I Want a New Lawyer!
by Letters to the Editor, February 11, 2010
To whom it may concern,
My name is Glenn Sunkett. I am an African American citizen and Oakland California resident who is being illegally detained, prejudiced, racially discriminated against, inhumanly traded, and a constant subject of cruel and unusual punishment inside the criminal court system and detention center here in Ukiah, California.
I have been convicted by a 12-person jury (comprised of 11 white bodies and one Middle Eastern body) on charges ranging from kidnap to burglary (of four white victims) in a marijuana related crime that lacked sufficient or substantial evidence against me to support a verdict of guilt. Although racism combined with highly questionable tactics and unlawful conduct by the investigating detectives, prosecutor and local media played a significant role in influencing the jury's decision, it is my court-appointed attorney who is mainly responsible for dictating the outcome of this case and violating my constitutional rights.
From the start of Ms. Linda A. Thompson's tenure as my public defender, she has actively worked against me without camouflage. And I have made certain to document in detail Ms. Thompson's refusal to provide effective assistance of counsel as well as her incompetence, neglect and conspiratorial behavior. (Please refer to below for a list of some of Ms. Thompson's failed responsibilities and questionable actions.)
I have petitioned vigorously to the court to relieve Ms. Thompson as my court-appointed counsel but my pleas are being denied by the court without my being given any explanation or case law whatsoever to support this decision. I am literally being forced into representation by a court-appointed public defender who is openly acting as an assistant prosecutor against her own client. I have presented overwhelming evidence, case law and sufficient reasoning that supports my claims against Ms. Thompson. Yet, the trial court continues in its unexplainable failure to relieve her as my defense attorney. And the adamancy of the court continues even after I hired a private attorney to petition the court for her substitution.
One must seriously consider the motive behind the judge who forces court-appointed representation on a defendant who prefers private counsel when there is an open conflict of interest between the chosen public defender and the defendant. This is a blatant denial and violation of my constitutional right to a fair and impartial jury trial. Gaining a conviction in this mock trial setting should be viewed as a farce or a sham and should also be considered invalid being that my fate and outcome of this case was obviously preconceived outside of the courtroom.
Sadly, the courtroom is not the only place Ms. Thompson failed to protect my rights and well-being. During the duration of my detention at the Mendocino County Jail, I have been constantly subjected to racial discrimination, racist remarks, cruel and unusual punishment, inhumane treatment, deplorable living conditions, physical torture, and mental abuse. My family and I repeatedly begged for Ms. Thompson to intervene and take action against jail staff for their illegal and inhumane conduct and tactics, but were vehemently ignored during this time. I felt as if I was in Guantanamo Bay.
For months I was being chained up like a dog in leg irons, belly chains, and handcuffs and *forced* to take showers in this manner. I have been forced to live in a cell specifically used for the mentally ill and deranged that, upon my arrival, was literally painted with another human being’s feces, blood, urine, semen, snot and spit. To this day I have never been given the proper cleaning supplies, sanitizers, disinfectants and protective body covering needed to safely occupy this cell.
Also, I was initially placed in a 24-hour a day lockdown unit strictly because of my race. Racial segregation is implemented at this facility in which minorities are the only affected parties. I was denied the right to participate in religious services and congregation of my choosing and excessively disciplined due my being “black” and detained on a marijuana related robbery in a pro-marijuana farming county.
But what I stated in this letter so far still cannot express the depth and magnitude of this horror story. I have over 500 pages of thoroughly detailed documentation supporting my claims and I am willing to provide them to any person or organization interested in helping me bring the needed attention to this matter.
I should add that starting February 10, 2010 and I will begin a hunger strike that I will not end until I'm granted my constitutional rights to fair and impartial court proceedings and court rulings in my conviction is overturned based solely by the laws the court is bound to.
Being that I am in a meet in immediate need of assistance, advice and support I ask that all concerned parties contact me at 951 Low Gap Road, Ukiah, California 95482. You may contact my private attorney, Geoffrey Fletcher, at US Bank Plaza, 980 Ninth Street, 16th floor, Sacramento, CA 95814. All responses and or other action will be greatly appreciated.
Mr. Glenn Sunkett
PS1. Attachment: Things my public defender did/did not do pursuant to her obligatory duty as outlined according to the California Defense Advocate:
1. Failed to move the Court to dismiss charges due to insufficient evidence of a supporting nature that resulted in my being tried and convicted of crimes that never occurred.
2. Failed to object to an unduly suggestive and highly illegal identification procedure which resulted in my being implicated in a crime in which I had no knowledge of or participation in.
3. Failed to conduct an investigation into the prosecution's allegations and clients alibi which is necessary in presenting a meritorious defense.
4. Failed to call expert and alibi witnesses which were both critical to the defense at trial.
5. Made it *my* obligation to conduct and *pay* for the services of a cross race identification expert needed for their expertise at trial. Again this is a public defender charging a client to retain experts as well as other needed services.
6. Failed to file motions to suppress evidence that had no relation to the crime yet was used in a suggestive manner against her client at trial.
7. Refused to communicate with me in *any* manner whatsoever in the months leading up to trial and led to a withdrawal of a meritorious defense.
8. Allowed and assisted in investigative and prosecutorial misconduct.
These are only 8 of 31 issues and errors made my made by my public defender.
PS2. Declaration to commence hunger strike demonstration on February 10, 2010: This declaration is being made in protest to the fact that my constitutional rights are being violated in the Mendocino County Criminal Court system and detention centers so severely and unjustly that evidence supports that I am being illegally detained and discriminated against. In addition to the commencement of a hunger strike I am also refusing to leave my cell for all reasons excluding interviews from the press, attorneys and investigators. This demonstration will start on February 10, 2010, and end when my public defender Linda Thompson is removed from my case as defense counsel for reasons of ineffective assistance of counsel and or conflict of interest, new counsel is appointed or retained, fair and impartial court proceedings are conducted according to the Constitution and rulings made by Mendocino County judges are based on the laws in which they are bound to protect, enforce and adhere to. Not before then will this peaceful and justifiable protest end.