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Man in legal limbo in Thurston jail

Roughed up and jailed—Using the justice system to punish eccentricity

Editorial note:  Roger Calhoon has been incarcerated in Thurston County since last summer and he is not your everyday person. One may not agree with what he believes, but he has his reasons. Twice he has been sent to Western State Hospital for evaluation, yet he remains in the County’s jail. And after eight months of imprisonment, no trial date has been scheduled.

This article concludes with a statement by Mr. Calhoun’s friend, Mr. Leonard Rusby, who provides an update and more detail.

My name is Roger-Duane Calhoon and I am in need of help from a group like  the American Civil Liberties Union. Thank you for your time in this urgent matter.

I was pulled over on the Interstate-5 here in the Thurston County area of Washington State the morning of Sunday, September 13, 2015.

120 Days & Counting

The reason they said was for speeding.  This however turned into a felony ‘attempt to elude’ charge that for me, with no prior criminal record, would carry a sentence of zero-to-sixty days, if convicted.

As of today, January 11, I have been in the Thurston County Sheriffs Jail for 120 days and counting.   The passenger window was broken to gain access to the inside of my car; I was pulled out of the driver’s seat onto the ground face down and unnecessary excess force was used that dislocated my right shoulder.  My dog, my constant companion, was stolen from me, spayed, chipped, and adopted out in just two days by Thurston County’s Animal Services.  The car was impounded.

This police action started with a gun pointed at my face at point blank range.  Thurston County Sheriff Jail then violated the 72-hour rule to get me in front of a judge in court.  They have violated my 60-day speedy trial rights.

All for exercising my rights and freedom to travel

For not agreeing with the Public Defender attorney, Arnold Christian Cabrera and Pat O’Conner, they had me sent against my will and consent, to Western State Hospital—a state-run mental hospital—for a 14-day ‘competency evaluation’, beginning November 10, again without my consent!

So you know, on and off from 2007 through 2013, and from January, 2014 and on, I have been exercising my right to travel without a commercial driver’s license, without registration or plates from the Department of Licensing and I have had very little trouble in doing so. However, since Sunday morning, September 13, 2015, when I was passing through Olympia, my life has changed completely.

Here is my story

I was heading north bound on I-5 going to Stanwood, Washington to see my mother and to help with her physical therapy after a stroke paralyzed most of the left side of her body.   I was going home to be with her and be her caregiver in her golden years.

Instead of what should have been a properly conducted traffic stop, the car I was traveling in had the window broken out, I was thrown to the ground on the I-5, my right shoulder dislocated, and my best friend, a border collie-blue heeler mix, has been stolen.  I have been arrested.  I have been falsely imprisoned without due process of law.

On December 21, they held a trial in Thurston County Superior Court by acting Judge James Dixon, to send me back to Western State Hospital (WSH)— against my will and without my consent again—for 45 days to ‘restore competency’ in order for me to stand trial.  Two doctors from WSH are saying ‘other employees’ witnessed psychiatric behavior from me during the time I was forced to be there for 14 days.  This order was made because I am exercising my rights and do not agree with them on a matter of my right to travel.  They do not like this as you can imagine.

They have in this court order to use psychotropic drugs on me like Risperidone, which has many bad side effects, and is known to cause psychosis and psychotic behavior.  It has been known to cause permanent movement disorder, Tardive Dyskinesia, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, increased risk of suicide, high blood sugar levels, dementia, and increased risk of dying, just to name a few!

I do not want these drugs in me at all.

Roger Calhoon’s situation April 17 update by Leonard Rusby (with assistance from Carol Willey)

Leonard Rusby has viewed the police dash-cam video of the arrest and has had many conversations with Roger  during his  incarceration at Thurston County Jail and  Western State Hospital.

Roger was traveling by automobile, on his way to visit his mother who had a debilitating stroke and had lost most of the use of the left side of her body.  He was to help with physical therapy, and to give the current caregiver a short break from 18 months of 24/7 caregiving.  It has now been 7 months longer, nearly 26 months altogether!  His mother isn’t even able to use a wheelchair to be taken for walks because there is no ramp on the house and it is too difficult to get a wheelchair in and out of her room.  She is put in the sitting position on the edge of her bed two times daily to eat meal and receive some herbal remedies. She eats snacks lying down.

While traveling through Olympia, Washington at a light traffic on Sunday morning, September 13, 2015, just two hour’s drive from home, Roger was pulled over for speeding.

Roger passed information to the officer that was not looked at.  Neither the officer or other officers involved, acknowledged what was clearly written on the car.  “Stop, Private Property!  Please take note, I do not consent to federal police enforcers, legal jargon, unlawful search and seizure, touching me or my property in any way.  Fee schedule starts at 100,000.00.”

Roger felt threatened, he said, because the officer was acting ‘suspicious’ and had his hand on his weapon.  Roger left the scene looking for a better place to pull over with more people to be potential witnesses to anything that might transpire.  He couldn’t find a good place, a shopping center, or other populated area and decided to pull over again on a nice straight stretch of road clearly visible in both directions.

This time, the officer approached with weapon drawn.  Roger talked with officer through the driver’s window lowered a couple of inches.  The officer finally put his weapon back into his holster after having pointed it into Roger’s face.

Roger was unable to resolve the problem by talking with the officer through the window.

The officer demanded that he exit the car.  The officer did not comprehend what Roger was saying, or was apparently not properly trained in dealing with a ‘private American’.

Another officer placed spike strips in front of the car in case Roger tried to leave again.

Yet another officer approached on the passenger side.  The officer on the driver’s side passed a baton over the car to the officer on the passenger side and gave the order to break the passenger side window to gain access; the door locks were unlocked and Roger was pulled out of the driver’s side, forced onto the ground into the prone position.  Another officer (not with the Washington State Patrol) then forcefully pulled Roger’s right arm back and up into an unnatural position with way more force than was required (since Roger was not resisting his circumstances) and his shoulder was dislocated.

Roger in no way fought with the officers!  His voice stayed low and calm the whole time.  He was in no way threatening.  He was simply not consenting to their jurisdiction or to the proceedings.  He has not yet recovered the full use of his right hand and arm.

Roger’s much loved constant companion, his dog ‘Whisper’, was stolen and taken to Animal Services where she was spayed, chipped, and adopted out to a new owner within just two days.  The dog was to be used for breeding.  When asking about Whisper, Animal Control simply stated that the dog was treated as a ‘stray’ because Washington State Patrol had said that the driver was ‘uncooperative’.

The car was impounded and a search warrant was obtained. A half-eaten jar of home grown fruit was confiscated because they thought that it looked like ‘mushrooms’ and the surveillance cameras that Roger had installed were removed.  They are not believed to have been listed on the search warrant.

Roger was taken to jail, then taken to a hospital to check on his dislocated shoulder, then returned to jail where he was scantily clad and placed into solitary confinement. There he remained on a cement floor for approximately 96 hours (4 days).  No one came to tell him anything.  The 72-hour rule to be brought before a judge was violated.

In an effort to learn about what was happening and what he was charged with, he reluctantly agreed to talk to a public defender. He was hauled into a small hearing room in shackles and was video-taped.  He was not allowed to say anything and no public defender came in.

He’s now been incarcerated over 7 months including a 2-week stay at Western State as well as another 38-day stay at Western State that was supposed to be 45 days.  He was sent there to be ‘evaluated’ to see if he was competent to stand trial.  He exhibited no behavior that would suggest that he needed any behavioral modifying drugs, and, thank goodness, the doctors at Western State did not administer any!

A non-bar association lawyer was hired who cited RCWs and the court’s own rules to show that the case should be dismissed; however, the court and public defender are not acknowledging any of their own RCWs nor will act on any of the legal motions Roger has made.

The right to a speedy trial has not been waived and Roger is still waiting after seven months!  No court date has been set.  There is no meaningful dialogue going on between Roger and the public defender, though Roger has requested time and time again to see all of the paperwork put together by the public defender on his behalf.  Nothing except the police officer’s reports, dash-cam video, and a few notices of upcoming hearings have been received from the public defender.

The public defender has essentially done absolutely nothing. He has not done anything that Roger has asked of him!  He will only help Roger, if Roger agrees to a ‘guilty plea’.  The jail and public defender are acting like qualified doctors in making a judgement about Roger’s competency not being what it needs to be to ‘stand trial.

Even the food boxes at the jail say right on them, “Unfit for human consumption”!

By sending Roger to a mental institution, they are creating a ‘history’ of being at a mental hospital that can be used against Roger at a later date.  See what they do?  They chip away at personal sovereignty in order to gain greater and greater control.

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One Comment

  1. Steve May 29, 2016

    And yet, a clinically diagnosed psychopath who commits attempted arson, multiple counts of vandalism, and stalking in Olympia, gets 2 days in jail, followed by assistance with going to college. Good job Thurston county, Nucky Thompson would be proud of you.

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