I recently received a letter from a prisoner named Omar Gent who is serving 24 years in Colorado prison, convicted of a robbery. Omar is the founder of freeourbrothers.com. The situation he describes, and hopes to draw attention to, illustrates a pattern as to how the larger matrix screws all of us everywhere.
The situation he describes is this:
According to the Colorado Constitution’s Bill of Rights, all felony prosecutions shall be prosecuted by grand jury indictment. That means that prosecutors can’t take you to court unless they present the case to a grand jury and the grand jury issues an indictment.
In the practical world, grand juries are kind of a formality and are admittedly a waste of time. A New York judge once quipped that a good prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a “ham sandwich.” Grand juries typically do whatever a prosecutor suggests they should do. But, grand juries are made up of ordinary, ornery people, rabble like you and me. Well, maybe not like you and me. I guess most people don’t look for ways to burn down the courthouse. But, even ordinary people are unpredictable, so lawyers hate submitting things to the whims of non-lawyers. Also, grand juries are time consuming.
So, in Colorado, from what Omar tells me, prosecutors have found some way to bypass grand juries by relying upon devices called complaint-and-information. As a consequence, less than one percent of felonies across Colorado are presented to grand juries.
Omar argues that this is illegal. Since the Colorado Bill of Rights requires a grand jury indictment, and since ninety-nine percent of cases go to court without an indictment, all of those convictions are invalid, not worth the paper they are printed on.
Sounds to me like Omar is right. But, what he describes next doesn’t surprise me at all. Omar has attempted to find a civil rights lawyer to take up this issue and no one will touch it. This is due to the fact that most civil rights attorneys don’t really give a damn about civil rights. There is a profit-loss ratio analysis in the civil rights industry and those bean-counters aren’t moved by the fact that the Colorado prison system looks more like the slave-ship Amistad.
So, Omar has filed actions himself in state and federal courts, only to have those judges render decisions with tracings of their middle fingers.
Not literally. That’s hyperbolic.
No state or federal judge is really that honest as to trace a middle finger.
But, the end result is the same.
As a consequence, Omar and ninety-nine percent of Colorado’s prison population needs to find that one lawyer in the universe who cares. If that lawyer is listening, feel free to check out freeourbrothers.com where there is also a link to a petition posted at change.org.
Now, having said all that, the bigger picture: Laws are not for those who write laws or interpret laws; they’re especially not for the rich and privileged whose donations get lawmakers and judges elected. No. Laws are for us to follow– you know, us rabble. And if, at some point, you find some illegality in what the fascist fart-goblins have done to you, you can chop down every tree in Washington state to make reams and reams of paper to file brief after brief after brief– but there’s no one, absolutely no one, you can solicit or appeal to who will enforce a single law that benefits you. Never. With things as they are in this data-sharing era, everyone you encounter, every official or administrator, is on the same bowling team as the fart-goblins who stuck it to you in the first place.
And chances are, the lawyers who pretend to stand up to this kind of injustice have mortgages and children’s college funds that matter too much to effectively buck the system and make powerful enemies.
So, in conclusion, it’s up to us to engage in effective direct action to support those causes for freedom and justice, causes like Omar Gent’s, perhaps, and to do it with imagination and force. The frustrating and illegal situation Omar and the rest of Colorado’s prisoners face proves yet again as we stare down our enemy’s Apache attack helicopter: we have to be our own Apache attack helicopters… and turn our allies into Apache attack helicopters too.
This is Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain from Warren Corruptional in Lebanon, Ohio. If you’re listening, you ARE the resistance…
* * *