More tips for people planning a felony. Don’t do it.
Previously mentioned several tips for people planning to commit a felony. For example, don’t take your location tracking fitbit with you while you carry out a contract assassination. Why? The location data will testify you were at the scene of the crime the very instant the crime was committed.
Some more helpful tips.
As you are preparing your case as you represent yourself and approach your first day of trial for threatening to kill someone and ignoring a restraining order, don’t sent a written death threat to the judge who is trying your case. Reported in Williston Herald on 2/25/19: Man accused of threats sends threatening letter to judge before first day of trial.
A man facing trial for terrorizing and violating a restraining order (class C felony and class A misdemeanor) for harassing a women is representing himself at trial. During the three hours that constituted the first day of trial, he did not question any jurors, did not make an opening statement, and only asked one question of one witness with said question obviously irrelevant to his case.
In the days before trial starting, the guy sent a letter to the judge saying that the judge is now on the list of people that the defendant will kill.
Also on the list are the State’s Attorney (DA for those of us in California), her entire staff, a number of law enforcement personnel, several members of a few churches, and some families attending schools in the community.
So the tips here are don’t represent yourself in a criminal trial, if you choose to represent yourself at least have some idea what you are doing, as you get ready for trial don’t commit another felony which is comparable to the one you are about to be tried for, and don’t threaten to kill the judge who will hear the charge that you threatened to kill someone.
I suppose the don’t-threaten-to-kill-the-judge-in-your-trial prohibition doesn’t apply if you are willing to trade another felony charge for the chance to claim later that the judge had a conflict of interest in light of your threat to kill him. Now keep in mind I’m not a lawyer, but I don’t think that is a particularly strong appellate strategy.
(Is my befuddled list of lessons learned painting a good picture of the accused?)
Result: Based on evidence presented at trial, the guy was convicted on both counts. Williston Herald on 2/27/19: Defendant threatens jury during closing arguments, is convicted of terrorizing.
Sentence: For the Class C felony of terrorizing, the man was sentenced to maximum of 5 years. For the Class A misdemeanor of violating a restraining order, the guy got 360 days. Sentences to be served consecutively. Sentencing has not been scheduled for separate threat against the prosecutor. That’s another Class C felony. Trial has not been set for yet another threatening letter, which is probably also a Class C felony. Bismarck Tribune on 6/26/19: Man convicted of threatening woman get maximum sentence.
Box score: Three felonies and one misdemeanor. Just under 6 years for a felony and misdemeanor conviction, sentencing pending for another felony conviction, and trial not yet set for another threat.
Update 9/13/19: The humor value has faded on this fellow. He has now been sentenced on the conviction listed as pending in the previous paragraph, He earned a consecutive 5 year sentence for that conviction. That gives him 11 years with another trial pending.
The no-longer-funny-part is that the list of people he intends to kill has expanded to every person in Williams and Morton counties of North Dakota, “everyone” in Washington DC with 7 specifically named national level political leaders.
If you are hiding from the FBI because they think you ripped off some banks to the tune of $200,000, don’t broadcast on Facebook how much fun you are having in Mexico. Also, double check your friends list if you do advertise to the world you are hiding.
The Guardian on 10/14/09: Fugitive caught after updating his status on Facebook
Guy and his buddy had a scheme for their co-conspirators to lie about income and buying a car, then splitting up the loan proceeds. This guy headed to Mexico when he caught on to the feds investigating the scam; his buddy got busted.
He was bragging about how much fun he was having in Mexico. The feds stumbled across his Facebook page but couldn’t figure out where he was. Then they noticed another guy, who used to work for the feds, was a ‘friend.’ They contacted the friend, who did some checking, found where the guy lives, reported back to a US Attorney, who then had the Mexican police arrest and deport the fugitive.
Result: His partner-in-crime got a five year sentence in federal housing. The fugitive was awaiting trial and faced a potential 30 year sentence, per the article. According to the Bureau of Prisons inmate locater database, a man matching the first & last name, age, and race (register 40072-086) was released from federal prison on 2/2/12. That suggests he earned just under three years as his sentence.
Lesson: If you are running from the feds, don’t blab on Facebook how wonderful the beaches are in Mexico and how much fun you are having at the nightclubs. You just might want to avoid all social media. Or perhaps, just maybe, not telling you what to do, but just possibly you might consider not ripping off banks.
Unless you want the police waiting for you at your home when you return from engaging in a felony, you might want to log out of your Facebook account before robbing the internet cafe where you were surfing the web.
Digital Trends seems to be one of the early places this was reported: 5/14/12 – Two men rob Internet cafe, forget to log out of Facebook prior to robbery.
Story is two guys were surfing the net and checking out their Facebook account at an internet cafe in Cali, Columbia. When they went to pay for the time used, they robbed the store instead.
Fairly serious complication for the two guys (and fantastic break for the store owner and police) is one of them kinda’, sorta’ forgot to log out of Facebook. The manager pointed this out to the responding officer and the perp was arrested in short order.
Immediate lesson: Log out of Facebook and other social media before you rob the place where you are surfing the net. Deeper lesson: Might want to avoid using personally identifiable social media at all if you plan to rob an internet cafe.
Of course there is another lesson that could possibly be learned: Don’t rob stores.