Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Persecution of Erin Gardner Continues as Prosecutor Invokes Punishment Prior to Conviction

Deputy Prosecutor Starbuck
If awards were given out for malicious prosecution, Tippecanoe County Deputy Prosecutor Persecutor Jackie Starbuck would certainly be in contention for first prize with her most recent actions against Erin Gardner.

You remember Erin?  She was the small-framed, 100 pound woman who was violently yanked from the back seat of a car she was riding in because she didn't fork over a driver's license to LPD Officer Jeffrey Webb even though she had done nothing wrong.  Gardner was subsequently charged with resisting arrest, failure to identify herself, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

The resisting arrest charge was eventually dropped after the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that passive resistance does not constitute resisting arrest.  Oh, but after Erin turned down a plea deal Jackie maliciously added a marijuana charge even though the bee pollen collector Erin had in her possession was empty.  Gardner was subsequently drug tested at the hospital where she received treatment for her cop-inflicted injuries, which resulted in a negative screening.

Each time Erin turns down a plea deal, the charges seem to get trumped up or Erin is subjected to nonsensical persecution.  The pre-trial hearing on October 6, 2014 was more of the same for the woman who refuses to capitulate to the unreasonable demands of the state.

Even though Erin has not been convicted of a crime in the case, she was ordered to submit to a drug test, supposedly a condition of her bail.  One local attorney said this is highly unusual and almost unheard of in a misdemeanor case of this type.

Erin Gardner
Erin said that when the clerk announced the negative results of the test, Ms. Starbuck seemed rattled and asked her to repeat the results.  Sorry to disappoint you, Ms. Starbuck.  It is obvious you wanted to watch Ms. Gardner being hauled off to jail to justify your maliciousness.

According to an earlier appeals court ruling, the unusual move by Starbuck and sanctioned by a pro-tem judge, who is also a former prosecutor, may have been a violation of Gardner's constitutional rights.

In 2002, the Indiana Court of Appeals heard Elizabeth Steiner's case against the State and determined that, "In ordering drug testing as a condition of bail, the trial court must determine whether there is a reasonable basis for the apparent assumption that arrestees ordered into the testing program are potential drug users...Individualized suspicion should be based on evidence of prior drug use, such as a drug-related convictions or self-reported drug use."

The Steiner case involved the defendant's possession of marijuana; however, the court rightly concluded, "The record does not reveal that the trial court made any attempt to determine whether the particular facts and circumstances of this case justified the imposition of random drug screens as a condition of bail. Steiner was accused of misdemeanor possession of marijuana; however, the record reveals no history of substance abuse by Steiner nor any other prior convictions or arrests. While evidence of a history of drug use or of prior drug or alcohol arrests would be a proper basis for imposing drug screens as a condition of bail, no such evidence was introduced that would lead the trial court to make an individualized determination that Steiner would use drugs while she was released pending trial. Therefore, we find that it was not reasonable for the trial court to impose random drug screens as a condition of Steiner’s bail and that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering that condition. Thus, we reverse and remand with instructions that the trial court vacate the condition imposing random drug screens." 

What can any rational person conclude but that Ms. Starbuck and Company are engaging in malicious prosecution of the worse kind?  Ms. Gardner, many in this community believe you must file complaints against the officers of the court who are engaging in this type of unethical conduct.  Please refer to this link for assistance.

Oh, but if you think that's the complete update, fasten your seatbelts (pun intended), because it gets even more bizarre.

Late last summer, Ms. Gardner was involved in a domestic dispute when she arrived to pick up her her son at his grandmother's house.  An argument ensued when the alleged perpetrator did not want to relinquish the child and that's when Gardner says she was physically assaulted.  Gardner says she immediately attempted to leave the home when she saw the aggressive demeanor of the alleged perpetrator.  In an attempt to protect her face, Gardner says she placed her arms and hands in a defensive posture to soften the blows.  Gardner immediately phoned the police and reported the incident; however, there is no mention of this in the one-sided and biased police report.

Gardner also photographed the injuries in hopes that she could get a restraining order against the alleged perpetrator who she says has attacked her in the past. Gardner sustained scratches and bruises throughout her body and hair pulled out.  

Without getting her side of the story, the Lafayette Police Department and Tippecanoe County Prosecutors were all too willing to charge Erin with misdemeanor battery several weeks after the incident had taken place.  Erin intends to take this case to a jury as well and is confident that the evidence will conclude that the wrong party was charged with a crime.  Fortunately for Erin she also has an audio recording that she says will exonerate her against the bogus charges.

"These charges never would have been filed had it not been for the fact that I am involved in a dispute with the Lafayette Police Department against the earlier charges," declared Gardner.

Gardner makes a good point considering the fact that there have been many instances where charges have not been filed in these types of domestic disputes.  And how ethical is it to file charges against someone while only hearing one very biased side to the story?

Gardner recently moved out of the county, because she said she is being harassed by those in the system who are hellbent on making her pay for standing up to their abuse of power.   She also says she has been followed by unmarked police cars, which she believes constitutes a form of harassment and even stalking.

There's also another matter that Gardner would like to clear up.  On September 26, 2014 Gardner was in the hospital fighting for her life against a potentially fatal disease.  She informed the court via fax that she could not appear for the previously scheduled pre-trial hearing on that date due to her medical condition.  She also said she has phone records to prove she contacted her public defender; however, the entry in Court View paints an entirely different picture:

09/26/2014 Comes now the State of Indiana by Jackie Starbuck, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney. Comes also Timothy Curry, Deputy Public Defender. Defendant failed to contact the Public Defender’s Office and provide documents to her attorney or the court regarding her court date. Court resets this cause for hearing on Monday, October 6, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. in conjunction with 79D05-1409-CM-691. Defendant is ordered to appear in person. If defendant fails to appear, a warrant will issue for her arrests. Copy to: Defendant, Public Defender and State of Indiana (jkp) Entered: September 26, 2014

Does any rational thinking being believe that Erin Gardner will get fair treatment in Tippecanoe County? There is no blindfold on Lady Justice in Tippecanoe County, especially considering the fact that shortly before Erin was charged with misdemeanor battery, someone using a Tippecanoe County issued computer left a comment, which this moderator did not publish, announcing that Ms. Gardner has "beat someone up" and referred to her as "your friend who can do no wrong."

Erin will be the first to admit that she's not perfect; however, the justice system had no probable cause to arrest her in the first place and Ms. Gardner has every right to invoke her right to a jury trial without being punished for it.  This blogger and many others will stand with her in defending those sacred rights.

It's time for this story to get the attention of the U.S. Justice Department as well as media outlets throughout the state and beyond.  It is a huge waste of tax dollars to persecute a terminally ill woman who did nothing wrong at the outset to deserve any of the persecution that has followed her.

Enough is enough.  All of those involved in this travesty of justice look as foolish as Ms. Starbuck and her beer bong!