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Interview with Kelsey

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Kelsey: When I was arrested I was in the Imperial County Jail for approxiamately 30 days. I went to court every morning at 5:30. When I was before a judge he would appoint me a public defender, and immediatiately the public defender would would say "conflict of Interest". So the judge would give me another court date for the following day in which I would then be appointed with another public defender. Like I said this went on for a whole thirty days, until finally I requested that my bail be lowered. I had requested twice prior to this but the judge would always deny the request. Finally they lowered my bail to 35,000.00. My family was at that point able to bail me out, and did so one day before Christmas. When I went to court on my following court date (while out on bail) my new public defender said that my best bet would be to plea no contest to use of a card without authorization. And if I agreed to do so the judge and district attorney would grant me six months in a drug rehabilitation program and only 3 years probation. According to him this was a good deal because with all the charges I had, even though it was my first offense, I was looking at up to three years in prison. I agreed and was supposed to turn myself in the following month to the 6 month live in rehabilitation program.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Kelsey: I had a number of sherriffs investigators and police come to my house, call me, even pull me over in unmarked cars, on numerous occasions. I even went to the police station on one occasion and signed a statement and viewed all of the evidence that they had against me. However I was not alone in my crimes and they desperetely wanted to charge both of us with the crimes we committed. So even though I was stopped numerous times prior to my arrest they did not take me into custody until about a month after I had went to the police station and signed the statement.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Kelsey: Court really was horrible while in custody. They wake you up super early in the morning. They shackle you and take you to a very small holding cell that doesnt even have a toilet or anywhere to sit or anything. In the corners there is piss and sometimes even feces on the floor. Many people who are incarcerated are sick (heroin withdrawls) and cannot control themselves. Anyway, we are kept in the small holding cell from about 5 in the morning untill about 9 when court begins. At this time they transport you to another holding cell much closer to the courtroom. You can hear everything going on in the courtroom. We are to sit there all day without any of our belongings, no food, or anything. When one of us has to use the restroom we must kick the door very loudly until finally a guard comes. You must then say you need to use the restroom. Sometimes they tell us to wait, sometimes they will take one of your cuffs off so that you can get out out your jumpsuit and use the restroom. There is never any toilet paper. and you cannot bring anything with you, no toilet paper, no book, no nothing. After the guard loosens your cuff, he/she leaves for about ten minutes and then quickly returns to put your cuffs back on. You sit in the holding cell usually well into the afternoon because all in custody cases are seen last. Even if you do get called in early you are returned to the holding cell to wait for all others to see the judge before anyone is allowed back to their cell. When going into the courtroom you feel like crap, cause you look like crap and you also look quilty as all hell in a dang jumpsuit and shackles. It can be a very emotional thing especially if you see one of your relatives sitting in the courtroom. They usually cry out in despair just from seeing you in that kind of situation. And you want to speak to them so badly, but yet you are not allowed to or they will get arrested also. It doesnt matter what you have to say when you are before the judge, cause no one listens. Rarely do you have any time to speak with your public defender before your case is actually called. Usually you meet them the moment you are standing in front of the judge. They mostly ask you "do you agree to waive your rights or do you agree to waive time?" You have no choice but to say yes. And then you are rushed off back to the little tiny room by the courtroom. And there you sit for the rest of the day. Thats how it goes at jail court, if you have court at the main courthouse, its exciting cause you get to go for a ride in a van. But the rest of the process is the same.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Kelsey: My original charges were residential burglury, commercial burglury, theft exceeding 400.00 (15 counts of that), forgery, identity theft, fraud, unauthorized use of credit card, possesion of controlled substance, possesion of paraphenalia, recieving stolen property, possesion of stolen property,. I was officially convicted and pleaded no contest to unauthorized use of an access card.

Read about sentencing in the Imperial County Jail

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