"This is my new cause... I have never in my life stood up for anything, let alone been willing to lobby for it. I want this. No I need this to function in life. I am a number and I am a label, and that is what people see, and I am more then just that."
Friday, July 29, 2011
From AZ... Through the eyes of another offender...
At the first trial the jury found me guilty on all 15 counts and he was sentenced to serve 15 years flat time in the penitentiary. Prior to his trial, I had served one month in jail awaiting trial and prior to the second trial I had served 2 1/2 years in the penitentiary. Of the approximately 650 CD discs that were found in Coghill’s motorhome, six discs contained child pornography. After objection by my attorney, testified that some disks contained pornography as well as other things, but I denied that I knew any of the discs contained child pornography. On appeal the Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two reversed the case for new trial holding that it was error for the trial court to admit evidence of adult pornography State v. Coghill, 216 Ariz. 578, 169, P.3d 942 (App. 2007).
At the second trial the jury found me not guilty on 14 counts charging first degree sexual exploitation of a minor under the age of 15, but guilty of count 15 which charged attempted sexual exploitation of a minor. I was sentenced to 10 years probation. As in the first trial my attorney objected to testimony that I stated that some of the approximately 650 discs contained pornography, but none contained child pornography. But the trial court overruled the objection and admitted my statement that some of the approximately 650 discs contained pornography, but no child pornography. I appealed to the Arizona Court of Appeals Division Two alleging the trial court's ruling to be reversible error, but the Court of Appeals, this time around, held in an unpublished opinion, it was not error to admit that I knew some of the approximately 650 discs contained pornography while denying that he knew any contained child pornography.
During my second trial I discovered the ninth circuit court of appeals ruling in US v. Antelope, 395 F.3d 1128 (9th CIR. 2005) where the Ninth Circuit ruled that "As long as a defendant retains his right to appeal use in court of information obtained in psycho-sexual counseling constitutes a 5th Amendment right violation as it causes a person to incriminate oneself." Unfortunately in Antelope's case he had already exhausted all his state remedies, therefore lost his right to appeal and could be forced to admit guilt or be sent back to prison for not being in compliance with sex offender treatment program. When I learned of this case I realized that the ruling was in direct contradiction to Arizona Revised Statute 13-4066 where in unity is granted in one sentence and then taken away in the second one. I brought this case to the attention of my attorneys near the end of my trial because I realized that very shortly this could be one of my issues. I had already seen far too many people who had refused to admit guilt in sex offender treatment program and had been sent back to prison because of it. I asked my attorneys if this matter could be clarified before sentencing in the event that I received a sentence of probation which I was told was probably going to be the case. Both of my attorneys appeared quite happy over the information I had just presented them and immediately wrote a motion for court ordered use immunity during sex offender treatment program. Judge Godoy agreed with the motion and my attorneys wrote the order for the court which the judge signed.
One of the stipulations for probation was that I either return to work or go back to school. Previously my form of employment was as an aircraft mechanic for the airlines. The pinnacle of my 18 year career occurred when I became a Senior Aircraft Maintenance Planner for Midway Airlines, which at the time was the 12th largest airline in the United States. My responsibilities were to schedule all routine overnight maintenance amongst our nine out stations located throughout the United States and to plan and schedule all heavy maintenance for 19 aircraft, both DC-9's and Boeing 737's. Realizing that because of 49 CFR Part 1544 I could never work in aviation again as a result of my conviction and that my 18 year career in aviation was over, I decided I would return to school and study to become a paralegal by obtaining a bachelor of science degree in legal studies. Not wanting to have to deal with the public notification that is required of sex offenders who physically attend school I found a way I could pursue this goal online. When I presented my proposal to adult probation they agreed to it as long as I had content filtering software installed on my lap top. As a condition for being allowed to use a computer I agreed to take a specific use polygraph in regard to its use. I realized at the time that the court order for use immunity made no specific mention of polygraphs and that this might at some later date pose a problem. However I expected that because the issue I raised on appeal the first time was the same issue that was being raised the second time, that I would prevail on my appeal and we would never have to cross that bridge. Unfortunately this did not happen.
After two years on probation my probation officer resigned. This placed another person in charge of my case by the name of Cynthia Stevens. On my first visit with her she said, "I understand you are using a computer." My reply was that I was and that it was with adult probation's permission. She said, "that was then this is now. I am going to order you to stop using your computer." I informed her that I was going to school, which I had been court ordered to do and that I had taken out a $4000 loan to accomplish this. And that in addition to this I only had 10 weeks to go before I graduated. Her reply was, "the use of a computer is a privilege and you haven't done anything to demonstrate to me that you deserve it." I wondered how such a thing was even possible considering the fact that I had only known her for 30 seconds. She then told me that she would permit me to keep the computer if I passed a specific use polygraph. Considering the fact that because there are only three results in a polygraph, pass, fail or inconclusive and that inconclusive counts as a failure, statistically speaking any person taking a polygraph has a two thirds or 66% of failing one. When I returned home I contacted my attorney, a public defender from Pima County by the name of David Euchner. You will never find a more capable attorney and I brought him up to date with what had happened. He decided that he would file a motion before the court to clarify the terms of probation and to have polygraphs included in the use immunity order from the court.
When I appeared in court judge Godoy went ballistic stating that had she known that I had not attended sex offender treatment program during the two years that I was on probation because no program would take me as a result of the use immunity order, but she never would have sentenced me to probation of all. While she didn't come right out and say it she practically accused my attorney of being deceptive to her. At the conclusion of the hearing I was ordered to schedule a polygraph within 72 hours and to be enrolled in sex offender treatment program within the same period of time. I was also permitted to complete my schooling from which I will graduate with honors carrying a 4.0 grade point average for my last term and being on the Dean's list during the majority of my education at Kaplan University.
On 07/28/2011 I received an e-mail to contact my attorney and when I did he informed me that adult probation and the state is requiring me to admit guilt to count 15 during sex offender treatment program and that if I do not I will be sent back to prison. My reply was, "let them." I was told that if this was the route that I was taking to expect to be arrested upon my next hearing. Not even considering the violation of my civil rights, this would mean that I would no longer be able to complete my schooling and would lose $4000 as a direct result of the Maricopa County adult probation department and the state of Arizona. Mr. Euchner was appalled that adult probation and the state would require someone to incriminate themselves through coercion and threats as a condition of probation. He was so shocked at this brazen violation of constitutional rights that he consulted with the other attorneys in the public defender office to determine if this had happened to anyone before. Only one the other attorney in the public defender office claims that he was aware of a single instance that was similar to mine. There's a good reason for that. By the time a prisoner is released, decades of time have usually passed. They have long since exhausted all of their state remedies and no longer have an attorney working on their case. Consequently none of these cases rise into the awareness of the public defender or anyone else for that matter. The probationer has essentially been placed into a dark void where they have no recourse to the law and have essentially become punching bags for any probation officer to do with as they please. That is, until I came along.
Mr. Pattis you have my permission to use my name in the reproduction of any of the above. The other names that I have mentioned are public servants and as a result have no expectation of privacy. Nobody is going to be served well by keeping any of this quiet. Please bang your drum loudly!