Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Convicted for Doing Nothing Wrong, Sentenced for No Reason, Yet Still Joyful with No Regrets (Part Two)

After my trip to Texas, I returned to court for sentencing.

Anything could have happened. I had invited friends to attend with me just in case they wanted to remand me into custody right then and there. My attorney assured me that the prosecutor was not interested in any jail time for me.

Of course, it was the judge's decision what would happen. She could do whatever she wanted.

I was convicted of two counts of 148(a)1, resisting arrest--even though I had not resisted arrest. Or you could call it "Failure to follow the lawful order of a police officer," when the order was not lawful to begin with.

The first count? I was to write an essay following a visit to the Museum of Tolerance. I was to write apology letters to the city council in Huntington Park and the two police officers.

For the second count. "364 days in jail ... suspended."

Hearing that number really shocked me. Really? This judge--actually, a commissioner, meaning that she is not elected--was going to hold over my head the threat of jail time?! Wow.

Indeed, she wanted to throw the book at me, and reminder, this was for sitting in a city council meeting.

After the sentencing hearing, my attorney did not think much of my filing for an appeal. "There was not judicial or jury misconduct, but you are welcome to file an appeal."

Of course I was! That was taken care of one month later, about one day before the deadline would elapse.

I have to say that the three friends whom I had brought with me, one of whom would take care of my possessions in the event that I was remanded into custody--were really not that helpful. The suspended sentence awakened a great deal of fear and trepidation. One of them kept repeating "Oh, Arthur, you better be careful! You better watch out!"

What kind of  support was that? It was bad enough to be wrongfully convicted, and unjustly sentenced. Then I had three people with me who were about as useful, as helpful as Job's friends. What was the point?

This ordeal in some cases would turn out to be quite a challenging ordeal. I really could not look to others for help, and by "others", I mean flesh and blood. That's just the long and short if. What comfort could these people have really given me, anyway? I was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced, with all these conditions hanging over me.

And yet all of it was unfair. Then again, I have been saying that life is not fair, and for me, life does not have to be fair. Grace is not fair, unmerited favor is exactly that--unmerited, therefore it has nothing to do with fairness.

We all went out to eat afterwards. One of the three friends kept saying over and over "What are you going to do, Arthur? This is so unfair?"

Just what I needed, someone pointing out to me how unfair this whole mess was, and at the same time putting on me the pressure of trying to figure out what to do about all of it. I had done everything that I could do. I had fought against this lawlessness, both in the city council chambers and the chambers of the court. Nothing came of either venue.

It was really sad having people who were supposed to support me ... not really support me. I guess they were really shell-shocked with everything that was happening to me. They ended up leaving after we ate, but I stayed around just to take care of some work.

Then things got interesting that day.

This was October 30, 2018. I was sentenced that day in Downey Court. Afterwards, I went to a local restaurant on Firestone just to grab a bite and then read and write, At the time, I was still wearing and carrying around with me my Make California Great Again cap. Why should I stop living my life just because I have been unjustly convicted of a crime that was not a crime?

After my three friends left, a group of ten high school students walked into the restaurant. Most of them were black and Hispanic, but one of them was Asian. One of them came over to me to ask for money. I told him that I don't hand out money, and that's just the way it is. Then another one of them noticed my MCGA hat. "You voted for Donald Trump?" he asked me. Yes, I did!

He was taken aback, and walked away. Then three other of them came around the table, with the rest of the following: "Why do you have a problem with black people? Why do you have a problem with them?"

It was really weird, and the only thing that was troubling me at the time was to be put on the spot to defend my vote for President Trump. I was not worried about my safety at all. Some of the kids sat in the booth next to mine to hear me. 

Waiting in line to make an order, another guy, an older Hispanic gentleman saw what was going on, and he said to the small crowd of kids "Alright, guys, give him some space."

I then explained to all of them that I not only didn't have a problem with black people, but some of my black friends even voted for Trump! That really surprised some of them. Then one of the young ladies asked me: "Why did you vote for Donald Trump?"

I am so glad they asked! I went down the list of reasons why I supported the President, and why I am glad that he was elected. I talked about the economic growth, the job growth for Americans of all demographics. I mentioned his pro-life record--the best of any President, I might add!

After that extended explanation, four of the kids shook my hand! And that was that.

Grace superabounds, in spite of everything that I had faced that day. But it got better!

The older Hispanic guy told me that he got worried that those ten high schools were going to hurt me. "I grew up in South LA, so I have seen bad things happen before." He then  told me that he had voted for Donald Trump, as well. He was also an immigrant, having come legally from Mexico when he was six years old! COOL!

Another guy, the boyfriend of the local manager, then came up to me and the other guy. He also shared that he was ready to step in and help me out just in case things got out of hand and the kids were going to jump me or something. That whole time I never feared for my safety, but it was good to learn afterwards that there were people there ready to help me out.

That was the same day that I was sentenced for no reason, and even then I had a reason to be joyful.

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