Filed under: Action, Incarceration, Northeast, Political Prisoners, Repression
Report from court on the end of the second week of Vaughn 17 trial.
“People’s mentality is they’re victims of circumstance. They fail to realize they were victims before C Building…Those who understand the uprising needed to happen […] started from one thought (amazing)…Now I truly know the concept of the tree inside the seed… If my number gets called I’m going pro se, fuck a suit, I’ll wear a T-shirt and DOC pants…It’s gonna be epic, especially when I cross-examine their witnesses. It wasn’t about violence, that part is easy…Expose this place so the public and the government will take notice… I’d say I got their attention… […] This shit was supposed to happen.
We’re stronger on the other side of adversity. […] I appreciate you keeping me aware of what’s going on on earth…Foolish humans. Staying aware is staying alive.”
– Dwayne Staats, from transcribed excerpts of an intercepted letter read out loud in court on Friday
Yesterday, court was well-attended with supporters, with media, and also with agents/affiliates of the state. Court began early with AG Downs, defense counsel for Deric Forney, B. Gifford and pro se/defendant J. Ayers finishing questioning of a state witness from yesterday who had custody of paper documents entered as evidence in the case before they were transferred for professional forensic handwriting analysis.
The rest of the morning saw testimony from Andrew Sulner, a career forensic analyst who is also an attorney. He explained how handwriting analysis works, what it can be certain of, what it is not certain of/what it can’t rule out and how the paper documents (both the letter alleged to have been written by R. Shankaras and the letter alleged to have been written by D. Staats, but NOT the list of demands in blue ink on yellow paper that we have seen entered in evidence) were analyzed and reported on.
There was discussion about state witness from the prior week, H.J. Anderson, and his process of review under the recently retooled habitual offender statute, including how that may or may not relate to his having assisted the state in this case. We were informed that “the law is nuanced,” which was of course a mesmerizing insight.
State witness Sergeant David Weaver started testifying before lunch break, being questioned by AG Downs. We will note that he has been sitting at the state’s table the entire trial. His testimony centered on the kites that were analyzed by state witness A. Sulner. I did my best to record what he was reading from these letters accurately, but it happened very quickly and there are some parts of these in my notes that are likely either truncated or missing. It wasn’t possible for me to read them from the screens in the court, as I was sitting too far away.
Sgt. Weaver testified about the workflow with regard to cooperating witness interviews and the custody of evidence. He testified about what was included and what was emphasized in these interviews as well as why/why not. The concept of “taint” (aka “fruit of the poisonous tree” in legal parlance) was once again brought up. Sgt. Weaver routinely answered questions that he wasn’t being asked/volunteered information, and that did not go well for him in several instances.
A recording of a phone call that was alleged to have taken place between pro se/defendant J. Ayers and his sister shortly before the uprising was played for the court and Sgt. Weaver was asked about this. B. Gifford questioned Sgt. Weaver in the afternoon; his cross-examination centered on times, timeline and overall assessing the precision of both the preparation and decision-making that came out of Sgt. Weaver’s work on this case, from start to finish. In my memory, this lasted almost two hours.
The day finished with J. Ayers questioning Sgt. Weaver. In the end, he made plain before the jury that Sgt. Weaver, and thusly his work on this case, should indeed be looked at closely. “Are you aware AG Downs asked you 20 questions, and you had an answer for every one, but none for questions I asked you?”
Court will NOT be in session on Monday 11/12/2018 as courts will be closed in observance of Veterans Day. The judge informs that we will begin again on the morning of Tuesday 11/13/2018 at 10am. He also tells us we appear to be back on track time-wise, so to the best of my observance, I suspect the state will likely rest either early Tuesday or shortly thereafter. It’s possible in my analysis that, depending on what the defense presents and how extensive that may be, that the case could go to the jury by the weekend.
As always more court support is appreciated. Correspondence we’ve received consistently emphasizes the importance to the S/V 17 of outside support/advancing the “No More Lies – Remove The Disguise,” “Department Of Corruption” and “Department Of In-Justice” slogans as well.
To get to Wilmington via train from Philadelphia, take the Wilmington/Newark regional rail line. It’s about a ten minute walk to the courthouse. It is Zone 4; fare each way is between $6 and $8, depending when you leave. See SEPTA schedules there and back.