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Pre-sentencing

Interview with Zach, Trevor, Adam, Wesley, Jackie, Ruth, Kristal, Chris and Andy

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Zach: After my arrest, I was confined first on the 7th floor of the main jail, in a cell with no books, papers to read, and confined for 24 hours out of the day, no showers, not even going out for chow, as it was shoved into the cell through a slot in the cell door. and, no phone calls, nothing but hearing the clange of doors open or close down the tier. This was all I did while awaiting classification, then after 2 1/2 days, I was reclassified and sent to a new cell on a lower floor. I went to my arrignment, where the charges I had been arrested for were read to me in open court. I was asked: Did I have money for an attorney or would I like the county to appoint a public defender to represent me in court, if I could not afford to hire one. The cost for an attorney to appear and go through all from arraignment to trial was $15,000.00. That was even if I was convicted and sent to prison.
Trevor: All women are subjected to at least 23 hr lock down. We are not permitted to do any work unless granted to be the 'house mouse' which there is only two per every 88 prisoners. Kept inside a cell barely big enough for one but made to house two. The guards treat inmates as if they (we) are there enemies, scum of the earth and there job to make sure our visit is that of nothing easy.
Adam: There was a parole violation on my record and I was taken in to court on this charge and my public defender and the assistant prosecutor discussed a possible plea deal after my lawyer told me my options and they came to an agreement about what I was to be charged with.
Wesley: got arrested, booked, processed, cavity searched, taken upstairs from the holding cell, placed in a cell, waited 3 days, appeared before a judge for an arraignment, cavity search, went back upstairs to my cell, 1 week later went to general population cell, repeatedly went to court until case was decided on by a judge and sentenced was decided
Jackie: After being booked into the jail, you are given a court date. In the meantime until that courtdate you will either have your own attorney or a public defender looking at your case and what you are in there for. many factors come into play like if you have past convictions, what types, if your on probation or felony probation all play a different role in what your sentencing will be for your charge or charges. they also look into if you have outstanding warrants.
Ruth: I was under investigation for 3 months prior to being arrested and had to go thru two years or court while being house in county jail before taking a deal and being sintinced . It was a long and slow process from trying to get bail reduction and being assigned a panal attorney . Being denied and putting in motions excetra itwas a long stressful and tramadic pprocess
Kristal: Arraignment (Public Defender appointment) followed by a continuace then sentencing. The complete process passed by pretty fast. Just the time spent downtown in the main jail went real slow and was a miserable experience in every way possible. There's not a day that goes by that i dont think about all that and thats what keeps me from going back.
Chris: I was going back and forth to court for months before i was actually sentenced. This process is very long, meetings with public defender, continuances, and never really understanding what is going on. I felt like I really did not have any rights at all. Not a good experience at all.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Zach: No they didnít.
Trevor: No. Why?
Andy: No
Adam: Yes, there was a warrant after my parole was violated due to an outstanding charge and two officers picked me up from my residence, asked me to identify myself, got my ID, questioned me for a few minutes and then took me in after searching me. Took about 40 minutes or so
Wesley: Was pulled over in a vehicle at night and i was playing loud music, they did a weapons search. I slapped his hand away when he reached into my front pocket. The cop claimed he felt plastic in my pocket which prompted calling back up and a search of my pockets. Found dope on me.
Jackie: my last encounter going to jail, it was my birthday and i got too intoxicated at a restaurant where we had dinner and i made a scene, cops were called to the location and i was arrested for causing a scene and while in the back of the cop car i popped out the back side window with my feet, therefore violating my felony probation that i am on.
Ruth: Yes they had raided my fathers home which I was not living at at the time and then distroyed everything got me at my place of employment and took me in for questioning/ arrested me then later that day got a search war rent for the house I was renting a room from and flipped the whole place upside down and were rood to the whole family their
Kristal: I had a warrant i didnt even know I had. So one day I ran out of gas, and it was on a busy street. A patrol car drove by in the opposite direction, turned around and proceeded to assist me in pushing my car off the main road. While doing this he ran my plates and name. By the time he was done pushing me he already had my warrant information.He then arrested me and had my car towed.
Chris: The police did come to my place of residence on more than one occassion. I had someone staying with me that the police were looking for so it gave them a reason to come to my place. On this occasion the police had followed him to where i was living.

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Zach: In and out, did not get to say two (2) words. It lasted about 30 seconds.
Trevor: I had a lawyer new to the panel. She was unfamiliar with the definition of a 'mandated sentence' lied about having the district attorney and the judge RECOMMEND alternative sentencing and sent her PI to scare me into taking a sentence that was 4 months longer then the worse possible for the crime committed. Yeah, thanks Kate Johnston.
Andy: Doesn't really take long as the judge will tell you what's gonna happen
Adam: It was very crowded, people were packed in, some friends and family were there, the court looked busy and people were dressed in suites and ties and professional. The judge seemed to be rushed and I could tell that most of the people were copping plea deals and it seemed quiet in there and people trying to handle business
Wesley: Long wait to enter court room, but I spent an extremly short amount of time actually in the court. when I did finally appear before a judge, I did it in a cage in the courtroom. My attorney whispering in my ear. Transported back to jail house to wait another appearance before a judge.
Jackie: even though it is nice to get out of your cell do go to court, the process is sometimes ridiculous. depending on how the officers want to conduct bringing inmates down and what time they will be seen, sometimes they will bring you down five or six hours before you are scheduled to be seen. the holding tank where you wait is disgusting. they put twice as many women as there are seats, so you will see women sitting or laying on the floor. the toilet sometimes doesnt work, you are lucky if you get lunch because sometimes you miss out on it. they definitely make sure that they degrade you in any way possible while you walk from the holding cell up the stairs to the courtroom. you have your hands tucked in your pants head facing down because they dont want you making eye contact with any other inmate that might be down there. walking into that cage in the courtroom is the worst feeling ever. even though you want to look out toward where people are seated looking for family or a familiar face, you will be yelled at immediately to face the front. if you make any nonverbal communication with your loved ones you actually put them at risk of being arrested, i guess its illegal to communicate with us from the audience. after being seen you go straight back to the cramped holding cell and wait until every girl is seen. in the meantime you have to sit there listening to all these different women talk about their case and this and that. pretty annoying if you ask me. oh and by the way right before you are seen in the courtroom your attorney or public defender comes down to see you and basically tells you what the decision is and what deal you can take for your charge. i dont like how the whole holding cell gets to hear all your business like that but when ur in there you have no privacy whatsoever.
Ruth: Court its self is scary not knowing what's goingto happin its also long u leave after bbreakfast at 539 am and stay downstairs till 7 or 8 am then get shackled up put into a truck and searched and into a holding cell for hours for 5 seconds in front of the judge depending if your in trial or pre trial that is longer u also have to. Be in a small cell with anywhere up to ten girls sometimes more and the toliet is in plain view of them all their are ppl with mental problems or coming off drugs so its smelly andscary people also complain about little stuff when others have life ccases their fighting its all very slow in every aspect.
Kristal: Court was very stressfull and confusing due to lack of communication between the courts and jail officers. It seemed the the left hand never new what the right hand was doing. Then they tried to confuse me with another person just a different middle initial, making things look worse for me.
Chris: Court was a very confusing experience. Every time I went put in a tiny holding cell that was packed full of other women to court I was hand cuffed, waiting to go to court. This was a day long process. When in court you don't understand what they are talking about.

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Adam: It was for disturbing the peace, theft, and disorderly conduct but we plead it down to drop everything but the theft charge
Wesley: 11377 Possession, Same for conviction
Jackie: i was on felony probation for a previous charge in 2009. if i hadnt kicked the window and gotten a vandelism charge i could have gotten released the next morning from drunk in public. they ended up dropping the vandelism charge and only wanted to get me on a probation violation because of it. which gave me 180 days, even with hiring an attorney it was the best they could do for me.
Ruth: Accessory after the fact , attempted murder , discharge of a fire arm into a vehicle . I took a deal for accessory after the fact
Kristal: Grand Theft and Petty Theft, and Identity Theft. Convictions were Grand Theft, and Identity Theft.
Chris: I was charged and convicted of Possession of a controlled substance

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