It's finally over … or is it?
That is the question I asked the judge when I was informed of the jury’s verdict, which came in at 11:45 p.m. , after almost two-and-a-half hours of deliberations:
- Not guilty of disobeying a police officer
- Not guilty of disorderly conduct
- Guilty of resisting arrest without violence.
Judge Jose L. Fernandez, who turned out to have an extreme contempt for me, was unable to answer that question, even though he had asked if I had any questions after the verdict was read.
Instead, Fernandez said I was guilty of obstructing traffic, the single charge the jury was not allowed to rule on because it is considered a traffic infraction and not a misdemeanor charge.
Although prosecutor Ignacio Vazquez was (thankfully) asking for only three months probation and court costs, Fernandez slammed me with one year of probation, 100 hours of community service, anger management class and $540.50 in court costs.
I hate to see what I would have received had the prosecutor asked for jail time and had the jury found me guilty of three misdemeanors instead of one.
Fernandez said something to the effect of “your non-remorse in this case appalls me” as well as laying into me about by body language and demeanor during the trial not to mention the “chit-chat” between me and my “fans”, which actually were my aunt and my mom.
He accused me of getting arrested on purpose for the sole purpose of launching a blog and becoming a “hero”. He then reminded me that the real heroes are buried in Arlington who fought for my freedoms and suggested that I pay a visit to the cemetery.
Your Honor: I have visited Arlington several times so you don’t have to remind me of the veterans who fought for my freedoms.
In fact, my father was a navy pilot during World War II. He was born in Virginia, a few miles south of Arlington. He was killing “Japs” before you were born, to use the non-PC word my dad would use.
Just because hundreds of thousands of veterans have died defending democracy and my freedoms does not mean I should refrain from utilizing these freedoms, whether it be blogging, photographing or standing up for what I believe in.
Because otherwise, their sacrifices would have been wasted.
Update: The Society of Professional Journalists is protesting Judge Jose L. Fernandez’s harsh sentence against me.