By Joseph Snook
Prineville, OR. – On July 13, 2011, Jerry Keller of Prineville, Oregon was denied a jury trial for crimes he allegedly committed on March 11, 2010. The charges were interfering with a firefighter and disorderly conduct – both misdemeanor crimes under Oregon law.
Keller, in an attempt to prove his innocence, sought the help of numerous attorneys, media, friends, and family. Keller stated, “What has happened to me is a complete abuse of our legal system. The only crimes committed in my case were by our government.”
Crook County Prosecutor
Crook County Prosecutor Daina Vitolin’s continued to pursue Keller’s charges, despite outrage from local residents and evidence proving Keller’s innocence from the US~Observer. The facts and public exposure allegedly caused Vitolin’s to not only further violate Jerry Keller’s rights, but also her own rules under ORS (Oregon Revised Statutes). Other reports have also indicated that Vitolin’s could very well have been involved in Jerry’s charges well before a prosecutor should.
While reading the police report taken by officer Jordan Zamora, I found some of the questions Zamora asked the reported victim, BLM (Bureau of Land Management) employee Benjamin Renfro falling directly in line with what Keller was charged with – “I asked Benjamin if he felt obstructed from doing his job?” said Zamora. ORS 166.025 – Interfering with a Firefighter states, “…Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic on a public way…” Zamora’s police report containing the questions he asked Keller would lead any prudent person to question whether or not Zamora’s interview with Renfro was scripted by District Attorney Vitolin’s well before any charges were filed against him.
In an earlier article, we disclosed the fact that Renfro’s wife works in Vitolin’s office as her assistant, which strongly bolsters my belief that the criminal justice system in Prineville, Oregon conducted a conspired false arrest and prosecution of Jerry Keller.
Other questions, which can be viewed in the police report, when compared to the charges, and Jerry’s statements lead me to believe that not only was Jerry unaware he was talking to a firefighter, he never obstructed vehicular or pedestrian traffic, which was confirmed by Jerry’s wife Brenda, the only other witness besides Renfro. Two witness statements tell that Renfro was not wearing any sort of uniform recognized as a firefighter, nor was his Hummer equipped with any kind of equipment that is associated with firefighting.
As July 19, 2011 neared, prosecutor Vitolin’s actions told a story of how a prosecutor obstructed justice to prevent a jury from acquitting an innocent man. Finally, Jerry Keller was informed that his CRIMINAL charges were being reduced to two violations, which are not crimes under Oregon Law, and therefore he wouldn’t be allowed a jury trial. The dropped criminal charges occurred just days after the US~Observer published an article that factually told the story of Keller’s false arrest.
Judge George W. Neilson
He went to trial before Judge George W. Neilson on July 19, 2011 and was convicted of one violation, acquitted of the other and fined $100.00 – lower than most traffic offences. The $100.00 fine is below the $250.00 fine that would allow him to appeal Judge Neilson’s decision. Keller’s fine was obviously a foregone conclusion, showing Neilson to be an intricate participant in the conspiracy to deprive Keller of equal protection, due process and therefore justice.
Reflecting back on 18 months since Keller’s alleged violation, Keller stated that he “was in court with his third attorney and fourth court appearance before his charges were dropped and he was no longer given the title – criminal.” He continued, “I am upset that they still got one over on me with a violation, but I am not a criminal, and that title will not be associated with my name.”
How did District Attorney Daina Vitolins reportedly violate her own rules under Oregon Law? Below is ORS 161.566, which is the statute Vitolin’s used to illegally reduce Keller’s charges. Note that her misuse of the law was readily rubber-stamped by Judge George W. Neilson.
161.566 – Misdemeanor treated as violation
“(1) Except as provided in subsection (4) of this section, a prosecuting attorney may elect to treat any misdemeanor as a Class A violation. The election must be made by the prosecuting attorney orally at the time of the first appearance of the defendant or in writing filed on or before the time scheduled for the first appearance of the defendant. If no election is made within the time allowed, the case shall proceed as a misdemeanor.“
Subsection 4 only refers to eluding or attempting to flee police officers and driving under the influence.
Keller stated that at no time until his fourth court appearance was such an offer made. He is currently enjoying his crime free record, and stated that his “plans to pursue this matter further – aren’t over.”
Keller recently sought reimbursement for a retainer that was paid to one of his previous attorney’s, Foster Glass of Bend, Oregon. According to Keller, Attorney Foster Glass “malpracticed” him. Keller has since filed a bar complaint against Glass with the Oregon State Bar.