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Another Incarceration

October 1, 1981

Dear Sheriff:

In order to understand better the sequence of events leading to my release soon after my arrest on September 30, 1981, I would like to review the facts. I prefer not to rely on my memory of such a time. Please send me a brief statement of the facts. I’m not asking for opinions or confidential information, only for the facts from the record for the time between my arrest and release. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

While I am writing, I would like to share my thoughts on a different matter. It seems to me that, as the chief law-enforcement officer elected by the people in this county, you have the highest law-enforcement authority in this county. There is no higher elected law—enforcement officer in the nation. Nobody in the world has received authority from the sovereign people of this county to over-rule your law- enforcement decisions in this county. As long as I have confidence in your judgment and commitment to law, as I do now, I will feel very secure in this county. I trust that you will understand that I am sharing these thoughts only because I believe that in recent years we have not appreciated and understood well enough that a county sheriff is the officer people have elected and trusted to protect their lives, liberties, and property. Through the sheriff the people exercise their inalienable rights to protect themselves and to defend their rights of property. These rights are confirmed by Article I, Section 1, of the Constitution of the State of Iowa. May they always remain so.

October 3, 1981 (Reply from the sheriff)

In reply to your request for a statement of facts concerning your recent arrest and brief incarceration, I have set down the following sequence of events. On September 25th, I received a warrant for your arrest which had been mailed by Sheriff (name) of Fayette County. Along with the warrant was a cover letter, from Sheriff (name), requesting that we inform you that the posting of a $75.00 cash bond would be necessary to affect your release. After your arrest on the warrant, Sheriff (name) was informed that you were in custody,(and that you refused to post the bond, (as was your right). Normal procedure. in a situation such as this, is for the agency forwarding the warrant to provide transportation for the detainee back to the county having jurisdiction in the matter. Sheriff (name) adamantly refused to do this, and demanded that we take you before a Sioux County Magistrate on the charge. Since it was not a Sioux County matter, I declined to acquiesce to his demand, and reiterated my request that he provide transportation for your return to Fayette County. I also advised the Sheriff, at this time, that if he would not comply with my request that you would be released from custody. The Sheriff’s reply was to again demand that you be taken before a Sioux County Magistrate. Since he refused to comply with the accepted procedural practice in these matters, or extend the normal professional courtesies, it was my decision that further fruitless communication on the matter would only prolong your incarceration and abridge your right to have the matter adjudicated without undue delay. Therefore, I ordered that you be released.

October 7, 1981

Dear Magistrate (name):

There must be a mistake or a misunderstanding.

After pleading guilty to traffic citation #144430 and receiving from the Clerk of the District Court a Notice of Error dated September 17, 1981, I sent a letter to the Clerk of the District Court repeating my promise to pay the twenty-six dollar deficiency immediately upon learning what it is that I am required by law to pay. The next communication I received from your court was a warrant for my arrest.

I repeat my promise to pay what I owe immediately upon learning what it is. Please tell me what the law requires me to do. I want to obey the law. Is it not possible for us to handle this matter by mail, rather than for me to travel hundreds of miles across our state? It seems to me that such travel would be a waste of time and resources. I will wait, though, for you to tell me what I must do.

October 7, 1981

(To the distant sheriff)

Dear Sir:

On September 24,, 1981, your office sent a warrant for my arrest to the Sheriff of Sioux County, Iowa. You also sent instructions that, if I could not post bond, arrangements would be made for my return to Fayette County.

On September 30, 1981, because I was unable to post bond as required by law, I was arrested and incarcerated at the Sioux County Jail. When you were notified, you did not make arrangements for my return to Fayette County. Subsequently I was released from custody.

I do not understand this sequence of events, and the loss of liberty which I suffered because of it. Please explain.

October 26, 1981

Dear Magistrate (name):

Because you have not responded to my letter of October 7, 1981, I assume that you are unable to tell me what it is that I legally owe to your court.

I had hoped to learn what it is that I owe, so that I could pay as required by law. Since it seems that this will be impossible, and since I want to discharge my undefined debt, I am sending you three non-redeemable paper “notes” totalling twenty-six undefined units (“dollars”) of something unspecified. It is my understanding that the public offices are accepting these non-redeemable “notes” and checks denominated in undefined units of something unspecified as “legal” tender for the discharge of undefined debts. If your court does not accept these undefined units of something unspecified, please tell me how I can discharge my undefined debt.

If you do accept these non-redeemable “notes” denominated in undefined units of something unspecified, please send me a receipt.

If the understanding which I have expressed in this letter is incorrect, please correct me, so that I may avoid a similar error in the future. Your help will be appreciated.

One non-redeemable paper “note” for twenty abstract, undefined “dollars” of something unspecified.
One non-redeemable paper “note” for five abstract, undefined “dollars” of something unspecified.
One non-redeemable paper “note” for one abstract, undefined “dollar” of something unspecified.