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Published by William N. Grigg

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Published by: William N. Grigg on Dec 27, 2012
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11/07/2013

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HC 11, Box 357Kamiah, Idaho 83536February 15, 2006 AT THIS TIME, FOR THE EXCLUSIVE USE OF MY DEFENSE COUNSEL, I, Carol J.Asher, offer the following statement in light of the criminal chargecurrently pending against me, case #CR06-31016, alleging the crime ofperjury. As background for this statement, I must relate the major points of theinstant case which precipitated the charge I now face, and the manner inwhich I came to be personally involved in it. The following is true andcorrect to my very best knowledge and recollection. Having been placed on call for jury duty in Idaho County, Idaho for thesecond halfof calendar year, 2005, I was summoned in July and served on a 2-daytrial of a young defendant, William Edward Clark, of the community ofWhitebird. Some months earlier, in March of 2005, defendant Ed Clark had beenrecognized by a passing Grangeville city police officer, in the vicinityof the Mammoth monument located on Hwy. 95 on the outskirts of town.According to the officer’s testimony at trial, the department had beenon the lookout for Ed regarding some sort of parole or probationviolation stemming from an earlier domestic disturbance incident.Arriving at the monument, Ed had locked his pickup at the time ofexiting it. Some moments later, seeing a patrol car turn in and pull upbehind the pickup, Ed began walking back toward it, keys held either inhand or in pocket. Soon, an Idaho County sheriff deputy arrived also onthe scene. Each officer admitted during trial to their having forcefullywrested the keys from Ed in order to search the pickup. Ed vigorouslyprotested this, advising them that the pickup did not even belong to him. Among the contents of the pickup, the officers reported finding some .15of a gram of crystal meth in a tiny plastic bag, tucked inside of acontact lens case which, in turn, was found tucked inside a CD caselying, I believe, on the dash. The Ed Clark trial in July was over hisalleged, knowing possession of this crystal meth. Throughout the trial we jurors were instructed repeatedly that if, atthe conclusion of testimony, we judged that the prosecution had provenbeyond reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the meth was in thepickup, we were to find him guilty; on the other hand, if we judged thatthe government did not so prove, then we were to acquit. Since 8 jurorsvoted guilty, while I andthe three others voted for acquittal, there was declared a mistrial, andthe defendant went free. In my sincerest judgment, the prosecution presented no real evidence atall, not even fingerprints, to prove that the defendant had anyknowledge that the meth was there. For this reason, I voted to acquit,precisely as instructed. What made it reasonable to think that Ed maynot have been aware of the meth was that he was merely using a“community” pickup that day. Witnesses testified that the pickup wasowned by Ed’s mother’s friend, the proprietor of a business in WhiteBird, where Ed Clark helped out part time, and that it was borrowed andused freely and regularly by quite a number of persons frequenting thatplace of business. On the day Ed Clark was detained, he had driven it to
 
Grangeville to deliver a load of aluminum cans for recycling. As I sawit, therefore, the meth could have been placed in the CD case at anytime by any one of the prior users, or by any other person accessing thevehicle right up to the moment the meth was seized and secured asevidence......no proof of any kind to the contrary having been presentedat trial. The written criminal complaint that has been issued against me by DeputyAttorney General Justin Whatcott asserts that I had “stated under oaththat I was willing to render a fair and impartial verdict based solelyupon the evidence presented in the courtroom and the law asinstructed...” (Be it noted, however, that in this case the judgeaddressed the jury only generally as a whole, directing no questions tome personally, and so I felt no reason to “state” anything at that time.An underlying reason for this was the genuine faith, trust, and highesteem in which I had always held Judge Bradbury, ever since firstmeeting him at the start of his campaign for election a few years ago. Ihad attended candidate forums and heard him speak, and also more thanonce when he came to address our local civic group. Always JudgeBradbury impressed me (and my friends as well) through his strong pledgeand promise to restore our district court and maintain it in fair andtotal service of the people. I personally posted and circulated campaignliterature in support of Judge Bradbury, and was delighted when wesucceeded in voting him into office. I will never forget being inattendance at the swearing-in ceremony for our new county commission,over which our equally-new Judge Bradbury presided. I remember how proudand happy I felt as he walked in, took the bench for perhaps his veryfirst time, looked out at the overflowing crowd and said, “Welcome toYOUR courtroom!” I had never heard any judge say that before, and it wasthrilling indeed. (It seemed that always before I had heard judges speakonly in terms of “my” courtroom.) What a change! In Judge Bradbury, wefelt blessed indeed with a true people’s judge. So it was that when at trial Judge Bradbury instructed us that we shouldapply the law as he would explain it to us, I expected no problem indoing that. I was sure that my favorite judge loved justice and honoredthe law, and I simply trusted that he would both explain it and apply itjustly and competently. At that point in the proceedings, therefore,there was nothing to which I felt I needed to object. Thus, trustingly,I remained silent. It has been alleged by certain of my accusers that at the time of takingthe jury oath and hearing the instructions of the judge I had alreadypre-decided to vote for acquittal, regardless of what the facts of thecase or the law warranted. This is most absurd, and could not be morepatently false, for at that early stage, none of us had even theslightest idea as to what the case was about, so how could I havepre-decided? When the time did come for deciding guilt or innocense, I did exactly asinstructed. I had taken an oath promising to render a fair and impartialverdict based on evidence presented at the trial, and I did exactlythat. I cannot emphasize too strongly that the verdict I rendered in the EdClark case was based entirely upon the lack of any evidence presentedlinking the defendant to the drugs in question. In light of nodemonstrated or proven connection or knowledge on the part of thedefendant to the presence of the drugs, I had to vote to acquit. While,admittedly, I did have difficulty, on moral and spiritual grounds, withat least one other aspect of the case handling, this latter comprised an
 
entirely separate matter, and did not at all figure into the reason Ivoted for acquittal. We can now examine that “difficulty” somewhat indetail: For me, by far the most troubling point in the trial proceedings aroseover the officers’ forced search of the defendant’s car, having obtainedno warrant to do so. As soon as the first of the two arresting officerstook the witness stand, I immediately raised that point in the form of awritten question submitted by way of the judge. The question readbasically as follows: “In your understanding of the law, Officer, was itlawful and proper for you to force search the defendant’s pickup withoutfirst obtaining a warrant?” As I remember, Judge Bradbury did not readthis question aloud (as he did verbatim most all of the others), butrather merely announced that the question had to do with the legality ofthe vehicle search, adding that sometime prior to trial it was agreed(presumably among the judge and lawyers in conference) that the searchwas legal. Accordingly, Judge Bradbury did not permit the officer on thestand to respond as to his personal understanding of the lawfulness ofhis actions. This left me feeling most distraught and disappointed.After all, I thought, we were there at trial precisely because of“evidence” obtained as a result of that warrantless search, even thoughthe defendant had been confronted and originally detained over a totallydifferent concern! (Incidentally, I kept looking at the defense lawyer,wondering how in the world he could keep so silent in the face of anissue so crucial to his client. Later on, I concluded [privately] thatit must have been because some sort of prior agreement or settlement hadbeen made.) Undeterred, however, and not at all satisfied with the explanation giventhus far, I sent up to the judge once again precisely the same writtenquestion, just as soon as the second arresting officer had taken thestand. This time the judge merely read the question to himself and thensaid something like, “This is questioning again the legality of thevehicle search, which, as already explained, was declared legal.” And sothe second officer likewise was not allowed to respond. In addition tothis twice-submitted question, as court adjourned at the close of thefirst day and we jurors filed past the bench, I attempted to appeal toJudge Bradbury’s personal sensitivities by handing him a lengthier,prepared note which (if my memory serves me correctly) was in regards tomy on-going, 4th Amendment concerns in the matter. Again, if I rememberrightly, the judge opened the proceedings the following morning bymerely mentioning that a juror had continued concerns regarding thesearch, but that the matter was to be laid to rest and not considered. As I saw it, in light of the prosecution’s complete failure during trialto prove guilt on the part of the defendant, coupled with what I viewedas a horrendous violation of the latter’s constitutionally-guaranteedrights in the matter of the unwarranted search, I recall feeling sadlysurprised and even horrified when, as deliberations commenced in thejury room, I listened to various initial comments from at least half ofthe jurors (before it got around to my turn). To my amazement, mostindicated a bias against the defendant. Rather than focusing on realevidence presented against him (or the lack of it!) the young man wasbeing criticized for everything from his casual dress to “lookingguilty” to his (supposed) cocky eye contact and confident smiles hefrequently directed to members of the jury. (Personally, I thought thathe conducted himself extremely well for his age, and considering thesituation he was in.) So, when it came my turn to speak, I was feelingupset and voiced openly my concern about what seemed to me a wrongfulsearch on the part of the police. The jury foreman then reminded me that

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