Non-Violent Communication with Prosecutors

In the past week, I have been conversing via e-mail with some the men who are prosecuting me. I have copied the correspondence below for public perusal. I am feeling confused because my need to understand and be understood is not being met. It would make life more wonderful for me and meet my need of understanding to receive constructive feedback regarding ideas on how to proceed.  Please send e-mails with suggestions to LiveFreeOrDance (at) gmail (dot) com

E-mail 5: (Prosecutors’ “Final Offer”) April 17, 2012

Dear Mr. Horton,

My e-mail to you dated April 12, 2012 and sent at 9:46 AM (see below) constitutes my and Attorney Webb’s final offer prior to trial. Regarding the charges Attorney McLaughlin is prosecuting, you will need to contact him directly.

Should the matters being prosecuted by me proceed to trial, all charges will be brought forward for trial, and, should the State prevail, the State is, obviously, not bound by the proposed resolution below.

Thank you for your views, but it appears as if the gulf between us is simply too large for a negotiated resolution. At this time, the State will, as it did before, be ready for trial. I urge you to consider retaining an attorney as you are facing some serious charges.

Sincerely yours,
David Lauren, ACA

David Lauren, Esq.

E-mail 4: (My response to first counter-offer) April 17, 2012

Dear Mr. Lauren, Mr. McLaughlin, and Mr. Webb,

I have read your offer of a global plea wherein I would plead to charges resisting arrest, refusing to be processed, and contempt, at the penalty of 540 days in CCHOC, plus about $1,500, all but 90 days stayed.

I feel unsettled because I have a need for peace that is not being met.  One way my need for peace could be me is if you would drop the charges against me.

I have confidence in our abilities to create a solution in which all of our needs can be met.  In the case that simply dropping the charges would leave your own needs unmet, I would respectfully ask what your needs are and offer the following:

Yes, I would be happy to plea to charges of possession, obstructing, resisting, and contempt in exchange for forfeiting a trial.

I would really like to change the proposed sentence to 150 hours of community service to run concurrent.  In that time, I would be happy to paint, garden, and do a daily afternoon litter cleanup at central square or other neighborhood parks.  Because of my involvement supporting the Hundred Nights Homeless Shelter, I would also dedicate time to volunteering there as well as the community food bank.

Since I strongly prefer a community-building approach to justice, I will not accept payments of any fines except in the form of community service.

I feel uneasy about a punishment in the CCHOC because I have a need for autonomy, and that need would not be met without freedom.  Though I do not think the people of Keene should pay for my food and housing, my incarceration would leave the people of Keene no choice.  It would make life more wonderful for me if you would accept my offer of community service.

Sincerely,

Derrick J. Horton

75 Leverett St.

Keene, NH 03431

*All correspondence is likely to be published to LiveFreeOrDance.com*

E-mail 3: (Prosecutors’ first counter-offer) April 12, 2012

Dear Mr. Horton,

I have heard back from Attorney McLaughlin and he indicated that your proposed counter-offer to the global resolution offered is not acceptable to him as it regards the charges he is prosecuting you on. He understands that Attorney Webb and I may make an offer to you regarding our charges.

In view of that, the following is an offer involving only those charges being prosecuted by Attorney Webb and me. Regarding the charges being prosecuted by Attorney McLaughlin, you should contact him.

Attorney Webb’s charge – Remand to District Court, accepting the sentence as originally imposed.

Charges I’m bringing forward – 1.) Criminal Trespass – reduce to a Class B Misdemeanor, $500.00 fine;

2.) Resisting Arrest or Detention – Plea to Class A misdemeanor, 180 days in the House of Corrections, all but 90 suspended for one year, fully capped. A capped plea means that, if agreed to, the judge won’t go above it and you, as the defendant, can argue for a lesser sentence. By being full capped, there would be no limit as to how low a sentence you could argue for. I know that this may seem a bit confusing, so feel free to either call or e-mail me if I have made it too confusing. If the capped plea was imposed and you earned full good time at the House of Corrections, your actual incarcerated time would be no more than 60 days.

3.) Criminal Contempt – Nolle Prosse (dismiss).

I think that this is a fair offer in that one charge is being reduced to a Class B misdemeanor, another would be dismissed, and you are being given the opportunity to argue for a lesser sentence than that I would be recommending on the third. By remanding the charge that Attorney Webb is prosecuting, you eliminate the chance that, after a jury trial, you are found guilty and given a more severe sentence by the Superior Court judge. No one knows what a jury will do, and you will be facing a fairly substantial risk, as do all defendants in a jury trial.

Finally, if you do retain an attorney and he or she wants to continue the trial scheduled for April 17th, I would assent to it. I look forward to hearing from you regarding the above offer.

Sincerely yours,
David Lauren, ACA
David Lauren
Assistant County Attorney
Cheshire County Attorney’s Office
12 Court St.
Keene, NH  03431

603-352-0056
dlauren@co.cheshire.nh.us

E-mail 2: (My response to initial contact)  April 11, 2012

Dear Mr. Lauren,

Thank you for writing me with your offer.  I have given it some consideration, and I would like to present the following offer in response:

In exchange for dropping all other charges, I will plead nolo contendere to Resisting Arrest, Refusing to process, and Contempt. With a recommended sentence of 120 days per charge to be served concurrently, and all but 90 days suspended for one year upon the condition of good behavior, plus payment of a $500 fine to be paid with 50 hours of community service, and a pretrial confinement credit of 10 days.

Sincerely,

Derrick J. Horton


75 Leverett St. Keene, NH 03431 DerrickJHorton@gmail.com

PS Would you please share the above message with Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Webb?  Thank you.

E-mail 1: (Initial Contact) April 10, 2012

Dear Mr. Horton:

It was good meeting you this afternoon, and, as indicated, after having consulted with the other two prosecutors involved, I am prepared to make the following “global” resolution to all of your pending charges.

1.) On the charge that was appealed from District Court and is being prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney John Webb – Remand to Keene District Court with the original sentence remaining in place.

2.) On the charges being prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Chris McLaughlin:
The charges are: 1.) Possession of Marijuana; 2.) Contempt (two counts); 3.) resisting arrest or detention; 4.) disobeying an officer. The offer on these would be nolle prosse (dismiss) the disobeying an officer charge, and on the remaining charges, the sentence on each charge would be identical and concurrent (served at the same time) with each other, but consecutive (to be served after) to your remanded sentence above. 360 days in the CCHOC, all but 90 days suspended for two (2) years upon the condition of good behavior. Pretrial confinement credit of seven (7)(?) days, and a mandatory $350 fine plus penalty assessment on the Possession of Marijuana charge.

3.) On the charges I am prosecuting and for which trial is scheduled for April 17th at Keene District Court:
The charges are: 1.) Criminal Trespass; 2.) Resisting Arrest or Detention; 3.) Contempt. The offer on these would to nolle prosse (dismiss) the contempt, and on the remaining two (criminal trespass and resisting arrest or detention) the sentences would be identical to that offered by Attorney McLaughlin. The sentences would be concurrent with each other, and concurrent with the time imposed on the cases being prosecuted by Attorney McLaughlin.

The 90 days stand-committed time under this global proposal would represent a 60 day period of incarceration so long as you earned the maximum period of good time at the CCHOC. Good Time is determined pursuant to the rules and regulations of the CCHOC.

In short, this resolution would resolve the pending cases that you have in both Superior Court and District Court. As you were leaving the Superior Court today, I happened to overhear your request for a financial affidavit for possible appointment of a public defender. Should you qualify and decide to have an attorney represent you, please ask the attorney to contact me as soon as possible as your next court appearance is, I believe, on the three cases I am prosecuting and trial is scheduled for Tuesday, April 17th.

Finally, do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions on this proposed global resolution.

Sincerely yours,
David Lauren
Assistant Cheshire County Attorney
Office of the Cheshire County Attorney
12 Court St.
Keene, NH 03431
dlauren@co.cheshire.nh.us
603-352-0056

Please send any e-mails with suggestions to LiveFreeOrDance (at) gmail (dot) com – Derrick J. Freeman

For more information on Non-Violent Communication, visit http://www.cnvc.org/

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