Gracia Hearing Day 4

Updated below...

How do you keep a defendant from winning?  You simply refuse to even enter a judgment!  This is the hearing that will not die because the prosecutor and a teeny, tiny judge won't let it end.  At the prosecutor's suggestion, the judge has requested both sides to present written briefs on the Fifth Amendment.  Mind you that this is the same judge who basically didn't want to hear about the US Constitution back on Day 1 of the hearing when it was raised by the Defendants as a complete bar to the case.  No briefs on it THEN because that might have ended the trial in their favor but, now that the prosecutor wants to drag this on and on and on, NOW the judge wants briefs on the MUCH simpler matter of whether or not someone can be forced to potentially testify against themselves even when that person stands ready to have judgment entered against them.

I promise that, if you were the defendants in this case, you'd be doing exactly the same thing.  Get us the freak out of this piss-ant court and into one where the judge has a passing familiarity with the law and the freaking rules of court!

The hearing continues at 10 AM on Monday morning with the presentation of briefs and very probably a prosecutor and judge who think they can hold any member of the citizenry in contempt without notice or reason if it strikes their fancy.  More on that later.  I'll amend this entry with Danny's more coherent notes when I've got them :)


From our wonderful court observer, Daniel Sigmon:

Greetings All,

Today was a very interesting day to say the least. The mood was much less
combative in the courtroom when I had arrived. Atilla the prosecutor had
apparently been told to "chill" in regard to the elderly couples birds. The
judge granted them their birds first thing after lecturing them for 10 minutes
about how everything that happens at court isn't bad.

Following this, the regular business of the trial started again. Prosecution
had some redirection and the defense some recross for Deputy Kindrick, the lead
constable on this case. Then more pictures from the prosecution. Blah Blah. 
The defense asked questions regarding their version of the timeline of events.

Following this, the prosecution called their final witness, Deputy Herrera. 
Less pictures this time as I suppose the prosecutor had thought that she made
her point. There was some general rehashing of timeline and discovery issues,
the abandonment excuse was cited again with lots of questions about that from
the prosecution. Then the defense had their chance to cross. This was very
different. Deputy Herrera looked VERY NERVOUS during the cross, speaking slowly
and deliberately and at times sarcastically as if she were thinking very very
hard about keeping her "facts" inline with previous testimony while distracting
with unneccesary sarcasm. For instance, when asked what she was doing at the
staging area she answered very quickly in a defensive voice, "Drinking Water. It
was hot"

As questioning from the defense continued she was looking over at the
prosecution side of the room as if asking how she should respond next. She has
only worked for the animal cruelty and environmental division of the constables
office for six months, in which time she has only had one course in animal
cruelty pertaining to dog fighting. She also had only been on one other bird
seizure in her time there and new virtually nothing about parrots, yet, she was
in charge of making the inventory. She seemed to be in a pitiful place as if
she hadn't drunk the corrupting coolaid just yet and was torn between truth and
doing what her superiors wanted. She also drew a schematic that was not to scale
that represented the property at the time of the seizure.

While she was drawing the schematic for all in the courtroom to see, it was
PLAIN AS DAY that there is no way anyone doing do diligence could have thought
that property was really abandoned. In addition she revealed that when she
talked to the 15 year old at the home of the Gracias (Mario) that she asked him
if he new who lived next door, NOT who lived in the abandoned house in eyeshot. 
Mario told her that he didn't know about the next door neighbors. It was plain
as day that he was not talking about the house in front of them both, but the
people on the next section of acreage.

All in all Deputy Herrera's testimony was EXTREMELY fishy. The defense rested
and their was a brief redirect from the prosecution to establish the quality of
the drawing that was made in court and the defense rested.

The prosecution then called her last few witnesses and ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. 
First she called Mr. Gracia to the stand. The defense immediately called to
approach the bench and refused to allow him on the stand citing his fifth
amendment rights. The prosecution didn't give a damn and kept saying that this
was a civil trial and that didn't matter! Even when the defense pointed out
that the DA's office had a presence in the courtroom for the entire trial and
there could be criminal charges, she didn't care. Still no matter how loudly
and "Fran Dreschery" she protested she didn't get her way. Next she called
Jaimie Whitaker to the stand. This was around 2:00 PM. Jaime who had been at
the court for the entirety of Friday, Monday, Wednesday, and now this Friday,
waiting through the prosecutions ridiculously drawn out examination, left for
AFA at Noon that day when we broke for lunch. Atilla the prosecutor nearly had
kitten's. She all but demanded that the court hold her in contempt. The
defense countered that their position on this case was that it was taking far
too long and they wanted to end things now. They no longer planned to call her
and that there was no basis for contempt. Ms. Whitaker was not being paid,
there had been no subpoena she had every right to leave. In addition since the
defense were going to simply rest and ask for a summary judgment, there was no
need for the prosecutor to ask Jamie anything.

Atilla protested again that this was highly irregular and that she up, until
that moment, had been the defenses star witness. Defense countered that they
were allowed at anytime to strike and add witnesses as they pleased.

All of this ended in a court recess where the judge said they would deal with
Ms. Whitaker on monday and that she was not excused but he wouldn't hold her in
contempt. I asked lead defense council Martin Mayo later if there was any
threat to Jamie and he said, "No WAY! They can't make her testify and he hoped
that she had a good time in Florida.

So where does this leave us. The defense had decided after the judge
practically ignored the falsification of evidence that was shown on film with
the hand, dead bird, and water bowl that there was little chance that this was
going to turn out in there favor. Also they were extremely concerned that from
the beginning the judge showed little knowledge of law and refused all
objections based on solid constitutional foundations. The best thing to do is
to get a judgement positive or negative and appeal to a "real" court, not the
J.P. traffic court.

That is in fact what they are going to do. Mr. Gracia is prepared to fight this
the whole way. He has been very firm and confident that he has been grievously
wronged and will not let the thieves and liars at SPCA take him down. He is
prepared to post bond so that he can appeal and his defense team is eager to
take this to the next level.

All three of the Gracias lawyers are basically doing this pro bono. They have
done a wonderful job. They have been spurred on more than ever to beat these
bandits and stop them from stealing animals by the blantant fabrication and
corruption that has been apparent from day one. Even this humble, casual
observe saw hole after gaping hole in the prosecutions testimony. If this had
been someone less courages or someone without the pround and confident
determination of Mr. Gracia and his family, this whole matter would have been
over last friday with the SPCA claiming another breeder as a victim to their
corrupt extremism.

Let us pray for the Gracias and their legal team that they will continue to
stare tyranny in the face and be strong with the fortitude of the constitution
and let us all draw courage, hope and inspiration from their fight, that some
day, this legalized thuggery will be forever trampled into the bloody soil of

Solidarity and Hope!

See you all at AFA!

Daniel Sigmon


Thank you Danny!  The hearing resumes at 10:00 AM Monday but the judge will have a very small audience to preen for as many of the aviculturists are elsewhere.  Their absence will not be a lack of support but merely an indication that life goes on while we also must fight these government and judicial abuses.

I wonder what the preening judge would do if the only people who showed up on the defense side were the attorneys.  After all, they are the only ones required to be there.  Would preeny judge let this hearing end then?  Or is he bent on continuing the hearing just to rack up time and costs for the defense; testing his abilities to use the system to further abusiveness?

I know I’m done watching this judge talk to himself.  He might actually be worse than Dictator Dale!

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