WA State Courts Ignore 6th Amendment
By Edward Snook
Editor’s Note: We have reported extensively on this case and you can find all of the articles listed in order at the end of this story along with a video the US~Observer produced on the Faire’s plight.
Okanogan County, WA – James Faire continues to be a political prisoner in the State of Washington’s broken judicial system. Faire’s plight began on June 18th, 2015 when Richard Alan Finegold filed a false police report in Okanogan County. Since that time, Faire has been falsely accused of serious crimes, including Murder in the First Degree and has endured a factually malicious prosecution conducted by Okanogan County Prosecutor Karl Sloan.
Faire’s Attorney Stephen Pidgeon filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari, in the Supreme Court of the United States on May 18th, 2017. The petition asks the Court to review the judgment of the Supreme Court of the State of Washington and the underlying judgment of the Court of Appeals, Division Three, State of Washington, in this case.
James Faire spent eight months in Okanogan County Jail under pre-trial incarceration. During that time Faire was without counsel for 173 days. According to court records, Attorney Nicholas Blount filed a “notice of appearance” on June 24th, 2015. Court records further show that Attorney Blount withdrew from Faire’s case on August 18th, 2015. Following the attorney’s withdrawal, the court ordered the public defender’s office to provide an attorney, and ordered such an attorney to immediately file a notice of appearance. No other attorney was appointed to represent Faire; no attorney filed any notice of appearance on his behalf; and Faire believed that he was without counsel.
Faire was paraded in front of the court at a series of monthly “status hearings,” and members of the public defender pool who happened to be in the courtroom would make representations on his behalf. Faire remained incarcerated during this 173-day period, pleading with the court in two separate letters for representation.
In February 2016, Faire sought a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that his incarceration was illegal, because as an indigent defendant, he had been presented at four critical stage proceedings without benefit of council. This writ was denied.
State of Washington’s Broken Justice System
The State of Washington believes that, since one of the members of the brothel of public defenders who were in the courtroom on the several occasions when Faire was presented, and made representations concerning his case, Faire was represented by counsel. Such a belief is contrary to explicit State law requiring such a notice; contrary to the State’s rules governing criminal procedure requiring immediate substitution of counsel; and contrary to an existing order of the superior court requiring immediate substitution.
The Washington court has erred in affirming this violation of its own criminal procedure, and Faire’s presumption of innocence was ignored in denying the writ of habeas corpus.
The courts of the State of Washington are burdened with a greater and greater number of criminal defendants, and the practice of protecting indigent defendants has grown tired and worn. In this case, unconstitutional representation reached a point of illegal custody and such slipshod standards that the courts are willing to win at practices that are completely outside statutory and procedural requirements, which, when they accumulate, eventually rise to become destructive to the fundamentals of due process.
A Case for the Highest Court
Attorney Stephen Pidgeon states, “Faire’s liberty interest was erroneously denied when the State failed to comport with any proscribed procedures under state law, allowing instead for the slipshod practices of the contract public defender to govern which left Faire in jail for 173 days without counsel.”
The questions brought forward in the recently filed petition for a Writ of Certiorari are:
1. Whether presenting an indigent defendant before successive status hearings without benefit of counsel violates the Sixth Amendment.
2. Whether the violation of the Sixth Amendment is of sufficient force to warrant the release of the defendant without conditions pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus.
3. Whether the violation of the Sixth Amendment is of sufficient force to warrant the dismissal of the charges alleged against the defendant.
4. Whether the incarceration of the defendant for 173 days without benefit of counsel while presenting the defendant at critical stage proceedings is unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.
5. Whether the violations of a Washington statute, a rule of criminal procedure and a court order in respect of appointing subsequent counsel constitutes a violation of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.
James Faire seeks a reversal of the decision of the Supreme Court of Washington, and a finding that the failure to provide counsel pursuant to a written notice of appearance at critical stage hearings does not amount to providing counsel for an indigent defendant, and that such a practice violates the rights protected under the Sixth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Faire seeks a decision that his writ of habeas corpus was wrongfully denied, and that his incarceration under these circumstances illegal.
Editor’s Note: Anyone with factual information on this case or any of the players is urged to contact the US~Observer at 541-474-7885 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More detailed information and ways to materially and otherwise support James Faire are at the following Faire Foundation sites: