by Brian A. Wilkins
My 7th time in court Monday produced more items of interest and more delay. The prosecution and my representation via the public defender’s office came up with a plea agreement where I’d plead guilty to two offenses that will be classified as misdemeanors and sentence me to probation. Apparently at a settlement conference, to be held March 2, I will be able to present my case, speak directly to judge and prosecutor, etc. before deciding whether to sign the plea or go to trial. There was supposed to be a settlement conference scheduled before October 22, which was ordered by the court, but never happened. I’m told my “testimony” if you will, could also sway the prosecution and/or judge. I could also forgo the settlement conference and sign the plea immediately and the case is over.
What I learned from the public defense’s interview with the alleged witness in the case, of course, disturbed me more. She has now changed her story, telling the defense that the alleged “victim” in fact admitted to her that he “choked” and attacked me in my apartment. Of course, she did not tell the police this the night I was arrested, which may or may not have changed the outcome (who knows with Tempe cops). I assume she is starting to feel guilty, though I doubt she’ll retract her whole testimony, as she is likely afraid of the alleged “victim,” and would not want to cross him. The other neighbors, for whatever reason, are also afraid of this guy.
The public defense believes the alleged witness’s testimony makes trial “risky” because she still maintains I came out of my apartment to confront the alleged “victim” unprovoked. The jury, however, will know who and what the alleged “victim” is, about his criminal history, and the fact the alleged witness was with him while he sent the extortion/blackmail text messages. She, again, omitted very important facts about the night, and now is all of a sudden changing course. This is the same “witness,” according to the police report, who said I used multiple hands to “recklessly” attack the alleged “victim”…which of course was impossible because one of my hands were broken. Her credibility (which in reality is nill) can easily be demolished at trial.
It is becoming pretty clear that the only attainable justice may be in a different setting. This Maricopa County public defender (Michael Ziemba) I have now seems to not want to go to trial at all and is hell-bent on getting me to sign this plea. You would think with the deposition he got from the “alleged witness” and the fact I keep TELLING HIM i want a trial, he’d be down with it. But apparently, justice is not the goal of public defenders.
I will always regret not killing that guy the night of July 21, 2008. And that’s a sad state of affairs when killing someone would put you in a better situation, based on Arizona “self-defense” statutes. But again, this is the United States Justice System, and the way I look (“black”) and am perceived; who knows how that would have gone. I still want a trial, since I have nothing to lose, as my entire life has already been completely destroyed. And there’s nothing the State of Arizona, Maricopa County, Tempe, or radical Euro-terrorists can do, other than kill me, that I can’t prevent from happening. But depending on what happens between now and March, I may sign the plea. But I’m not sure how much it will matter when I’m already listed as a convicted felon (haven’t been to trial yet) and Maricopa County denied listing me that way.
Adding more insult to injury, a “status conference,” after the settlement conference on March 2, is set for March 10…which happens to be my 34th birthday. The U.S. Justice System and rogue police: the gift that keeps on giving.
One person working for Maricopa County deserve individual praise for being an understanding, decent person: Mr. Robert Asay, the pre-trial service officer.