Well, this website has never recovered from its hack attack, but I will get around to that one of these days, just as soon as that bounty hunter I hired finds my tech expert and brings him back to me in chains. In the meantime, here is my latest column.
Ask “Judge” Grump (#67)
by Grump Dumpkin, Jr.
Note: “Judge” Grump is not a real judge, and that means that he can give you honest advice. Real judges have to watch what they say, and must pretend that they are unbiased and superhuman paragons of virtue, and that they work within a sane and fair judicial system. Otherwise, they may be impeached or disciplined, or thrown out of office by the voters. So you can trust “Judge” Grump to tell you the things that real judges can’t tell you, even though this may make you want to move to another country or disappear into the woods or kill yourself.
Dear “Judge” Grump:
My husband Monroe and I have suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a Kafkaesque nightmare, and we are counting on your advice to make the best of a bad situation. Here’s how we got into this mess.
Munny and I have never used illegal drugs of any kind. We always got all of the intoxicants we needed from the liquor store or from our pharmacy, with prescriptions from our well-paid and very accommodating doctors. We are lifelong Republicans who were happy when President Nixon started throwing all of those long-haired Democrat hippies and scary militant Negroes in jail on drug charges, and then we were thrilled when President Reagan (and every president since then) escalated the War on Drugs by increasing penalties and building more prisons to fill up with drug offenders. Like most other Americans, we also frowned on prison reform, because we didn’t want any of our tax dollars going to coddle criminals by making these places more humane and civilized and less brutal and medieval, and of course we were against increasing the compensation paid to the attorneys who are assigned to defend accused criminals who can’t afford to hire their own lawyers. Hey, why should our money be used to help the guilty avoid punishment?
Since we are fine upstanding law-abiding citizens, it never occurred to us that we might someday get sucked into the criminal justice system ourselves. After all, we have all been taught that the innocent have nothing to fear. But I guess we were wrong.
Here is what our original defense lawyer (Needham O. Cash) found out before we ran out of money and he withdrew from our case. An unidentified local marijuana distributor seems to have picked out our brownstone (in a relatively upscale neighborhood in the Bronx) as a delivery address. We were apparently selected because our children have moved out and we are both usually away from home all day during the workweek. (My husband is a Wall Street investment banker who specializes in bonds and public offerings for large private prison companies, and I do volunteer work.) On at least twelve occasions starting about a year ago, the distributor arranged for packages to be sent to our home, addressed to us. Shortly after the packages arrived, the distributor would have someone pick them up off our porch. (Of course, the prosecutors say that we are the ones who arranged for and picked up the packages.) Unfortunately, the last package got damaged at the post office, and they discovered that there were six kilos of marijuana in it. So they called the DEA, and the DEA alerted the local drug police, and the local drug police put the marijuana in an undamaged mailing box and set up what they call a “controlled delivery” to our home.
Here’s how that worked. They dressed up a narcotics agent as a postal worker, gave him a borrowed postal van, and had him deliver the package to our front porch. Then they hung around all day in a surveillance van marked up to look like a florist delivery vehicle, waiting for someone to grab the package. Unfortunately for us, the drug distributor’s people seem to have figured out that florist trucks don’t park for hours in a residential neighborhood, so they decided not to make the pickup.
When I got home, I came in through the garage, so I didn’t see the package. But my husband saw it, to his eternal regret. He brought the package in the house and started to open it up, but before he could figure out what was inside it, all hell broke loose. It was like starring in an episode of Cops, except the police aren’t nearly as polite and well-behaved when the cameras aren’t rolling. We heard them yell, “Police!”, and then the front door came down with a crash, followed by the back door, followed by a stun grenade that temporarily deafened and blinded us, which is why we had trouble following their orders. I guess that’s why they tased Munny in the crotch, and why this one very sadistic cop knocked my legs out from under me and then tased me for good measure after my head hit the floor. Then we got handcuffed, and the sadistic cop pulled up my dress and tore off my underwear and gave me a rough body cavity search. When I protested, he said, “Shut the [bleep] up, you stupid [bleep]ing bitch. The Supreme Court says we can do whatever the [bleep] we want to protect ourselves. Anyway, you know you loved it.”
Right while all of this was going on, there were a couple of gunshots, although we could barely hear them. Our faithful collie, Lassie, apparently charged the cops coming in the front door, and got shot and killed for trying to protect us. Then the cops started tossing the place like a pack of frantic psychotic burglars, opening drawers and dumping the contents on the floor, slashing furniture and mattresses, punching holes in walls and ceilings and floors with sledgehammers, and just generally running amok. This was all legal, because they had a search warrant. Also, they don’t have to repair any of the damage. When they couldn’t find anything, they asked us where the rest of the drugs were. We both said that there were no drugs, and Munny said that this was all a big mistake, and the sadistic cop kicked him in the stomach and told him to tell it to his bunkmate in prison while he was getting [bleeped] in the [bleep].
They carted away everything that might theoretically provide evidence of our supposed drug-dealing activities and where we were keeping our drug-dealing profits, including all of our computers and phones, and all of our paper records. (Of course, there is actually no such evidence of anything like that, but everything is still being held at a police evidence warehouse.)
Then we got taken to the police station and they booked us and threw us in jail. We called Needham, but he couldn’t try to get us bailed out right away because the court was closed for the weekend. Then there was more trouble on Monday when we got hauled in front of a “tough-law-and-order” judge who said that we were apparently drug lords and set bail at half a million dollars each. We might have been able to handle that, but the authorities had frozen virtually all of our assets on the theory that they had been obtained through the proceeds of illegal drug trafficking. To make matters worse, my husband got fired from his job for getting charged with drug trafficking and for being unable to work because he was in jail, and we were almost out of money to pay our lawyer. Since our children are of modest means, there is no way they could come up with enough money to properly defend the case, let alone make bail. I don’t think they could come up with more than $10,000 or so to lend us, and they would probably have to borrow that themselves.
So after doing some initial investigating, and also trying to persuade these very skeptical prosecutors that we were patsies and not drug traffickers, Needham withdrew from the case and referred us to a less-experienced and less-expensive lawyer, Retayna Saul-Gonn. Retaynna spent our last two grand looking at Needham’s file, and then dumped us and told us to ask for a court-appointed lawyer, which we did.
Our public defender, Hope Leslie Swompt, is a very nice and very exhausted-looking person, and not a bad lawyer, but she is assigned to handle at least 400 cases at a time, which means that she can only meet with us for a few minutes every once in a while, and has to resolve most of her cases through plea negotiations because she has virtually no time to prepare for an actual trial. More from her later.
We originally thought that this was all going to get fixed right away as soon as the police and the prosecutors realized that we were just innocent victims of a drug trafficker, but according to all of our lawyers, there was never any hope of that, because if they cleared us, we could sue for all of the rough stuff and property damage, not to mention the unspeakable prison experience. (Munny got passed around the cell block for a couple of weeks, but now he is getting “pimped out” by one of the prison gangs, which is better for him, he says. I have only gotten groped a few times and punched in the face once, and I consider myself lucky.)
So then we figured that we would be all right in front of a jury, that is if we ever got a real trial date. (If you want a trial, they often make you rot in jail for years because the system is so clogged up with drug cases.) We thought that the jury would take one look at us and see that we couldn’t be drug dealers. But then Hope got the police report, and we found out that those narcotics cops would say anything to put us away and keep themselves out of trouble. According to the police report, the police caught us sharing a giant marijuana cigar called a “spliff” and weighing out quarter-ounce sandwich bags of marijuana on our kitchen scale. Also, my husband supposedly told them that we had ordered all that marijuana for medical purposes. (There is still no medical marijuana law in New York yet, and when they get one, you still won’t be able to have six kilos.)
Here’s what actually happened, although we doubt that anyone on the jury is going to believe it. We do have a kitchen scale, but it was the police who weighed out a few bags of marijuana and then handed them to us and asked us if we knew what was in the bags. (We now realize that this little performance was for the benefit of their fingerprint analyst.) Also, at some point we saw the police with a huge “spliff” that they had rolled up themselves and lit up in our living room. After a few minutes of passing it around and giggling, they stubbed it out and put it in an evidence bag.
If that wasn’t bad enough, later Hope found out about the jailhouse snitches. Our lawyers had told us not to discuss our case with anyone, and we followed that advice. But two inmates (who we barely knew and had never spoken to) had crawled out from under a rock to tell the police about the “confessions” we had made to them. One habitually felonious woman who badly needed a sweetheart plea deal said I told her that I was selling quarter-ounce bags of marijuana at a local middle school (I do some volunteer work there, and the police knew about that) for a hundred dollars apiece. And a male “confidential informant”/career criminal reported that Munny was bragging about making over half a million dollars last year just from dealing weed, and saying he was going to beat this rap because he would just lie to the jury and tell them that he didn’t order that package.
So now it looks like we are well and truly screwed. Possession of over ten pounds of marijuana is punishable by a 15-year jail sentence in New York. But it’s even worse than that. The prosecutor has also charged us with major drug trafficking, on the theory that we possessed with intent to sell over $75,000 worth of marijuana over a period of less than six months. That carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, and up to 25 years.
So either we go to trial and pray that the jury will believe us and not the huge lies from the narcotics cops and their bought-and-paid-for confidential informants, or we have to cut a deal. Hope says not to get our hopes up. The D.A. is taking his time in plea negotiations, since he can just keep us in jail for years before we even go to trial, which puts terrible pressure on us because our day of reckoning is so indefinite. We’re probably going to have to forfeit all of our property and accept lengthy prison sentences just to avoid an even worse fate.
We are in a deep pit of despair. My heart goes out to my husband, who is not doing well and may not live long enough to go to trial anyway.
“Judge” Grump, you’re our last hope! Can you help us? — Gilt and Glitter Goddess in Rikers Island, New York
Madam, you must take me for a fool. In the words of this country’s most famous and well-respected jurist, Judge Judy, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”
Your ridiculous story will never hold up in court. Like most of my fellow tough law-and-order judges (and if you believe judicial campaign ads, you know that there is no other kind), I realize that you wouldn’t be in jail charged with a crime unless you were guilty. A number of sworn officers of the law and the prosecutor representing The People have already determined your culpability. Now the only question is how guilty you are, and how severe a punishment you deserve for serving as a peddler of poison in your community.
And stop complaining about the lies you claim that you are hearing from the police and their confidential informants. Testilying is a critical part of our War on Drugs. It is necessary to ensure that people like you are forcibly extracted from society.
Right now, you are facing a fifteen-year minimum sentence, and the loss of everything you own. If you want to have any hope of getting out of prison before you are comatose, you must follow my advice to the letter, no matter how distasteful it is to you.
First of all, you need to demand your own lawyer, because if Hope is representing both of you, that will limit your options. Tell the judge you want Stew Leigh “Ratso” Ratatouille. Judges like Ratso, because he gets cases resolved, and never clogs up the docket with trials and motions. He’s your ticket to a six-month sabbatical at Camp Cupcake and five years of probation, which is a lot better deal than a monster like you deserves. Get the $10,000 from your kids. That oughta be enough to cover Ratso’s “initial nonrefundable flat fee,” especially because he is actually only going to spend a few hours making phone calls and cutting a deal for you.
Here’s what Ratso is going to tell you when he reads you the riot act. You’re going to sell out every friend and family member you have, starting with your husband. With your testimony, they can put him away forever. Maybe the prosecutors will even let you keep some of your stuff instead of taking it all. I don’t know how many of your friends and family members were involved in your sordid drug trafficking operation, but this is no time to play favorites when your life is on the line. Just implicate every last one of them. And that includes your children. They are going to hate you anyway when they find out how you sold their dad down the river. Ratso and the prosecutors will help you “refresh your memory” about all of this, by repeatedly reminding you what the State of New York does to people who refuse to snitch.
You drug fiends have a grand tradition of stabbing each other in the back once you are confronted with the consequences of your depraved actions. For example, let’s look at Sixties acid guru Timothy Leary, who achieved some degree of notoriety for proving that LSD causes brain damage by issuing a number of unbearably insufferable, incomprehensible, and incoherent tracts (and at least one LP record) describing his own acid-fueled escapades and insights. After he was finally trapped in the razor-tipped claws of the long arm of the law, and was facing major jail time, he solved his problem by ratting out every friend he ever had. Now he is best known for the expression, “Turn in your friends, tune out your conscience, and drop a dime on everyone you know.”
I do realize that you may not actually have enough information to allow the drug police to go after everyone you know (perhaps in the highly unlikely event that you are actually not a drug dealer), but that shouldn’t stop you from selling them out to save your own skin. The system encourages and rewards testilying, to help us win the War on Drugs by filling up our prisons.
For example, in 2006, after her later-convicted, jailed, and disbarred chief drug prosecutor, Karen Plants, was exposed for allowing perjured testimony from police officers and a “confidential informant” during a big drug trial, Michigan’s Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy praised and supported her deputy, calling her “a lawyer of high integrity and competence.” Plants actually secretly met with the judge in that case, Mary Waterstone, and told her that the witnesses had committed perjury to protect the confidential informant from exposure, and then Judge Waterstone let the trial go on without telling the defense attorneys or the jury about the perjury. (Judge Waterstone did get prosecuted for this, sort of, but after the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed all of the felony charges against her, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office declined to appeal that ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court, and then apparently quietly gave up trying to prosecute her for her behavior, thus setting a fine example for other judges who understand that testilying is a critical law enforcement tool.)
The message is clear: testilying is highly encouraged in drug cases. Witnesses like you are rewarded with leniency for your lies. Police officers earn promotions for their “high conviction rates,” and testilying is a solid way of getting more convictions. Finally, confidential informants are paid huge sums of money, including a cut of the take, for fabricating as much evidence as they can get away with.
To see how deeply testilying is ingrained in our War on Drugs, just check out the inspiring story of Andrew Chambers, Jr., a/k/a the “super snitch.” The DEA and other federal agencies (including the FBI and the Secret Service) paid him around $4 million to help them put thousands of people in jail for drugs. Current DEA Director Michele Leonhart was one of his “handlers,” and worked with Chambers as a drug investigator in Missouri during the 1980s, and then later when she was the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Los Angeles office. The megabucks federal drug snitch jackpot (that’s your tax money, remember?) came to an end in 2000 when Chambers got caught repeatedly lying on the stand about his criminal history and educational background, and even swore that he had paid taxes on $60,000 of informant earnings even though he had filed no tax return for that year. (He also admitted on the stand that he hadn’t paid any taxes on $100,000 of informant earnings over a period of six years.) So the DEA “deactivated” him, but oddly enough, there was no prosecution for perjury, or even for tax evasion. He seems to have a permanent get-out-of-jail-free card, perhaps because he knows quite a few things about the DEA and the FBI that they would not want exposed in a public trial. In fact, on several different occasions, the DEA interceded on behalf of Chambers to help him avoid prosecution on felony charges, presumably because the DEA and its informants are considered above the law.
Now here’s the coolest part: Five or six years ago, this supposedly-disgraced supersnitch was quietly “reactivated” to assist in the DEA’s investigations, presumably with Leonhart’s blessing. So the DEA has been knowingly using a serial perjurer and habitual criminal to help cram our prisons full of more drug offenders. Obviously, this means that flagrant perjury is a necessary and appropriate weapon in the War on Drugs. Indeed, in 2000, after Chambers was exposed as a huge liar, Leonhart herself described him as “very credible, an outstanding testifier.” (Granted, this may be a typo, since she presumably meant “outstanding testiliar.”) She also said that it “would be a sad day for the DEA” if they would have to stop using him just because he apparently couldn’t open his mouth without lying, and that he was “one in a million” (which was presumably a reference to his history as a uniquely effective testiliar).
We should all stand up and applaud Michele Leonhart for her brave and stalwart paramilitary campaign to trample the Bill of Rights and encourage wholesale perjury in pursuit of the War on Drugs. Leonhart recognizes that this is a game without rules, for “all’s fair in love and war.” Inspired by one of the greatest military leaders of recent history, whose conquests changed the face of Europe, Leonhart has had the courage to implement a Final Solution to the Drug User Problem. Let me explain.
Due to hippie propaganda, the “War on Drugs” has acquired a reputation as an utterly hopeless and budget-busting fiasco, conjured up by the unimpeachably diabolical President Nixon as a tool to jail and disenfranchise his political foes, and enacted into law on the basis of cretinous urban legends. So the DEA has decided to rename it the Drug Jihad, since it is essentially a fanatical faith-based holy war to force people to comply with the 18th-Century moral code of the puritanical religious extremists among our Founding Fathers, and also in recognition of the fact that our drug policies are somewhere to the right of the Taliban (and also far more extreme than the freedom-hating Communist dictatorship North Korea, where marijuana is legal).
(Although “Drug Jihad” sounds suspiciously foreign, you should bear in mind that when President George [Bush] the First needed an appropriate title for the man in charge of pursuing the War on Drugs, he chose “drug czar,” despite its Russian origins, because he wanted to make it clear that William Bennett was to serve as a pitiless despot, unrestrained by law, crushing his oppressed subjects with an iron fist. In other words, a czar.)
Here’s how the Drug Jihad works. Leonhart is the utterly ruthless leader of a vast and heavily armed force (including hundreds of thousands of border guards and customs officials and state and local police, plus a sizable contingent from our actual military forces), and presides over a well-financed and brutally efficient system with the following modus operandi. (Please note that for ease of reference, the targets of the Drug Jihad, the sellers and users of illegal drugs, will now be referred to as Drug Jihad Enemy Warriors, or the acronym “Djews.”)
First, the DEA is assigned the persecution of a significant minority group with beliefs and practices deemed suspicious and non-mainstream, and in violation of our puritanical heritage, and targets them for removal from our society. In this case, that would be the God-forsaken Djews.
Second, using billions of taxpayer dollars, the DEA spreads hate-filled propaganda against the Djews, blaming them for many of the country’s ills (for example, claiming that illegal drug purchases fund terrorism), and accusing them of poisoning our children.
Third, the DEA attempts to identify as many Djews as possible by encouraging other members of their community, or even their own families, to turn them in, even paying significant cash rewards for these betrayals. Many informants become wealthy by pretending to befriend Djews to gain their confidence and acquire incriminating information.
Fourth, by spreading an atmosphere of fear, prejudice, and hatred, the DEA encourages private employers to deprive the Djews of sustenance by firing them (or refusing to hire them) for failing drug tests. Thus, they may be forced into a life of crime, and persecuted on that basis.
Fifth, using its vast resources and billions of tax dollars, the DEA employs mass blitzkrieg-style raids by heavily-armed thugs to round up everyone suspected of being a Djew and take them away for interrogation. The frightened victims of these raids are encouraged to save themselves by identifying others as Djews. Even those Djews who somehow avoid legal persecution often lose all their property to forfeiture, with the property helping to fund further persecution of others, or just enriching the DEA and its network of informants. These “lucky” Djews are also often forced to undergo reeducation and “treatment” as a condition of not being thrown behind bars, and to remain under lengthy surveillance by probation officers and drug courts, with the threat of further punishment hanging over their heads.
Sixth, the DEA designates as many Djews as possible for “resettlement” in ghettos and concentration camps. Excuse me, I meant “prisons” and “correctional facilities.” While interned in “camp,” the Djews are compelled to perform forced labor, to live in squalid and inhumane conditions, and to wear special uniforms identifying them as Djew “campers.” Also, when they are first brought to “camp,” they are stripped naked and searched for weapons and valuables, which are seized as contraband, and often have their heads shaved before being sent to showers for delousing. (No, I am not being euphemistic here. These are real showers. Unfortunately for the DEA, the bleeding-heart liberals on the United States Supreme Court have not yet recognized that the most effective way of addressing the Djewish Question would be to permanently eradicate the Djews, preferably in an efficient assembly-line operation shortly after their arrival at “camp.”)
Seventh, the DEA sends paramilitary operatives to a number of foreign countries to round up or kill foreign Djews. In the most audacious and historically resonant episode of this brilliant and aggressive tactic, President George the First actually directed a military invasion of a foreign country (Panama) to capture a notorious Djew, Manuel Noriega, so he could be brought back to the United States for trial and punishment. Also, the DEA puts pressure on allies like Mexico to round up their own Djews and send them to the United States for persecution.
Finally, even if they are released from “camp,” Djews may be deprived of governmental educational and food and medical assistance, and evicted from public housing, and they will also be forever identified as criminals. This will typically make these Djews second-class citizens with no right to vote, and force them into menial untrained labor, or perhaps a life of crime. And even if they can avoid homelessness or complete destitution, their children are often taken away from them, to spare them the risk of being raised as Djews.
In this context, you’d have to agree that blatant and enthusiastic perjury when a Djew insists upon a trial is a relatively restrained tactic, and entirely necessary if we are serious about ridding our country of the accursed Djews. As Michele Leonhart knows, the ends justify the means.
So shut up, stop complaining, and do what Ratso and the prosecutor tell you to do. You filthy Djew.