Friends, Family, Comrades:
I just spoke to my lawyer regarding the current state of proceedings regarding the charges being alleged against me since my arrest on January 16th at the Anti-Arpaio march in Phoenix, Arizona. I had hoped my next post on this topic would at least contain semi-positive news; unfortunately that is not the case. The prosecutor has disclosed their final plea deal which would require me to plead guilty to a class 5 felony, with a mandatory 30 days in jail, and a minimum of 1 year supervised probation (which could be up to 3 years).
I have until Wednesday to agree to take this plea or not, if I decide to go forward with the plea it would be effective on September 3rd, Friday. If I decide to take this to trial, the date is set for September 14th. Given the case that we have I normally would see taking this to trial as the best option, however, because a special sentencing statute specifying that this was a “dangerous” offense was added, the judge has no leeway in my sentencing and if convicted it would mean a mandatory 10.5 years in prison. As of right now although we have witnesses, we do not have any video documentation showing the moment that the alleged “crime” was committed. The police as anyone who was there knows, and as we know through the video that we have seen, had numerous cameras throughout the protest and at that moment. However, they are claiming that it does not exist at this point, meaning that it has likely been destroyed.
I am writing this as a last urgent call out to whoever reads this. Things that may help if received by Wednesday would be; character letters (guidelines specified below, you can email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org), any video documentation of the protest, and witnesses who saw me directly before, during, and after my arrest. If you feel you have any possible information or documentation that may help in this case, please email me for my lawyers phone number.
Thank you to everyone who has provided unending support and to those who continue to fight despite tactics such as these used to try to scare us into submission.
If you are unfamiliar with the events on the 16th, please see links below for more background and current updates in regards to the other 4 who were arrested that day.
Who they are - brief
How they know you, how long, etc
Acknowledge that they know essentially what you are charged with
Then, FOCUS on your good character traits, with specific examples if possible.
Character for non-violence generally, and if they have experience with you at marches, rallies, etc, your non-violence at those.
They can then simply request leniency on your behalf.
They should NOT profess your innocence unless they were there and saw you right before and up to your arrest – and of course, we have found no such person yet.
They should NOT try to school the prosecutors and/or judge on the justice system, jail, prison, etc.
The latter stuff just turns off the professional who is reading it and they will ignore the good stuff!
The focus is on you, not the case.