Tuesday, August 11, 2015

You Too Can Go To Jail for Being a Constitutionalist

Guest post by Vitaliy Maksimov
Last week, the prosecutor finally mailed the Order of Dismissal to my attorney. While I am relieved that the criminal charges are no longer hanging over my head, it is frustrating to know that nothing has changed. The system is still broken. The Sheriff’s deputies and the staff at the Spokane County jail will continue to violate people’s constitutional rights, and use the term “constitutionalist” in a derogatory manner. You too can end up in jail, for exercising your constitutional rights.
For thirty-three years, I’ve lived as a law-abiding citizen, with no criminal record or history of violence. Then one night, I got arrested for refusing to obey an order to abandon my teenage niece on a dark deserted country highway with two aggressive, yelling, cursing Sheriff’s deputies. I was taken to jail, where I spent 12 long hours shivering in a cold holding cell, and subjected to harassment and intimidation — explicitly because I exercised my Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions, and asked to call my attorney (a right protected by the Sixth Amendment).
The message the state is sending is simply this: if you dare to exercise your constitutional rights, be prepared to pay a hefty price. It cost $1000 to bail me out. I had to appear in court, and spent $4000 in legal fees. They took my gun and held it for 21 days, and “lost” $100 worth of items from my backpack. The incident took an emotional toll on my family. Meanwhile, the Spokane County Sheriff spared no time out of his busy day, to drag my name through the mud, both publicly and in private conversations with my friends — calling me a liar, a hothead, and a bully. He was clearly more interested in covering for his deputies and saving face, than seeing that justice be done.
Several people reached out to me after I posted my original account on Facebook, and shared their stories of police abuse. Here’s one very similar to mine (unfortunately, this friend had a bad attorney and got convicted):
Hi Vitaliy, your whole situation on these bogus charges sounds like a nightmare. I have also been arrested for “obstruction of justice.” I went to a jury trial with my case and lost. My case was loosely similar to yours. A friend of mine was being given a field sobriety test, I was watching from a distance, and the police officer screamed at me to get in my vehicle. I told him I prefer to be outside…then bam, I am arrested for obstruction of justice. In my case it came down to the fact that the officer made a “lawful command” that I “disobeyed.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The days of a "Peace Officer" who is out to protect and serve the community disappeared with Mayberry. Cops now are "law enforcement" and have up armored themselves with military equipment and weapons to enforce their limited view of the law. There are a few good cops out there but they are very few and not seen very often.



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