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Bakersfield, California, As Compared To Soviet Methods

Tuesday, November 6, 2001

Marina was born in Belarus, a country that used to be part of the Soviet Union. "President" Lukashinko, who makes a habit of rewriting their constitution according to his latest whim, currently heads the government. Marina only recently immigrated to the Unites States. America, land of the free and home of the brave, is very different from her country, or so she thought.

Marina remembers back to a particular police raid that happened in 1999. Marina had just been married in a small ceremony at her future husband's house. The house was almost barren of furniture since the police had assisted in confiscating most of the contents of the house a year earlier after a former girlfriend, who now stalks her husband, Mr. Bukmop, made a variety of false allegations. The happy couple couldn't afford much of a wedding since local laws required them to pay for the confiscated property — even though they would not be getting it back.

After the wedding the newlyweds planned to go on a honeymoon but Marina's mother-in-law received an order to appear for interrogation. The honeymoon plans were put on hold so that Marina's husband could attend the interrogation and make sure nothing went wrong. Things did go wrong, but at the time no one realized just how wrong. At the deposition her husband was threatened and the police held him for a while, but eventually they just told him to leave the interrogation. The inquiry was short, just a few probing questions about the family and about Marina's recent marriage, and then everyone was released.

Three weeks had passed since the wedding and the newlyweds were again ready to go on their honeymoon. The happy couple discussed their plans late at night before going to bed and drifting off to sleep.

They awoke to the sound of police batons pounding on their door. When Marina's husband answered the door, an armed mob of half dozen or so officers stormed in. The lead officer undid the strap on his holster and held the handle of his gun as he ordered the couple around. Another officer controlled a German Shepherd dog while the remaining officers searched the house. They found what they were looking for: guns. Marina's husband showed the officers his permits and explained that he had permission from a judge to have the guns. The officers laughed and said that the permission was now revoked.

New orders had been issued without a hearing. The couple didn't even have the right to be heard before the police raided their house near midnight and took their property. The state can, and regularly does, take people's possessions — guns, houses, cars, children. The State takes as they wish with no hearing required or desired. In Marina's case, police took the guns and the permits and left.

Under California criminal law a special night time search warrant is required before officers can enter a citizen's house at night. The court must make a specific finding that a night time search is required in order to prevent the destruction of evidence or to prevent a suspect from fleeing. Marina wonders how that requirement is waived when someone is not accused of a crime?

Marina was terrified. She cried. She asked "How could this happen? How could this happen? How could this happen in America?"

But those of you who have been subjected to the same emotional terrorism as Mr. Bukmop by an ex-girlfriend or wife will know exactly how this happens in America.

To defend herself and her husband, Marina has now filed a writ of habeas corpus. Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA), anyone can request orders against anyone else. A former girlfriend, for example, can claim a husband is abusing his wife and get a restraining order against the man with or without the cooperation or knowledge of the wife, as happened here.

It turned out the woman stalking them had requested that the court issue orders against him to protect his wife. Since the commonly perceived use of DVPA orders is to protect a wife from her abusive husband, the court had no problems issuing an order against him in favor of his wife without regard to the fact that they were requested by the woman stalking them.

In her writ Marina [the citizen's names are changed] states that:

"My husband, Bukmop, got a restraining order against the woman who stalks us, Mary Magdelene. During our honeymoon, the court gave Ms. Magdelene an illegal order and the police came into our house at night and took our guns. Ms. Magdelene then asked Commissioner Compton to keep our guns. He denied her request. On August 29, 2000, Commissioner Goldner ordered that my husband was not allowed to live with me. I did not ask for the orders; I did not want the orders; I was never served copies of the orders. I want to be with my husband and he wants to be with me. Commissioner Goldner has no right to keep us apart. As I understand it, by federal law, if we are not allowed to be together, I am not allowed to be in the country. The court has illegally issued orders that place me in constructive custody without giving me a hearing."

In this case the wife has no other remedy and the court is required to hear her as a writ of certiorari if they determine that she is not in constructive custody.

Because of the restraining order against Bukmop forbidding him to have contact with his wife at the end of October, 2001, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) held a hearing as to whether Marina would be allowed to stay in the United States.

They are under investigation because Commissioner Theresa Goldner issued orders that Bukmop not be allowed to be with his wife, as noted above. Therefore, Marina is subject to removal proceedings under INS regulations.

Because of Commissioner Goldner's gross incompetence, the INS has two good arguments for deporting Marina:

1. How can their marriage be valid if they are not allowed to live together? (To defeat this argument Bukmop is required to willfully disobey the California court restraining order.)

2. The California court granted Bukmop a fee waiver because his net earnings (after subtracting legal fees, etc.) is less than the poverty level. To sponsor an immigrant under INS rules a person must earn 125% of the poverty level. The INS asks how can someone be over and under at the same time? (Because his legal costs exceeded 50% of his take home pay when he qualified for the fee waiver.)

They thought they won the hearing, but the INS magistrate ruled that their "application is deficient" and the investigation will continue. It appears the couple did not win and did not lose, but rather the INS is simply bewildered.

We are bewildered too.

When asked if Marina was ready to move back to Belarus, where the regime is supposedly more draconian, Bukmop replied:

"Things appear to be more severe here. We have a much higher incarceration rate and a much higher percentage of the population incarcerated. However, jail here isn't too bad.

She would like for us to move to someplace more civilized, but to leave could easily lead to us losing our house. Right now, we can't sell it because of documents the stalker keeps filing. If we were gone, the stalker could simply sue us for it, and we would have no reasonable way to defend ourselves."



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Issues The Equal Justice Foundation Deals With

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