Well, yesterday (May 8, 2008) was an interesting day, to put it mildly. I got up in Tarpon Springs at 5:52 a.m. to go to Arcadia in DeSoto County, Florida for the first time since February 20, the day after Nancy was arrested on February 19, 2008, the first day I met her. This time Nancy was in chains and looked a lot thinner than she had before, but really pretty good considering.
All the indicia of “why we fight” were there. The place buzzed with self-important state (prosecuting) lawyers who looked like cops. The real cops (Court Security Officers/Bailiffs) were there looking like cartoon characters from some bad crime movie. The old, high-ceiling courtroom’s only decorations were pictures of about five judges, none more historic than the 1920s-30s I don’t think.
The current lady Judge (Diana Moreland) was there effectively acting her part as a ritual upholder of the (at least supposed and superficial) dignity of her office and the court—furiously scribbling notes while Nancy’s ignoramus Probation officer was on the witness stand, then kindly gazing with what I can only assumed as feigned sorrow and sympathy for Nancy, and not taking ANY notes at all.
Worst of all, Nancy Jo Grant was there in her prison black-and-white stripes with leg shackles on—and not a single member of her family or DeSoto County circle there in the Courtroom with her. As far as I could tell, Bill Trudelle, his beautiful and charming wife Natalie, and my “nearest kin” in Florida, Pat Arlotta and I were the only supporters or friends Nancy had in the courtroom that Thursday. Nancy herself bemoaned that many of the relevant people were simply not present in court, and could offer no testimony which should have been offered.
Well, that SHOULD have been the worst of all. The actual worst of all (for me at least) was that Nancy and her lawyer and even the probation officer spent an inordinate amount of time talking about me, which was close to the last thing I expected, even less likely than a complete acquittal—I had at least imagined a complete acquittal—I never imagined that, by my presence there, I was going to be “Exhibit A”—i.e., “BullsEye Target” to deflect attention away from Nancy). Anyhow, there were just too many references to “a formal Federal prosecutor” who “lived in Canada” and “had his office in Texas” but was “here in the courtroom right now” for me to feel very comfortable. Talk about a misguided defense strategy!
This was definitely close to the last thing I had expected in the world on May 8, 2008, I had expected just to be there in the audience to show my support, and to see Nancy, and although the hearing started fairly promptly at 9:00-9:15, I left after the first two hour break because I saw no advantage Nancy could possibly derive from calling in her favor a man accused by Texas Deputy Attorney General James Carlton Todd [acting on behalf of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, one of the worst of the worst anywhere in the U.S.] of being one of the most dangerous “paper” terrorists in North America (in several State court-pleadings/motions in 05-973-C395 in Williamson County, Texas).
I realize that James Carlton Todd also accused me of being a cowardly terrorist and I suppose walking out of the hearing rather than being called as an impromptu witness was rather cowardly of me, but sometimes, as I explained to Nancy when I gave her a hug and a kiss and told her I wouldn’t be sticking around for the conclusion of the hearing, sometimes Discretion is the better part of Valor.
[(Note: James Carlton Todd, in 2005, called me a “cowardly” terrorist because I was, at that time, preparing my own pleadings and motions “and wreaking his reign of terror to dismantle the Texas Family Law System” while “hiding behind” my licensed counsel, Francis Wayne Williams Montenegro and Valorie Wells Davenport, both of whom were later sanctioned and extortionately blackmailed into ceasing their basically heroic, unprecedented representation of me despite the monstrous, mountainous difficulties faced). Valorie Wells Davenport had previously run for Texas Supreme Court, in 2000, and James Carlton Todd admitted that he had voted for her…in open court. I feel that I was extraordinarily lucky to have both Francis Williams-Montenegro and Valorie Davenport in court with me. I confess that I wish they had done more, that they had had the courage to carry forward in the face of almost insurmountable odds, and that I sometimes found fault with them for what were at worst “human, all too human” weaknesses and failings. But basically, and upon several years backwards reflection, there was never a more amazing “Dream Team” put together with less money and resources than me working with Williams-Montenegro and Davenport, and I will always be eternally grateful to them and to the God of Providence who brought us all together. I apologize to them and any member of their families or firms who were offended or injured in any way by my criticisms in the past, and I retract those criticisms (they are all “moot” now, but Valorie recently told me that the comments on-line still sting). I felt that I was “alone, all all alone, alone on a wide, wide sea” without them (and sometimes even with them, because the fight against corrupt courts in Texas is so huge and uphill a fight).]
In any event, going back to Nancy Grant’s VOP proceedings on May 8, 2008, that particular hearing ended not with a bang but a whimper. Bill and Natalie Trudelle met with me and Pat later reported to us over lunch in Ellenton, Florida, on I-75 northbound just south of Bradenton, that Nancy had gotten a six months sentence for her probation violation (with full credit for every day served prior to today, including any time since or before February 19, 2008 when she was arrested for violation of probation), after which her probationary status would be restored.
In addition, according to Bill Trudelle, Judge Diana Moreland apparently amended the previous order of probation so that Nancy will now be able to apply for early release from probation, if she maintains good status. Of course, as Bill Trudelle pointed out, she should be eligible, if her family would apply to the DeSoto County Sheriff, to be given house release with an ankle monitor and bracelet, because this is her first offense, because she is utterly and absolutely non-violent, because she poses no danger to the community, etc… but nobody from her family was there at the hearing. I had spoken to her son Ben the night before and he hadn’t actually expected the hearing to go forward—“they’ll just put it off, it’s what they always do.”
So, on May 9, 2008, it is now possible to predict that Nancy will almost certainly see the light of day sometime in late July or early August at the latest, maybe even earlier. Oh yes, she was also found guilty only of two highly technical violations of probation (a single, one-time, failure to report to her P.O. and a single, one-time, failure to timely report address change to P.O.). Nancy had also been accused of violating her probation by filing cases in Federal Court, but she was found not guilty of those charges, possibly on the grounds that she had been assisted by “a former Federal prosecutor” whom she had “known for several years.” I don’t know who she could possibly have been talking about……
I really only got to know Nancy in and after her conviction in August 2007, roughly 14 years after my clerkship with the Honorable Kenneth L. Ryskamp ended in Palm Beach (my only period of paid federal employment, ever….my earlier work for the Ninth Circuit as a judicial extern clerk was unpaid because I didn’t yet have my J.D.). I had certainly heard of Nancy through her Jail-4-Judges activities before then, but I don’t think we ever even spoke on the telephone before she was convicted. And I certainly was NEVER a Federal prosecutor (or any other kind of prosecutor) EVER in my life—in fact I turned down a job with the U.S. Department of Justice Honors Program once because they wanted me to work prosecuting and deporting aliens in El Cajon, California….and I just couldn’t do it—though sometimes I regret that decision now—I could have been an expert on immigration law and population control, both of which are kind of related to my Harvard Dissertation topics of “Ethnicity and Social Organization.” But anyhow….
It is not possible to hate the stupidity of Nancy being held in ankle bracelets and chains enough. It is not possible to hate the illegal prosecution which led to her being in chains sufficiently. It is not possible to question the sanity of the system that does this sort of thing to truly harmless people enough. The State of Florida was able to gloat over putting Nancy in Jail. Nancy must be relieved to know that she’s not going to be locked up indefinitely—in fact, she’s probably served more than half her time already, given credit for time served—and so she’ll be back among us well before the Feast of the Assumption (August 15), my son’s 16th Birthday (August 23),
Labor Day, and the Autumnal Equinox…. Thanks Be to God!