VANGUARD INCARCERATED PRESS: [UN]Equal Protection under the Law


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By David J. Annarelli 

Equal protection under the law. We hear these words all too often, and we see evidence that there is no such thing with increasing regularity. I say this, as I am writing from inside a Virginia Department of Corrections prison. I have a stack of state documents that unequivocally prove that I was not only wrongfully convicted, but that the prosecutor, one William Eric Branscom of Floyd Virginia, openly lied to every court he entered in my case, including the grand jury when he sought indictment. These same documents show that, not only am I wrongfully convicted on false charges, but that I was in fact the victim of police who admitted to horrible wrongdoing and, later, police brutality. You, & I, would like to think conclusive evidence would be enough to correct any error, but especially one involving severe injustice. We would both be wrong.

My case is very similar to another, more widely known case, that of Breonna Taylor, which occurred just one state over, a few hundred miles away. In the Breonna Taylor case, police, acting on a warrant issued under false pretenses, stormed to her house and killed this poor innocent woman. Another person in the home with her returned fire in self-defense. He was later charged, but those charges were dropped because in fact he had done nothing wrong.

In my case, by comparison, police had no warrant, not even one based on false information. They had no report of criminal activity, had investigated nothing, and were responding to a mental health crisis. Similar to the Breonna Taylor situation, police went out of their way to hide who they were. No emergency lights. Dispatch actually told officers to not knock on my front door or to announce their presence; instead they were told to go into a dark fenced yard at night and creep around to a back door. The two key differences in these two cases is that in my case there was no warrant of any kind, and I am still alive. I have also spent 7 years in prison for committing no crime. Unknown people assaulted me on my property, at night & they admit to it on record. They opened fire on me, in my home, and I am punished for returning fire and surviving the assault. No one was killed, or even seriously wounded for that matter.

I was sentenced to 20 years, 15 to serve & $30,000.00 in “restitution.” No criminal record of any kind and no history of violence. There is a person in this very same prison, the same pod as me, who was found guilty of felony homicide. He was given 6 years to serve. In fact, he will see less than I have already served, although I killed no one (and factually committed no crime). There is a lot of this sort of disparity in sentencing in Virginia, a state where, according to a Pew Charitable Trust Survey, 20% of all VA DOC captives are wrongfully convicted or outright innocent. Currently, that is more than 4,000 people held in prisons without just cause. Meanwhile, Officer Kim Potter, who “mistook” her service weapon for her Taser & subsequently gunned down a young man over bad tags & an air freshener was just released from prison. She served a whole 16 months. Excuse me for asking in so terse a matter, but what the fuck is going on?!

As I am writing this a businessman is being held in China & sentenced to death by that country. The U.S. government says he is wrongfully detained. They said the same about Brittany Griner. The latter of the two did actually violate Russian law, but truthfully it was minor & she should not have been detained. There are several hundred Americans “wrongfully detained” overseas to my understanding & I do hope they are all promptly released & brought home to their families. At the same time, there are more than 4,000 wrongfully detained prisoners in Virginia alone, and tens of thousands across the United States. Where is the U.S. Government when it comes to cleaning its own house? In a state such as Virginia, getting any kind of relief is a miracle requiring a bolt of lightning to hit the courthouse doors. Equal protection?!

Returning to my case, the prosecutor William Eric Branscom has had his criminal acts reported to the Virginia Bar, Office of the Attorney General, Virginia Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as every other office of note in the state. Evidence, that pesky state documentation, was provided proving his malfeasance & severe misconduct. Not one Virginia official in office did their one job. They didn’t even pretend to investigate, and, when I filed a formal criminal complaint to the Virginia State Police citing the exact statutes & laws violated, I never received a response. Meanwhile, the very same court where William Eric Branscom committed prosecutorial misconduct as a matter of policy, is illegally adding interest to the restitution I was ordered to pay. What is more, they are adding interest at more than double the legal interest rate that shouldn’t begin accruing until 6 months post-release. Again, I reported this act of criminal fraud & it was ignored. Equal Protection under the law?! Tyranny under the law is the actual reality.

The prison where I am held, Pocahontas State Corruption Center, is openly staffed by criminals who have been using the prison to siphon away money from Virginia for about 15 years. The VA DOC is aware of it because the evidence is in daily plain sight. These people barely bother denying it, let alone putting any effort into concealment. Of course, the VA DOC barely notices because it is a criminal enterprise itself, one that siphons 1.1 billion dollars-25% of the entire state budget from its citizens, under completely false pretenses.

An example of this criminal activity at PSCC is an ongoing issue with the mailroom staff. Local, backwoods hoodlums to be sure, they are openly violating both state & federal mail-tampering laws. To make matters worse they openly cite VA DOC operational procedures-803.1 & 803.2—that have been labeled “Unconstitutional & not to be enforced” by the 4th Circuit Federal Court (Couch V. JABE) (2010) as their justification. In a situation that is always worsening, all of their criminal acts tend towards politically motivated, which opens the door to terrorism charges. So I filed criminal charges with the local court and prosecutor. Equal protection under the law, right?!

Once more you-& I—are completely wrong about a system that, seemingly by design, promotes insane levels of open corruption, but more importantly caters only to the elite caste of its lackeys. Charges were levied against Stacy, Haggerty, and Smalling, the three people responding to my complaints. I’ve since added McCall and Campbell as co-conspirators. I have a letter from the Tazewell County Court in Tazewell, Virginia verifying receipt of the complaint & allegations. I stated I have evidence of these nefarious acts of terrorism. The prosecutor J. Chris Plaster & his assistant Brandon S. Gains have not investigated and have not sought indictments. Selective prosecution is a form of malfeasance and prosecutorial misconduct. It is worth pointing out that this area of the country, like a lot of small-town, low-population rural areas, is rank with nepotism. Everyone is related by blood or marriage, or near enough that any outliers to that statement can be easily overlooked.

Evidence of a Virginia Prosecutor lying to several courts solely for the purpose of security, a prosecution on false charges and his political career. Evidence of another Virginia prosecutor refusing to pursue allegations, evidence & criminal complaint. Equal protection under the law? There is no such thing! And the social contract, once a guiding point underlying the foundations of our country, has long since been breached. There is no institution left in the United States that the citizens can trust. This is proven out with every passing hour, and it is one of the many things, on a lengthy list, that is at the root of an unraveling social fabric. It is also clear evidence that we do not live in a democracy or constitutional republic, and that we have not for some time. In fact what we have is far more like an aristocratic oligarchy, authoritarian in nature, than anything else. This would explain the drift of citizens towards identifying as Libertarian, Anarchist or variations of either, as defined in Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014)

This leads us to the now-majority sentiment that we—the U.S.—are headed for “civil war.” In fact, there are two camps on this point. Those who believe it is coming, & those who believe it has already begun. The latter group would offer some debate as to how long ago it actually started, but the general consensus is averaged out at 10-15 years ago for the conflict’s becoming “hot,” that is to say with active attempts to subvert and take down the government. How is our current civil conflict relevant to Equal Protection under the Law? It is relevant because it is in fact a codified right-& a duty of every citizen of the U.S. to remove any government that has become dangerous to the rights of those citizens. This is stated as unequivocal in the Declaration of Independence, Second Paragraph, and, while it is clear that such an endeavor should be taken lightly, not pursued frivolously, it is equally clear that it is in fact one of the first and most important rights. It is also clear and obvious that all other rights stem from this seed & root.

The very basis & core of Equal Protection under the Law begins with the individual right to a self-determined best interest. That is without coercion or forced cooperation or participation in any societal trappings & norms. When this is eliminated, laws quickly become chains and in the U.S. we see that from the founding, post-revolution, those chains were in place. From the beginning, the law was used as a weapon against citizens, not as a means of protecting and enhancing the unalienable rights of citizens. Historically,  it is a matter of record, Equal Protection under the Law has never existed in the U.S.

Those who doubt such a statement are willfully ignorant. All one needs to do is ask any Indigenous American Tribe. They will tell you how the law was used as a hammer—to bash them into submission and destroy their rich and vibrant culture. Too often this was done in violation of existing laws and while breaching contract after contract, treaty after treaty. There can be no denying it where systemic racism is still clearly an issue. To that point let me say that, as a jailhouse lawyer I have looked at a lot of prisoner cases, and so I can say the following, not lightly, but as a matter of fact: being “Black in Virginia” is still a crime even if it is no longer “on the books.” This certainly applies to the LatinX community as well, just another part of the systemic racism, but also part of the age-old aristocratic need for cheap labor upon whose backs it builds empire after empire. The idea that the U.S. is somehow different from another empire, any other empire, is on its face a lie. It never has been, at least not ever in practice & application, though the idea, the thought was certainly there…at least in theory.

The modern-day Prison Industrial Complex is one of the most glaring examples that Equal Protection under the Law is nothing but a myth. Grift, abuse, corruption, smuggling, misuse of power & position, and profiteering from slave labor, all of this is rampant within state prisons especially. It is well known & widely accepted based on extensive evidence—that DOC staff & officials are criminals of the worst sort. They operate by the same “rules” as any other gang of note. The similarities are in fact uncanny and require no stretch to illustrate. This has become so well known that it is regularly reported by hundreds of citizen journalists working diligently to expose the hypocrisy of an industry that is built on dependent on slavery. It is this total lack of Equal Protection that has led the Prison Industrial Complex to take on a mantle of obfuscation, adopting endless policies meant to keep its internal operations, and the truth of its nature, as opaque as it is able. That prisons, state DOCs, & all of the industries that feed on that machine, go out of their way and expend billions of dollars to hide what they do from the general public (and sometimes the state itself) is a major red flag. At least it should be, and it would be in most other industries.

Equal protection under the law is a myth and every aspect of our existing legal system is evidence of that fact. The evidence that this myth is in place by design, and, even as it is being exposed as an illusion and a lie, it is without doubt that the powers that be continue to regurgitate the same tired catchphrases. The fact that “law & order” are quiet dog-whistle terms for “oppress & enslave” is no longer up for debate. The evidence is in, and it is piling up like so much excrement in an untended dog park. This is why everybody in the country is angry about everything. This is why 80% of the country no longer trusts a single institution. It is why 70% of the country is of the opinion that rebellion is the only viable choice left to us. It is why we all acknowledge civil conflict is either about to begin or already has. It is why violent acts towards those opposed to one belief or another, or those seen as in some way having oppressed us, are increasing. Equal protection under the law, a myth, for whom?

“Remember who the real enemy is.” That is the important mantra as we experience a collapse of society on a, possibly, global scale. The aristocrats & blue-blood royalty have one again been exposed as the deceivers & charlatans that all of history records them to be. Always the enemy of good people. Always working to remain in power, a tick on the back of humanity, and always at the expense and detriment of the host it preys upon. We know who the real enemy is, though, and they are exposed, again.

Equal Protection under the Law tells exactly what we need to know, and it tells us exactly what actions are needed.

David J. Annarelli is incarcerated in Virginia


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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