I probably need to supplement, give a little by way of context to my first post, 54 Days in Prison Planet (Background to December 9, 2007-February 2, 2008). What do you think of Alex Jones’ (and others) who comment that the world is becoming one gigantic prison? I have to admit, as recently as last October, when I previewed Jones’ latest DVD “Endgame”, I thought his theory was a bit over the top and possibly delusional. But that was before I was arrested in Los Angeles for Contempt of Court after being denied entry into Mexico. The charge of “contempt of court” was leveled against me by the “Honorable Janis Graham Jack”, a U.S. District Judge sitting in Corpus Christi, in and for the Southern District of Texas. Here’s how it happened: Judge Jack sent me an e-mail on Thursday, July 19, 2007, ordering me to appear in Court on Monday, July 23, 2007, in a case over which she herself had ruled that she had no jurisdiction on June 11, 2007. She did not format her e-mail as a summons or subpoena, nor did she have it served on me by Marshals, either in cyberspace or the real world, but by her own courtroom deputy Sondra. I demurred, and refused to appear (I sent her an e-mail back to that effect). I refused to appear because (a) Judge Jack ruled she had no jurisdiction and closed the case as finally as any Federal case could ever be closed, (b) no appeal nor motion for reconsideration could have been taken nor were any such attempts to take one made from her dismissal by me or the plaintiff in the case (my former attorney, a Corpus Christi resident named David A. Sibley), (c) Federal Courts are courts of limited jurisdiction to begin with, and this Federal Court clearly had none of its limited jurisdiction left, (d) without the procedural formality of a summons or subpoena, the case could not be reopened, and (e) there’s normally no duty to appear physically in a civil case anyhow—if you fail to appear in civil case over which a judge has plenary (full, undisputed) jurisdiction, the Judge can enter a default judgment against you, and then the Plaintiff can try to collect the judgment, but in a closed case dismissed for want of jurisdiction? When I failed to appear on July 23, 2007, Judge Jack then used the procedural device common in (active, living) civil cases known as an “Order to Show Cause” which she manufactured out of the whole cloth of her insistence on post-dismissal jurisdiction and ordered me to appear again, this time on September 7, 2007. I continued to object formally to her jurisdiction and now even to her conduct in this case, and still refused to appear for all of the above reasons. On September 10, 2007, Judge Jack issued a warrant for my arrest. I happened to be in Montana at the time and decided to visit some friends in Canada (Calgary, Alberta, and Vancouver, British Columbia) while I attempted to sort things out with Judge Jack, the Fifth Circuit, and others. On December 8, 2007, I was traveling from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Mexico City on Mexicana Airlines Flight 981. When I arrived in Mexico City, I was denied entry into the Country (I own property in Mexico, wrote my doctoral dissertation in Anthropology on Mexican archaeology, and have spent much of my life in Mexico). After a night in the Mexico City airport with others refused landing in Mexico, mostly Central Americans in transit, I was forced on December 9, 2007, to take Mexicana flight 900 to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, I was arrested by U.S. Marshals on (what I considered and still do consider an utterly and completely illegal) arrest warrant for “Contempt of Court” issued in Corpus Christi, but that background is a separate story.
I was taken first to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center, a Federal “holding facility” for new arrestees and defendant’s awaiting or during trial, close to the U.S. Courthouse at 312 North Spring Street, where I used to work as a judicial (extern) clerk in the chambers of the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A Magistrate in Los Angeles said she had never seen anything like the arrest warrant for me. A Federal Public Defender pointed out that there was no affidavit in support of the arrest warrant. The government’s lawyer pointed out that there was no actual, formal, charge of criminal conduct against me (no complaint, no information, no indictment), so that I could not possibly plead guilty or not guilty (which indeed I was never asked to do anywhere). But, the Magistrate Judge denied my application for bail and ordered me detained on the grounds that “a Federal Judge in Texas is really mad at you, and I have to take that into consideration.”