Thursday, October 31, 2013
It's agreed. Lonnie Phillips is as grief-stricken as a father can be.
The San Antonio man has a unique perspective on gun rights.
His daughter lost her life to a shooter in a darkened Denver-area theater one midnight not long ago as fans of Batman gathered for a premiere showing of an instant cult classic at an Aurora, Colorado shopping mall. Though the pictures are clear, no one really knows why.
The joy of young people on the hunt of a hoot suddenly turned to panic, then terror, and left a stunned, numbed nation in the throes of a deadly confusion, a spreading stain of guilt and horror compelled by the simple notion of, “Now, what?”
Lonnie Phillips explains that his choice to not carry a pistol for his own defense, or the defense of others, is as much a right as any other person's choice to go armed in self defense, as guaranteed by the Texas and U.S. Constitutions.
"Why should we, who choose not to own weapons, have to be intimidated by someone openly carrying a weapon?" said Mr. Phillips. "My freedom not to have to carry a weapon to be safe is as paramount to liberty as Jerry Patterson's right to open carry."
Intimidation. Safety. Freedom from fear. Security for a man's precious children.
The words just leap out of the good, gray columns of Houston's big daily, bespoken by men vying for the top jobs in state politics, all of them clamoring to get on board the Second Amendment band wagon without having to do much about the notion that a man or woman can strap it on, let it show, and thereby make the quiet statement that you've got it – that cold blue steel or polished stainless hog leg – and you will use it.
The code of the west.
Some people consider it the sizzle on the steak of freedom, and Texas is only one of a select few states – 6 in number – that, unlike such out west bastions of liberty as Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, won't have any form of it, this thing of carrying a pistol openly.
To a man, it turns out, GOP candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General – all have the same bright idea, a go-along-to-get-along deal as Democratic as any New Deal.
Tell the people, the God-fearing, ever-loving, tax-paying, hard-working people, that if they get a concealed carry handgun license, they will have the same privilege to openly carry a firearm, in certain limited circumstances, as they do to carry a concealed firearm.
You buy it, prove you deserve it because of your clean criminal record, that you've demonstrated a lack of mental pathology in your past behavior, that you have paid a license fee, taken a test, cheerfully submitted to training by an instructor certified by the state police.
Such a deal. Same license. Same deal. Same same.
One problem raises its ugly head, and the conservative men of good government all know it, going in. Open carry by concealed carry licensees is an idea that has received short shrift in every session of the legislature since Jerry Patterson authored the current concealed carry handgun license law – way back in the early nineties.
Someone calmly, casually bats it down before it gets off the place-kicker's toe and starts its meteoric climb for the crossbar of the goal post – every time.
Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, chairman of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, blocked the measure from a vote in the most recent Legislature because, he said, the 2013 bill did not have support from leadership or members of the House and Senate during the session.
He added that he was not alone. "I'm not a big fan," Pickett said. "But I didn't stop it. If there would have been support from the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker, it would have been signed into law."
And that's why Mr. Patterson made his historic move – drew that line in the sand – at the Alamo on Saturday, October 19.
As Texas Land Commissioner, he has charge of the upkeep and maintenance of the Shrine, and he made the highly symbolic use of its graceful old plaza available for the use of the Come and Take It movement. For many years previously, the Daughters of the Texas Revolution have limited the use of the Shrine of the Alamo to certain non-political events, such as an annual meeting of the Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. and A.M., to commemorate the siege and martyrdom of their brethren who were doomed by their bid for freedom from tyranny.
Patterson allowed the rally to take place, the first of its type in the recent memory of men and women living in the Alamo City.
He read from the Texas Declaration of Independence, a pugnacious document voted out by the Texians at Washington-on-the-Brazos so long ago. He reminded the hundreds of rifle-toting men and women that chief among the many complaints of the Texians was the fact that the government of Mexico had sent its dragoons to take their cannon, their muskets and pistols.
In conversation following his public remarks, Mr. Patterson reminded his listeners that since the passage of the Concealed Carry Handgun License law, cities and counties have passed certain “unconstitutional ordinances” requiring peace officers to arrest those who go armed, to confiscate their weapons pending investigation and trial.
“SAPD (San Antonio Police Department) is operating under an ordinance that is unlawful and unconstitutional. That needs to be changed.” he concluded.
The conflict today is as plain as that of March, 1836; either the bad folks know you've got it, and you will use it, or they don't.
Posted by The Legendary at 7:32 AM
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
He talked to a promoter who nearly fell off the floor,
he said, Hold on, let me think for a minute, son.
Then he said, We just put some bleachers out here in the sun
and have it on Highway 61... - Bob Dylan, ca. 1965
Belton, Bell County, Texas – When it comes to look-see pidgin, State v. Grisham, a Class B misdemeanor prosecution for interfering with an official doing his appointed duty, is el rancho de luxe stuff, academy award quality, a fancy French film festival Palm D'or property of an inspired nature.
|Marine, Armored veteran at recent Open Carry Event |
organized by M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham
This thing has the feel and smell of a finely tuned psy-op plastered all over it, something a golf-playing, whiskey-drinking, cigar-chewing group of Generals and Admirals would cook up to keep their men on their toes and the Constitutional republic in tune. As Lord Buckley would have said, “Rompa-de-bompa-de-bomp, ching-ching...Hurray for Slugwell!”
Someone does not wish for you, the average man or woman, a citizen otherwise qualified, to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment and the Texas Constitution. At least, they do not in any significant rough and ready, quick and dirty, chips are down, balloon is up – fashion - as We The People know it.
That someone is in most cases operating behind a badge of one sort or the other, a civil officer who is working for a living, meeting the man, making the payments – just doing his or her job. To back his play, he's got his figures, all neatly compiled by the FBI.
The figures are grim, the daily accounts of mayhem and murder committed by some berserk bearer of the last nine yards of hell belching smoke and fire from the muzzle of a deadly firearm in school yards, shopping malls, city streets, homes, offices, courtrooms...
The resulting conflict has become one of the defining and signatory hassles of the period defined roughly between the BATFE raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Elk, Texas, and the present day. Itcoincides pretty much with Uncle Sam's adventures in the mideastmaking sure client states such as Iraq continue to cooperate byaccepting the U.S. Dollar as the world's reserve currency in paymentfor crude petroleum hauled in by super tanker. (click here to read about 40 years of war on American soil)
This defines one of the most central of civil conflicts of the past couple of decades, and it has reached a boiling point in an "Auxiliary" County Court at Law before a "visiting" judge in a small Texas town near the world's largest military installation, Ft. Hood, where tens of thousands of fighting men and women will be "demobbed" over the next few years following what amounts to a twenty-year war by some peoples' reckoning - 40 years by others. Who will stay in uniform, and who will go?
Here's a clue. Numerous reports of psychological profiling exist in which there is no equivocation. Troopers and Marines are asked, point-blank, will you fire on American citizens if ordered to do so? It is something of a litmus test, thee or he, me or mine, yours or ours. According to Snopes, “Rumor has it,”
- For as long as we've been operating this web site (close to twenty years), the three most commonly and continuously circulated types of conspiracy theories have to do with claims that the President of the United States or some other federal agency is about to declare martial law, is readying mass internment facilities (i.e., concentration camps), or is preparing to use armed force against U.S. citizens.
The attacks on America on 9/11/01 came in the big middle of events and resulted in the deaths of thousands when terrorists flew fully loaded jetliners into the World Trade Center on a sunny Tuesday morning, then attacked the Pentagon and targeted another target many assumed was the White House from out of a clear, blue sky.
“Whether or not the picture was real, the emotions
it stirred up certainly were. It was because of those emotions
that the photograph began to speed from
inbox to inbox at the end of September 2001.”
- Snopes.com, “Rumor has it”
While spectacular, it was only one of thousands of similar – operations - in the sheer and utter terror of urban warfare that is carried out on the streets of a nation in which the courts have ruled repeatedly for more than a hundred years that police officers are under no legal obligation to afford any protection whatsoever to citizens under attack from anyone – for any reason.
Look it up. (click here for a legal briefing on the subject)
Hey, these people actually intend to make law in an obscure “auxiliary” county courtroom – in private – while a retired jurist from Houston named Neel D. Richardson mouths in his chambers that the defendant and his wife are a couple of “yokels,” and that he, the judge, intends to teach them a lesson in “parenting.”
What's more, what happens at the soldier fort won't stay at the soldier fort. Just ask Sitting Bull, the folks from Wounded Knee, Geronimo. The Long Knives make law, and that law sticks in 254 Texas counties, in cities and towns throughout 50 states.
The case of M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham is only one of thousands, but in it, the Sergeant chose to fight against a nameless and implacable foe, namely, thieves who attacked elderly members of his family by stealing anhydrous ammonia fertilizer from tanks temporarily stored on row crop land which members of his extended family own near the Temple, Texas, airport and an adjacent industrial park last March 16.
It wasn't his first go-round. He and another guy gave thieves a merry run for the money more than a year previous when faced with the same situation, a high speed auto chase in which he, Grisham, bore a rifle in anger, hoping against hope he would catch the thieves who pilfer anhydrous from his family's farms prior to spring planting, using the substance for “cooking” the deadly illicit methamphetamine known as “crank,” or “crystal.”
That's the stuff that makes peoples' teeth fall out in a few years and leaves them looking like zombies from a horror movie while they walk around looking for something to steal to support their habit.
His next stop, the Council chambers at City Hall, saw his entreaty falling on deaf ears when he pleaded with officials to repeal, or at least nullify unconstitutional local strictures against carrying firearms inside the city limits. The mayor told him it wasn't their place to do so, that public safety and common sense called for keeping the laws in place, despite constitutional guarantees of any God-given right of self defense – or the like. Tut tut.
But the notion that fighting men and women should not be allowed to keep and bear arms – admittedly, the implements of war – is fuzzy-visioned and soft-headed when you stop and realize that their enemy is on every corner, selling gasoline, cigarettes, beer, milk, bread, chips, dips, sodas and sandwiches.
He knows what they they drive, has their credit and debit card numbers on tape, video of their license plates, their faces, their smiles and frowns, and a pretty good idea of when they come and go from home to work, thence to hearth, home, kith, kin and kinder. Surely, even the most obtuse social observers know this; the least wide awake among us are able to perceive that which is on the face of this ridiculous dispute.
It is carried out on a daily basis on the streets and avenues, alleys and corners of this nation, on our own soil, and not some desert republic.
According to a leading think tank based at the University of Maryland, terror has never been more rampant, with 5,100 attacks through June of this year, a rise of 69 percent in 2012 over the previous year, and a jump of 81 percent more fatalities. CNN trumpeted the figures in an exclusive report released earlier this week.
Sgt. Grisham took his son on a 10-mile hike. He armed himself with an AR-15 and a ..45 cal. semiautomatic pistol, for which he holds a concealed carry handgun license.
When a police officer named Steve Ermis arrived, alerted by a frightened social services provider who safeguards the rights of children for an advocacy service, he demanded that he give him his weapon immediately. Ermis is a beefy harness bull with 27 years in the bag on the Temple force, and a bunch more previously.
|Governor Rick Perry|
A Dashcam caught what happened next, and the public is not allowed to see it. Officer Steve Ermis jammed the muzzle of his pistol into the back of Grisham's neck, bent him over the hood of a police car, slid the muzzle around to jab it into his ribs, unsnapped the sling of his rifle, and stomped on his foot. Then he took the pistol, all the while saying he needed to check his qualifications to have such a weapon. He ignored the fact that Grisham volunteered to show him his concealed carry handgun license, a document which the state “shall issue” when an applicant has proven freedom from mental defects, a felony record, a background as a sex criminal, and pending indictments.
One thing the video makes very clear. Neither man showed any apparent interest in lowering the constantly escalating conflict to a dull roar. They stoked it up and let it rip.
None of the records of this case are available to the public. County Attorney Jim Nichols says any time a case is open and pending, its records are sealed - in this case, he told an investigator, by the judge's order.
However, the County Attorney, the custodian of those records, when handed a written request for the court order sealing them, said she has no such order on file.
Court officials have similarly excluded the public from the courtroom.
Acting on a public information act request from a staff writer of the local daily newspaper, officials revealed the veracity of the defense team's allegation that the venire was “stacked” with public officials and their relatives, men and women who serve as police officers, jailers, and clerks, made up more than half the venire of 40 summoned, from which attorneys picked a jury of six. When they jury returned the less than unanimous verdict and the Court polled them, the public was again excluded, the matter kept under official censorship in the interest of “ethical” rules. Because of the mistrial, a change of venue will be sought by Blue Rannefeld, lawyer for the defense.
|Black powder revolver arrest of "Tom Jefferson"|
at the Texas State Capitol, Austin, Oct. 26
In the meantime, a rally and protest in the forecourt of the Shrine of the Alamo extolled the constitutional aspect of the right to keep and bear arms; numerous citizens have been arrested for carrying loaded black powder revolvers on the grounds of the State Capitol at Austin, and a rally on Saturday, December 14 at the front lawn of the Texas Department of Public Safety headquarters building on North Lamar Boulevard is planned for those who will carry black powder revolvers to protest for their constitutional rights to self defense under arms.
Deadly weapons of that type are not classified by state law as “firearms.”
Posted by The Legendary at 7:28 AM
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Conroe – Though she's not admitting she did anything wrong, 258th District Judge Elizabeth E. Coker walked away from her bench of 14 years after an investigation made it clear she had been influencing juries and prosecutors during trials.
According to knowledgeable observers, Judge Coker had been texting to jurors and members of the District Attorney's staff, sharing tidbits about procedure, case law, and suggested questions to ask during criminal trials. Communications of that type between judges and juries, prosecutors and defense counsel are ethically improper.
The judge explained that she walked away to avoid the expense and botheration of a lengthy disciplinary proceeding against her.
"The Judicial Commission made no finding or determinations of fact in my voluntary resignation, and I have not admitted guilt, fault or liability in my voluntary resignation. While I could have fought these allegations, it would have involved significant time, significant expense, and disruption to everyone involved. I did not feel that was in the best interests of the taxpayers, our court system, my family or myself," Coker stated. "I love this judicial district. The people deserve a judge that is fully focused on carrying out their duties, which would have been impossible for me to do in this situation."
In a recent issue of “Line Notes,” a publication of the Baylor Alumni Association, Judge Coker acknowledged that it is her life long dream to be a jurist.
She gushed in an article by Daniel Houston, “After Sunday dinner after church, instead of conversing with the women, I would go into the living room and talk with my dad and uncle who were both Baylor grads – and my grandfather about their cases and the law. I cannot think of a time in my life that I did not want to be a lawyer...”
The 258th Judicial District comprises Polk, Montgomery, and San Jacinto Counties.
She is the past president of the Alumni Association for 2012-13, a Baylor Law grad, and a third generation Texas jurist.
Posted by The Legendary at 5:59 PM
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Austin – Witnesses say Department of Public Safety Troopers arrested two unidentified men who were carrying holstered black powder revolvers on the steps of the State Capitol during the Texas Book Fair.
According to Victoria Montgomery, a spokeswoman for Open Carry Texas, no one else in the crowd was armed. She did not know for what charge troopers placed them in handcuffs.
News outlets said they received no return message from DPS when they made inquiries.
Justin DeLosh, III, gained release on a personal recognizance bond on the charge of criminal trespass. Tom Jefferson raised the bondsman's fee on a $5,000 bail for criminal trespass with a deadly weapon. Authorities released both within hours.
M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham may be seen here addressing the crowd about the protest rally and what occurred.
Posted by The Legendary at 4:47 PM
Friday, October 25, 2013
Sergeant complains to judicial commission;
Lawyer squeals to State Bar about judge
matter what's going on in the far-flung outposts of the Empire, come
March, someone at “the house” actually cares what is happening on
“the place” - if the middles get run, seed bed is laid out, rows
laid off, fertilizer applied and covered with moist soil. Easter time
is on its way, and it won't be long until it's time to plant grain
sorghum. Cotton follows later, but not much later.
Lawyer squeals to State Bar about judge
By The Legendary
Belton – Auxiliary Court Room for Rent – reasonable rate – to the right visiting jurist with proper credentials, willing to exclude public, conceal exhibits, verbally abuse the defendant, his wife, and his family – all in the name of “ethics.”
M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham wasn't on a random stroll when officers of the Temple Police Department arrested him for going armed on March 16; they didn't apologize when they confiscated a custom-built AR-15 M4 carbine and a Kimber .45 cal. concealment model pistol.
Oh, it was described as a Boy Scout hike of 10 miles so his son Chris, Jr., could get credit for a merit badge. True story.
But there's a lot more to this story.
Sgt. Grisham recalls, “Before I went to Afghanistan, I and another guy went on a high speed chase, going after anhydrous thieves. I had a rifle...,” and then he breaks into that manic war fighter's laugh, the kind any major dude with hard stripes will give, anywhere from a slight chuckle to a hyena's howl. James Jones worked hard to describe it in From Here to Eternity after he tagged the First Shirt with it in his story about a rifle company between wars on the sunny island of Oahu, just waiting for the Japanese to attack, though they didn't know it. The laugh speaks of the firefight, the ambush, night attack, crossfire, minefield, and booby trap.
|M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham|
A very undesirable element waits for those times, the times when big white nurse tanks of anhydrous ammonia are spotted around the country in dark fields, not far away from houses where older folks who hit the hay early still live on the land while younger farmers who live elsewhere handle their crops on a custom basis.
When the tattoo faces come to call with flashlights and propane tanks, the old folks cringe. Not only do they know to the penny what that anhydrous costs them; they are scared.
They should be.
Consider what happened to a Bellmead Animal Control Officer one frosty March morning a few years ago when he arrived at the dog pound to feed the stray hounds.
Two sack-chasing methamphetamine cooks were on a mission to retrieve a 50-pound bottle of anhydrous, and they ducked down in the ditch when they saw him coming. When the man went inside the pound, they approached in stealth, and one of them, an old boy with two tear drops tattooed beside his eye - a man who acknowledged during the sentencing phase of his trial for murder that he's already killed twice on a contract basis while pulling a jolt inside the penitentiary - plugged him in the back. Then he flipped the man over and shot him in the dead center of his chest, just to finish him off.
So Sgt. Grisham and his son carried the shooting irons along on their patrol out past the place where a lot of his kin folks live on the land – prime stuff near the airport with soil like coffee grounds, level and always draining well, adjacent to industrial campuses and aviation complexes under the control of a local government economic development authority.
They were men on a mission, as it were. Top Kick and number one son, on foot patrol, but riding for the brand, nevertheless. S'posed to.
“They've given me a lot of chances to make this go away,” said Sgt. Grisham last week, when a 4-man, 2-woman jury could not reach agreement on a verdict, and his jury trial for interfering with a public official in the performance of his duty ended in a mistrial.
In Afghanistan, the cash crop is opium, and the Taliban comes to call with AK-47 rifles at the ready, collecting taxes for the Mullah in the name of Allah. Sgt. Grisham should know. He and his men operate in the field of military intelligence, classifying, enumerating, correlating names, dates, faces, accidents, incidents, happenings and reports. But that's another story.
In this story, his jury was chosen in the absence of family and friends who could have watched and listened from the gallery to learn what questions are important to prosecutors when they choose a jury of six qualified, registered voters who are willing to sit still for a week and judge their fellow man for an accusation of a Class B Misdemeanor violation.
Visiting Judge Neel Richardson excluded family and friends during jury selection.
He's allowed to do that.
He's from Harris County, a judicial retiree who must work a certain number of hearings and trials in order to qualify for his full pension from the State of Texas after his retirement. Many judges enjoy the part time work and continue to work for many years past that auspicious occasion.
He had the attorneys and bailiffs position the extra large television screen where folks could not see how Officer Steve Ermis jammed the muzzle of his sidearm into the back of the Sergeant's head, stomped on his foot and jackknifed his torso over the hood of a police car before he jabbed him in the ribs with the pistol and unsnapped the rifle from its sling.
He testified he needed to get control of him so he could determine if he's qualified - allowed to have a gun - and Grisham hollering all along that he has a concealed carry handgun license in his bill fold. To qualify for that, you can't have a felony record, a history of mental illness, sex offenses, stalking or other creepy stuff. Grisham still has his concealed carry permit, but he doesn't have his Kimber pistol. The cops are hanging on to that item in exactly the same way they are keeping his rifle safely under lock and key.
Three developments. The defense lawyer, Blue Rannefeld of Cowtown, has made a motion for a change of venue to another town, though Judge Richardson will follow him there, along with court security people, the prosecutors and the court reporter. Rannefeld is “looking into” filing a grievance with the State Bar of Texas, something that can result in disbarment and the loss of a license to practice law if convicted. Visiting County Court at Law Judges must be licensed to practice law in the State of Texas, admitted to the bar by The State Bar of Texas. Kind of like losing a driver's license, except you can't go to AA and get a permit to drive to work. Can't collect that pension without that law license. Got to be some kind of big deal.
Grisham has filed a complaint with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct because the judge told attorneys in an in camera conference that he, Grisham, and Mrs. Grisham are a “couple of yokels” and that he's going to “teach them something about parenting.”
Your correspondent would have joined him, but one must have the Cause Number on the complaint in order to fill out the form properly. That little doo-dad costs $5 if you have the Bell County Clerk's office look it up for you.
How else would one get it? After all, the ladies of the clerk's office are the ones who assign the numbers, now, aren't they?
There are other elements of Sgt. Grisham's complaint, including not allowing the defense to enter some allegedly exculpatory items into evidence and the rumored exclusion of certain witnesses, several refractory sessions in chambers as the attorneys attempted to come to an agreement on the jury instructions, and an outright refusal to help jurors when they called for instruction, trying to understand the basic nature of the charge and what must be proven to find innocence or guilt. Namely, the definition of criminally negligent behavior. This is not to mention his outright refusal to grant a defense motion for a change of venue in the first place – wouldn't even talk about it – and a total disregard for the merits of the case for his recusal vis a vis his allegedly prejudicial behavior.
Penalties include anything from a private admonishment or reprimand, a public version of the same, or outright removal from the bench if the commission is able to pinpoint prejudicial behavior on the part of the judge.
One is reminded of General Sam Houston's admonishment of his troops' exuberant behavior at the Battle of San Jacinto. They continued to slaughter Mexican dragoons, even though the enemy had assumed a position on their knees, trying to surrender, screaming “Me no Alamo; me no Goliad.”
That's murder, the General kept shouting at them, riding back and forth along the skirmish line on his horse. That's a war crime. What in the world is wrong with y'all?
Finally, he gave up and shouted, “Gentlemen, I admire your enthusiasm, but I deplore your manners.”
And it's all about getting arrested for doing something that's not really illegal, namely, walking down the road with a loaded rifle or shotgun, taking a look over the fields.
Posted by The Legendary at 10:51 PM
Thursday, October 24, 2013
The Eyes of the Parrot - Los Ojos de CotorraVice President Joe Biden gushed about certain strides made in isolating genetic markers that predict such dread mental illnesses as bipolar disorder. He and HHS Director Kathleen Sebelius appeared at a commemorative ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library to mark the 50th anniversary of JFK's signing the Community Mental Health Center Act...
Posted by The Legendary at 10:13 PM
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
|Larry Keilberg (L) of SelfDefenseFund.com helps arrange Grishams for TV interview|
Battle royal shaping up in Bell County court
Ft. Worth, TX - Larry Keilberg, the national director of SelfDefenseFund.com out of Ft. Worth, advertises “complete peace of mind” when it comes to defending one self with the gun.
Cowtown, where the west begins, is as appropriate a place as any to buy one's pistolero insurance, and the “junkyard dog lawyers” from the self defense fund have it going on, according to the organization's website.
For an annual fee of $150.00, or the monthly mordida of $12.50, one is covered by the legal protection of Mr. Keilberg's stable of attorneys in any “state, territory, national park or tribal land,” insured against prosecution for self defense through the firearm if under attack by any person or animal, assured funding for legal representation, bail bond, or private investigator until either charges are dropped, an acquittal is reached, or a “no bill” of indictment is returned from a Grand Jury.
He proudly proclaims up to $1 million in coverage of legal fees and incidental trial expenses if necessary - “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Spectators at the trial of M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham in Bell County were treated to the spectacle of Mr. Keilberg, a portly gentleman who brushes his silver mane straight back from his brow, sitting at a desk in the well of Auxiliary Courtroom 1 in the sleek, modern Bell County Justice Center as prosecutors presented evidence and testimony against his client during the two days of the case in chief.
He was signed on as a member of the defense team, as the audio-visual technical assistant to the defense counsel, his lead attorney, Blue Rannefeld, who represented Sgt. Grisham in a mistrial in this sensational case that stems from a March 16 arrest for walking down a rural road in Temple, Texas, with his son while armed with an AR-15 assault rifle and a Kimber .45 semiautomatic pisto,l for which he has a concealed carry handgun license.
With all the attendant flair of that great operatic factotum, Figaro, Mr. Keilberg shepherded his clients through this process of high drama, and faces a re-match on November 16, when visiting judge Neel Richardson, a retired jurist from Harris County, has set a re-trial. Mr. Rannefeld has said he will seek a change of venue in a location as yet undetermined.
“Do you know how rare it is to see a judge get faced down in his own courtroom?” asked Mr. Keilberg. “We have established the fact by the court record that he (Judge Richardson) was helping the prosecution.”
He made a veiled reference to another jurist whom the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct recently removed from the bench for just such an offense.
One is reminded of his performance as the overly concerned volunteer who eagerly approached spectators outside the courtroom prior to jury selection to caution them against doing anything to prejudice the venire through inappropriate remarks or inadvertent voicing of opinion.
“You'd better shut your mouth,” he said. “You could wind up in jail for talking.”
Naturally, unless a member of the panel is approached overtly, there is no intent, and besides, spectators are under no obligation to sequester jurors or exclude witnesses. That is the role of the Court, the reason for jury assembly rooms.
Judge Richardson introduced a high degree of suspense by excluding spectators and press from the return of the jury's verdict after two days of deliberations in which they sought legal instruction seven times, most of it regarding the legal definition of criminal negligence as it applied to the facts of the case of Sgt. Grisham. He was accused of interfering with the performance of Officer Steve Ermis as he sought to disarm him and place him under arrest because of his carrying his loaded assault weapon, an act that is legal is this state.
One may hear a lengthy interview he gave DontComply.com, an advocacy group that favors open carry of firearms.
In it, he repeats his original sentiment that he is not speaking for his employers, corrections officials who employ him at a local penitentiary. He is speaking on his own behalf, he repeatedly states for the record.
One may only be gratified that he is giving The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division, such a considerate break in this matter of a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by a $2,000 fine and/or a year in a county jail, or both.
|L.J. Coterrill, prison guard, erstwhile juror|
Prior to his selection as a juror, he quizzed reporters and spectators alike about their opinions in the matter, receiving a negative response from each person, all of whom told him it is not their place to instruct him about the facts of the case. Prosecutors would handle that, he was told.
Had anyone responded, they would naturally have been placed in custody for contempt of court.
Immediately following the verdict, he told members of the press corps that he was one of five jurors who held out for a verdict of acquittal. As of the weekend, he had changed his tune, giving interviews that held he was one of those who changed his vote to guilty following the judge's instruction regarding self defense and the legal definition of criminal negligence.
High voltage. Let soldiers and townspeople ululate. Sound the bar sinister.
- The Legendary
Posted by The Legendary at 2:28 AM
Monday, October 21, 2013
|M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham placed under arrest by Officer Steve Ermis|
Belton – In a complete reversal of what officials told the public following the sensational mistrial of M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham for the misdemeanor offense of interfering with a public official, Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols set the record straight in a courthouse interview with a citizen who wanted to confirm the truth.
Officials there required the man to file a written request for information to confirm the previously published date and venue of the trial following a 4-day mistrial that included two full days of jury deliberation which resulted in a hopeless jury deadlock.
But, according to what Mr. Nichols said, a juror named L.J. Cotterill misinformed the public when he said in a post-trial interview that five held out for acquittal, while only one juror voted to convict. Mr. Cotterill could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Cotterill said the panel could not agree on how to apply the legal definition of criminal negligence to the evidence and testimony presented in the case which prosecutors sought to prove regarding allegations that M/Sgt. C.J. Grisham interfered with Temple Police Officer Steve Ermis when he sought to disarm him during an arrest that took place on March 16.
He and his son were walking along a rural road near farm property members of his extended family own near the Temple airport after a woman phoned the police to report she was alarmed by the “odd” appearance of a man carrying a long black rifle in public.
A Dashcam video made by the equipment in Officer Ermis' patrol car clearly showed him pointing the muzzle of his semiautomatic pistol into the back of Sgt. Grisham's neck, grasping his rifle by the sling, and bending him over the hood of the police car before he jabbed the muzzle into his ribs and confiscated the weapon.
Ermis testified that Grisham waved his hands rather than placing them behind his back as ordered, and his voluble remarks questioning what law did he break constituted interference with a public official while in the performance of his appointed duties.
There is no law against carrying a loaded rifle or shotgun in public in Texas.
According to Mr. Gates, “He (Nichols) said, 'We talked to the jury after the trial, and it was 5 guilty and one not guilty.'”
Mr. Nichols confirmed that C.J. Grisham will be retried on November 18.
Reached for comment, Sgt. Grisham said, “At one point, it was 4 to 2 in my favor. Then the judge told them that it not a case of self defense, or that they could not consider self defense as a factor. So they completely split and went to 4 to convict...It was such a big swing that we thought it was a mistake.”
Once the defense team and he arrived for a guest speaker appearance in San Antonio for the “Line in the Sand” rally at the Alamo, they got a new perspective when they learned something brand new, at least to them.
“We didn't know until Saturday that it was five to convict and one to acquit.”
“After he (visiting Judge Neel Richardson) declared a mistrial, he said 'I'm looking at mid-November,' and they set the new trial for then.”
Reached for comment, defense attorney Blue Rannefeld said any pleadings or motions filed in the interim may affect the ultimate schedule of the new trial.
He intends to file a motion for a change of venue, but is not sure what new location the administrative judge for the area will select. Costs for the new trial will be borne by the taxpayers of Bell County. If the County Attorney's office chooses to drop the case at any time during the next two years, prosecutors could subsequently re-file the case before the statute of limitations expires in the year 2015.
Posted by The Legendary at 4:39 PM
Washington, D.C. - Ask any Masai warrior from l'Cote D'ivoir, and he will tell you that a shauri is something which you either did or did not cause, but with which you must deal – or else.
This seeming shibboleth paled when contrasted with the President's ready answer to newsmen that there is “no excuse” as to why the computer screens freeze and the system just will not accommodate the needs of people who clamor to sign up for the health care benefits law the GOP so opposes.
AP reporters supplied their analysis by saying, “But he said, 'it's time for folks to stop rooting for its failure.'
“In an ironic twist, the problems with the health care rollout were overshadowed at first by Republican efforts to delay or defund the law in exchange for reopening the government during the 16-day shutdown. The bill that eventually reopened the government included no substantive changes to the health care law.
“With the shutdown over, GOP lawmakers have been ramping up their criticism of the health care law's troubles...”
Posted by The Legendary at 1:51 PM
Working for open carry of firearms in Texas
Posted by The Legendary at 2:10 AM
Sunday, October 20, 2013
One way out - and no door, front or back, in sight
The Alamo, Misión San Antonio de Bexar, Texas – It is a matter of record that Gen. Sam Houston refused to come to the aid of Col. Wm. B. Travis, besieged at this impromptu garrison for 13 days in spring of 1836.
What is little known is the true reason for the debacle that martyred those immortal souls who lost their lives in that conflict.
They had no Constitution!
At Washington-on-the-Brazos, Koloneh knew that if he did march there, he would thereby be engaged in an act of piracy as blatant as that of Travis' disobedient reactions to his orders, and Sharp Knife, from his redoubt at Washington City so far distant, would have been displeased, to say the least.
The Raven wasn't having it.
He told his brothers in arms to vote out a Constitution for the new Republic – or else he would continue to sit tight there on the Brazos and drink his corn for all day and all night. The General knew his mission well.
Quite simply, it was to expand the western border of the United States of America far past its then-present terminus at the Sabine River, thence through the network of the drainages of the western rivers to the northwest territories of the purchase of Louisiana.
He had told Travis to stunt, run and gun, stay ahead of the enemy, to salvage what he could in the way of ball, powder, shot, shell and cannon, fire the buildings, destroy the fortifications at the Alamo, and head for Goliad, or Gonzales - or points further east.
It would have been a rude thing to do, to burn the church where people went for prayer, for communion, novenas, christenings, weddings, wakes and funerals, where the Franciscans did their business to Baptize, christen, marry, bury, preach and teach.
An act of guerilla provocation, designed to enrage an already irritated Enemy – to lure him to the swamps of Anahuac, that certain place in space chosen by The Raven for his ambush.
Koloneh was no pirate; he was a Scout, and he had always scouted for the Sharp Knife, Andrew Jackson, by the Constitutional authority of the Army of the United States – and no one else. His strategy was to fight the enemy on ground of his own choosing, and not in the court of a church on the river named for the patron saint of those who have lost at love, or lost in matters less tangible, lost possessions as cherished as their right minds, their birth rights - or their immortal souls.
The Hapsburg regime, from its far-flung outpost at Mexico City – a last vestige of the dying Holy Roman Empire - had directed the troops to confiscate all weapons of war, to place the Texians at the mercy of their enemies, to clap them in irons and place them in custody at the whim of any sword-toting policeman on a mission.
The cassus belli was that of God-given rights, not of privilege bestowed by the authority of man, but of that sublime level of humanity endowed by the Almighty.
When the end came for the besieged, they were not shot, executed in a soldierly fashion. A commander at war – even today - may do as he pleases with pirates. Santa Ana had his dragoons club them to death, to bludgeon them with rifle butts and stab them with bayonets before they burned their corpses in the interest of sanitation. The number of those merely stunned and not yet dead has gone unrecorded, but scuttlebutt around the cauldron has it there are banshees who scream in the moonlight of certain nights, cry out for...Enough!
Paradoxically, Houston's instructions were accomplished, after all. It's just that his opposite number, the General Santa Ana de Lopez unwittingly carried out his orders for him. He set fire to el Alamo, Missión San Antonio de Bexar, Texas, in the interests of sanitation.
PATRIOTS ON PATROL – PISSING OFF POLICE
And now, on the auspicious date of October 19, 2013, the Texians chose once again to bear arms in defiance of appointed mortal authority, the chief of police of this fabulous and vibrant city on the river named for the patron of those who have lost something, Santo Antonio. He is an appointed official who has instructed his dragoons to threaten incarceration and confiscation of firearms borne in self defense by patriots on patrol, hell bent on the manly mission of pissing off police.
This time, there is a difference. A huge difference.
These chaps - and no inconsiderable number of their ladies - many of them native born, others of whom have arrived as quickly as they could by voting with their feet and joining the Texians, body and soul, have stepped across the line in the sand, made themselves known as Constitutionalists, strutted into the arena of history like proud roosters on parade in the dooryard of the mission.
They have not one, but two Constitutions – United States and Texas – that in unison proclaim them endowed by their Creator with the perfect right to bear arms, locked and loaded, in the defense of their persons, their properties, their papers, and those whom they love and cherish.
They have spoken; hear them roar.
I have spoken.
I am sincere.
So mote it be.
Jim Parks, WAR correspondent on Ghost Patrol, founding member -
The Texas Long-Haired Rifle Association, organized at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1980
Knock that door. Come on and ramble along, y'all. We here.
Posted by The Legendary at 12:08 PM