Monday, November 26, 2007

Double Jeopardy? Federal Thugs To Try Stephen Stelmach A Second Time For "Hate Crime" In Ashland, Massachusetts

I always wondered what would have happened if the Shaun Walker jury in Salt Lake had "hung". Would the Feds have accepted it, or would they have gone for a retrial?

We may have gotten an answer in a similar case in Massachusetts. Federal prosecutors do indeed plan to retry a former Ashland man whose trial on federal hate crime charges ended in a mistrial last month. Judge Reginald C. Lindsay last week set a second trial for Stephan Stelmach, 33, on December 10th, 2007, according to court records. Full story published in the Metro West Daily News, which serves the Framingham-Ashland area of Massachusetts.

Stelmach, formerly of Ashland, is accused of beating a man at T.J. Spirits on Rte. 135 in Ashland back on June 3rd, 2005. Race is considered the motive, and so the Feds have gotten involved.

The alleged victim - Alan Baptiste, a Waltham biomedical worker who is a black immigrant from Haiti - said last month the men attacked him unprovoked as he shared dinner with his girlfriend, threw him to the floor and left him bruised and frightened. Witnesses said they heard Stelmach use a racial slur and brag about beating another black man before the beating.

Brian McHugh, 33, of Framingham, was also originally was charged in the beating. Prosecutors claimed McHugh struck the victim with a ball peen hammer, and he was tried on the same charges alongside Stelmach. After a 10-day trial, jurors found McHugh not guilty. However, the jury failed to reach a verdict on whether Stelmach "interfered with a federally-protected activity". State charges of assault with dropped in order to allow federal charges to proceed.

Stelmach's attorney and family members maintained the incident was a brief bar scuffle with no racial motive that left the victim with minor injuries. According to the Demosworld2 blog, the encounter began after Baptiste called the men "punks" and ended as Baptiste brandished a knife. Baptiste's hospital records included photos of Baptiste hours after the incident. The pictures showed a swollen ankle, a red mark under one eye and a bruise on his back, injuries seemingly inconsistent with and not nearly as severe as those which might be inflicted by a ball peen hammer. Baptiste reportedly declined additional pain medication offered by hospital doctors at the time. [Ed. Note: Sounds a lot like the alleged "victim" in the Shaun Walker case, James Ballesteros, who claimed to be beaten severely, but who refused medical treatment and was out skiing the very next day.]

Both men were reputed members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in 2005, and Stelmach's father has claimed prosecutors are trying to make an example of him as they try to crack down on the gang. [Ed. Note: There is also no doubt that race is a factor as well; the system finds it easier to victimize accused white perpetrators because there is no white organization comparable to the NAACP or National Council of La Raza.]

James Gribouski, Stelmach's attorney in the first trial, will not represent him in the second one, according to court documents, which cite "significant differences of opinion" on strategy in a retrial.

The Demosworld2 blog also provided additional coverage of this case HERE and HERE.

Commentary: On the surface, a proposed retrial would seem to violate the constitutional proscription against "double jeopardy" (trying someone twice for the same offense). However, it has become legally-accepted practice to evade this constraint in spirit by allowing separate cases for the same offense to be tried in different jurisdictions, or for the same jurisdiction to re-try the case if it can introduce new evidence not produced during the original trial. It is quite likely that the Feds held back some evidence as insurance against a mistrial; they will now deploy that additional evidence to justify a second trial. They also use this tactic to wipe out defendants financially; on the Shaun Walker website, Shaun's wife states that they cannot afford private counsel because it would cost anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000.

Why did the state of Massachusetts waive its rights in deference to the Feds? Because the Feds have more resources and used their resources to try the case. The state of Massachusetts uses no state resources as a result. However, by waiving its rights, the state of Massachusetts has further enshrined the politicization of "hate", permitting people to be tried for their politics or their lifestyles rather than their actions.

"Outlaw bikers" like Stephen Stelmach and "white supremacists" like Shaun Walker are considered at the margins of society by America's political plutocracy because they represent a fundamental threat to federalization and central control. Because they are marketed as "marginal", the authorities find it easier to judicially target and victimize them. However, when we allow "marginal" citizens to be judicially targeted because of who they are, we cooperate in our own ultimate victimization.

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