Thursday, February 19, 2015

Revolving Door

Timothy Stahl appears before Judge Murphy, ADA Bob Opsitnik (rt)

Timothy Stahl was arrested yet again by Amherst police Tuesday on a warrant for "failure to appear" in Eastern Hampshire District Court Tuesday morning to be arraigned for his arrest over the weekend for "disturbing the peace."

Naturally he did not wish to go quietly so he was again charged with "disturbing the peace."  Only this time he was transported to District Court by APD after spending the night in lock up.

Assistant District Attorney Bob Opsitnik requested $500 bail (which if not paid would keep him behind bars) but Judge Murphy released him on $1,000 "personal surety," meaning if he doesn't show up to his next scheduled appearance March 18 he pays that amount. 

He was also assigned a public defender.


Anonymous said...

Will he pay the thousand in change he panhandles? What a joke!

Anonymous said...

Judge what the f is wrong with you

keithw said...

Judge probably knows he's trying to stay indoors. We'll see if he's right when and if Stahl misses his next court date.

Anonymous said...

This guy is repeatedly violating the law, fails to show in court and has no means. The judge could say a million dollars and he will never pay. Instead of charades why not get him a doctor or a social worker? I feel he needs a psych evaluation so he can get the help he needs.

Dr. Ed Part 1 of 2 said...

What's not said about our nation's tragic history of lynchings is that most of the victims likely have been executed after a trial (note that I did not say it would have been a "fair" one, only that there would have been *a* trial.

Until SCOTUS said otherwise the crime of rape, in and of itself, was a capitol offense in many states -- and men were executed for that conviction alone.

SCOTUS subsequently ruled that execution for the crime of rape (without "aggravating circumstances") was a punishment that exceeded the limits of the 8th Amendment and while we can argue that, the fact is that at the time people could be (and were) executed -- after being convicted at trial.

Hence all the Klan really did was bypass "the charade" of a trial -- hanging someone now who would instead have been hung sometime in the future after all the legal niceties were completed.

For a really clear example of why this was a really bad thing, look at the case of the so-called "Scottboro Boys" -- and one MD testified that, in his medical opinion upon examining her, one of the alleged victims was still a virgin which clearly contradicted her story about what happened to her.

Forget "lawful" executions, but for the presence of the US Army -- and some people with the guts to insist on due process and the willingness to call in the Army to protect the prisoners, the mob would have lynched them before the trial even started.

Those young men were innocent ---and an awful lot of people (there were female lynching victims) were murdered (not executed but murdered) for no other offense than the color of their skin. We need to remember that!

We need to remember that due process protects the least amongst us.

And read To Kill a Mockingbird -- stuff like that happened -- a lot -- and that is what bothers me about the Bill Cosby matter, but I digress...

But sometimes a crime actually had been conmmited, and sometimes the Klan actually had the right person - the guy who had actually done it.

Even with the most fair of trials and the absolute best of defense counsel, the perp would have been convicted and executed -- al the clan was doing was bypassing "the charade" and expediting the process.

Yet I like to hope that there isn't anyone who would justify what the clan did.

Yes, offer him a Voodoo Scientist to "help" him -- offer it to everyone including Eddie Hull (particularly Eddie Hull...) -- but make it an offer without coercion or compulsion.


Dr. Ed said...

Part 2 of 2

I feel he needs a psych evaluation so he can get the help he needs.

Exactly what part of "...nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." do you not understand?

A psych exam is requiring someone "to be a witness against himself" and I ask on exactly what basis the state has a right to do so -- to compel him to submit to submit to a psych exam under any circumstances.

My relevant precedent: _Roe v. Wade_ -- the consequences of having an abortion are far more serious than the consequences of receiving involuntary psychiatric care, both are medical issues and _Roe_ says that there is a "right to medical privacy" that the state can not cross, even if the state has some really good reasons for wanting to do so.

Hence unless _Roe_ is overturned, and notwithstanding the 5th Amendment issues\, I don't see how anything but totally voluntary medical treatment -- psychiatric or otherwise -- is Constitutionally permissible.

And as to the "Civil" versus "Criminal" -- I argue it is a distinction without a difference -- our system of government is based upon the state not having the right to strip one of one's liberty without following a whole bunch of protections that are being bypassed here -- starting with the right not to be compelled to testify against ones self.

Or maybe _Roe_ was wrongly decided and women shouldn't have control of their own bodies. Maybe the state should be able to compel women to submit to an involuntary OB/GYN exam anytime a police office thinks it would be a good thing.

How about forcing pregnant women to submit to drug tests -- and locking them up if they fail? How about involving legal products such as tobacco and ETOH -- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is real and a good chunk of the SPED budget...

Historians struggle with the question of how basically decent people could have perpetrated those lynchings. How decent people could have watched, how they would take their children to the "lynching and a picnic" -- we have photographs of entire communities eating lunch under the dead bodies of their victims.

Likewise with the Holocaust -- there were a lot of people who honestly thought they were doing the right thing, at least in the beginning. Look at the Nuremburg trials and the number of people who believed that because something was "legal" it inherently was "right"....

Is the guy crazy -- I have no doubt. Could the Voodoo Scientists help him -- probably.

He stands accused of crimes -- let him be duly convicted and incarcerated. Prison more than sorta sucks, let him do his time if he wishes and then do some more for the next stuff he does -- OFFER a Psych Exam to him, require it if he wishes to use lack of Mens Rea as a defense, but we go down a very slippery slope if we compel it.

The question you want to ask is not what happens if the government is run by good people who agree with you, but what happens if it is run by evil persons whose views you most despise. What protections do you have from them?

Dr. Ed said...

This guy is repeatedly violating the law, fails to show in court and has no means.

Which has nothing to do with compelling him to submit to a psych exam, no matter how much good the "help" could do him.

Not unless he wants to use mental illness as a defense to his actions -- which he is NOT being held accountable for here.

What ever happened to incarceration as the response to violation of the law? Let him do his time if he wishes -- it still must be HIS CHOICE to receive help or not.

No matter how much good it would do him -- I think that attending a Church or Synagogue on a weekly basis would do a lot of good for a lot of young people, I've encouraged more than a few to do it, but I shudder at the thought of compelling it...

Anonymous said...

$1,000 surety? What planet does this judge live on. Can't get blood from a stone. But hey, I'm sure he'll stay sober and out of trouble until his court date. Im sure he doesn't want to part the imaginary $1,000 he doesn't have. I'm also sure releasing him into the sub zero temperature will keep him safe and sober. If this guy ends up getting hurt or he hurts someone else, would the judge be liable? Doubt it

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, APD arrested him about an hour ago for bein drunk and disorderly.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...hate to tell you, I told you so! Maybe APD should drop him of at the judges house. Looks like he know owes $1,000! Does court accept IOU's? I guess Mr. Stahl called the judges bluff.

Larry Kelley said...

Problem is on Monday he will be brought before a different Judge.

Dr. Ed said...

"APD arrested him about an hour ago for bein drunk and disorderly."

No such crime.

As I understand it, the Mass SJC struck down the "drunk & disorderly" statute sometime in the late 1970's. Being drunk is no longer a crime.

As to "disorderly", the point that Harvey Silverglate made about the "Skip" Gates arrest essentially was that had it gone to trial, that statute would have been struck down too.

And as to "protective custody" arrests -- the intent was to get the person to the hospital with a cell in the police station being a last resort when the police couldn't possibly do this. When the law was written, the police routinely transported injured people to the hospital -- EMS as we know it today did not exist.

And as to being loud & obnoxious, here is a Silverglate article worth reading.

So what, EXACTLY, is he being arrested FOR HAVING DONE?

This is a "free country", isn't it?

keithw said...

It was -11° last night. If he's been barred from all the shelters because of his behavior, I'm sure his options were limited to getting arrested or building an igloo. Maybe he's not that crazy after all?

Anonymous said...

We've all had it happen.

It begins as an ordinary conversation between two people, and you're one of them.

Then you realize that the other person has actually no interest in you as a human being, doesn't care what you think, and simply wants to talk you to death. And you then can't get out of the situation fast enough, and you're simply looking for a polite way to do it.

Life in the comments section with Ed.

Dr. Ed said...

There is no middle ground on those things which are inherently wrong, and no -- I don't care why one feels justified in doing them.

I;ll concede, for the sake of argument, the good ends sought via the proposed bad means -- but the ends do not justify the means.

Take a different issue -- drug abuse -- eliminating it would be a great thing, but not the way that the Chicoms did, which was to simply shoot everyone involved.

Dr. Ed said...

A serious question -- for everyone including police officers -- as keithw points out, it was -11 degrees and the man is homeless -- at what point does protective custody come in?

ETOH spreads the body core temperature out to the extremities and hence the potential for hypothermia, but even if he was sober (and civil), at what point do the police have an obligation (both ethical and legal) obligation to bunk him for the night in the heated jail?

The rationale for Protective Custody is that the person is unable to care for him/her/its self and needs to be protected from potential harm. Well, -11 degrees is very much potential harm...