Monday, June 7, 2010

Help a friend, go to jail

I have often heard the expression no good deed goes unpunished. I even tried to get a jury to buy that sentiment a couple of trials ago. It didn't work. Here is a story that reflects that saying loudly.

Late last summer a young woman began to have problems with her boyfriend. The relationship was turning abusive. The man was calling her job all day long. He would even come and stand outside of her work at times. It was a major disruption at her place of employment.

In early fall she had enough. She moved out. Friends from work helped her move. A short time later the boyfriend moved in with her. Again. And a short time after that, the fighting started. Again.

One Saturday in September she was moving out. Again. The boyfriend, however, was causing problems and wouldn't let her get packed. She calls this man named Mike several times that day. She needed help. Again.

Mike is a pretty smart guy. He could smell trouble a mile away. Mike was among one of the few friends that helped her move just 2 weeks prior. They worked together. Mike knew about the problems this woman had. Mike was a little upset she took the boyfriend back. He now wanted nothing to do with it.

She eventually gets Mike on the phone. Mike doesn't want to get in the middle of what's going on. He's in his late-50's. He's been around. But she explains to Mike that the cops are already at her house. There will be no trouble. She just wants to load a few things in his van and leave. Mike agrees.

Mike drives to her house. He sees the cops when he pulls up. He also sees the boyfriend on the other side of the street. The woman yells to Mike from the upstairs window. The cops realize he's the person that's come to help the woman move her things.

Mike stands outside talking to the cops. He never goes inside the house. He never helps the woman put anything in his van. But he sees that she is loading small boxes and plastic bags. Mike tells the cops about this couple's problems. The cops have been there before.

The boyfriend is across the street, but now near the van. Mike notices he is writing on a piece of paper, but thinks nothing of it.

After about 10 minutes the woman says she's ready. Mike says bye to the cops. They get in his van and drive away. Mike takes the next right turn. About 5 minutes later he sees police lights in his rear view mirror.

He pulls the van over. Immediately cops, with guns drawn, are yelling at him to get out of the car. He does. The woman is also removed from the car. The van is searched.

Police officers find a small pistol and some crack-cocaine in a bag. Mike is immediately arrested and charged for possessing both. The woman is set free.

Mike denies knowing anything about the items found in the van. They must have been hers he tells police. He's booked anyway. The next morning he goes to bond court. Though Mike has no felony or misdemeanor convictions, he is given a $50,000 D bond. It takes 3 weeks for his family to put together the $5,000 to bail him out.

A couple of weeks after Mike makes bail, I am hired to represent him.

Through my investigation I quickly learn what happened. When Mike saw the boyfriend writing on the piece of paper he didn't think too much about it. He should have. The boyfriend was writing down the make and model of the van. But more importantly, he was noting the license plate number.

As soon as Mike and the young woman drove away, the boyfriend flags down the next cop car he saw. He claims a man and a woman in a van had just robbed him. And the man had a gun. He gives the cops the make, model, and license plate number of Mike's  van.

A call goes over the police radio and almost immediately Mike's van is spotted and stopped.

Sometime later that day, the cops figured out what happened. The boyfriend was arrested and charged with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor. He was let go from the police station. He had to post no bond.

Apparently none of the cops put 2 and 2 together because Mike still got the felony case. The boyfriend went home. And the girlfriend was never arrested.

Mike's case was set for trial today. The State wasn't ready. I can't wait to try this case. I want to see the look of disgust on the judge's face. Mike was a Marine infantryman in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged at the rank of E-5 and earned a purple heart. Since then he has attended some college and trade school. He has worked here and there over years always earning an honest paycheck.

But he's not in to drugs and guns. Instead, he's a nice guy who helped someone he thought was a friend. And he got burned for doing so. The CPD, had they given a crap, could have easily seen what happened. The boyfriend has only been to prison 7 times.

Once again, no one cared.



  1. Oh how I HATE HATE HATE how this city operates! Please seek justice and get this man free. I am willing to bet that this man is black huh?that probably explains the lack of effort on behalf of CPD to exonerate this man from the get go. Their part of the assembly line is done, the state filed charges and CPD has wiped their hands clean. Another man down... CPD 1 Innocent man 0


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