28 April 2011
Jeremy Marks is finally free. As you may recall he was charged with "attempted lynching" in response to recording a video of police brutality. After he spent seven months in jail without a trial, I heard about his case on Reddit and bailed him out. Yesterday he accepted a deal that lets him get on with his life.
As a result of international media pressure, the prosecution decided to go double-or-nothing and find something substantive to charge Jeremy with. They executed a dawn raid, held Jeremy, his family and neighbours at gunpoint while they ransacked his house confiscating phones, computers and correspondence (including letters between Jeremy and his lawyers). The goal was to establish some connection between Jeremy and an LA gang so that the prosecution could discredit Jeremy's side. Ultimately the prosecution was unable to play the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game well enough to establish a gang link. So they settled.
Under the terms of the settlement the charges of attempted lynching are thrown out. Jeremy accepts the bogus charge of resisting arrest, but serves no (additional) time and his record will be expunged in three years. And the prosecution is secure from being sued for wrongful arrest and imprisonment.
I went down to LA a few weeks ago to meet Jeremy in person for the first time. He's a quiet, gentle young man who has zero interest in being the next Rosa Parks. He just wants to put this nightmare behind him and get on with his life. Finally he'll be able to do that. I'm happy that his ordeal is over. My hope is that the prosecution will learn from this episode and think twice when pursuing cases that have no merit.
[Note to media: I'm a secondary source, don't treat the above as facts. Make your own phone calls to confirm.]
As some have noticed ("Neil, are you alive?") my website has been uncharacteristically quiet for the past three months. I've been having far too much fun with three microwaves, a neural network and a kayak. More to come...