Static on the Line?

Yesterday, I received a phone call from a Fresno County Sheriff’s Deputy.

The stated purpose of the call was to follow up on whether or not I am a threat about which the Sheriff’s Department should be concerned. The unstated purpose appeared to be “evidence gathering.”

For what, I don’t know. I would have thought my “Overlords” post would have clarified to anyone who misread the post that started this mess that I am not a threat. At least, it would have clarified it as well as anything I could say during the phone call would.

What concerns me is that, once law enforcement sets their minds to a particular conclusion, nothing — no evidence, no personal statement, no historical data — seems to have much of an impact. What constitutes “investigation” and “follow up” too often is: “I came up with this idea, and then I kept looking for something to prove I was right.”

I want to keep this as short as possible — a man whose judgment I trust more than my own has suggested 500 words or less — so let me get right to the point:

I did not threaten anyone. However much some may wish to interpret my words to mean something different than I meant them when I wrote them, that wish, and your interpretation, does not inform my intent.

Furthermore, I am not currently, nor do I plan to become, a threat to anyone, if by “threat” one means “intending to inflict evil, injury, or damage” in any way that would be illegal in the State of California, or under federal law.

Nor do I intend to encourage anyone else to become a threat to anyone, using that same definition.

No interpretation of the words that I wrote is contrary to what I just said in the block-quote above, unless you add something that I did not include.

If you believe differently, then you are mistaken. One of the unfortunate things about blog-writing is that, to keep things short, you can’t always include all the detailed background to your statements that you might wish. My views on our society, how it does law, who administers the law and how, and whether or not we achieve our stated goals, among other things, are nuanced; they are not black-and-white. I am also a colorful and often deliberately provocative writer. But what I wrote the other day did not say — because I did not intend it to say — that anyone should physically harm any law enforcement officer, or anyone else. 

It is perhaps unfortunate that in the same post, I wrote that gang members should stop fighting and killing each other and should fight (but, notably, not “kill”) those who keep them down. It is also unfortunate that English readers no longer understand the use of the subjunctive “if.”

Since my “Overlords” post was apparently not clear enough, I tried to make this clear during yesterday’s phone call.

Hopefully, there was no static on the line.

About Rick

Rick Horowitz is a criminal defense attorney with an extreme dislike of the criminal "justice" system which routinely ignores the Constitution, the Law, and the lives it ruins.

In addition to this blog, Rick also owns Fresno Criminal Defense.


  1. Scott Jacobs says:

    I certainly hope you legally recorded the conversation…

  2. I was wondering if there would be any more pushback on that. Thanks for filling us in.

  3. If you were my client (see the word “if” LOL), I might have advised you to say, “I’m going to remain silent; I want a lawyer.” Click. The police can and often do misconstrue, intentionally or unintentionally, anything you might say. Prosecutors can try to spin your words the way they want to get a conviction by a judge or jury who merely didn’t like what you said.

    I once had the police call me on the phone and ask me to come to the police station. I told them that I wouldn’t go to the police station but they could come to my house and talk to me and my witnesses. My witnesses and I waited and waited and waited and waited for them to show up so I could tell them to their face that I wouldn’t talk (they didn’t know I wouldn’t talk; no I didn’t lie to the police!). But, the police never showed as they said they would. At the misdemeanor trial (pro se, where the jury acquitted me), the prosecution kept objecting when I tried to bring out that the police weren’t interested in finding the truth because they wouldn’t come to interview me or my witnesses. The judge wouldn’t let me ask the questions about the refusal of the police to investigate. I finally got the evidence in when the prosecutor asked a question of one of my witnesses on cross-examination that the prosecutor didn’t know the answer to and my witness truthfully blurted out (paraphrasing), “I waited for the detectives to come to my house to talk to me.” The judge then let me get my direct examination questions answered on re-direct.

  4. Your concern about the intransigence of the mind behind the badge is well founded. It’s even been researched a bit. Salon did an article on it last fall.


    I hope things get back to normal (at least) with the folks over at the Sheriff’s Dept..

  5. In writing your previous blog entry you said nothing wrong, untoward, questionable, or imprudent. Clearly you did not violate the law. By questioning and harassing you, the Sheriff’s Department has demonstrated a brazen disregard for its legal function as an independent law enforcement agency. You did not owe them a public or private explanation for exercising your first amendment rights and holding them to account by pointing out their well documented abuse of basic individual rights. I’m surprised you dignified their harassment with a response in private by talking on the phone with them or by clarifying here publicly that you’re not “a threat”, surely they don’t deserve a response to legitimate speech. If bullies with badges can intimidate defense attorneys, what hope do common individuals have? Keep fighting the good fight.

  6. Scott Jacobs says:

    “By questioning and harassing you, the Sheriff’s Department has demonstrated a brazen disregard for its legal function as an independent law enforcement agency.”

    In other words, they are acting like a police department…

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