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Interview with Oscar, Ralph, Robert and Bert

JM: Tell us about the pre-sentencing process:
Oscar: it was gay cause it took a long time to go to court
Ralph: I was arrested and taken to North Hollywood police station where I stayed for 3 days then they took me to LA County Jail downtown and I was locked in a holding cell until my case was heard. I got barely any time with a public defender who was not interested in the details of my case or that I was innocent, just explained how the bail system worked but they set my bail way too high ($20,000) and he said he'd get it lowered. Big deal he got it lowered to $1,000 but I had no money to pay bail, no family or friends to pay it (I am a national of a European country and had just been fired by my boss at the store because I was in police custody and couldn't do my shift.) I couldn't get a bail bond either as I didn't have a car, boat, motorcycle or house, even though I had some valuable guitars I could use as collateral, they wouldn't accept anything so I had to go to anopen-air detention camp near Magic Mountain ( I don't know which one but it was called an Honour Farm). I'd never been in trouble with the police or legal system before and I was the innocent victim of somebody else's violence (I was on the ground hurt and bleeding when the police showed up and arrested me instead of my attacker. They were not interested in anything I had to say at the time. ) Luckily I was able to use a phone for a very short time in the holding cell to call my brother overseas and he was able later to post bail through the local consulate in LA of my country, but it took two weeks to get through the system and I had one or two phone calls with the consul to try to find out how much longer it would take).
Robert: Long stressful all u can think of is your family and that stupid mistake that put u there !
Bert: well I got out on bond for awhile then I got sentenced and I started my sentence at the county jail. I stayed in whitfield county jail for a while several months before I was transferred to gordan county jail to await my prison ride. I stayed there another 7 -12 months awaiting to go.

JM: Did you have police stop by your house for questioning? If not please give us details on how you came to be arrested.
Oscar: no i never did
Ralph: No
Robert: Yes
Bert: no , I was caught in the act . a guy I knew told me he had to stop by his aunt and uncles house to pick up a few things. little did I know he actually was breaking in some ones house. I got in a high speed chase and pulled over

JM: What was court like? Please give as many details as you recall.
Oscar: it was bad cause they tried giving me life
Ralph: Brief! I was whisked in and out in minutes while the public defender did a plea bargain to reduce three felony charges of violent assault, assault with a weapon and carrying a weapon in a public place (none of which I was guilty of!) etc to one misdemeanor charge of carrying a weapon in a public place! I didn't have any weapon. My attacker and his friends set me up before the police arrived on the scene. I had to be silent in court and only speak when asked a question and only about my public defender's request to defer my surrender for sentencing after they agreed the plea bargain of 30 days county jail instead of up to 8 years on the felonies in prison. I had no money for a proper defense or defense lawyer and no witnesses to speak up for me, so I had to agree to the plea bargain as I didn't want to go to jail for 8 years for a crime I didn't commit, even though the time I'd already spent in county jail had been enough of A NIGHTMARE! The judge granted me deferment of 3 weeks before I had to go back to jail to serve the rest of my sentence, and with time already served and good behavior time that would be about 7 more days jail time.
Robert: Long is a word I use a lot but u can only pray that judge is in a good mood
Bert: was crazy .... all I can remember being 16 setting up there in front of all these people .. I knew that I was in trouble but I didn't really know how much giving the circumstances I was in. then I was sentenced to a 12 do 3 I knew I was in for a long ride

JM: What were your original charges? What did you end up being convicted of?
Bert: burglary ... receiving stolen property and burglary

Read about sentencing in the Whitfield County Jail

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