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Joseph Hart for the Defense…Self Defense

My name is Joseph Hart. I want to detail the record which can all be verified in the court and police reports of the illegal and corrupt actions that have happened to me by the Mendocino County officials and the real outcome of my trial that you wrote about in your latest issue. 

Joseph Hart

[AVA, 9/2/2020] “I'VE GOT a call in to Jan Cole-Wilson whose lawyerly abilities I've always admired. (Seriously. I'm not just buttering her up to get a call-back, which I don’t expect.) She's second in command to Mr. Aaron, Public Defender. I called her this Wednesday, having never once in forty years ever getting a call back from the Public Defender's office — on the off chance she would talk to me about The People vs. Joseph Phillip Hart. I have the DA's presser notifying the public that Hart was found guilty of a "knife attack" which occurred under a Willits overpass back in early March. Hart got a jury trial that lasted 7 days, which means Cole-Wilson really went to bat for the guy. I want to know what her defense was. Simple question. I assume Hart pled self-defense, and I doubt the fight was with a vegetarian Gandhian. If she doesn't call back, I'll drive over the hill to have a look at the case file and let you know what I find.”

I am a 43-year-old small-business owner who has lived between Mendocino County and Kauai, Hawaii for the last 13 years. I breed a unique hibiscus crop commonly called “Kenaf” (Hibiscus cannabinus L.),, and work within the oil and gas and wastewater industries on environmental performance issues through the use of renewable materials made from this crop.

I generally spend late spring through the end of summer in Covelo doing an organic grow with a group of "friends." From fall through early spring I am in Kawai breeding Kenaf for seed. Then I go to Houston Texas in late spring to attend oil and gas tradeshows pushing these renewable solutions and my book that I published on the subject of the kenaf: Plant-based Solutions for Industrial Growth and Environmental Regeneration.

In late February as the trade shows were being canceled and Kanai was talking to locking down and bringing in the National Guard because of covid, which they did, I got a call from what I thought was my long-time "friend," Jairen Sylvester: who told me he had gotten a great 90 acre property up Spy Rock Road, and asking if I would be willing to come help him cover the rent and clean up the property. We would split the crop. 

This is a guy who has worked for me off and on for the last 10 years. I have housed, fed and clothed and even traveled with him. So when he described the property with large spring pools, creeks, a river and views, I was totally game, especially since the country is going weird and I'm not a fan of Covelo anymore.

I got to the property the first week of March. He had things that I kept in storage in Covelo with a place set up for me. I went into town and spent almost $2000 to buy propane, gasoline, seeds and plant starts of all kinds and plenty of food to eat as he was up there with no money and a box of Ramen noodles almost empty.

I spent three weeks cleaning up garbage on this land. The previous owners had left, as their operation had apparently ended in multiple murders and was filled with trash. 

During this time we were the only two people up there and there wasn't a single argument or conflict. (As his police report will attest.)

On March 29 I checked the "grow room" with all the veggies, herbs and cannabis starts and I saw that they were all covered in mold because he had been overwatering and failing to turn on the lights. When I told him about this he got all defensive telling me, "It's none of your business, I got this." 

I reminded him, since I paid for everything, it is my business. I did not see him again until the next morning, March 30, when he walked into the geodesic dome where I stayed with a .38 caliber pistol in his hand telling me, "I want social distancing," and that I had to get off the property.

After almost 2 hours of him screaming and yelling and telling me he was going to kill me if I didn't hurry up, I got my things packed in a truck he had. Due to epilepsy I have no license and currently have no vehicle of my own here.

We rode in silence down Spy Rock except for him smoking a bong at the bottom of Spy Rock at Highway 101. He pulled over and said he was going to hide his bong while we went into town. I got out and urinated at this time. But since it was raining, and covid was around, and I had a whole truck load full of stuff, I did get back in expecting to get out in Laytonville. Big mistake!

He refused to stop in Laytonville telling me he was going to Willits and I could get out there. Just north of Highway 162 on 101 we hydroplaned as he was smoking the bong that he never dropped off at the bottom of Spy Rock. When we hydroplaned a second time into oncoming traffic I just wanted to get out! 

According to his court testimony I asked to be let out at least 10 times. I even tried calling 911 by the rest stop 10 miles north of Willits to which he replied and screamed, "There is no emergency, he just wants to go to the bathroom."

I lost reception at some point on that first 911 call. When we got off on the North Willits exit I told him to let me out! He responded by hitting me in the face and telling me to “quit being a bitch."

At that point I began throwing punches at him and pressing him against the driver's door holding his right arm not knowing if he still had the gun on him. During this time I was calling for help, asking people to call the police and to open the door for me. The first five or six cars just kept driving.

At this point I saw that he was reaching for a knife he had under his left leg next to his bong. I grabbed it. It turned out to be one of two knives in a case and I did stick him in the leg two times as I was calling for help. According to his testimony he didn't realize he had been stabbed, and he tried to grab the other knife and told me, "I'm going to cut you up!"

I told him to stop and let me out. When he didn't, I stabbed him in the side at which time he said, "Okay, okay, I'm going to let you out. Please don't stab me again," and I did not. I told him to just stop and let me out! He got out and ran to a Caltrans truck that had pulled over as I called 911 and waited for the sheriff. 

When I saw the blood trail to the Caltrans truck I was hollering, "Please bring him to the hospital" the Caltrans man said no.

I waited for a sheriff to arrive. I was completely cooperative. In return I was left alongside the road, and handcuffed for almost 8 hours. I had two grand mal seizures and had to urinate all over myself multiple times. They did call an ambulance. They told the first one that I had claimed I was okay.

When I was booked into jail the real nightmare started. First at the status hearing they falsely claimed I had multiple previous convictions. I have only one previous conviction, almost 25 years ago in Illinois. 

I was given a $500,000 bond because of the multiple false claims. I was put in solitary confinement and I have been in solitary confinement since March 31 with my only disciplinary infraction being on July 22 for insolence.

My first month here I was ridiculed and even put in a padded cell with just a hole in the ground that was full of urine and feces because jail staff said I was faking my seizures. 

Gratefully there was a nurse who called to my neurologist and confirmed that I have epilepsy and have severe seizures. I have still not seen a doctor but they have occasionally offered me a couple of different medications which if they simply read my medical files would see I am either allergic to or they should not try to administer them without doing blood testing first which they have not done.

I offered to take a lie detector test and drug tests as I wasn't on drugs. I have never done meth, or heroine and I don't drink, etc. 

At first the district attorney told a judge that I didn't have a scratch on me. But then the police reports and booking photos showed I had minor cuts on my hands and bruises on my neck and head.

To add insult to injury, all my personal things I had at the scene and in the truck, all my business computers and backup drives, a rare coin collection I have been collecting since I was 11, a crystal collection, clothes and six pounds of weed was supposedly "shredded” thirty days after my arrest which would be in violation of state and federal law. I had $788 in my wallet when I was arrested. I only had $588 when I got to the jail — all of this is documented.

As for the trial which could be watched on youtube at “Mendocino County Jury Trial,” you can see that the Mendocino County sheriffs never fingerprinted Mr. Sylvester's knife, never went back to Spy Rock to look for weapons, even though Mr. Sylvester admitted he had a 12 gauge. They never even really searched the scene for the .38. But Detective Sergio Ochoa-Pedroza did admit on the stand that he would have shot Sylvester if he had done that to him.

Sylvester admitted to refusing to let me out of the truck even though I asked him at least 10 times. He admitted to going down the road smoking the bong even though he has a couple of previous DUIs. He admitted I was calling for help as we were fighting in the truck.

In the end the jury came back with an irregular "double verdict." They were clearly instructed by Judge Dolan to deliver one of three verdicts: Not guilty by self-defense; Guilty by a misdemeanor; or Guilty by a felony.

After the verdict was read and the jury was relieved, my lawyer realized that the verdict said, "Guilty of misdemeanor and Guilty of a felony," which is impossible since I had only one charge and Judge Dolan's instructions were clear in having one verdict.

I go back to court on September 18 and I expect Judge Carly Dolan will do the right thing and call a mistrial. I will then demand the district attorney make a public apology and a correct press release demanded by law. I feel they know this but are trying to prejudice the case. 

I did not take any of their plea offers -- eight years, four years, three years, probation with a four-year suspended -- because I was defending myself.

I appreciate the work Ms. Jan Cole Wilson did on my behalf. She is probably overworked and underappreciated. Every private attorney I contacted wanted $30,000-$50,000 upfront for this case which is not over! I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court if I have to and I am definitely preparing a federal suit to file in the Ninth District over the way they violated my rights, destroyed my business essentials and property while leaving me numerous times in a cell having seizures.

There are court records, police reports and evidence of all of this!

Thank you all for taking the time to read this. One final thing: I never wanted to do that to him. I am in no way proud of what happened and I genuinely only did that in self-defense because I was afraid of being stabbed after having gone through a very intense and stressful three hours with him.


Joseph Hart A# 39961

951 Low Gap Road

Ukiah, CA 95482

PS. Please check the following websites so you may know my real motives and the kind of person I am:



  1. Mitch Clogg September 17, 2020

    It’s not illegal, necessarily, to lead a dicey and complicated life, but it has its risks. Your account, Mr. Hart, is a superb example. I guess that some or all of what you say is true. Our “justice” system is bent beyond recognition, always was. Can’t even say I wish you well, because you sound like a Trouble Child, if ever there was one, and that prejudices cops and courts. Still, I wish you fairness.

    Bite the bullet. Hire help. You’re AN EPILEPTIC, fer Pete’s sake. Put your talents to work elsewise.

    • The Hemp Mayor October 15, 2020

      Been thinking on what you have said…

      I’m no fan of Joe, and in fact he thinks of me as an enemy. But what you have said is very much of no cause or merit and is the very type of thing that should not be said in such a space where real input has so much value

      • Ryan LaPorte November 25, 2022

        Why didn’t ANYONE contact or inform the landowners? (Aka Me and 7 other local mendo citizens) Why was our doublewide mobile home burned to the ground and the landowners were never contacted? Why did I just find this article today? (Nov 25th, 2022). Why did the fire chief and authorities claim that the home was burned down due to bad solar wiring, on a rainy day in March 2020? Something very fishy is going on here.

        Jairen, never had a signed lease for doing ANYTHING, on our property. He was being vetted as the caretaker because it is the oldest truffle farm in America. Joe Hart… I had met multiple times, because he was booted from my friends properties in Willits for being violent and kicked out of Orr Hot Springs for stalking my co-workers… Joe Hart. I wish Jairen had told me the name of his “friend” he was bringing out there for a week to help him clean up a living space in the geodesic dome for himself. Wow. What a catastrophe and loss this became. Its almost unfathomable and seems like it’s out of a movie.

        Oh yeah… Technically, the murder that Joe references was the previous owner’s “caretakers” Hugo Lopez, featured as an “unsolved murder” in the Hulu documentary series called Sasquatch.

        Please contact me if you can help me,

  2. BS Detector September 19, 2020

    Lies from a Grifter, ConMan, violent Sociopath who thinks he is a GOD. Joe has left a wake of destruction across four states with multiple arrests and Restraining Orders. His business partners and investors were duped, stolen from and ended up cash poor for believing his lies and BS. He has threatened violence Including death and endangered livelihoods and property of the long line of women he has conned. He has committed violent acts before including felony assault and robbery with a deadly weapon. He is a Deadbeat Dad, a deadbeat entrepreneur and a deadbeat citizen! Joe has been a sycophant for decades, albeit able to charm for the short to medium length con but his narcissistic sociopathy of always being both the victim and the hero causes people to wake up and say NO… that is when he really starts to threaten violence and destruction. So his victim was in the crosshairs of a longtime M.O. As far as epilepsy… BS. Joe has boasted for decades, NO WESTERN MEDICINE or doctors(unless for a cannabis recommendation back in the day). He has always stated that he is a “perfect male specimen”. He has never had health insurance or enough money or desire to invest in paying for a neurologist, one of the most expensive specialists, or any physician in CASH not even including the costs of CatScans and/or MRIs. No acquaintances, exes or ex-business partners have ever heard him mention this epilepsy diagnosis or witness him having a seizure in any state CA, TX, IL or HI. His “essay of self defense” is just another Con of “poor me I’m a victim” which he has expertly acted out with oscar worthy crocodile-tears HUNDREDS of times before in the last 25+ years. Lies. You, Joe, did the violent crime and got caught again, thank goodness your victim lived, time to do the long prison time, karma has caught up to your life of violent threats, abusive behavior, lying, cheating, stealing and being the true definition of Sociopath. The citizens of the State of CA and this constitutional United States is finally safer with Joseph Hart imprisoned instead of roaming free victimizing dozens more possibly allowing to him to move beyond attempted murder to actual murder.

    • KeepJoeJailed March 20, 2022

      I was abused by Joe, as many others have been too. Every single word you said about Joe is the absolute truth of who he is…a true sociopath, a con, thief, pathological liar, cheater, a user, a multi-faceted criminal. He’s also a serial rapist, an abuser in all ways, a drug addict, etc etc. He has committed so many crimes that have gone unpunished, mostly because victims have been so scared of him, that they chose not to press charges. I feel justice has somewhat been served by having him serve prison time for this case. He deserves so many more years of punishment, but for now, I feel safe knowing he is locked away, even for just another year.

    • Ryan LaPorte November 25, 2022

      He got 4 years…

  3. Reality September 24, 2020

    I know Joe personally and BS Detector is 100% correct. Couldn’t think of a better description of Joe. Worst sociopath I ever encountered. He should never get out of prison.

  4. The Hemp Mayor October 15, 2020

    I know Joe as a horrible human, involved in fraud and filled with hatred. A real crook of many sorts. And I have the proof, but no-one cared to listen to me. On top of it all, Joe is horrible for kenaf, hemp and all of the things he says he cares about because he has literally pulled us all backwards with his “idiocy”

  5. Joesvictim October 20, 2020

    Joe Hart is the poster child for Sociopath. He is violent if people don’t do what he wants. He’s paranoid & delusional. He is a con man to the core. I think he lies so much he starts to believe his own lies or his own version. He belongs in jail for the rest of his life. The world is better off with him put away! Joe you are a disgrace to the kenaf & hemp industry.

    • Jane Doe November 27, 2020


      Yo! Been there done that, Mr Con artist at his finest. The Devil behind that silver tongue! Dangerous, horrible person! Might have started out nice somewhere, sometime, but the JPH I had a brief terrifying experience with the beg of 2020 was life changing. I have forgiven Joe not his actions, to move forward with my life. I hope for his recovery to look within his soul for truth and to see the hatred and evil his soul path is currently on through egotistical bs and not looking at the good for the whole and many. He hates women and refers to them as the C word if they don’t do what he wants them to do. And resorts to emotional and physical violence. This man is not the sweet angel he is trying to portray in this article! He is a hard core brutal man., that will take what he wants and demand he is the freaking king of universe. God help you if you are a woman with your own opinions and or ideas, those are punishable by emotional and physical abuse by JPH, and you don’t know when or where that temper will explode…or if it will be the last time you see it. Anyway, it sucks! I really thought he was a cool dude at first, totally charming, blah blah blah.
      That’s what con men do, and the greatest ones, like Joe, actually believe their own lies…which iis an interesting situation to be in….as the victim trying to forgive and learn from the experience.

      But we cannot control what a sociopath thinks, they gonna do what they gonna do! I’m just so grateful knowin that dangerous man is hopefully getting the care and protection he needs to protect some of the nicer folks out in the world. Amen to that and Karma.

      My love and support goes out to the other victims out there! Stay strong!!! He be lyin! (Whether he is even realizing it in his delusions or not).

  6. DONT LISTEN TO HIM!! October 20, 2020

    Joe Hart deserves to rot in jail for the things he has done within his lifetime. Please do not fall for his lies and gimmicks, he says the same things over and over again. He has gotten out of jail before by twisting stories and making things up. Joe hart thinks he is Jesus himself and likes to believe and act like he’s untouchable. The only places he belongs is jail or hell.

  7. Charlotte October 20, 2020

    When you first meet Joe you think “wow this guy has overcome so much in his lifetime” you feel bad his baby mamma won’t let him see his son. You believe in his good looks & charm. You are angry with his family for their behavior towards him. It’s like seeing a beautiful spiderweb that you get caught in. You don’t realize that’s what you fell for, a web of lies. Then when you struggle to escape the web there comes Joe the spider. Instead of draining the blood like a spider this “man” drains you with his mental & physical abuse. His repeated threats & destroying anything good inside you. This man has caused me years of pain. He weaves an amazing tale. Don’t believe this new web of lies. I’m sure he flipped out because the victim didn’t do what he wanted. It’s Joe’s way or else. He may not do heroin or crack but he enjoys mind altering drugs along with living for being high. I don’t know if that stuff messed up his head or he is just really that evil. I know I feel safer with him behind bars. Please lose the key.

  8. The Hemp Mayor October 21, 2020

    Wow, it is most interesting to see how this is playing out here and I must speak out more.

    Because people could basically see me as a Joe Hart

    So in essence of due diligence and full disclosure, including seeking justice myself in matters with Joe Hart and the realm in which we are both involved,

    I have been involved in kenaf since 1992 and currently I am the singular mind and leader in kenaf and general sustainable commerce and community

    Within this I have kept an eye on Joe since coming across him, just waiting for the ability to reach him and work together. Finally I did reach out, my only first intention being to support his business and intentions, because I must see others grow for my vision to come into focus. Instead of just see my position and respect me, Joe treated me like garbage and that was that. I was off without him, while he was pushing on the very same solutions that I claimed having a better grip on. So now Joe had become competition, in my way, because he was dealing with the very same people as I around the world. (his book did great harm, not good…)

    As I be and do, and the world presents itself to me, some could very well claim that I am a Joe Hart. Some could see me as some empirical, menacing, wannabe Jesus Christ of the world today. (And in fact, some attempt to hold a single no-contact order that my now ex-life partner has against me as a point of me being a terrible man. She was tired of me demanding to be made whole within our separation in which I created a hugely successful business for her and she thought she could just cut me out, so she went to the court and basically lied and manipulated the system to shut me down, and cut my hands from being made whole by her)

    My point here, the “Joe Harts” of the world think they are me. And what I am is a great human, doing great things, being held back by others in so many ways including that they step in my way and act like me, who is awesome by any definition. Joe never was anything like he claimed, and that makes me look bad…

    I am a totally peaceful being, people literally cannot make me be violent, even when they attack me

    So, I must use this a focal point for what I do in the world. I must expose Joe as a fraud who presented himself to be what I am, and I claim every right to do what I do, and I claim that I have been doing everything in right ways to solve actual problems

    And I shall not be made out to be a “Joe Hart”, and I do not owe a single human being a single thing as of this moment. I do not owe monies to anyone, I am free & clear and my soul is clean

    And I am pushing massive solutions upon the planet and all of humanity, inviting others to take part

    • Charlotte October 21, 2020

      Joe Harts “book” IMO is him essentially plagiarizing others. I believe in Kenaf and in its abilities. He is not capable of marketing it the way it needs to be. He wants the millions, he wants to be the hero saving the planet. I am really not sure if it’s pride, mental illness or just the fact he is evil to the core. His inability to bring this to fruition means destruction for everyone around him. He plays the victim, it’s never his fault. I have seen him go from one scam to another…laughing about it.
      His aura is void of color, our Shaman was trying to work with him. The anger & lies have a grasp on him. He truly thinks he above everyone. You first feel so bad for him, then you realize the trail of destruction he has caused. Be grateful my friend you did not get caught up in business with him. Him being in jail locked up is karma. Namaste

      • The Hemp Mayor November 7, 2020

        Thanks for the reply.
        But to be clear, you can’t believe in a plant. Only humans can make things happen and kenaf will fail unless people get behind me and the directions I have laid out. I don’t say this with ego, merely a fact. I am so involved at such levels globally that I can see what is wrong, and I know the exact solutions. Only through the right actions will kenaf be able to grow in scale and if we don’t act now there is literally no way that kenaf will take root. One huge problem are the ones promoting industrial hemp. No-one will listen to and act accordingly that there is a “fake war for industrial hemp” in that there was never a need to fight for or focus on so called industrial hemp while kenaf sat on the table. I even left a voicemail at this media outlet to let them know, as well as hundreds of others, but no-one cares

        Seriously, I can save everything. This is my mission and it is absolutely possible if others participate in right ways. How would you like to be a world leader?

  9. The Hemp Mayor October 21, 2020

    I have shared this page to the rest of the world in many ways, including people of all sorts involved in kenaf & hemp. Posts on facebook have seen over 300 views as of now. This must be addressed

  10. The Hemp Mayor November 3, 2020


    As of 10/24/2020 Joe Hart is awaiting processing to the state facility where he will finish his sentence…

    “The defendant’s base sentence of 36 months was doubled because he admitted to having a prior Strike conviction” according to the record

  11. Cannababe May 30, 2021

    He deserves to be put away forever. He almost killed a woman on Kauai where he escaped conviction by threatening his victim. She sustained a traumatic brain injury from the offense that she lives with TO THIS DAY!!! He is guilty of rape, drugging women, beating them almost to death. His whole kenaf business is just another way to be a con artist. He is involved with GMO and biotechnology. He is fake, manipulative and straight evil. He did not start out good he served 18 years in prison for armed robbery in Illinois. He describes himself as Al Capones direct relative. He has had so many restraining orders from so many women. I am disgusted ANDERSON VALLEY ADVERTISING actually published this!! Terrible terrible man. I have worked in cannabis industry over 12 years and this man has stolen lied and cheated his way through. He in dangerous and deserves to be put away for good!!! He almost burnt down a friends farm in Laytonville could’ve caused a massive wildfire!!! Seriously???! He targets women in the spiritual community has been BANNED from Harbin hit springs as well for similar issues!!!

    • Jane December 21, 2021

      As a female i can attest to all of this. Joe is terrifying.

  12. Ryan LaPorte November 25, 2022

    It gets even more interesting… Joe Hart’s Grandfather was none other than…
    Richard James “two guns” Hart, Al Capone’s eldest brother. Indian killer, bootleg stopper, all around bad kid.

    Anyone know a good lawyer or movie producer, please contact me. -Ryan

  13. Cannababe December 16, 2022

    Leave it to a privileged white man to be given such a minimal sentencing for such a heinous crime. How many people need to maimed, PERMANENTLY disabled, and almost killed before he gets put away! He did 18 years for armed robbery, shows up burns a place down and almost kills someone and gets LESS time for it.

  14. Rebecca turnbull September 23, 2023

    I can attest to Joe Hart is a complete psycho .

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