Duane Ehmer: Riding On Hellboy To Destination Hell
“They (the FBI) also told me I would be free to go home. When I did go back to the checkpoint, I was stripped again and then arrested, without a warrant. I was promised freedom. But even after I helped them, they had lied to me.” Duane Ehmer statement at sentencing hearing.
Duane Ehmer, convicted by a jury of some misdemeanor counts, is to start serving his 1 year sentence in the Lompoc facility in California.
Duane has begun an over 900 mile journey to “hell” (prison) on his faithful horse Hellboy. It is hoped that his long journey to hell (prison) will raise public awareness and public indignation of what is happening, not only to Duane, but to the Hammond family.
One Nano Second Of Wrongful Prison Is Infinitely Too Much
Those who know me, know that I declare, in the strongest terms possible, how bad prison life is, even for justly convicted prisoners. But, for somebody who is innocent, or who has been wrongly convicted and sentenced, well, the size of hell cannot be measured.
I have never been a prisoner, but, I don’t have to be a prisoner to know how bad it is. I have visited prisoners, especially pretrial prisoners, and I have heard the stories. It is impossible to exaggerate or overstate the horror of being put in prison and subject to the loss of constitutional rights and subsequent abuse that prisons inherently mean to the imprisoned.
We should never try to minimize the hell of prison by saying, “It really is not THAT bad. Compared to other countries, USA prisons are pretty decent. They are air conditioned, have rec rooms, television, weight rooms, and other amenities. Just do your time and you will be out someday.”
No, it really is THAT bad. The harm from losing your constitutional rights cannot be measured and what is lost can never be restored.
Raising Public Awareness
Duane Ehmer’s last ride is a noble undertaking as he heads towards the final destination, hell. However, we should not let the ride itself eclipse the horrors that await him at the end, nor the horrors that the Hammonds are currently experiencing and the horrors heaped on other innocent people such as Joe Robertson, Cliven Bundy and others similarly situated.
I am writing this article to help in the public awareness of Duane’s wrongful incarceration, the injustices perpetrated against the Hammonds and against all of us.
Lying And Deception As Standard Operating Procedure By Law Enforcement
Ryan Bundy, upon exiting the Las Vegas courthouse after Navarro declared the mistrial, told the waiting media that, “I don’t fear the truth. What really scares me is the lying by the prosecution and their witnesses.”
Ryan Bundy was speaking for all of us, and he was speaking for Duane Ehmer. As noted in his quote above, Duane was promised by the FBI that, if he agreed to help them and go back and try to convince the others to leave the Oregon refuge, Duane would not be arrested but would be free to go home. The FBI lied to him. In violation of their promise, Duane was arrested.
As one Duane Ehmer supporter noted, “I myself witnessed some of the trial and saw the withholding of evidence, wrongful grand jury indictment based of false statements and false charges, court ethical violations & prosecutorial violations were rampant for our Oregon P3.”
Those who have witnessed the Oregon and Nevada trials, have seen a wide spread and extensive pattern and practice of lies, deception, bias, legal misconduct and suppression of evidence favorable to the defense.
Another example of blatant and unmitigated lying is from another political prisoner who testified that the FBI gave him a written agreement not to arrest him, and then violated it.
Lying By Law Enforcement Is A Big Deal And Should Not Be Minimized
In a legal paper, entitled Proving the Lie: Litigating Police Credibility author David Dorfman discusses how prevalent, how common and how normal lying by police is. He shows that much of the lying, including perjury (lying under oath), is encouraged by the courts and that the judges often are complicit in the lying or at the very least, do little to discourage it.
Dorfman shows that when it comes to a “swearing contest”, or the police’s word against the defendant, the judge almost always defers to the police, giving them more credibility than the defendant, who is supposed to be presumed innocent.
Because police can lie with impunity (free of punishment), they have no incentives not to lie and it becomes part of their job. Because police live in a world of lying criminals (or so they claim), they justify their own lying as a way to “fight fire with fire.” But, as lying becomes a way of life, it is not just used to entrap criminals but becomes standard operating procedure in every aspect of their life, including to cover up their overreaching misconduct, their mistakes and even the crimes of the police themselves.
In his paper, Dorfman states that lying by police, “and the need to deter this form of police misconduct go to the very heart of our criminal justice system and the need for trust in government and its processes”. As such, the lying that saturates the police, and to a large extent the whole justice system, leads to thousands of incidents of injustice and wrongful prison, Duane Ehmer being one of many.
Duane Ehmer Is Going To Prison Because The FBI Lied To Him
Had the FBI kept their word to Duane, he would have taken Hellboy home with him and continued being a productive citizen.
But the truth is, and what we want to shout from the housetops, is that the police, and the entire justice system cannot be trusted. If we, the people, don’t want the same thing to happen to us or to someone we care about, then we should not allow Duane’s final ride to destination hell to be in vain.
While we can breathe some sigh of relief with regard to the conditional release of the Bundys and others, we are far from being out of the woods. Let us never cease from contacting our legislators, our sheriffs and other elected officials and hold them accountable to get this abomination changed.
We need tough laws and penalties against police, prosecutors, judges and other government workers who lie, deceive and abuse their power. We should never rest until they, the wielders of power, use their power justly and cease to abuse people like the Hammonds and Duane Ehmer.
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