court set the limits of their "petty offense" definition at a $500 fine. The government had already set the limit in my case at $5,000. The U. S. Code section I was accused of violating, or rather, the section which authorized the promulgation of the regulation that I was accused of violating, and which set the punishment limits, also set those limits at $500. By setting the fine limit at $5,000 the government converted the "crime" into class B misdemeanor (18 USC 3571(b)(6)), not the petty offense mentioned in the Supreme Court's decision or the statute charged in their Information. This should have changed the nature of the crime to one which had a right to a jury. As I was to learn, such seemingly important details could easily be overcome by simply ignoring them, which is apparently a way of life for judges and prosecutors.
The Fix: a Lie for a LieThe government then filed a Trial Memorandum which was essentially a combination of the Information filed and a condensed version of officer Didier's report, this time signed by U. S. Attorney Barry McHugh. The plot thickened, as the U. S. Attorney began to rely upon the tall tale of officer Didier. It still contained their mix-up of my brother's and my name's. I was now referred to as the Defendant, yet my brother was accused of the more serious acts of interfering. Why had they already dismissed the charge against the main culprit, according to this grossly exaggerated and highly fabricated Memorandum, yet continue prosecuting a lesser "accomplice?" As the trial approached, I thought this would also be a good basis for a motion to dismiss. How can they convict a person of a crime, when they can't even properly identify him with the alleged conduct?
By now the trial had been continued to a later date several times. It was now set for June 15, 1998. About two weeks before trial the government tried to fix their mistake. The problem with lying is that as the lie gets bigger, it becomes harder and harder to make it sound true. Apparently Didier and the U. S. Attorney had "been around the block" a time or two down at the federal courthouse and didn't seem to have a problem telling tall tales to judge Lodge. The fix was in. According to the government's Amended Trial Memorandum, Didier "discovered" after the event that my brother and I had switched our names and provided false identifications. The new Trial Memorandum had been "adjusted" to fix their errors except that I now told him my name was Richard Heath at the river, and at the roadblock, my brother and I gave each other's names.
Didier furthered his claim of our name switch with a Supplement to Narrative Violation Notice, saying that he learned of the name switch from fellow forest service officer Pete Deane (who has known my brother for years and had met me previously). Didier said in his narrative that after describing the two individuals to him, Deane stated that they had given Didier the wrong names. Officer Deane would later testify that he suggested to Didier that he thought Didier may have made a mistake and have us mixed up, about a week after the event. There was no testimony from Deane indicating that he thought we had switched our names.
An Affidavit of TruthSeeing what a pack of lies I was up against, especially as I began to learn more about the history of judge Lodge and his compromised integrity, I decided on a pro-active response. I filed an Affidavit of Truth with the court, sworn to under penalty of perjury (since Didier and U. S. Attorney McHugh had, at best, filed their documents as "respectfully submitted"). I rebutted some of Didier's accusations as untrue and challenged him to swear to them in an affidavit. I further stated that I did immediately provide my correct name at the initial point of contact when asked and I did not disobey any order to stay. I said I asked him at least 4 times if I was being detained and he answered no each time. I stated that I did not block his way, refuse to move, threaten to arrest him, order him to leave, or order the group to leave. I rebutted the government's claim that my brother and I had switched our names and stated that it appeared that they had fabricated this claim because they realized the defects in the institution of the prosecution were sufficient to cause dismissal of the case. I then went on to give my detailed recollection of the event, all of which I declared was true and correct under penalty of perjury. Surely, with the truth on the record exposing their devious ploy to manufacture my guilt, I would prevail in court.
I tried to depose officer Didier with a motion for written Interrogatories. I wanted him to make the same statements that were in his report and the Trial Memorandums under oath. This in itself could have saved the need for a trial, as I thought he would never make those same statements under oath. I also put in a motion to dismiss based upon Didier's false allegations and the defects in the prosecution. Thinking this would be enough to let them know the truth would be exposed in court, and Didier could possibly face perjury charges, I motioned for a pre-trial conference, so that we might work this out and avoid a trial.
As the trial approached, I made another request for discovery (a legal request for information that the other side may have). I wanted a copy of Didier's rough notes that he made at the scene, taking down license numbers and other information on his notepad. I knew my name would be the first thing on it, proving that I did give him my name right at the beginning and I hadn't switched names with my brother. They didn't have any rough notes to provide. There wasn't any, they said. In the beginning of Didier's testimony he also would state that he didn't have a note pad at the scene. Yet there he was conducting an investigation and trying to get people's names. More cover up of the truth. Too bad truth doesn't matter in Lodge's court. I also wanted copies of the deed or other document evidencing ownership of the land in question, as well as documents that would show that the Idaho Legislature had ceded jurisdiction to the federal government and the feds had accepted the jurisdiction. There was to be no such discovery provided, but at trial they had a forest service officer bring maps and documents showing how Teddy Roosevelt has included this particular area in his Presidential Proclamation which was their only claim to "ownership."
Federal Lands and Criminal Jurisdiction?This whole event caused me to do a lot of legal research into the foundations of the forest service, their "ownership" of the land near the river where the event occurred and the nature of federal criminal jurisdiction. As a result of my research, the simple Clause 17 and the 10th Amendment questions which I had originally queried officer Didier about, had some discoveries added to them which showed promising potential for my defense.
The government claimed the "Property Clause" of the Constitution (Art. 4, Sec. 3, Cl. 2) gave Congress the authority to regulate the use and occupancy of federal lands including the area where the "crime" occurred. They further showed that the area in question was acquired by the federal government as part of a Presidential Proclamation signed by Teddy Roosevelt in 1905. This proclamation claimed these lands as forest reserve. The forest service was created about a year later to administer these forest reserves. The problem with this "ownership" begins with Idaho's statehood in 1890.
Before statehood, Idaho was a territory of the United States, acquired by conquest and/or treaty. The Idaho Constitution at Article Ten, section four, declares that all property and institutions of the Idaho Territory became property of the state upon admission into the Union. The Idaho Admission Act, an Act of Congress, acknowledged and accepted the Idaho Constitution, further confirming that these public domain lands were now state property. Having admitted the state of Idaho into the Union, and accepting, ratifying, and confirming Idaho's Constitution, the property of the territory was transferred to the state, and the federal government no longer held any property interest in the land near Cotter Bar. The "Proclamation" by President Roosevelt, in 1905 was not a constitutional or lawful manner of attempting to re-take ownership of the lands which were conveyed to the state by its Constitution and the Idaho Admission Act in 1890. without a reserved right or interest to the property in question, the federal government could not re-take these lands without the consent of the state Legislature by cession. Just like the Indians and their broken treaties, the federal government now claims to "own" about two thirds of Idaho. In addition to the fact that the federal government couldn't just retake what had become state public lands, the government still had not explained how it can own any lands within a state, not described in Clause 17 of Article 1, Section 8 (forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings). While the Property Clause does give them the "power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States," it has to be their property before it can be covered under the Property Clause."
I also found that federal criminal jurisdiction only existed on lands that it had acquired through constitutional means, including the cession of state jurisdiction to the federal government by an act of the legislature. Armed with this information I filed a Verified Challenge of Jurisdiction seeking to dismiss the case. I included ample case law to support my challenge, including the following:
"When land or other property is acquired by United States by purchase or condemnation without consent of state legislature, it would not be entitled to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over property, as state has retained right to exercise its general police powers." McEachin v. US, D.C.App. 1981, 432 A.2d 1212.
"Ownership and use of public lands without more does not withdraw the lands from the jurisdiction of the state; on the contrary, the lands remain part of her territory and within the operations of her laws, save that the latter cannot effect the title of the United States or embarrass it in using the lands or interfere with its right of disposal." Surplus Trading Co. v. Cook, Ark. 281 US 647.
"Constitution prescribes the only mode by which the United States can acquire land as a sovereign power, and, therefore, they hold only as an individual when they obtain it in any other manner." US v. Penn, C.C.Va. 1880, 48 F. 669.
"Where United States purchases land with state's consent, or state cedes exclusive jurisdiction to United States, land acquires territorial status and ceases to be part of state, either territorially or jurisdictionally, but in absence of clearly expressed intent, it will not be presumed that state has relinquished its sovereignty." Ryan v. State, 1936, 61 P. 2d 1276, 188 Wash. 115, affirmed 58 S. Ct. 233, 302 US 186, 82 L. Ed 187.
"United States jurisdiction is exclusive, where state cedes land for governmental purposes; but, if acquired in other ways, United States holds merely as a proprietor." Williams v. Arlington Hotel Co., C.C.A. Ark. 1927, 22 F. 2d 669.
"It has been held that a state may not cede jurisdiction to the United States over lands not owned by the latter." United States of America v. Francisco Unzeuta, 281 US 138; 74 L. ed. 761, 768.
"The United States does not acquire exclusive jurisdiction over lands within a state to which purchase is consented to by the state unless the purchase be regarded as actually that of the United States." United States of America v. Francisco Unzeuta, 281 US 138; 74 L. ed. 761, 764.
"No sovereign power which the community has an interest in preserving undiminished will be held to be surrendered, unless the intention to surrender is manifested by words to plain to be mistaken." United States of America v. Francisco Unzeuta, 281 US 138; 74 L. ed. 761, 766.
"There is some tendency to construe state acts of cession strictly, upon the principle that presumptions should not be indulged to defeat the sovereignty of a state." United States of America v. Francisco Unzeuta, 281 US 138; 74 L. ed. 761, 769.
"It follows that the acquisition by the United States of lands within a state, unsupported by either 'consent' of the legislature of the state or an express cession of jurisdiction from the state, leaves territorial jurisdiction of such lands in the state courts." United States of America v. Francisco Unzeuta, 281 US 138; 74 L. ed. 761, 772.
"Cession of jurisdiction to a federal authority is commonly a necessary part of the assumption of federal jurisdiction within a state." US v. Schuster, 220 F. Supp. 61, 64 (1963)
"A court lacking jurisdiction cannot render judgment but must dismiss the cause at any stage of the proceedings in which it becomes apparent that jurisdiction is lacking." Mitchell v. Maurer, 293 US 237
"The decisions of this court require, that the averment of jurisdiction shall be positive--that the declaration shall state expressly the fact on which jurisdiction depends. It is not sufficient, that jurisdiction may be inferred, argumentatively, from its averments." Brown v. Keene, 33 US 112,115.
Wow! That should do it, I thought. Clearly they couldn't move ahead in the face of all that case law saying that they couldn't. But how would judge Lodge eventually rule on my challenge of jurisdiction? He stated, regarding the area of the alleged crime, that it was "not deeded or expressly given to the state at the time of statehood." I guess the Idaho Admission Act and the state Constitution don't count. He further based his "finding" of jurisdiction on 18 USC, section 7, which creates a "Special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States". The only portion of that statute which has relevance to land within a state is found at clause (3). It states, in part: "Any lands reserved or acquired for the use of the United States, and under the exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction thereof,...".
Had the state Legislature ever ceded jurisdiction to the federal government on the land in question? There was no evidence of it on the record. The government never produced any such evidence, even though my Verified Challenge of Jurisdiction demanded it. Yet Lodge "found" jurisdiction anyway.
And what would the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have to say on this same issue when I raised it on appeal? "The National Forest land at issue was within federal control and the court properly exercised its jurisdiction." That's it. All of it. With this seemingly important and complex issue, that's all the more they had to say. I guess when the foundation for the federal ownership of two thirds of Idaho, over a silly nude swimming case, comes into question there isn't much they want to say about it. If my arguments were wrong, they could have countered with the law which proved I was wrong. But when there is no law...
Judge Lodge and the Trail of CorruptionAs my efforts to learn more about legal matters and the decay of our political system continued, I became acquainted with people from all over the country. There were many people who were challenging government corruption, in court and elsewhere. Some offered seminars, books and workshops. Others exercised their right to publish and broadcast the "rest of the story" about what is going on in America. There was a movement going on, known by various names, and often called the Patriot movement. Many of us, each in our own way were attempting to right the wrongs and expose corruption. Local citizens groups had formed, including one in my county, and various national organizations championed their particular causes. I began publishing the BRUSH FIRE News, a small little magazine published by hand on a Xerox machine and distributed locally. It was full of stories on the evils committed by some of those in government, and some good solutions, that the regular press doesn't talk about. It was often punctuated by quotes from the founders of our nation and other great thinkers who expounded upon political realities.
At about the same time, Don Harkins began publishing the Idaho Observer, a monthly newspaper with a similar format. Through Don and his paper, as well as others I met, I began to learn more about judge Edward J. Lodge. From verifiable records it could be shown that Lodge, then a bankruptcy judge, sat on the bankruptcy case of his in-laws, while about one million dollars of their assets, in what was then West One Bank were transferred to the account of Lodge's wife, Patricia. West One Bank (now US Bank) was a creditor in the bankruptcy and allowed the transfer without complaint, "purchasing" judge Lodge for about a million dollars. Subsequent to his "purchase," judge Lodge ruled in favor of the bank in at least 27 different cases, destroying the lives and taking the property of many Idahoans even though many of them were current on their loans. These were generally high dollar cases in which the bank sought to acquire the either the principle or the collateral of the defendants, or both. This was investigated by the Ada county Sheriff's office and found to be true, but they couldn't find anyone who would prosecute, since the bank held nearly half the financial assets in the state of Idaho.
There were also over 400 (now over 500) judicial misconduct complaints against judge Lodge filed with the 9th Circuit Court. So far, little to nothing has ever been done about the complaints against him. I would also learn later, that Lodge had prosecuted and convicted Idaho's Congressman George Hansen on trumped up charges, in a political vendetta. It was co-ordinated to ruin Mr. Hansen's re-election chances and allow one of Lodge's cronies to win the office. Former Congressman Hansen's incarceration ordeal was a rolling torture known as "diesel therapy." He was moved frequently, at odd hours, all over the country in the federal system; placed in cold cells with little clothing and denied medical attention while his health deteriorated. Lodge is also the federal judge which ruled the assassination of Vicky Weaver by a federal sniper was within the sniper's official duties so he was immune from criminal prosecution for the murder. These are but a few of the events in judge Lodge's then 36 years on the bench. It was beginning to look like I would end up being only so much hamburger, in Lodge's federal meat market.
Based on a pre-trial report that said I was a "constitutionalist" and involved in "common law" groups which he may have a bias and prejudice against, as well as the fact that I had reprinted articles in the BRUSH FIRE News exposing Lodge's alleged corruption, and the many complaints of Lodge's judicial misconduct, I filed a motion to recuse him or reassign the case to another judge.
Offense is the best Defense?As I continued my efforts to learn more about legal subjects, I discovered there was a whole world out there of people who were similarly attempting to defend themselves, or otherwise get the government to tell the truth about its various areas of misconduct. The methods used were as varied as the people who used them. Through a burgeoning alternative press and an informal network of "Patriots" there were many problems exposed and solutions offered. One of the solutions that had become common was to sue government officials when they violated your rights. Many used the Title 42 civil rights remedies enacted by the Congress. This was fine for "federalized" 14th Amendment citizens seeking the privilege of their civil rights. However, courts rarely, if ever, granted such "privileges" and allowed people to win such suits. One man had made an exhaustive study of the judicial rules and laws and "discovered" another remedy. This was based on U. S. Code, Title 28, section 1343, which authorized a suit to remedy a violation of rights secured under the Constitution. I attended his seminar twice and decided that it made sense, as it was based on law laid down by Congress to provide a solution to the fix I was in. During his seminars he detailed how the form of suit that he used had stopped government actors from their usual plunder of our rights and property. Some "criminal" cases were terminated once this offensive defense was filed against the government actors involved. He was proliferating this form of suit across the country in an effort to have our nation return to a constitutional form of government. Typically, these suits sought millions of dollars in damages for the violation of certain constitutional rights.
I paid him $500 to help me formulate a complaint and to get his help now and then as I prosecuted my case. In this forest service case I was being charged with violating a "regulation," not a law passed by Congress as the Constitution required in article One, section one. I had been seized contrary to the 4th Amendment; there were a number of due process violations depriving me of liberty and property, against the commands of the 5th Amendment; my 6th Amendment rights were flagrantly violated; and all of it was being done by a federal government that was acting in excess of the powers and authorities granted to it by the Constitution, a violation of the 10th Amendment. The details of the violations of my rights secured by the Constitution were laid in a complaint against those government actors who had committed the violations and damages were sought, seeking millions in damages from each defendant.
The events of this case are a story unto itself, too large to tell here. The case file and briefs exceed 6" in thickness, including the appeal, yet the case never saw a day in court. The merits of the case never received a trial. It was disposed of in judge Lodge's chambers and behind closed doors without a hearing at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. There were about 900 similarly formed cases around the country. Ultimately, none of them would prevail, even after appeal. The judiciary eventually figured out how to circumnavigate the laws of Congress and protect the transgressions of those who took an oath to support the Constitution, but are apparently unaware of its contents. My suit was filed early in 1998, well before the trial of this case.
The TrialWe appeared at the appointed time and Mr. Smith was there as my standby counsel. U. S. Attorney McHugh was on vacation so another U. S. Attorney, George Breitsameter took over the government's case. We met before trial and he showed me the "land status map" a forest service officer was going to present to the court showing the "ownership" issue. Not a timely discovery process, nor the ownership and cession documentation I was seeking, but when you are the government who makes the rules, as I would find out, you don't have to keep them.
I had attempted to gather my witnesses. The primitive skills gathering attracted people from all over the country, in fact from several different countries. Many of the participants lived rural, semi-transient lifestyles and were hard to get a hold of. Most did not have abundant personal economies and could not afford the luxury of long distance travel to appear in court. I couldn't afford their transportation either. The many people that could have testified in my defense were not able to be there. One man tried to come from Montana, but his car broke down enroute. In the end only my wife and brother were able to make it. I chose not to have my brother testify, as the court complained there was not much time available and I felt we had laid the truth out well enough. The 20 or so people who were at the scene could have made the difference, even in judge Lodge's court, but they were not available to me. Besides, with an excellent challenge to their jurisdiction, several motions to dismiss and the pathetic case against me, based solely on officer Didier's provably false allegations, surely, truth and justice would prevail.
Just as Mr. Smith said would happen, judge Lodge "chewed up all of my motions and spit them out in the first five minutes." He just told us how it would be. He would not recuse himself or reassign the case to another judge. I would get no jury. None of my motions to dismiss had "merit" and would be denied. He said "it is not the practice of this court to hold a pretrial conference in a criminal case." He also stated "It is the judgment of this court that the facts do not support the need for deposition or interrogatories." There was no oral argument on any of the issues, except my request for discovery that the government had not provided. That request was also denied after I explained what had not been provided in discovery, so off we went to trial.
The government began with officer Didier on the stand. Through Mr. Breitsameter's questioning, Didier laid the foundations of the event and continued, under oath, to perpetuate the factual fabrications and exaggerations he had made in his report. He also added a new twist, by claiming that the name I gave him during the initial encounter was Richard Longfellow Heath. This is a hybrid of my brother's first name, my middle name, and our mutual last name. He told his story and described the area in question with the aid of photo's and a map. I began my cross-examination of him by asking him if he was aware that perjury was a crime carrying a penalty of up to five years and a fine? He answered that he was aware it was a crime. I then proceeded to question him about, and lay upon the record, the many areas of his testimony that I knew were untrue, or that needed clarification. I would hopefully lay a record evidencing his perjury. I particularly focused on his claim of the name switch, since he made some claims that could be proven as untrue and therefore raise doubt as to his other testimony. The truth about the actual crime charged would come down to his word against my witnesses, so exposing the credibility of his word was important--at least I thought so. I was, however, in Lodge's court.
Deputy Miller then took the stand and gave his rendition of the events. His testimony was accurate and actually helpful to me, since he was present during the parts of the event where Didier's claim of the name switch occurred. Deputy Miller was present when both my brother and I each identified ourselves at the roadblock. Miller observed both of us to correctly identify ourselves.
The government rested its case and I began my opening statement by questioning the honesty and integrity of Didier's statements. I explained my reasons for initially questioning Didier's authority. I briefly detailed my prior experiences with the forest service and my interest in the questions that I had asked Didier. I wanted to know some things which apparently he took great offense to. I also complained about what a waste of everyone's time this case was.
My first witness was forest service officer Dan Hawkes, who was actually Didier's boss. He was familiar with the land in the area and had brought some maps and documents to show the government's claim to the property in question. Although he wasn't sure of some of the details, we covered the history of the acquisition of the territory by treaty; that Idaho was once a territory of the United States; in 1905 the land in question became a "forest reserve" by Presidential Proclamation and has remained under the administration of the forest service since then. He was unfamiliar with the history of Idaho statehood. He was not aware of any cession of jurisdiction by the Legislature to the federal government on the land in question. The government objected to that question and asked that the question be stricken from the record. Eventually, the best that the government could do to evidence their "ownership" was that it was within the boundaries of the national forest and the forest service had been "administering" the property. This was a far cry from the proper purchase, for a constitutionally authorized purpose, with a cession of jurisdiction from the state Legislature to the federal government, that the higher courts had ruled was necessary for the establishment of federal criminal jurisdiction.
My wife Judie testified at length, going over many of the events that Didier had testified about. While some of the basic facts were the same in everyone's testimony, she provided testimony on the record which contradicted many of Didier's fabricated claims. She stated that I gave him my correct name when we first met and he wrote it down on his note pad; that I didn't block him at the trailhead, in fact she walked around both of us without difficulty; she never heard me threaten to arrest Didier; I never blocked Didier during the event and he was always free to move around, which he did; she never heard me claim to be a speaker for the group, or to be a constitutionalist, or that I didn't recognize any federal authority. She stated that there was no organized leader of the group, they were just some people from the camp that went swimming. She said she never heard Didier tell anyone that they had to stay when we were at the river. She also provided testimony about events at the roadblock. U. S. Attorney Breitsameter cross-examined her at length which further clarified the event and tended to support the falsity of many of Didier's claims. Her testimony also confirmed that we were never told not to leave the area of investigation by Didier. Court concluded for the day and we were scheduled to resume in the morning.
I began the next day by calling officer Didier as a witness. I went over some of the statements he had made that I knew to be false. I offered him an opportunity to correct his testimony, but he declined to correct anything, saying it was correct.
I attempted, by questioning, to show that he failed to properly fill out the Violation Notices. A principle in administrative law is that in order for a rule to have the force and effect of law it must be cross promulgated with its authorizing statute. Failure to show both the rule and the statute on the ticket is a failure to give proper notice of the violation which is a due process requirement. I had a friend in the forest service, that had been trained in issuing tickets, and who confirmed that her training taught her that both the regulation and its authorizing statute had to be on the ticket for it to be valid. Didier had not put the authorizing statute on the ticket. This was a technical point, but also a requirement which raised a due process issue, which in some courts was grounds for dismissal or reversal of a conviction. Judge Lodge, instead, would not allow the questioning which would lay the issue on the record. Since the government was proceeding under a different rule by filing an Information in the case, the issue didn't matter. With both the ticket defective and the carbon copy Notice to Appear also failing to adhere to the rules, they had to use different rules. Too bad the citizen doesn't get to have an extra set of rules.
U. S. Attorney Breitsameter used the cross-examination to further Didier's false statements to the court. Deputy Miller had already testified that I correctly identified myself to him in Didier's presence with my weapons permit, and then held the permit up for Didier to copy the information from. Didier then testified that he was not present when I identified myself to Miller. Later in his testimony he also said that he was present when my brother finally gave his name. Breitsameter revisited the issue of Didier obtaining my name. He said he wasn't getting close enough to read it from my weapons permit, that I was also verbalizing stuff to him. He was insinuating that I held up the permit, but verbally gave him false information.
Can you imagine the stupidity of lying to an officer by holding out some ID with your correct name and address and then telling him some false information when he is only a few feet away? I can't. That stupidity can only be exceeded by an officer going on the stand to testify that that is how I switched names with my brother. And that stupidity is only exceeded by a U. S. Attorney who would put his star witness on the stand to concoct that story, knowing that several witnesses had already offered contradictory testimony to the same set of facts. But in Lodge's court, it apparently doesn't matter, as I would soon find out.
I then put myself on the witness stand to affirm the facts I had already presented to the court in my Verified Affidavit of Truth. I extensively told the facts of the event, including the foundations of my curiosity that caused me to question Didier about his law enforcement authority. I testified about meeting at the top of the trail and talking with him about the constitutional aspects of his authority and how I then went over to our van to get a copy of the Constitution to read to him and show him just what the Constitution said. This was while he was at the trailhead where he said I blocked his way. After we talked further, he went down the trail. I followed him and continued to ask him questions about his authority, but he ignored me. He was asking others for their names but they were not forthcoming. I testified that he was not very effective in his questioning of the people there. He seemed rather upset and was not very focused on what he was doing. As many of the people were ready to leave anyway, they began to go back to the vehicles to leave. I told the court that at no point had I been told not to leave, in fact, I had repeatedly asked if I was being detained and I had always been told that I was not. Nor had I heard Didier tell anyone else that they had to stay. Since I had been told repeatedly that I was not being detained, and had heard no other order to stay, and since everyone was up at the vehicles and ready to leave, I drove away.
I then testified about traveling up the hill and encountering the roadblock and my encounter with deputy Miller. I detailed the showing of my concealed weapons license to deputy Miller and officer Didier. I said I wouldn't let Didier have my license, but I held it out for him to copy. He was close enough to read it and was copying down the information from it. I went on to testify about the request my brother and another man made for the law that required them to give their names and deputy Miller's attempts to find the law. I detailed deputy Murray's threats to my brother to get him to give his name. I stated that I was present when my brother gave his name to the deputies in the immediate presence of Didier. I also testified that my brother has never had a concealed weapons permit or owned a gun.
U. S. Attorney Breitsameter then began his cross-examination, attempting to get admissions of any wrong doing on my part and obtain testimony supporting the claims of officer Didier. His cross-examination was thorough, but in my view unsuccessful for his purposes. In fact he helped me clarify many details which were not favorable to his case. He attempted many times to get me to trip up on my testimony, or admit some guilt to some act of interfering.
After extensive questioning, he asked if it was my testimony that I did not do anything that would obstruct the officer's dealings with the individuals at Cotter Bar? I responded, stating that "under the penalty of the perjury laws in 28 U. S. Code 1746-1, that it is true that I did not block officer Didier in any movements that he wished to make. He did not ask me to move, I did not refuse to move, I did not falsely identify myself, I did not ever hear any kind of lawful order or even any inference that I was to stay, other than maybe that the Sheriff was coming. I did ask at least four times if I was being detained and was told each and every time that I was not being detained. I did not obstruct officer Didier in any manner other than if you wish to construe questioning someone as to the nature of their authority and wanting to have answers to some questions, if you consider that obstruction you might construe that, but I don't... I clearly did not believe that I was obstructing in any manner whatsoever."
After a recess the government called fellow forest service law enforcement officer Pete Deane as a rebuttal witness. He testified that he knew both Heath brothers. He had periodic contact with my brother who had done volunteer work for the forest service and had met me several times. He stated that about a week after the incident he had a discussion about it with officer Didier. He said he told Didier that he thought he had got Hari mistaken as being Richard Heath and he might want to check that out.
The government then began it's closing arguments. Breitsameter reviewed the case and continued to perpetuate Didier's allegations of the acts of obstruction that were not charged in the Information. He tried to paint a picture that my acts caused a dangerous situation at the roadblock because I didn't stay at the river like I was told to do. He claimed that I had established a leadership role and tried to obstruct the officers. Then Lodge gave me four minutes.
I pointed out that the only offense charged was disobeying a lawful order not to leave an area of investigation and the whole affair pivots on the word of officer Didier. I revisited some of the testimony and statements by the prosecutor. I outlined the testimony that either showed Didier was very confused about the facts or he was lying. I pointed out that this whole affair could have been avoided if Didier had conducted himself more effectively and gave a proper order to stay at the river. I did respect deputy Miller's order to stay at the roadblock, as did the others, but all of us left the area at the river because we weren't told to stay. Judge Lodge then took a recess before he came back to give his decision.
He first visited the issue of jurisdiction because he had deferred that issue at the beginning of the trial. He stated that there is no question, based on the evidence before the court, that the area was in the National forest and was reserved as part of the public domain, not deeded or expressly given to the state at the time of statehood so the court is going to find that it is within the jurisdiction of the federal court and the court does have federal jurisdiction. Lodge seemed to overlook the fact that Article Ten, Section 4 of the state Constitution gave all property of the territory to the state upon admission to the union. He also ignored a substantial body of case law that said federal criminal jurisdiction only exists on lands within a state when the state Legislature cedes jurisdiction to the federal government. There was no evidence before the court that the state had ever ceded jurisdiction to the land in question.
Lodge then gave his rendition of the event. As he proceeded, sometimes it seemed as if I would win, and then he made other statements that seemed as if I was going to lose. In the end, he believed officer Didier and found me guilty. I was ordered to participate in a pre-sentence investigation and play 200 questions, and to appear for sentencing at a later date.
The Inequity of SentenceAt the appointed time, I appeared for sentencing. During the trial I had the benefit of utilizing appointed standby counsel, Gerald Smith. Mr. Smith had represented numerous defendants in what could be referred to as Earth First! cases involving logging protesters who were charged with violating the same "interfering" regulation that I was. The conduct of those defendants however, stems typically from their premeditated intentional acts which physically block or damage forest roadways, and similar acts of environmental protest. Such acts include extensive and continuing resistance to the commands of forest officers. Mr. Smith told me that typically in those cases the Defendants refuse probation and usually receive 15 to 30 day sentences without probation. Sentences of 60 days have occurred in those cases occasionally, he said, with never more than 90 days. If they got 15 to 30 days for serious, intentional interfering, after they refused probation, then surely I would get no worse than that. This seemed much preferable to the intrusion probation would cause to my family home and other rights which would be denied me.
As I was to learn during my presentencing investigation, probation would be highly intrusive and last well after any other "punishment" was over. It would likely be a year or two of regular visits to the probation officer 60 miles away, and his unexpected visits to my family's home. I wouldn't be able to leave the state without permission. And I couldn't have any guns. That's right, under these federal criminal schemes, even though I was denied the right to a jury because the offense is "petty," I would also be denied the right to keep my guns, without any evidence of violent conduct on my part. My wife also could not have guns in our home under this probation scheme.
The court began with the government discussing the case and making its recommendations which included a $500 fine and two years probation. Lodge then asked me for my input. I talked about the case and that I had given some study to the terms of probation. I told the court that I would not comply with the terms of probation.
Lodge became visibly upset and responded saying that "probation is something that is not much more serious than just what every one of us have to do every day of our lives. Very little encroachment on our freedom." Is not being able to leave the state without "permission," nor being allowed to possess my guns, and having to let an armed federal agent into my home at anytime very little encroachment of my freedom? He continued that I have put my own personal selfish reasons ahead of my family and children. Lodge began a long scolding, saying that I was a little hypocritical because when it suits my fancy or my interests I am very capable of using the law, dragging in the fact that I had used the bankruptcy court to suit my purposes (yet failing to mention the million or so he was bought off with by West One Bank, during the bankruptcy of his in-laws); that I cannot just use the law when I agree with it, but defy it when I don't. He told me there is a way of changing the law if people agree with me, by going through the Legislature or Congress. He said it would be very hard to find a person who would agree with me that I could defy a law enforcement officer, and that I was subject to the laws the same as everyone else (he would later prevent Vicki Weaver's assassin from being subject to the law).
Lodge said he was at complete loss to understand why a person wants to bring their children up doing the wrong thing, thinking the wrong thing. He said he had been on the bench for almost 35 and a half years and the tears of parents he had seen could fill this courtroom seeing their children go to prison or a juvenile facility because of the fact that they did not teach them right from wrong (my children were at the event and knew the truth, so Lodge was teaching them about right and wrong).
He then pronounced sentence saying "It is the judgment of this court, Mr. Heath, in light of your comments and statements made to the court and the facts that were produced in this trial concerning your disrespect for the law and encouraging others to defy the law, that you be sentenced to the bureau of prisons for a period of six months. I am going to suspend three months of that sentence, providing that you neither act as a spokesperson for others suggesting defiance or ignoring of the law, or aid, assist, counsel or induce others to ignore or violate the law." He also gave me 200 hours of community service in lieu of a fine. At the prompting of the U. S. Attorney he then added two years probation. All this because I exercised my right of free speech and questioned a forest service officer about the source of his federal law enforcement authority. I guess Lodge has answered my questions about federal authority by showing me what kind of authority the feds have--any kind they say they have, since I had just received a sentence that was beyond the guidelines in the statute that I was charged with violating and his sentencing was in part for a "crime" I was not charged with--encouraging others to defy the law.
I had put in a motion for a stay of sentence prior to sentencing. The U. S. Attorney then began to oppose my motion for a stay, saying that it required a substantial question of law to be granted and I had not shown that. Apparently, the constitutional requirement to have a jury, the ample case law evidencing that the prosecution had not proven jurisdiction of the court and sentencing in excess of statutory guidelines, to name a few, were not substantial questions of law.
The court then offered me an opportunity to be heard on my motion. I first told Lodge that the reason I had rejected probation was because in fact, it places my family on probation and makes their home subject to armed intrusion. It was my concern for my family that caused me to reject probation. I argued a number of issues in support of my motion for a stay and then made an oral motion for reconsideration of the sentence, particularly my reason for rejecting probation in the first place.
Lodge granted the motion for a stay pending appeal, but did not reconsider the sentence. Court was adjourned.
The Court of AppealsAfter the sentencing I filed a Notice of Appeal and the case went to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Appeals are a very time consuming endeavor which most lawyers won't touch for less than $10,000. I would eventually find out why. I had developed contacts across the country with many people who similarly had developed a lifestyle that included spending many hours and days immersed in the study of the latest legal discovery. Many of these people would be of great help as my case proceeded on appeal.
I raised eight issues on appeal, two of which were combined into one issue by the court, and one of which, to this day, continues to be unanswered. Having read many court cases from the law libraries, I was accustomed to intelligent articulate answers coming from the appeals courts. I thought surely at least one of my issues would result in overcoming my fabricated conviction. After many days of studying the pertinent issues of my case and extensively detailing the facts and the law at issue, all in accordance with a strict set of rules for the structure and content of the briefs, I was somewhat shocked by the 3 page Memorandum Decision which ultimately issued from the 9th Circuit Court. It was a series of paragraphs, each of which began with their restatement of the issues before them and followed with a one line answer that said little more than either, because we can, or because we don't have to. Complex and detailed questions were answered with very insubstantial answers that were obviously designed to answer the questions without really answering the questions.
The only thing fitting about their decision was that since it was such a pathetic piece of legal work it was both unsigned by the judges themselves and prohibited from publication in the law books. They apparently like to hide their devious deceptions of the truth.
Proof Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?The Magistrate at the original (1st) arraignment stated that "you'll be presumed to be innocent" and "The burden of proof will be on the government to prove you're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." This is an issue I raised on appeal since it was obvious to me that judge Lodge failed to live up to the standards which the Magistrate said the court would uphold. Does a finding of guilt based upon presumptions agree with the presumption of innocence and the mandate to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that was promised? Is the finding of guilt accurate, when the sole government witness able to testify to acts of the crime has contradicted much of his own testimony and the testimony of others, including other officers? What other "presumptions" exist leaving a reasonable doubt about the facts? And how might a jury have found things to be--if a jury was allowed in this case?
It was the presumption of the trial court when rendering its judgment, that the only reason 15 or 20 people would have ignored the order of officer Didier to stay at the area of the alleged crime was because I assumed a leadership role and told them to leave. The court also made the presumption in its ruling that officer Didier must have given a command to stay at the area of investigation. The court's finding of guilt is clearly based upon presumptions.
An equal, or perhaps more compelling presumption, was that all 15 or 20 people left that area of investigation, not because they all chose to ignore the alleged command of an armed uniformed law enforcement officer and follow the alleged command of one member of a loose knit group, but rather because the officer failed to give any such command. Reasonable doubt?
The people swimming at the beach were from a primitive skills workshop. Many of them met there for the first time and had only recent and brief contact with me. They came from different walks of life and lived in different states. The court presumed that I "established some type of leadership role" and that "they were being directed otherwise by someone that they trusted or had a belief in." This only reaches to one possible conclusion. Is there reason to doubt that Didier gave a command to stay? Or that I assumed a leadership role and gave them a command to leave, which everyone followed ?
Again, if no command were given to stay, that also creates a likelihood that all 15 or 20 people, some of whom were already done swimming and were preparing to leave anyway, would leave. It appears as an implausible presumption that all 15 or 20 people of a loosely associated group would leave, contrary to the commands of an armed uniformed officer and under "leadership" and "direction" of what for many of them was a recent acquaintance.
Doesn't this create an element of reasonable doubt, insufficient to support the conviction? Was the trial a mere formality to secure my pre-ordained conviction? If 15 or 20 people committed the same act, why was I the only one prosecuted? Where was my right to a trial by jury when I needed it? I raised the issue of reasonable doubt and the presumption of innocence on appeal. I asked the Appeals Court review the record to determine whether the testimony of Officer Didier is impeachable and whether or not the evidence supports conviction. In their one sentence answer, they affirmed the judgment of the trial court.
The Great Misnomer and Other Impeachable TestimonyOne of the ways to reverse a conviction on appeal is to prove that testimony which is essential to the conviction is "impeachable"--that is false, or in error and therefore it was an error of the trial court to rely upon it in rendering its judgment. If I had a "dream team" taking notes of the proceedings, or was otherwise able to dissect and reassemble all the pieces of Didier's testimony overnight, I might have been able to prove, irrefutably, that Didier was lying, when the trial continued on its second day. I'm not O J. And I can't afford even one lawyer. I had to put the pieces together from the transcripts after judgment was rendered, and attempt to find some relief from the Appeals court, by attempting to impeach his testimony.
In the beginning of his testimony Didier stated that I gave my name as Richard Longfellow Heath. This would be a hybrid name using my brother's first name and my middle name. Didier claims this hybrid name was given before he left the parking area and went to the beach. However, the government did not honor my discovery requests for his rough notes from the scene. My correct name would have been at the very beginning of those notes. He also claimed that initially at the roadblock I still had not correctly identified myself. Didier correctly stated that I displayed my weapons permit but would not give it to him. He claimed he did not get up close to me and did not learn of my true identity until sometime later at the Forest Service office in Grangeville, when he talked to fellow officer Pete Deane.
The first missing brick. Didier claims here that he did not learn of my true name until later when he talked to officer Deane at the forest service office, yet Didier also testified he issued both Hari and Richard Violation Notices in their correct names and addresses. How did he issue the Violation Notices, given to both brothers at the road block, in their correct names, if Didier did not learn of my true identity until sometime later at the Forest Service office when he talked to Deane?
Deane also testified that it was a week or so after the incident that he informed Didier of the error in the names. Deane further testified that he thought Didier had the identities of the Heath brothers mixed up. In Didier's report of the incident it states "Heath produced the concealed weapons permit but told Didier he would have to read it while Heath was holding it. Didier wrote down Richard Heath's personal information and issued a federal violations notice to Heath...".
This was the beginning of the great misnomer. Didier's report alleged certain conduct and incorrectly attached the names of the Heath brothers to the alleged conduct. Rather than correct his report, Didier chose to allege the error of the report was caused by the Heath brothers providing him false information by switching our names.
At trial, I entered a copy of my weapons permit as exhibit D. Didier was given the exhibit and questioned about the presentment of it to him at the road block. He testified that I held up a concealed weapons license, claimed it was my license, and held up the license to Didier, who was writing down information from what I was saying and from trying to look at the permit too. Didier also testified he asked me asked what my birth date and other information was.
Didier stated that as far as the weapons permit goes, he wasn't going to get up in my personal space because he perceived a threat and I had a weapon . He later said he could see the concealed weapons permit but, he did not say he could see all of it. Then Didier stated that he wrote down the names that he had on the citations and issued them. Didier testified that he issued the violation notice with Richard's name on it to Hari.
Further on I questioned Didier: If the name and the address on the violation notice is the same information regarding my violation notice, if it has the same information on my concealed weapons permit, how is it I tricked you and misidentified myself? Didier responded that I gave him the name of Richard at the road block and this is what he put down on the violation notice and this is what he issued to the two brothers. That's what he had to go on. He said he remembers issuing Richard's violation notice to Hari .
Officer Miller apparently did not have any trouble identifying me correctly. He stated that at his initial contact he asked me my name and I told him my name and at a later time I showed him my concealed weapons permit with my name on it. Miller also testified that there was no initial misidentification to him of Hari as Richard Heath.
Further on Miller said he saw me get out my concealed weapons permit and hold it up for Officer Didier. Miller stated he saw the permit from a distance and could recognize what appeared to be my name on it. Miller said I told him my name was Hari Longfellow Heath and that appeared to be the name that was on the permit that you showed us, implying that Didier was present when the permit was shown and I stated my name to Miller.
Judie, my wife, also witnessed me giving Didier my correct name, during the initial encounter, including spelling it out while Didier wrote it down in his notebook. She stated that I did not give him Richard Longfellow Heath, and that I did not give Didier any name other than Hari Longfellow Heath. Further along in her testimony Judie stated that at the roadblock she saw me get out my concealed weapons permit and hold it up while Didier wrote down the information off of the permit.
I also testified that when I first encountered Didier, he asked me my name and I gave him the name of Hari Longfellow Heath and spelled it out for him, which Didier wrote it down on his note pad. I later testified that I showed Didier my concealed weapons permit at the road block, held it for him and allowed Didier to copy the information from it, which he did.
Officer Miller, Judie and I all testified that they saw me provide correct identifying information to Didier, yet, Didier claims I misidentified myself as Richard Heath and he issued me a violation notice with my brother's name on it.
How did Didier get the information with which to issue the violation notice to my brother Richard? First Didier stated that he got Richard's information from one of the Deputies. Then he said: "We were all standing here, your brother, the deputies, some other people, myself, Jill, and when it finally got down to your brother giving his name at the very end, he was saying that he wouldn't give it to any of us, but he would to the deputies, and he said it and that's where I got the name."
Two violation notices were issued by Didier to the Heath brothers. One had the correct name and address of Hari Longfellow Heath, the other had the correct name and address of Richard Mitchell Heath. I showed my concealed weapons license to Didier who at least had the opportunity to confirm the information on it. Richard gave his name to the deputies in the presence of Didier. These facts are not in dispute.
If Didier heard Richard give his name as Richard to the deputies after, as Didier claims, I also gave Didier the name of Richard, which Didier said he wrote down on a citation and gave to me, why wouldn't Didier have questioned how both brothers could be Richard? Another brick falls.
There is a major missing brick in Didier's wall of perjury. If I gave Didier the name of Richard, as Didier claims, and Didier heard Richard give the deputies his name as Richard, where did Didier get the name of Hari? This is a brick that I cannot find anywhere in Didier's trial testimony.
If Didier didn't get my correct name and address from my concealed permit, where or when did he get the info necessary to properly fill out the violation notice? If Officer Miller, Judie and Hari all said they saw me give Didier correct identifying information, and a violation notice was filled out by Didier with the correct name and address of Hari Longfellow Heath, how could I have falsely identified myself to Didier as Richard? Would a reasonable person hold up their correct I.D. card to an interested officer (Didier), in the presence of an officer they had already provided positive I.D. to (Miller) and tell the officer (Didier) information that was false? If I misinformed Didier that my name was the hybrid name of Richard Longfellow Heath, why didn't Didier issue a violation notice in that name? If I first gave him the hybrid name, then my brothers name, wouldn't that have caused him to be suspicious?
When did Richard give Hari's name to Didier? The Government's Amended Trial Memorandum states that the Heath brothers switched their names. If this is true, both brothers would have to have given Didier each other's name. Nowhere in the trial testimony is there any showing that Richard identified himself as me. Another missing brick in Didier's wall of perjury.
Didier claims he didn't want to get into my personal space when he was being shown the concealed weapons permit. Didier implies that is where I tricked him and gave him the name of Richard. Did Didier really want to keep away because he thought my gun would only be effective at a range of a few feet? If one is close enough for conversation, then are they not also within the effective range of a handgun? While the possession of weapons under adversarial conditions warrants genuine concern, are Didier's claims of not wanting to be in my personal space genuine, or a false construct to continue to allege the claim of false identification?
Was the real reason for his testimony regarding misidentification, because his initial report had erroneous identifiers, which he then blamed others for his own simple correctable mistakes, and then once he departed on that path of deception to correct simple errors, he had to maintain it? Would the admission of errors in his report cause his credibility to be questioned, possibly ruining his case against me?
The errors in Didier's original report could have been corrected early on. The possibility of error was known about a week or so after the incident and about the time Didier signed his report. Officer Deane knew both Heath brothers and suggested to Didier a week after the incident that there might be an error in identification that should be looked into. The government, however didn't attempt to fix their mistake until two weeks before trial--some ten months after the event.
Can Didier truly believe that I gave the name of Richard and Richard gave the name of Richard, as Didier testified, yet he issued two violation notices, each one with the correct name and address of a Heath brother? Can the claims of the government's witness stand as effective inculpatory evidence, without a showing of how Didier obtained the address and name of Hari, or where Richard gave him the name of Hari so as to effectuate the claim that the Heath brothers switched their names? There is no evidence on the record showing how Didier obtained the correct name and address of Hari Heath. He testified that both Heath brothers gave him the name of Richard Heath at the roadblock, which somehow failed to raise any questions in his mind. Is there reasonable doubt about his credibility as a witness? Did he really give an order to stay at the river? Would all of the people there disobey such an order? Not enough bricks to make a wall. Under greater scrutiny than judge Lodge and the Court of Appeals were willing to give, Didier's wall of perjury becomes a pile of rubble.
Didier testified that he knew perjury is a crime. On the second day of the trial I offered him an opportunity for forgiveness, to correct any errors in his testimony before the court. Didier stated that all of his testimony so far was correct. The ability to identify a defendant as the person who committed the alleged conduct constituting the crime charged is essential to reach a conviction. If Didier will lie to correct simple errors in identification, or, in the alternative, if he presents testimony that is simply incorrect on that subject, what other testimony of Didier's is also false or in error as to the facts?
It should be remembered that the only crime charged in the Information is leaving the scene of investigation of nude swimmers when told not to do so. Didier made a number of other allegations regarding my conduct at the scene. Those allegations added considerable color to the event, peripheral to the crime charged, and paint a picture well beyond what I know is the truth. While some are only exaggerations or a legitimate difference of perceptions, I know many of the allegations are fictional constructs made to color the event and secure a false conviction. Didier's testimony about the name switch evidences he is capable of such fiction. If he is capable of such other fiction, then can his claim that he told me to stay at the scene and I willfully disobeyed him also be true? When compounded with the fact that all 20 or so other people also left the same area after allegedly being told to stay by a uniformed and armed officer, did he really tell us all to stay? As I was in the first vehicle to leave, and actually had to wait for others to catch up, did he tell some of those who were still there after I left to stay, and then later claim that I was one of those who were told to stay?
Didier claimed my conduct included blocking his way down the path; preventing him from talking to the others at the beach; threatening to arrest him for impersonating an officer; ordering him to leave the area; and telling the other people to leave. If this was true, why weren't they listed in the Violation Notices which were issued while the event was fresh in the mind of officer Didier? Or why weren't these much more serious acts of "interfering" charged in the Information, even after months of opportunity to do so? What wall do those bricks belong in? The wall of perjury?
These facts were presented to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the record and determine if Officer Didier's testimony is credible enough to support the conviction, and if not found credible, to impeach his testimony. What did the 9th Circuit have to say about Didier's testimony? "Given the deference accorded the court's credibility determination, [cite omitted] under plain error or even the standard for a properly preserved issue, a rational trier of fact could have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Heath intentionally interfered with a forest service officer's performance of duty." Is that really an answer to the question put before them? Is the "could have found" in their one sentence answer truly the equivalent of "presumed innocent" and a "burden of proof... beyond a reasonable doubt?"
The Right to a Jury?Do we have a right to a jury? Twice I filed a motion with the trial court demanding a trial by jury as a matter of right under the Sixth Amendment and Article III, section 2, clause 3 of the Federal Constitution. These Motions were objected to by the government and denied by the court, citing the case of US v. Arbo (691 F.2d 862). This raised two separate issues which I sought to have answered on appeal.
First, the "petty offense" limits set by the Court in the Arbo case were six months in jail and a $500 fine. The Court ruling in the Arbo case followed the rulings of the Supreme Court, which said that in setting limits "we have found the most relevant such criteria in the severity of the maximum authorized penalty" and "Thus, the Court has held that offenses carrying terms in excess of six months and fines of more than $500 must be tried before a jury." That's the guidelines the Supreme Court set for the denial of a jury in a criminal case.
The government sought six months and $5,000 fine limit at my original First Appearance, and the trial court further expressed the same amount as the maximum punishment, exceeding the limits set by the Supreme Court, as cited in the Arbo case they used for their own guidelines. They were failing to follow the guidelines that they relied upon to deny me a jury.
Secondly, the Constitution had some very clear language that was not being followed. The Appellant Arbo's claim was only that he should not have been denied his Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury because his offense was serious (he ordered one of his workers to pull a gun on a forest service agent, but was only charged with interfering). This is one of those cases where bad case law is made by getting the right answer to the wrong question. The court ruled in the Arbo case that since he was only charged with interfering, which was not a serious offense, Mr. Arbo could not have a jury.
My demand for a jury went beyond Mr. Arbo's claim that the "offense was serious" and used the plain language of the Constitution itself. The Constitution makes no classification and offers no threshold for when a trial by jury must be provided as a matter of right. The duty upon the government to provide a jury is made mandatory by the Constitution in all criminal cases.
The Sixth Amendment clearly states, in relevant part: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury..." and Article Three, section 2, clause 3, of the Federal Constitution provides that: "The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury;...".
The founders clearly expressed their intent with the words all and shall. Such expressions leave no room for ambiguous reconstruction of the right to a trial by jury as a limited or conditional right. This would become the issue that the appeals Court would refuse to address.
As a safeguard to liberty, a jury puts the case before the people rather than before a Prosecutor and a Judge who are employed by the government and are sometimes inclined to favor the interests of their employer. While it may be convenient for the government to do otherwise, the Constitution was not designed for the convenience of the government. All means all by any definition. A jury is a right of the people under the Sixth Amendment, and a duty upon the government under Article Three, section 2, clause 3, to provide.
I was denied my right when the government failed to adhere to its duty to provide a trial by jury. Considering the contradictory testimony of officer Didier, and my challenges to the federal government's claim to own the land in question (they also claim to own two thirds of Idaho), such a denial of a jury may well have altered the outcome of the verdict. A Trial by Jury would have provided an independent trier of the case, less likely to render a verdict favoring the government, whom naturally employed the Prosecutor, most of the governments witnesses, and the Judge trying this case.
So what happened at the court of Appeals when I raised these issues? The prosecutor did not address the second jury issue in his brief. He ignored the second issue and only answered the first issue. He found some other case where a court was allowed to deny a jury in a case with a $5,000 fine limit. Since they got away with it there, they should get away with it here. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the prosecutor on the first issue and also ignored the second issue. They ultimately ruled that "The right to a jury trial does not attach to offenses for which the maximum penalty does exceed those at issue here, barring some indication that the legislature clearly determined that the offense was serious. No such indicators exist for Heath's offense and Heath had no right to a trial by jury." This certainly is quite different from the Constitution's command that "The trial of all crimes,... shall be by jury;...".
A reasonable person might say well, that's how the court ruled, so that's what the law is. However, I raised two separate issues and they gave no answer to the second issue on what the plain language of the Constitution mandates. Courts of course have legislated for themselves, creating "laws" by rendering decisions like the one in the first jury issue I raised, but here the Constitution seemed rather clear and they weren't following it. Juries are a major hindrance to the court's expedient administration of court cases. They also give the judge less control of the outcome of the case. For both reasons, courts have a vested interest in limiting the use of juries. By "legislating" through case law, and creating the guidelines they have laid for themselves, without any law written by Congress, a fundamental right has been eliminated in cases like mine. Apparently the judiciary, at both the trial and appellate levels, had no interest in placing the mandates of the Constitution ahead of their judicially legislated case law.
Since they refused to address the issue in their decision and it seemed to be of great importance to my case as well as many others in this country, I filed a Petition for Rehearing on the constitutional commands that all criminal prosecutions shall be tried by a jury. Ultimately, my case had the potential go to the Supreme Court and change courtroom procedure back to the plain language of the Constitution. By asking the right question this time, I might get the right answer to that question and the decisions which denied trials by jury for petty offenses could be reversed.
I sent my Petition to the 9th Circuit Court along with a "Suggestion to be heard En Banc." In simple terms, this means that you have to send 50 copies of your Petition to the clerk, who then sends a copy to every judge in the circuit court. If any one judge thinks the issue in your Petition has merit and should be heard, he notifies the court and a panel of judges vote on giving the Petition a hearing. Apparently not one judge in the entire circuit felt the constitutional commands requiring a jury in a criminal case were important enough to be heard. My Petition was denied.
Follow their Own Rules?After the Court of Appeals renders a decision the case is sent back to the trial court with whatever instructions the Court of Appeals may have decided to impose. In my case there were none, so the trial court would only impose the sentence. This is called issuing the Mandate. One of the things that an Appellant can do to prevent the sentence from being imposed is to put in a Motion for Stay of Mandate. If a stay of the Mandate is granted, the Appellant has 30 days to petition the Supreme Court to hear the case or the Mandate automatically issues.
The Appeals court also has its own set of rules and one of them requires that motions which decide whether or not to dispose of a case, must be decided by a three judge panel. Since issuing the Mandate terminates the appeal of a case and a stay of the Mandate would keep the case while it went on to the Supreme Court, a Motion for Stay of Mandate requires a three judge panel to decide the motion. My motion was denied by only one judge. Another of their rules also requires that "only in exceptional circumstances will a panel order a mandate to issue immediately upon the filing of a disposition." The rule further defines the "circumstances" as "where a petition... would be legally frivolous; or where an emergency situation requires that the action of the court become final...". The rule concludes, stating "...a stay may be granted upon motion."
I filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Motion for Stay of Mandate, citing their failure to follow their own rules and the substantial questions of law that had been overlooked or cursorily answered. This was mailed to the Circuit Court on October 19th, 1999. It was the last possible paperwork that I could think of to file in that court in my attempt to obtain some relief there, from the sentence.
I had grown accustomed to the several month wait that usually occurred for their decisions to issue on my motions. By the next summer I still had not heard from the court. I was beginning to wonder what was happening with my case. Perhaps I had a legal question that they just didn't want answered. After all, they had refused to answer the constitutional issue that all criminal prosecutions shall be tried by a jury. If they held on to the case, then I could not bring that issue before the Supreme Court. If I were to win there, it would change the way federal courts do their business in this country.
It was not unheard of for cases to just disappear, never to be heard from again. When a question is raised and proof offered that would adversely alter the way government conducts its business, the judiciary has a way of burying the proof and preventing the question from being answered. Bill Benson's IRS case is one of the more notorious examples. Mr. Benson traveled to all of the then 48 states, as well as the archives in D. C. and obtained certified copies of the entire legislative process involving the enactment of the 16th Amendment (the income tax Amendment). No small feat in itself. He then organized the records and found an amazing and now provable fact. Not only did the 16th Amendment fail to get enough votes for ratification, but all the states which did vote for it failed to follow the legal requirements for ratification. And the U. S. Secretary of State who declared it was ratified only looked at the voting records of two states. The Secretary of State declared Kentucky to have passed the Amendment. But, according to the certified records Mr. Benson obtained, it was rejected by the state Legislature. So what happened when Mr. Benson filed all of this certified proof into the government's tax case against him? The judge put all the evidence under seal and it disappeared never to heard from again. He of course wasn't convicted, but the certified proof of the fraudulent basis of the IRS was gone. Bill Benson later published a two volume encyclopedic set of books called "The Law That Never Was," detailing the complete fraud of the failure to ratify the 16th Amendment to the Constitution. I had read these books and the possibility did occur to me that government didn't want someone to prove that they had to provide a jury in all criminal prosecutions, including "petty offenses."
In about July of 2000, after I thought that perhaps this whole silly thing might just disappear, I got a call from Richard Gayler, the probation officer who was responsible for my case. He hadn't heard anything for awhile and was wondering what was up. I explained to him about the motion I filed back in October and that sometimes courts just hold onto cases so they don't let some issues get decided against their interests, like the constitutional command for a jury. I told him I was still waiting for them to answer my motion. They may be holding onto the case to prevent me from raising the issue at the Supreme Court. I told him, until they do answer, I can't appeal higher and he can't put me in jail.
He called the 9th Circuit Court and found that they never received my motion and they issued their Mandate back in November. I had made a vital mistake. I mailed my motion first class mail. I didn't send it certified. This means that either the motion was lost in the mail, or they received it, but destroyed it when they found it was another document from one of those pesky citizen litigators that was trying to make them follow their own rules. With no proof of mailing they knew they could destroy it, or, alternately, it simply just didn't get there.
This mistake on my part also created another problem for me. Since their Mandate issued in November and I had a month after it's issuance to petition the Supreme Court to hear the case, the Supreme court was no longer an option and what appeared to be my "ace," the constitutional command for a jury, could not be heard there.
After a scramble for options, and many phone calls to my fellow citizen litigators, I filed a Nunc Pro Tunc Motion for Reconsideration of my Motion for Stay of Mandate. Nunc pro tunc means as it was in the beginning. It was essentially the same motion filed in October with some explanation of events. I also filed a Motion for Recall of Mandate, which their rules allowed. This time it all went by certified mail. In the fashion that I have grown accustomed to in my dealings with the judiciary, these motions were denied and I was ordered not to file any more papers in their court.
The Court of ClaimsHaving run out of appeal options, and knowing that I must either find another remedy or go to jail for a "crime" that I did not commit, I again called on my fellow litigators for liberty. One of them had some experience helping people in a case at the Federal Court of Claims. The judge there seemed very concerned about constitutional issues. I looked into it further and found that it was a special court that only dealt with claims against the federal government. The statute which created this court specifically gave it jurisdiction for cases arising under the Constitution. Since the constitutional commands for a jury issue was never answered by the 9th Circuit, I focused on that issue. I wrote a complaint outlining judge Lodge's denial of my constitutionally secured right to a jury and sent it off with my $120 filing fee. In this court, the court handled the service of the complaint, since the government was always the defendant. I had a bulletproof case because all of the facts were already a matter of court record. The facts would not be in dispute and the Constitution speaks rather plainly for itself.
But an interesting thing happened. In the criminal case against me, Judge Lodge claimed to have jurisdiction to prosecute me, contrary to what case law, the Idaho Constitution and Admission Act, and even the law he relied upon for his jurisdiction said. The Federal Court of Claims was created by a congressional enactment which specifically gave it jurisdiction for cases arising under the Constitution. Even though I brought a case claiming a federal officer's violation of the Constitution, the Federal Court of Claims dismissed my case on the grounds that they didn't have any jurisdiction. Apparently the law is what ever a judge says it is, and isn't whenever they say it isn't. It took the Federal Court of Claims all of two days to end that hope for a remedy.
Back to Lodge's CourtWith jail imminent if I didn't find a remedy and the question raised in the now dismissed Federal Court of Claims suit unanswered, I decided to ask the question directly in the Idaho federal district court. I had learned from previous lawsuits and legal research that any time there is hint of damages being sought against a judge or prosecutor, even if they were clearly wrongful in their actions against you, they become absolutely immune to the suit. I filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to get them to answer the question I raised about the constitutional requirement for a trial by jury. I was also seeking injunctive relief to stop them from imposing the sentence. No damages were being sought this time.
The further I look into government the more falsity and corruption I find. This time the U. S. Attorney who was representing the defendants sought to dismiss my suit, in part, under the doctrine of "estoppel." Estoppel means that once an issue has been decided you can't raise the issue again in a separate action. This is probably a good and just doctrine. It wouldn't be fair to keep suing on the same subject over and over until you win. His claim however, was that since the 9th Circuit had already answered the issue I couldn't re-litigate it. But that was the main point of the lawsuit. The question had never been answered. Meanwhile, Mr. Gayler wanted me to voluntarily sign up (contract) with probation and volunteer to go to jail.
Exile or Unjust Incarceration?I know of many people across the country who have made valiant efforts to right the wrongs of a government coming against them. There does not appear to be any remedy in courts which are both deaf and blind. Any hope for justice vanishes in the face of government's raw collection of power and it's self protection methods. Seeing the writing on the wall, and having by now considerable experience trying to apply the rule of law in courts where there is no law, I became faced with a choice. Will I live in exile from my home and family or submit to an unjust incarceration?
It's not the 90 days in jail that raises this question for me. I would do that if I had done someone wrong. I'm also sure I could find something useful and enjoyable to do to serve my community for 200 hours. My conviction however, is based on the perjury of officer Didier. To volunteer for the sentence is to consent to the lies perpetrated in their proceedings. For me, principles matter.
The real reason for my prosecution is political. I exercised my First Amendment rights and questioned authority. Authorities don't like to be questioned especially when the facts and the law do not support their authority. Why was I the only subject of the prosecution? Many others committed the same act, yet they escaped the wrath of the justice system. Political persecution?
I also object to the intrusion probation would perpetrate on my family. And then there's the gun issue. Can a judge take away a fundamental right to own the means of defense, including my wife's right to have a weapon in our home, for a violation not serious enough to be afforded a jury? Only convicted felons can be prevented from owning guns under state law.
Justice Denied?When the charges were first brought under one set of rules and I showed what a flagrant violation their routine procedure of carbon copy mail outs were, is it justice to then pull a new Rule out of their bag of tricks and go after the citizen again?
What right does a judge have to convert the "crime" to another statute so as to sentence me to a punishment in excess of the statute I was charged under? There is no probation or community service authorized by the statute I was charged with violating.
Can there be any other legitimate interpretation of the constitutional command that all criminal prosecutions shall be tried by a jury? Why did three courts try to hide from this constitutional fact? Was it because I, and many others like me, wouldn't be convicted if the facts of a case belonged to a jury instead of a judge?
The federal court "found" jurisdiction to prosecute me and the federal appeals court supported his claim, in spite of overwhelming law to the contrary. Is the real reason for this because these federal entities can't allow the truth about the constitutional limits of federal ownership within a state be proven? If the legal arguments I made on this issue were wrong, why didn't they answer them by explaining how I was wrong?
What kind of "justice" system has jurisdiction when they want to prosecute someone but denies jurisdiction when the subject of their prosecution seeks a remedy?
And most importantly to me, how can I volunteer for a sentence that I know is based upon the provable lies of officer Didier, supported by the U. S. Attorneys, validated by judge Lodge and ignored by the Court of Appeals? As John Mellencamp said "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."
It would be easier in many respects to suffer an unjust incarceration and put this all behind me. My family has suffered enough in this three and a half year affair. I've spent thousands of dollars trying to right this wrong and lost thousands more in time wasted seeking justice where there is no law that can be relied upon. And it's all over such a silly event and officer Didier's bruised ego. However, my moral fiber cannot consent to this tragedy of injustice. Would you?
Perhaps the most descriptive summary of this whole affair is from one of the Supreme Court cases I studied. It reviewed the legislative intent of the Civil Rights Act of 1871. After the Civil War, the recently enacted 14th Amendment had created some new rights for the now federalized citizenry, but there was no federal remedy to enforce those rights. There had been many civil rights abuses at the state level of government which the Congress hoped to provide a remedy for. During debate on the legislation that would eventually become known as the Civil Rights Act of 1871, Representative Perry offered his opinion, which the Supreme Court included in their decision:
"Sheriffs, having eyes to see, see not; judges having ears to hear, hear not; witnesses conceal the truth or falsify it; grand and petit juries act as if they might be accomplices... all the apparatus and machinery of civil government, all the processes of justice, skulk away as if government and justice were crimes and feared detection. Among the most dangerous things an injured party can do is appeal to justice." (Mitchum v. Foster, 92 S. Ct. @ 2161)
Has the federal government become the problem it sought to solve in 1871? Should any American be forced to consent to a government and a justice system which is a crime that fears detection? Unfortunately, in the court of Edward J. Lodge, where there is no law, this odyssey of injustice will be continued...
Meanwhile, another American family has been fractured by the injustice of the "justice system," and several children are without a father or a means of support, because of the protected lies of forest service officer Steve Didier.
If you want to ask why, you may contact the perpetrators of injustice below:
Steven John Didier
HR 66, Box 248,
Kooskia, Idaho, 83539
U. S. Attorney
205 North 4th Street,
Couer d'Alene, Idaho, 83814.
George W. Breitsameter
U. S. Attorney
Wells Fargo Center,
877 West Main Street,
Boise, Idaho, 83702.
Edward J. Lodge
550 West Fort Street,
Boise, Idaho, 83724-039.
Richard J. Gayler
220 East 5th Street,
Moscow, Idaho, 83843-9287.
Common Law Copyright 2000. Permission for non-commercial republishing is hereby granted and encouraged. Commercial re-publishing only by permission of the author.
The Idaho Observer
P.O. Box 457
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869