by Brian A. Wilkins
This day corresponds to Monday, August 11, 2008.
The day started off pretty bad, as you can imagine, since you’ve already been told about these court dates, as far as the process of actually getting there from jail. The kicker this time was what the person I was handcuffed and shackled too had long hair, make-up, boob implants, and a round, dude-looking face that needed to be shaved. He was Navajo and scary, cause he didn’t say a word until we were getting off the bus upon arrival at the 4th Avenue Jail. “Home, sweet home,” he said to a guard, in a deep voice. I assume he was being transferred to 4th Ave., since I heard all the really high security risk people are housed here.
I hadn’t eaten in hours, and wasn’t about to touch anything in the ladmo bag they gave me. The plum-looking fruit (I forget what they were called) in the bag already had a bite taken out of it. But that didn’t concern me at all. I had a manila envelope full of enough information to show this public defender so he can at least attempt to do something to get me out of here. The only thoughts going through my head are what I’m going to say if given the opportunity and what the judge is going to say. I figured it will be the same lady from my other court date; the one who said, “we have to get a hold of the victim before considering a release.” Well, being the guy is unemployed and worthless, I assume they got a hold of him. Though I thought of how disgustingly fucked it was that the criminal alleged “victim” had a say in how long I had to sit in there.
The 60-something year old, blonde hag guard I had seen both times I’d been to this place rounded everyone up, to separate them for transport to their respective city courts. I stood there, holding my envelope, expecting to be re-shackled and re-cuffed to someone. Instead I was led down several hallways and into another holding cell within the 4th Avenue complex. What the hell was going on? I just knew something bad was going to happen. Why was I not being transported to the Mesa Court?
Ok, so I figured (and heard from people talking) that court was here. Ok, fine. I assume the public defender guy will come in here sometime soon to talk to me. But sure enough it never happened. I sat in this tank with at least 25 other people in it, many of them lying all across the cold, concrete floor, for at least 2 hours. Some 50-year-old looking “black” dude was bragging about shooting a cop while playing de-facto “jailhouse lawyer” with all the guys in there about to see a judge. “I’ve been through this so many times, I know all the procedures,” he said, quoting actual AZ criminal codes and rules of court. It grew sickening to have listened to these people for 21 days sounding almost as if they like incarceration and all the court junk. “Yeah man you got Sam too?” he said to another inmate, referring by first name to a bondsman he’d used for years.
The guard finally opened the door. “Ok, there are a lot of people today, so I want complete silence. No talking!” the male-looking female guard said. By this time I had already heard this whole “court date” was going to be me in front of a judge on closed-circuit television. I was led to a courtroom, again, with no judge physically there; just on television. She was talking as if she was reading a script for each of the 20-ish people who stood up there before me. The only deviations from what she was saying to each person were names.
“State of Arizona vs. Brian Allen Wilkins,” she said, then telling me to state my full name and date of birth. “Did you read the [disclosure]?” she asked. “Yes,” I said. “I order you to….blah, blah, blah,” the judge continued for a few seconds before someone handed me a paper form and ordered me to sit back down. It said, “Notice of Supervening Indictment” on it. Being a sports fan, I’d heard the term “indictment” before but never applied it to a real life situation. It always sounded so bad, so sinister. You can probably imagine, then, what was going through my head. But as I read through it, I noticed I was no longer being charged with all those serious felonies the cops had tried to charge me with. No where did I see “F3” or “F4” on this paper, indicating serious crimes. I figured, correctly, “supervening” meant “overwriting” or “nullifying the previous.” Ok, so since I was no longer being charged with all that junk, why didn’t this TV judge adjust the bond amount accordingly? I went from facing 25-40 years in prison with those cop charges to now, at worst, 3 or 4 years.
Believe it or not, the $54,000 bond and kangaroo court proceedings weren’t even the worst of it. The papers also said that my next court date was Sept. 22, 2008…that’s more than 40 days from now. I never knew what it truly meant when someone says, “I saw my life flash before my eyes,” but I think this was it. I got really light-headed and nauseated almost instantaneously upon reading that court date. I don’t know if I can do this that much longer. I don’t know if I WANT to do this that much longer. I was just in a state I’d never felt before.
“Look…Brian had all his little papers and everything to give to the judge and only got to say ‘yes’ to a TV!” Hardy, the fat guy from that LBJ cellblock, said, laughing. I just sat with my head between my legs, thoughtless and motionless. “You looking at doing some time?” this other “black” dude with an Afro asked. “Man don’t talk to me right now!” I said, kind of in a disrespectful way. That guy was well over 240 pounds and could have easily pummeled my ass to the ground, but I think ANY angry/sad human being can be a dangerous person. But the rhetorical answer to his query was “yes.” I was at least looking at 40 more days in this Maricopa County system; then god knows what after that. My life was seriously going to be altered no matter what now. I will have been in here for over two months before I have another slim chance of getting out. Drinking water from a toilet, high blood pressure, and millions of species of bacteria and viruses in this place probably aren’t helping my will to do this either.
When I got back to LBJ, I went straight to the cell and collapsed on the bunk. Rodney came by a few minutes later. “How’d it go?” he asked. I didn’t say anything. “Oh I’m sorry man. I…” he stopped in mid-sentence and re-thought what to say. “I’m really sorry man,” he said, before walking off. Train, Monster, and Freddie would do the same thing within the half hour. This other buzz-cut, G.I. Joe D.O. than came by. “Wilkins! Indictment!” he yelled, then handed me a copy of the exact same paper I got at the courthouse. I’m sure he just did that for kicks, but more power to him. It was only around 230pm and I wouldn’t know until the next day, that I would sleep for nearly 24 straight hours. I kept going back to sleep every time I woke or had to move, not wanting to be conscious of anything around me. And in a way, hoping I would not wake up at all.