Friday, March 16, 2007

Prosecutor wants to jail nurse for accident.

Margaret Vitale was the victim of an accident and because of it she may end up in prison and loose her job as a registered nurse. The 57-year-old woman was approached by her son John who was fearful for his mother. He thought she need more protection than she had. So he gave her a gun.

Margaret was not exactly thrilled with the idea of owning a firearm. And then she discovered that she didn’t have the strength to chamber a round. At this point she decided to give up the gun. Again John urged her to reconsider. He suggested that she return that firearm and try a revolver he had instead.

So last June Margaret, and daughter Tina, went to see John. He showed her the revolver in question. He unloaded the weapon in front of her. Making sure the pistol for fully empty he showed Margaret this firearm was much easier to handle. She tried the revolver and found that she was capable of pulling the trigger.

She set the empty revolver down for a minute and went to speak to Tina. While she and Tina were talking John picked up the revolver and reloaded it. He then decided Margaret should have the holster as well. He placed the gun back down on the table, where Margaret had left it one minute earlier.

Margaret and Tina re-enter the room and Margaret picks up the revolver she thought was empty. She tries the trigger one more time and the weapon discharges. The bullet goes through a cabinet and nicked Tina in the leg. It was an accident but not a serious one. And it was a misunderstanding. John didn’t think to tell his mother that he had reloaded the gun because he was coming right back to holster it.

Tina was not seriously hurt. And it was Margaret who was adamant that 911 be called and the accident reported. When the police arrived Margaret told them what happened. No one disagreed on the facts. John, Tina and Margaret all said that the accident happened because Margaret did not know, that in the very time she was away from the revolver, John had reloaded it. Margaret and Tina both believed the revolver was empty. Tina has no hard feelings about the accident. She and her mother live together. She supports her mother and doesn't want her prosecuted and she's the victim!

But Margaret lives in Maricopa County, Arizona, home of rabid Right-wing authoritarians like Joe Arpaio and Country Attorney Andrew Thomas. We’ve discussed Thomas and his tactics before. Thomas is on the fringe of the fringe when it comes to his extremist positions. He is not a law and order conservative. He is a big government totalitarian and there is a difference.

Thomas wants to put as many people in prison as possible even if they don’t belong there. So his office routinely over charges suspects to force them to accept plea bargains that are unacceptable. This is what his office did to Matt Bandy when they tried to send the teenager to prison for life for some dirty pictures.

Superior Court Judge John Buttrick has said that Thomas is “instructing his prosecutors to refuse to offer many plea deals which would have been presented by the prior administration. Coupled with the overcharging, this is causing a significant increase in the trial rate.” That, says Judge Buttrick, “strains the system.” In addition Thomas is particularly “charging defendants with capital murder at an extraordinarily high rate, a rate the current system cannot possible handle.”

Andrew Thomas wants to execute as many people as possible. But then this thug pretending to be a prosecutor wanted to put prisoners on public display in cages on the public square. This man is out of the Inquisition. These tactics are meant to play to the base of the extreme Right. Thomas wants to tell the “hang ‘em all and let God sort them out” crowd that he put lots of bad guys in prison.

Instead his policies don’t put bad guys in prison. He puts innocent people in prison for reasons we’ve outlined before.

And that is what he is doing to Margaret Vitale. She is charged with “Disorderly Conduct as a Dangerous Class 6 felony”. She can go to prison for that. Now you have to understand that Margaret is a license nurse and to retain her license, and her occupation, she can’t be convicted of a felony. Any felony conviction would strip her of her employment and put her at risk of prison time for an accident.

So Thomas over charges again thus pushing up legal costs and ripping tax payers again. Hey, conservatives, remember his campaign to incarcerate anyone he can is driving up your tax rates and it isn’t making you any safer. Maricopa County is less safe, on average, than the US as a whole.

Margaret didn’t commit a crime. She had an accident and it wasn’t even her fault. Prosecutors want another notch on the bedpost so they have offered her a “plea” which, once again, is far more than the case warrants. She pleads guilty to a felony and serves some jail time. She will lose her nursing license, go to prison and cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in court and prison costs. All because Andrew Thomas is on a crusade. On top of the massive costs Hang ‘em High Thomas is imposing on the taxpayers he will reduce nursing services, already over extended, by one more nurse. All so he can prove he’s a macho conservative ready to incarcerate innocent and guilty alike. The man needs to be recalled.

Maricopa County wake up. You have a snake in your midst and like most snakes he needs to be gotten rid of. Worse, yet he’s a fraud, conservatives. He is one reason your tax rates are going up. Overcharging people, especially innocent people like Margaret Vitale and Matt Bandy, does not make you safer. And prosecuting a woman with felony charges for an accidental discharge of a weapon, especially under these circumstances, also feeds the anti-gun hysteria of the victim disarmanent crowd. Again, Thomas is no friend of conservatives.

By diverting police resources, court resources, prosecutorial resources, and prison resources to cases where they SHOULD NOT be involved he is making it more difficult to incarcerate the really dangerous criminals that roam the streets. Andrew Thomas is not protecting you. He is making you less safe and driving up your taxes in the process. Thomas thinks that is what he should do, I think he’s inept. Save money, make Maricopa safer, get rid of this two-bit moron as quickly as you can (and all his little henchmen that work for him as well).

Update and Obscenity Alert: I have lost my cool entirely so beware that this update will include very rude words for the asshole who is prosecuting innocent people in Maricopa County. I have already reported that a Judge has said that Andrew Thomas (remember that name voters and spread it around) is sending the local justice system into a meltdown. The man is squandering millions and millions of dollars. He is intentionally overcharging people in order to force plea bargains on people -- even if they are innocent.

This prick tried to send a teenage to prison for life. Now this jerk is trying to destroy the life of a 57-year-old woman. Now I read that he has a new policy on plea agreements that will send an additional 2,600 people to prison every year. The official capacity of the jails is 31,000. They already hold 36,000. And he is going to boost the overflow by another 7 percent. So perhaps the man is just stupid -- he looks pretty stupid. But he says he recognizes “that this change in policy will place an extra burden on the criminal-justice system.” So he knows he is bankrupting the system. He knows how many millions he is spending. This one one policy change alone will cost an addition $50 million per year A public defender from Pima County said of Thomas: “I think he’s stupid. Any time you set a hard-and-fast policy it creates problems.” Thomas doesn’t care if causes problems. Thomas is on a mission from God, so he thinks. The public defender says that these policies “are silly in the long run and seldom effective.”

Of course they aren’t effective. Thomas is spending time going after people who might not be the best candidates for prison. This bumbling buffoon, if you saw his interview with ABC you will know he is incoherent and can’t string a sentence together or even sound rational, had the audacity to claim that his policies are because of his commitment “to protect law-abiding citizens from criminals.” Thomas is a liar. A bald-faced, fanatical, liar. Matt Bandy was not a dangerous criminal. He wasted vast sums of money trying to railroad that boy into prison for life! His office refused to turn over evidence that backed up the Bandy defense until forced to do by the courts and even then it took more than one attempt to get the proof out of him. He was obstructing justice.

He is now working to send Margeret Vitale to prison and strip of her of the right to work as a nurse. And she did not break the law. She is innocent of a crime, she had an accident, and it wasn’t even her fault. But the assholes that Thomas has working for him (and he has filled his office with vicious religious fanatics) won’t even look at the facts. Margeret is no criminal. But she is a victim of the inept, vile, authoritarianism of this monster that wormed his way into public office.

How dare this moron claim that he is defending the public from criminals. The jails are over crowded now and he tried to send a teenaged boy there for life -- life in prison for a young boy. Great idea Asshole! Maybe he’ll get raped, they do that to young kids in prison don’t they? You don’t give a damn, do you Thomas? All this man wants is notches and he doesn’t give a damn about justice. Now he wants to send an elderly woman to prison for an accident.

If Thomas had his way there would be two less slots in jail available for real criminals (and I consider Andrew Thomas a criminal). His staff will spend time prosecuting innocent people like Matt and Margeret and that means they don’t have the time to go after the real criminals. He will waste the time of the courts on what he hopes are easy cases that he can add to the stats but when he does the courts aren’t available for the real criminals. Through the justice system Andrew Thomas is throwing roadblocks in the way of catching real criminals and he is doing so in the name of fighting crime. No wonder the public defender said he’s stupid. He is stupid! Worse he is malicious.

This ought to outrage conservatives as much as it does libertarians and liberals. Thomas is squandering tens of millions of your tax money. He is prosecuting innocent people instead of using those resources to get real criminals. The voter of Maricopa County need to get rid of this man. A recall is a good idea. His office needs to be fumigated of the head cockroach and the little ban of fanatics that worship him (hey, Rachel). And if fumigation doesn’t work there is an old political tradition that could use reviving. It had something to do with a pole, some tar and feathers.

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