Lets get right to the nitty gritty. West Virginia is a police state. Not “turning into one” as some of the more left leaning, but politically correct might agree. We are already there. It is just that the majority of “average” citizens have not had the dubious pleasure of the experience just yet. But never fear, because the odds are good that you too, or someone you know will find out first hand what’s really happening within our legal system. The statistics are the first red flag. West Virginia has one of the lowest crime rates in the United States, but one of the highest rates of incarcerated per capita. That’s 1 in every 136 people in jail in this state, 2 points above the national average. And that does not take into account all those who are out on bail awaiting trial, those on probation or parole, or those who may have an outstanding warrant for their arrest. This brings the numbers closer to 1 in 32!
“Not me” you say, “that happens to other people”. OK, well maybe. But here are some things you may not be aware of. Supposing one of your neighbors has a domestic dispute, which ends up at your house totally by accident. In the right situation, once you have left the premises, the police might very likely decide to totally search your house, without a warrant, by the way. “But they can’t just do that” you say. Well, yes they can. As long as they can fabricate a “good” excuse, which could be anything, they can do whatever they want. Don’t believe it? Just try asking a lawyer. Heck, ask MANY lawyers. They will all say pretty much the same thing. “It does no good to fight them, they’ll just make things harder on you”.
Here is something else you may not be aware of. Supposing someone you really don’t even know should get busted with drugs. And supposing they feel like protecting their supplier. So when asked by the police where they obtained the drugs in question, they decide to just make up a story. That is ALL that the police need to obtain a search warrant for someone’s home! No such thing as “probable cause”, no such thing as your constitutional right to privacy or freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. So, theoretically, if I were to get pulled over and the police found a bit of green substance in my car, I could tell them that I got it from, well, anybody, and the next thing you know, you have the entire hoard of State and County Police at your door. At that point, you are entitled to nothing whatsoever. Except of course your right to remain silent! Your home will most likely be completely ransacked in the most vicious way possible. Things will be smashed, dumped, ripped apart. The worst vandals could not do any better. And that is if you are lucky. I have known people to be beaten and kicked in handcuffs while their dogs were shot and their homes destroyed.
You might say, “but don’t SOME of those people deserve it?” Well, there is a very antiquated and worn around the edges saying that refers to someone being innocent until proven guilty, but that is only a fallacy. To be trapped in the legal system means that you must work 20 times harder to prove your innocence as THEY will have to to prove your guilt.
Still not a believer? I admit, the extreme militaristic attitude of the police, the State Police in particular, is rather hard to believe. But just try calling 9-11 in an emergency situation. Chances are the “emergency” will pale in comparison to their reaction to it. I know one mother who most likely wishes with all her heart that she never would have called them on her mentally unstable son, when he tried to take her car. She now has one dead son, and cars can be replaced, but your flesh and blood can’t. Apparently, even tho the disturbed man had run into the woods unprepared for the cold and rainy weather with nothing but a shot gun and a cell phone, and the police had at their disposal a number of high powered weapons and the SWAT team from Charleston, the police thought it more important to get back to their warm homes and dinners than to bring the man in unharmed.
I personally found out the hard way that ANYTHING is possible in a situation where you believe you are doing the right thing. My husband suffers from periodic bipolar episodes and Post Traumatic Stress syndrome. An extremely unusual and unforeseen set of stressful circumstances caused him to have a serious episode. We are talking about someone with NO criminal record of any kind, someone who has always worked and excelled at what they did. Things got out of hand and I could not deal with it on my own, so I called 9-11 and BEGGED for an emergency mental health warrant. I was very adamant about this being a mental health crisis. I requested that my husband be taken to a mental facility. I was misled by the man who answers 9-11 calls AND a State Police officer who called back to verify. They BOTH told me that a couple police officers would come to defuse the situation, and that he would then be sent to a mental hospital. What really happened was more along the lines of a bad twilight zone episode. The entire Charleston Swat team was called in. All roads near my home were blocked by many police who thought nothing of aiming their high powered weapons directly in anyones face who just happened to be driving down the road. Thank God that this ended rather calmly, as these cowboys were definitely looking for a fight. But they caused FAR more problems than my husband did.
He was whisked off to the regional jail in short order, where anyone exhibiting mental illness becomes a spectator sport. The usual cure there for anyone having “problems” is to throw them in something called “suicide watch”, which is nothing more than torture, where you are not allowed to have such things as a blanket, clothes, or toilet paper. And then they just leave you there alone. I am told that at least 40% of inmates at the jail had no business even being there, but should have been in a mental facility instead.
The justice system moves at a snails pace, and seems to be mostly run by people who have somehow lost their humanity in the rat race of shuffling papers and running as many “offenders” thru as possible in a days time. These people are literally in the business of playing God with peoples lives, but they have a tendency to treat this power as if they were bug exterminators instead. After much maneuvering, we managed to get my husband bailed out of this regional hell hole so that he could obtain the help he needed. Of course part of the conditions of his bail are that we are not allowed any contact whatsoever! So, the torture continues, and now I am also a victim. You can only imagine how impossible a situation that would create for a married couple who are very close, work together, have their insurance, bank accounts, and everything else imaginable together… Requests have been made to get this condition reversed, with no success thus far. And I just keep thinking about that poor woman with the dead son. That could have so easily happened to us.
Now, I could go into a tirade about how the legal system wastes an incredible amount of taxpayers money, especially since they have regionalized the jail system, or the fact that there is no room for such a thing as “truth” in a courtroom where “plea bargains” are the order of the day. Or the fact that the police will do ANYTHING at all, including lie, fabricate evidence, or even let someone’s house burn down in order to “get their man”, and when one of them causes enough trouble in a particular county they are simply transferred to another county. But, as I said before, if you fight ’em, they’ll probably make life even harder. So, what’s a body to do? Just swallow it and go on? I’m sorry, but that’s just a little hard for me to do. I’m a firm believer in educating the masses. What you don’t know CAN hurt you! I would like to hear from other folks who have had bad experiences with the Police/legal system. There HAS to be a way to fight this system! And if we don’t try, then this state, and in fact the entire country, will be doomed. Please post your legal horror stories in the appropriate comments section.