Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Fabricating Felonies: Idaho v. William N. Grigg?

Felony, n.

  1. One of several grave crimes, such as murder, rape, or burglary, punishable by a more stringent sentence than that given for a misdemeanor.

  2. Any of several crimes in early English law that were punishable by forfeiture of land or goods and by possible loss of life or a bodily part.

What the hell is it now?” I exclaimed, my uncharacteristic lapse into vulgarity provoked by the sight of a police officer striding across our front lawn.

It was the afternoon of a day whose dawn I had welcomed while treating a migraine headache. Few things are more effective at inflicting that condition upon a head of a household than the combination of a young family with expanding needs, a steadily depleting bank account, mercilessly rising price inflation, and the approaching specter of Income Tax Day. And there's nothing quite so aggravating as waking up with a headache -- except perhaps a day that steadily deteriorates from there, as yesterday did for me.

By the time the police officer, without showing a warrant or judicial writ of any kind, had invaded our home, my day had already been disfigured by the breakdown of a major appliance and our antiquated mini-van. So my mood was thoroughly poisonous by the time I strode into our backyard to find out, as it were, what the hell it was now.

We received a report that there is an abused or neglected animal at this address,” the she-police informed me in what she mistakenly believed to be an authoritative voice, pawing at Chief, our 6-month-old German Shepherd. Chief, who is a little on the skinny side but not otherwise in unusual condition, responded to this news by looking at me worshipfully and wagging his tail. My reaction wasn't nearly as cheerful.

From whom did you receive this `report'?” I asked in firm but level tone.

It was an anonymous call,” replied the officer, briskly changing the subject as if it were closed.

How old is this dog?” she asked. “He appears to be about twenty pounds underweight.”

Chief is about six months old,” I replied, mentally bookmarking the business about an anonymous “report.” “We got him about a month ago.”

Does this dog look emaciated to you? No, it's not Chief -- but the resemblance is amazing.

What are you feeding him?” persisted the officer, who as far as I could tell had provided no justification for her presence in our backyard, let alone for her attempt to interrogate me and Korrin (who had joined me by this time).

I've met you before,” the officer told Korrin, going on to mention that she had seen Korrin and our children with the dog at a local park less than a week earlier, and noticed that the dog seemed a little thin but was well-behaved and content. I bookmarked that fact as well, and tried to answer the question the officer asked before this digression.

We've been giving him first year puppy chow,” I replied, not seeing how this information could be construed as self-incriminating.

Ah, well he's grown out of that by now,” the officer declared, proceeding to tell me a specific brand of dog food she considers suitable, and offering the suggestion – no, actually a species of order – that we treat him with a de-worming medicine.

This was all very useful advice, of course, and would have been most welcome had it not been provided by an armed agent of the State who proceeded to threaten me with prison.

You need to get some weight on that dog,” she said. “I'll have to write this up, because we did receive a report. And I'll have to check back in a few weeks. He seems to be all right; his coat looks fine, and I can tell from the way he acts that he hasn't been abused. But if he's still severely underweight when I come back, we're looking at an animal abuse and neglect charge which is a felony.”

It is possible to charge me with a felony on the basis of an anonymous `report'?” I asked in a voice that could freeze magma. “Who, exactly, reported the supposed abuse of our dog?”

I don't know,” the officer replied, as if this were a trivial point, which it isn't. “It was a Fruitland phone number” -- Fruitland being a small town about three miles away. “But since we received a report I was sent here, and now I'm the one who has to make the evaluation.”

Actually, I have a right to confront my accuser,” I pointed out as politely as I could, which was more than the situation deserved. “And you didn't have probable cause. You pointed out that you saw Chief in the park a few days ago, and he appeared perfectly fine then. Which means that you received a spurious report, and your visit is the `fruit of a poisoned tree.'

She reiterated her contention that it didn't matter how or why she was there, or what her earlier assessment of Chief's condition may have been.

At this point, Poe's Imp of the Perverse alighted on my shoulder and whispered a transgressive thought in my ear:

This officer is a bear-hug away from a hostage situation – or eternity.

True enough: She was a woman in her late 40s, maybe 5'4” and around 150 pounds. I'm a male in my early 40s who is 5'11” and about 280 pounds (vanity compels me to point out that I'm describing 280 pounds that can be forced through 150-straight Hindu pushups, which I did later in the day to de-toxify from the accumulated rage and frustration). She was armed with a Taser and a handgun. She was, however, within arm's reach. Had I been an actual felon, she would have been in mortal jeopardy.

She knew I wasn't a criminal. And she admitted, at the end of her visit, that there was nothing wrong with Chief that a de-worming and decent diet wouldn't fix. But she was compelled by what she was pleased to call the “law” to treat me as a potential felon, and leave me in a state akin to probation: She is scheduled to return May 1 to see if Chief has put on weight, at which time she would “close the case.”

Let it be said that this officer was not an unpleasant person. She was professional and reasonably friendly, as well as admirably candid. But the system she serves is utterly malignant.

We are discussing, let us not forget, my property. Chief does not belong to the City of Payette, the State of Idaho, or some ephemeral abstraction called “society.” He belongs to me: I bought him with money earned through my productive labor. Yet on the basis of what must be considered a spurious tip from an informant who is as malicious as he is anonymous, I confront the possibility of being tried for a felony for the purported abuse of my own property – the “abuse” in question being low canine bodyweight.

If convicted of a felony, I would lose the right to vote (until my “citizenship” is “restored”) and, more importantly, the "legal" right to armed self-defense – the latter being the most important distinction between a citizen and a slave.

Please indulge me while I illustrate how my situation would be much worse were I living in another community – say, Wilmington, Delaware, where police have been known to gun down innocent people, including a recently married Iraq veteran, for no discernible reason.

Last February, Delaware announced an initiative called “Operation FED-UP” (Federal Enforcement and Detention coupled with Urban Policing), which will be carried out by a joint local/state/federal task force (the sort of alliance from which proceeds no good thing). This venture in Wilmington grew out of a statewide undertaking called “Project Disarm.”

As of February 9, according to the official announcement from the U.S. Attorney for the State of Delaware, “all felons in possession of firearms arrested by Wilmington Police officers will immediately be transferred to the ATF and detained in federal custody pending an initial appearance before a federal magistrate.” Detention in federal custody will continue until a trial before a federal judge. “In effect, the United States Attorney's Office will serve as the local prosecutor for all felon-in-possession cases in Wilmington.”

I'm not acquainted with the laws governing animal cruelty in Delaware, but let's posit – and why not – that they are similar to those in Idaho. Were I a Wilmington resident accused and convicted of the supposedly felonious offense of having a skinny dog, and then found in possession of a firearm (no sane and moral person would ever relinquish the right to own one), upon arrest I would be taken into federal custody – and most likely end up serving hard time in a federal prison.

Yes, initiatives like “Operation FED-UP” supposedly target hard-core criminals. But they are always driven by statistics, and nothing pads an ambitious federal prosecutor's record quite like scooping up non-violent, law-abiding people who have run afoul of some arcane provision of what our rulers insist on calling the “law.”

Aggravating as my experience has been, it's likely to turn out relatively well. But it is a tangible illustration of how easily any resident of the embryonic garrison state in which we now live can have his freedom extinguished, despite doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Do you have a horror story about a run-in with some agent of the State? Sure -- we all do! Please visit The Right Source and share your experience on our message board. While you're there, check our Kevin Shannon's radio show, the Pro Libertate e-zine, and the daily Liberty Minute audio commentaries, too. And be sure to tell your friends!


Anonymous said...

So, when did cops become veterinarians,huh? Did she do a fecal check for worms? What if the pup is skinny for some other reason, God forbid, an indolent(theoretical) illness of some kind? Probably you should get a vet certificate of health at this point just to forestall any escalation. I do know the whole point of this is the anonymous tip/no judgement/in your face Nanny State thing and not the nutrition of your pet. (You should have told her it was the Poisoned Pet Food and that the dog might have renal failure.) In some states child protection will proceed on an anonymous tip!

Anonymous said...

A felony in some States is any crime in which you if convicted could spend a year or more in prison.

Yes, true enough dogs are property but in this country we pass laws that protect that property mean ing if a dog if being starved or maltreated this is treated by the emergency rule of warrants. Stupid yes but in a country where we allow abortions on demand and protect dogs like this what do you expect.

William N. Grigg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William N. Grigg said...

Marty -- you're exactly right about the perverse priorities that prevail in post-Christian, proto-police state America.

Recalling the detailed research on the subject compiled by the irreplaceable Radley Balko, I would add the following qualification:

The same police who would arrest me if they decide Chief is a couple of kilos south of optimum bodyweight would shoot him dead in front of me and our children if an anonymous informant sicced a SWAT team on me by claiming that a tiny amount of proscribed narcotics could be found in my home.

The Owner said...

Was this some kind of belated April Fools story, because that was absolutely RIDICULOUS!

On the topic of tax day... I was out in Washington Square Park here in NYC yesterday doing a little research for a journalism paper on tax day. Most of the people I interviewed admitted they had no idea where their tax money went and that they had no problem with this fact either. Many claimed they would continue to pay taxes at the completely arbitrary rate at which they are currently assessed if taxes were made to be voluntary.

Captain Kirk said...


I agree with the first poster. Take the dog to the vet and get him a "physical" to CYA. BTW, I have a friend in law enforcement and as near as he can recollect that when they hand out POST cetificates, they don't include an offcial Doctor Doolittle Vetrinary Decoder Ring.

This cop determined by cursory visual inspection that your dog was underweight and was so because of a worm infestation. She then prescribes feeding your 6-month old puppy more (and of a diet different than the one whose claim of "First Year" is FDA approved)and administering an anti-helmenthic (dewormer med). I would bet real money that practicing veterinary medicine in Idaho sans license is at least a misdemeanor.

For me this whole situation rates right up there with the DEA dictating how much narcotic painkiller a physician can "legitimately" prescibe before the jack-boots show up in his office waiting room.

Anonymous said...

"This officer is a bear-hug away from a hostage situation – or eternity."

Didn't the Ruby Ridge massacre happen in Idaho? Sell the dog. Install video cameras with a permanent, real-time uplink to multiple, secure Internet servers. Include audio. Next time an agent of the state appears without a warrant and a signed complaint, hand him your attorney's card, inform him that he's under surveillance, politely ask him to leave, and go back inside.

Anonymous said...

Dear Will Grigg,

I am shaking with rage for you, for your wife, for your kids. Ironically, your dog is probably the only one in the household feeling OK about all this.

You are being prayed for right now.
Would emailing this link to a couple of my Idaho representatives do any good? I hesitate, in case it would make things worse for you. They might learn something in the reading, at the very least.

Signed, miraclewhip

Anonymous said...

From time to creatures have to be put down. We all know it. I have had to have a couple beloved dogs put down due to their pain and suffering. When certain bitches become rabid and dangerous we have to put them down before they bite or otherwise harm some innocent victim. It is not pleasant but has to be done. In the current case described by Will the Shebitch with the gun and attitude should have been put down and buried in the yard. Not pleasant...but needs to be done.

Anonymous said...

bragve heart,

Strike the root, not the fruit...

...Remember the Hydra.

[I prefer my metaphors shaken, not stirred ;^]

Anonymous said...

I had, as a working professional (consulting forester), a situation that involved the heavy arm of the state coming down upon my head due to an anonymous tip. It involved a timber harvest on private property administered and overseen by me. An anonymous complaint of water quality impairment was called into the State Forestry Dept's enforcement arm by an individual who was on my client's property, after normal working hours and without permission. Nevertheless the state's enforcement arm conducted a "field investigation". Fortunately I was allowed to be present to explain things and in the process found no violations of state law. Regardless the entire situation was not only time consuming but extremely troubling. Troubling in the sense that in a supposedly free country an uninvited trespasser's anonymous "tip" carries any weight in the eyes of the "law". Such acceptance is more on par with say Zimbabwe then the Constitutionally guided USA.

Anonymous said...

In this morning's (Apr 5) World Net Daily there is a story from the UK entitled "Owners of Fat Dogs Face Prosecution".

Note to self: never read Pro Libertate just before retiring for the night if you want to be able to sleep.

Not only was I angry about the situation, but I also experienced fear. We are facing having to deal with insanity. The old adage says, "never try to reason with a drunk", and I would add, an employee of the state; both are beyond reason, and the reasonable, sane person has no chance.

dixiedog said...

“What the hell is it now?” I exclaimed, my uncharacteristic lapse into vulgarity provoked by the sight of a police officer striding across our front lawn.
It was the afternoon of a day whose dawn I had welcomed while treating a migraine headache. Few things are more effective at inflicting that condition upon a head of a household than the combination of a young family with expanding needs, a steadily depleting bank account, mercilessly rising price inflation, and the approaching specter of Income Tax Day. And there's nothing quite so aggravating as waking up with a headache -- except perhaps a day that steadily deteriorates from there, as yesterday did for me.

Hehehehehe. LOL! Will, I don’t mean that in a ridiculous sense or as making fun of your predicament in any way, but you’ve wrote my mind and body's daily burdens almost to the tee, with the exception of “expanding family” aspect. Not burdened in that sense, since I’m not married, have no children. With my long-term medical condition as it stands, that’s been better for me in the long run anyway. Besides, I can be irritated and agitated with little difficulty at times. I have headacheS, almost every day, become fatigued (especially in lower legs and feet due to gradually progressing nerve damage over the years), and sometimes suffer lower back aches (kidneys) that vary between insignificant and hellish in severity. Yet, I manage most of the time, but it does get difficult at times, even as a “lone” ranger in essence.

OTOH, if I had an entire family (as in wife and multiple children) to feed, clothe, and protect, especially from the State and its minions, my life (as other head of households no doubt have already) could easily become a dichotomy of sorts. On one hand, I would want to stand against the State on principle and not pragmatism every single time; on the other, I’d be crushed (not for me but for my family!) to be suddenly yanked up and thrown into the slammer for trumped up or whimsical charges and/or have my children used as pawns against me, stolen, or indoctrinated in their public sewer system. NO! NO! Hell NO! As it is, though, I can play hardball, if necessary, and if as a result I get gunned down (a la Derek Hale), thrown in the slammer on nefarious grounds, whatever, so be it. The point being, they get nothing from me, except ME, and my own puny amount of property. No wife, and especially children, to suffer at their mischievous hands while I’m helpless in my cage. Forget it.

So, unless a man possesses plenty of wealth to be able to play hardball without his family being inevitably a part of the morass by moving his family out of troublesome waters, if necessary, easily even while he himself fights on in the legal arena or whatever, it’s a largely pointless exercise in the grand scheme of things.

That said, Will, your untimely encounter with an agent of Shub Niggurath’s tentacle toenails that you have described here is a case of what I’ve been saying all along. The COMMONERS are the nexus of these problems! Think about it, if some “anonymous” snot-nosed commoner crow hadn’t cacklin’ their beak to the State, by making false or unsubstantiated allegations of animal cruelty, the armed State agent wouldn’t be on your premises in the first place. Although, an allegation or not, she had no business helping herself to trespassing on your property without a warrant or without your consent.

Signs of the times..

This probably isn’t the Christian way to think, I admit, but I do not divulge anything about my life in any detail to anyone in my neighborhood for any reason, unless they are trusted close friends and they are few to be sure. I just don’t trust folk myself and too many folk want to pry into your business for all kinds of reasons, most are nefarious, and by any means available, including making noise and casting about allegations of a crime being committed. Sure, the State makes it easier for folk to pull these stunts, by guaranteeing anonymity, but a given COMMONER himself or herself has to already possess a predilection to allying themselves with the State to injure, harass, or intimidate others, in the first damn place, rather than confronting others themselves over a wrong they witness, and help correct or remedy, whether perceived or real. Anyone displaying a real and genuine sense of something not right occurring would at the very least inquire of the party in question to determine if a legit real wrong is evident or just a misplaced ASSumption they harbored. Usually, anonymous complaining of any kind can be judged nefarious.

Sorry for the novel-length comment, Will, but please keep us informed on this matter, especially the "aftermath" from the State’s follow up visit, May 1.

William N. Grigg said...

D.D. -- I hadn't been aware of your afflictions. Please forgive me for the times I've stupidly fixated on my much more trivial ones.

And I never would have expected you to display an acquaintance with the universe of H.P. Lovecraft! I remember having a surprisingly detailed conversation with the late Dr. Samuel Francis (of all people) about that subject.

Every police state ultimately rests not on the grim figure in the trenchcoat, but rather on the perfidiously friendly figure of the everyday informant -- the spitzel, chvato, or stukach. And it's because of the preponderance of that despicable personality type that the love of many is waxing cold.

Unknown said...

Hmm...I'm been referring to the Bushling as Shrub Niggurath for some years now. Glad to see I'm not the only Lovecraft fan out there.

Granted, the Old Ones are significantly less creepy than the crowd in DC these days. At least, when Cthulu shows up, he's honest about his intentions; drive you crazy and then eat you. The DC crowd do the same, of course, but they try to convince you to like it.

Anonymous said...

"Every police state ultimately rests…on the perfidiously friendly figure of the everyday informant" -WNG

The true role of the informant, in a Coercionist society, is to erode the bond between family and neighbor. Now, what possible interest could that serve? Hmmm...

dixiedog said...

No need to ask for forgiveness, Will. Keep on keepin' on! You haven't offended me in the least. Believe me when I tell ya I'm not thin-skinned by any stretch. I'm rough-hewn, had more than my share of bar brawls in my past life, and so on.

I do, however, need to qualify a bit about my "afflictions" as you inferred from my post. There's no affliction(s), per se, other than Type I diabetes, but I've only haphazardly and chaotically been keeping it sensibly controlled for the last 18 years. I couldn't live the regimented life they prescribed as one has to work when everyone else works, eat when they eat, etc. Other folk ain't going to live and work by your schedule. So I just deal as God enables me.

However, since diabetes can negatively affect just about every molecule of ones body (and brain), it can certainly seem like afflictions, to be sure, with the inevitable complications that eventually will surface sooner or later, regardless of even regimented control.

Also, I've probably overstated the image of "headacheS" folk would likely conjure in their mind in the earlier post. I only have a few headaches a week, not daily, and they're mostly minor irritants, not cranium pounders for the most part, and certainly are NOT anything remotely close to migraine headaches! I'd be a madman by now, if that were the case :P.

Lastly, about the Lovecraft reference. You pegged me right, Will. I wasn't interested in Lovecraft at all since science fiction and/or mythology, in general, has never been a reading staple of mine primarily because, much too often, in the case of SF especially, the seemingly engrossing plots of SF literary works can all just about be categorized as merely a favorable panoramic propaganda presentation of abstract government and world government in particular. Only that, in the case of SF literary works, authors substitute "planets" for "countries" and "federations" (i.e. "United Federation of Planets" of the Star Trek universe and even its flag) are a caracature more or less of the "United Nations" (y-a-w-n). The collectives or federations are usually characterized as the "good" guys, of course.

Hence, the plots in the SF genre often become boring to me quickly since I consistently see the panoramic above and beyond the minutiae and details, which would otherwise be of some interest.


But, OTOH, playing SF-related PC games is another matter entirely. Since PC gaming often encompasses much science fiction (d'oh!), as well as mythology, and I am, or I should say "was," a heavy PC gamer in years past, I am usually involved in those genres in this way - through interactive game playing rather than passive reading.

So it was that I just happened to be a Quake addict from the time it appeared in 1996 'til about '98 or so. Since I knew the Quake levels inside and out, having played the single-player, not to mention playing countless deathmatches and CTF (Capture the Flag) games on the 'net after work to relieve stress and such, I found that the final boss in the game was Shub-Niggurath.

It piqued my interest and I researched it and found that it was a deity in Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. So early on, I thought Shub (or even Cthulhu for that matter) a great metaphor for Leviathan. And the name just sounded right as well for some reason in conjuring an ugly image of Leviathan in one's mind.

Shub herself, of course, being the federal Leviathan core itself and her tentacles being state govs, the tentacle ends, or "toenails," being the local govs of Leviathan.

Anyway, you get the picture, I'm sure ;).

Doc said...

interesting - the thin doggie stunt must be in a playbook somewhere - they used it here too, four years ago. meter reader reported thin dog - narcotics cops all over the place the next day. no charges were files at that time, but they never go away and mind their own business, do they?

A Radical Whig in Chattanooga said...

7 April


It could be worse!

The following is the lead-in from a London Paper which was carried on "InfoWars":

> Owners Of Fat Pets Could Be >Jailed

>Charles Clover
>London Telegraph
>Thursday April 5, 2007

>Owners of fat dogs or cats could >face prosecution under the Animal >Welfare Act which comes into force >tomorrow.

>The Act, the biggest overhaul of >animal welfare legislation for a >century, creates a new offence of >failing in the duty of care >towards a captive animal.

>Pet owners can for the first time >be guilty of an offence before an >act of cruelty has been committed, >for example by overfeeding their >pet.

>The Act says a person responsible >for an animal must provide it with >a suitable diet, intake of water, >environment and housing and ensure >it can behave normally and is >without pain or disease.

One wonders how soon we'll see the same over here in the US? How many pets will end up buried in the back yard so that their owners won't have to be harassed or persecuted over this madness?

Anonymous said...

Follow the link to the London Telegraph and check out the video: about the "Fat pets act".

In the video in the London Telegraph story there is no dog owner interviewed that does not have a problem with their government having to "remind" or "advise" them that their pet is fat.

The problem is with the thinking of the people. They do not understand the proper function of government. They think the advice below is within that proper function of government.

"The Pet Health Council says:

Run your hands along the dog's sides to see if you can feel its ribs when you apply gentle pressure. Then check from above whether you can see a waist - a thinning from where the ribs end to where the hips begin. Finally, run your hand gently over its back to check if you can feel hip bones. If your pet has all of the above it probably will not be obese.

If your pet is slow to get up and has trouble moving around there may be a problem."

They also don’t understand that government is force and they complain when that force is used.