Letters (Sep. 13, 2017)

by AVA News Service, September 13, 2017

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VAN, VAN… IS THAT YOU?

Editor,

Statues and nut jobs—

I think that this country should treat the Confederate statues the same way the former Soviet block nations treated their statues after the fall of communism: put them in museums, in the basement, guarding the bathrooms…

On another note, have you heard of the legend of the poor person wandering the streets mumbling the same line over and over: "That was Van Morrison… from the coast!" I'm hoping that Sheriff Allman's Measure B proposal related to mental health will somehow help put a stop to this rampant insanity.

Kirk Vodopals

From the Deep End

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HERE COMES LOS GALLITOS

Editor,

We got to witness first hand the problem with the homeless and the business people in the Central Business District. We were in Los Gallitos having an early lunch when a skinny toothless very smelly guy came in asking to use the bathroom. The waitress let him use it, he then came out and grabbed a beer out of the cold case but could not figure out how to open it. He then sat a table and started ordering food and then had a loud fit with the server because they did not have chorizo. She told him they had it next door at their other restaurant. He started yelling at her and the owner woman came out from the kitchen and asked him if he had money to pay for the food? He screamed no! She told him to leave. He then started screaming on the way out the door he was going to destroy them! It was upsetting and ruined our only time out this weekend!

Julie McHenry

Fort Bragg

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NOTE IN A BOTTLE

Dear AVA,

My name is Bradley Dale Maxfield, aka. $teezi D. I'm currently serving time at the Mendocino County Jail. I am writing to inform the people of our community on the treatment and living conditions we are currently faced with.

First, while I was housed in the isolation housing unit, better known as the five-man SHU, the cells we were placed in were caked in human shit. The crevices within the ISO windows were stuffed with shit and no matter how much we tried to clean them with rags given to us by the correctional officers it was impossible to fully clean them. One man spent two and a half days cleaning his cell that was nearly covered completely with shit. Although he cleaned as best he could with the rags, he had no help in doing so.

Another issue is the way they treat and house people suffering from mental illnesses. I've personally seen them harass and beat up a man in iso who with no doubt in my or the mental health doctor's minds has a severe mental disability. They are wrong for doing so and should grow the bleep up. We are still human. Even though we have made decisions that have landed us in jail here, that does not make it okay for correctional officers to mistreat us. Also they are legally housing four people to a cell. This causes chaos within the cell due to the small amount space we have to move around in trying not to bump or get into one another's personal space. From the Wood Bros, skin brothers, bros, and the pizza bros, I would like to speak for us all by saying we all deserve a lot more respect as humans than we are currently getting, as well as human rights which they are neglecting. Title 15 section 1240 states that we are to be given three hours of yard time (meaning outside) per week. God only knows when that has ever happened. It sure hasn't ever happened since I've been locked up. My cellmate Troy Wood has been coming here for some time and informed me that in the maximum and medium housing units they've never received the amount of yard time per week we are by law supposed to be given. We fully agree.

Boats also make the jail feel like each room is packed to overcapacity. Title 24 section 1231.3.5 states that no beds not attached to the walls (boats) are allowed except for in minimum security units due to safety reasons. I am currently in orange and white stripes and considered a maximum one classification housed on the boat in the new B-mod maximum-security unit house in Cell 20 with Fred, Julio and Troy. I'm 100% putting my inhumane experience provided by this jail in my music to protest and inform the people on their cruel treatments and constant discrimination, etc.

I hope this letter will be published to let the real ones out there know about some of but not all of the screwed up ways we are being treated. To my family reading this, I love you and cannot wait to be home. To my homies who are locked down, the ones doing life and the ones going through it tough in the streets, I send my love. To my brother Justin aka J.C., I send my prayers and love and ask God to keep you safe and out of this at a place. To all the people in Mendocino and the whole 707 area, Like my Jamaican brother Oliver says: One Love, man.

The road dog,

Bradley Dale Maxfield

Ukiah

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IN DEFENSE OF PETER KEEGAN

To the Editor:

I am writing to defend my friend, Peter Keegan, against the rumors and hearsay that have been floating around for years since the death of my friend, Susan Keegan. I have been a close family friend of the Keegans since they moved to Ukiah. We were next door neighbors for years. We were partners on a land purchase; we took vacations together and did all the things one does with close friends. I know Peter and I know that he would never kill his wife. For years I and many others have been silent at Peter’s request. Now we will speak.

I’d like to correct two details that were printed in the UDJ cover story of Aug. 12, 2017. First, the report says that Susan’s “Family and friends” pressured the DA to arrest Peter. I am one of many, many friends of Susan who did not participate in this witch hunt. Peter and Susan’s two sons are certainly family and they did not participate in this witch hunt nor do they seek “justice.”

Secondly, at the end of the UDJ story it says that Peter’s two sons were with him for his court appearance, “in the audience.” Peter’s two sons were by his side, not sitting back in the audience. Some people might interpret that wording to mean that Peter’s sons were distancing themselves from their father; in fact, in Simon Keegan’s words, their support for their father is steadfast. Luke Keegan writes to his father’s accusers on Facebook, “ Your belief that this (prosecution) will bring us relief is, for lack of a better word, ignorant.”

A grand jury was called by the DA. Since 2010, the DA has been unable to find any evidence of Peter’s alleged guilt that could serve to initiate a preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing before a judge determines whether there is enough evidence to require a trial. In a grand jury hearing, people are free to repeat and embellish all manner of accusation. Hearsay is permitted. There is no cross-examination of witnesses nor any defense of the accused. A judge is not present.

The people who say that Peter killed his wife have spread the rumor that Peter behaved “suspiciously;” for example, that he didn’t sit with Susan’s parents at the memorial service for Susan. That is a lie. I was sitting in the pew behind the family. Peter sat with Susan’s mother and father. In front of the grand jury there would be no one to refute this lie.

It is not surprising that Peter was indicted by this grand jury since hearsay and rumor were considered and voted on. The vote did not have to be unanimous; just 66 percent of jurors must agree to send it to trial. Indictment is not guilt, but a directive to send the case to a real court. A preliminary hearing, where a judge would determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed, is not held. Hearsay appears to be the only basis for bringing Peter to a criminal court proceeding; otherwise DA Eyster would have brought this case to trial long ago.

There are many people in this community who support Peter’s innocence of this charge of second-degree murder. This charge is the result of the rare use, or abuse, of the grand jury. It is a sad thing to let rumors and hearsay and a small group of people use our justice system in such a misguided way, with no judge or defense.

Elaine Richard

Ukiah

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