Today I had my pre-trial hearing, however there is no way there could have been a “hearing” because it wasn't in open court. First though, trial is set for Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 08:30 hrs, with a status conference set for Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 13:30 hrs. Motions are due Tuesday, March 20, my second favorite day of this year .
Lets digress a bit first though. We're a Great Nation of laws, based on a Constitution who's premise is equality for all. Now I come from a generation were we said the Pledge of Allegiance in school, and nobody had a problem with it. Every day we said it in class before class started. It's last four words are “and justice for all”. We're also a Nation and State who's laws are based on logic and rules. An example of the rules are the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure. Understanding that we need rules to prevent anarchy, we all operate under then equally.
So I have a problem when the rules of the game are bypassed in what seems as a shortcut way to cheat due process:
Rule 5(c)(2) requires that at the first appearance in county court the defendant shall be advised in accordance with Rule 5(a)(2)(I-VII). That has not occurred. What occurred is that you get a piece of paper that allegedly advises you of your rights and such, but actually doesn't, because you can't query a piece of paper. That is the due process of Wednesday, February 15, 2012. Why is that important? You have to sign that paper of pain of arrest. But it's important Because...
Rule 5(a)(2) states that “At first appearance of the defendant in court, it is the duty of the court to inform the defendant and make certain that the defendant understands the following: ...” (emphasis mine) The following being (I) through (VII). Again, one can't question or discuss with a piece of paper. Why is this important to defendants? One must know the exact charges that one is being charged with to prepare an adequate defense.
Rule 10 requires that arraignments “... shall be conducted in open court, informing the defendant of the offense with which he is charged, and requiring him to enter a plea to the charge. ...” That has not occurred. You get to talk to an assistant DA(?) who in my case gives me a piece of paper to sign, on pain of arrest setting things for trial. Starting the tolling of the motion clock. So I'm still not actually informed of the offense charged, but we are already at Rule 16(e), Pre-Trial Conferences, which wasn't a conference at all.
So I stand not knowing what formal charges are, with motions due in twenty days. Cool, lets go down to the records room to find out. The exchange went like this “Hi, I'd like to find out what the official CRS citations are for the charges in 12M77, please.” “Ok... <search> The files are with the DA, lets look at the ROA (Register of Actions) to see. Ok it's here, it's two pages. That will be three dollars.” “I'm sorry but I'm on Federal Emergency Unemployment and don't have the cash on hand. Here, use this paper and please write down the CRS numbers (xx-yyy-zz and aa-bbb-ccc).” “Sorry, we can't do that...” WHAT THE FUCK? You've got to be kidding me right? Imagine that, they are holding me hostage to three dollars, $1.50/page. to the information that I have a right to know, LOL. OK fine...
Up to the DA's office, to try to get what is actually approximately twenty characters worth of information. The DA's office is unwilling to provide the actual number, but bless their heart, they actually did attempt to assist by trying to give me a copy of the original ticket. I've that, you can't read it on their copy any more than you can on the blue copy.
This IS NOT made up. This actually occurred earlier today. I'm still not officially sure what the charges are, two “hearings” in, and that violates my due process. Motions therefor start tomorrow. Sorry beloved fellow taxpayer, you're going to have to waste some money here it seems.