[Hpn] Re: BIlly McManus' trial outcome - comment and 2 Sac Bee articles

boni@counsellor.com boni@counsellor.com
Mon, 29 Dec 2003 12:17:06 -0500


<DIV>Thank you for sending these two articles along, Paula.</DIV> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV>Sacramento spent $200,000 fighting the "militant," "service resistant" Billy McManus who "chose to be homeless?" And he wouldn't abandon his dogs for a two week stay in a shelter? The City could have bought him a house for what it spent fighting the case!</DIV> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV>Please pass along our love to the fighter Billy McManus and our utmost respect. Let me pass this story along further up and down the West Coast, across the continent and the oceans on either side and please forgive the duplications.</DIV> <DIV>&nbsp;</DIV> <DIV>Jack.&nbsp;<BR><BR><B><I>paula farrell &lt;paula_95814@yahoo.com&gt;</I></B> wrote:</DIV> <BLOCKQUOTE class=replbq style="BORDER-LEFT: #1010ff 2px solid; MARGIN-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px">Here are text of 2 articles in Sacramento Bee about<BR>Billy McManus. Background: He went to court<BR>originally for 3 camping tickets. Jury decided ‘not<BR>guilty’ on one count. The other counts, hung jury (I<BR>think one juror saying guilty). Kelly Tanalepe<BR>(attorney) used the necessity defence. Then the city<BR>took the hung jury counts to retrial. This time they<BR>brought the big guns, Samuel Jackson, THE City<BR>Attorney and his entourage to prosecute. The Judge<BR>would not allow the necessity defense to be brought<BR>up. The city quickly won. Then those two guilty<BR>charges, defense took to Appellate Court which they<BR>did not win, or appeal refused (I’ll have to verify<BR>which). So original charges were 30 days in jail,<BR>Stay away order for the American River Parkway and<BR>Sutter’s Landing, and 3 years informal probation. His<BR>most recent 6 camping tickets that Tommy Clinkenbeard,<BR>Public Defender, was defending for Billy, was just<BR>dropped<BR><BR>In the following articles Billy is accused of<BR>“choosing to be homeless”, “service resistant”<BR>“militant”? He is a very pleasant man. I asked him a<BR>couple months ago if he had a place indoors with a<BR>little yard for his dogs, wouldn’t he choose to live<BR>indoors? Of course he wouldn’t hesitate to choose<BR>“indoors”. It was even presented in court about<BR>Billy’s love for his dogs, they are his family. He<BR>couldn’t consider abandoning them. For what, a two<BR>week stay in a shelter? Poster boy for the homeless? <BR>Actually he has been the main target, scape goat, for<BR>the police and rangers. They have put immense effort<BR>into harassing him in particular, and their efforts<BR>toward assuring Billy lost…. I haven’t gotten the<BR>final estimate of how much it cost the city to fight<BR>Billy this hard, but we got intelligent estimate<BR>before that it would cost the m, pr obably $200,000 in<BR>the end, and I don’t know if that is including Samuel<BR>Jackson’s salary portion. Do you think they may have<BR>considered that for $200,000 they could have bought<BR>Billy a nice, nice house with a big yard, outright? <BR>They never offered him any service that would have<BR>gotten him and his dogs indoors. I haven’t talked to<BR>him today, so I haven’t confirmed if he will<BR>definitely have to go to jail. I’ll try to find out<BR>if his dogs are alright, too. Here’s the two articles<BR>(photos and article can be viewed at www.sacbee.com)<BR>(letters to editor can be sent to jhughes@sacbee.com)<BR>I’m crying:<BR><BR>Camper claims bias by sheriff<BR>The homeless man will ask a judge to order that he be<BR>allowed in a work program.<BR>By Ramon Coronado -- Bee Staff Writer<BR>Published 2:15 a.m. PST Wednesday, December 24, 2003<BR>Get weekday updates of Sacramento Bee headlines and<BR>breaking news. Sign up here.<BR><BR>A man convicted and sentenc ed for illega lly camping in<BR>the American River Parkway is claiming he is being<BR>discriminated against because he is homeless.<BR><BR>William "Billy" McManus wants to serve his 30-day<BR>sentence in an alternative sentencing program run by<BR>the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, but he has<BR>been turned down.<BR><BR>This morning Superior Court Judge Gail D. Ohanesian<BR>will be asked to order sheriff's officials to<BR>reconsider their rejection of McManus for the work<BR>project program. If Ohanesian rejects the request,<BR>McManus must report to jail Friday morning.<BR><BR><BR>"He is being discriminated against because he is a<BR>member of a group the Sheriff's Department has decided<BR>to discriminate against," said Kelly Tanalepy,<BR>McManus' court-appointed lawyer.<BR><BR>Sheriff's Sgt. Scott R. Jones, who is also a lawyer<BR>representing the department, said McManus'<BR>homelessness is one of a host of reasons why he does<BR>not qualify for the program.<BR> <BR>"The providenc e of the suitability for participation<BR>in the program lies with the Sheriff's Department and<BR>not with the Superior Court," Jones said. "Not having<BR>a residency or a contact person is one of a number of<BR>reasons for his unsuitability."<BR><BR>McManus, 51, was convicted in September 2002 in his<BR>second trial on charges of illegally camping along the<BR>American River in violation of the city of<BR>Sacramento's anti-camping ordinance. His first trial<BR>on the misdemeanor charges ended in a deadlocked jury.<BR><BR>City Attorney Samuel Jackson prosecuted the<BR>politically charged case, which challenged crackdowns<BR>on homeless people who camp illegally in the parkway.<BR><BR>Sentencing had been delayed pending an appeal of the<BR>conviction. McManus lost his appeal last month.<BR><BR>McManus has two prior illegal camping convictions and<BR>two prior drug convictions.<BR><BR>In sentencing McManus to 30 days in jail and three<BR>years' probation, O hanesian recommended that the<BR>sentence be served through the work project program,<BR>which rejected him.<BR><BR>According to sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Lou Fatur, about<BR>1,700 people annually serve their sentences picking up<BR>trash, raking leaves or doing various other civic<BR>functions through the work project program.<BR><BR>The purpose of the program is to relieve jail<BR>overcrowding and help minor offenders keep their jobs<BR>while serving punishment for their crimes.<BR><BR>"We are very accommodating, but we can only go so<BR>far," Fatur said.<BR><BR>There is about a 10 percent rejection rate among work<BR>project applicants for various reasons, he said.<BR><BR>Jones said having a home with an address, a telephone<BR>or some sort of contact person is needed for several<BR>reasons. Work assignments change and program officials<BR>may need to notify someone of the changes. One in four<BR>participants abscond and must be located in a timely<BR>fashion for possible rearrest, he said.<BR><BR>In court papers filed in response to the defense<BR>requests, Jones said McManus, who has arthritis in his<BR>lower back and legs and takes prescription psychiatric<BR>medications, "would be physically and medically unable<BR>to perform" the work required and has "absolutely<BR>refused to provide a suitable contact or residency<BR>address."<BR><BR>McManus has been determined to be "service resistant"<BR>by the public safety subcommittee of the Sacramento<BR>County and Sacramento City board on homelessness,<BR>Jones said in court papers. The term has been defined<BR>as any person who makes a "conscious choice to<BR>unlawfully live on the streets, along the river or<BR>other public or private places," Jones wrote.<BR><BR>Because of his "choices," his "absolute unwillingness<BR>to avail himself to any services," his "medical<BR>limitations," and his "militant defiance to establish<BR>a residency," McManus is unsuitable for the work<BR>project program, the court papers said.<BR><BR>"Mr. McManus is endeavoring to be the poster-child for<BR>homeless rights," Jones wrote.<BR><BR>Tanalepy accused Jones of confusing the issue with<BR>speculation and innuendo. "The United States<BR>Constitution does not permit conditioning the right to<BR>participate in a work-release program on a defendant's<BR>poverty," she maintained in her request.<BR><BR>The defense attorney bristled at the characterization<BR>of her client as someone who wants to be poster boy<BR>for the homeless.<BR><BR>"He has had ups and downs since he was child. He left<BR>school in the seventh grade after his mother died,"<BR>Tanalepy said.<BR><BR>"He served four years in the Air Force, he married and<BR>he divorced. He has worked off and on for nearly all<BR>his life," she said. "He has rented and he has slept<BR>at the river when he had no place else to go."<BR><BR>About the Writer<BR>---------------------------<BR><BR>The Bee's Ramon Coronado can be reached at (916 )<BR>321-1191 or rcoronado@sacbee.com.<BR><BR><BR>Homeless man didn't face discrimination, judge says<BR>By Ramon Coronado -- Bee Staff Writer<BR>Published 2:15 a.m. PST Thursday, December 25, 2003<BR>Get weekday updates of Sacramento Bee headlines and<BR>breaking news. Sign up here.<BR><BR>A homeless man who claimed he faced discrimination<BR>because of his poverty was ordered Wednesday to serve<BR>his 30-day sentence for illegal camping on the<BR>American River Parkway.<BR><BR>William "Billy" McManus, 51, wanted to serve his term<BR>in the sheriff's work project instead of jail, but<BR>sheriff's officials rejected him for what they said<BR>was a "host of reasons."<BR><BR>"There is no competent evidence that the defendant was<BR>rejected for work project due to poverty or<BR>homelessness," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gail D.<BR>Ohanesian said in a written opinion upholding the<BR>sheriff's position.<BR><BR><BR>In asking the judge to reconsider, defense attorney<BR>Kelly Tanalepy brought up the holiday season and<BR>started to read from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas<BR>Carol" when the judge ordered her to stop.<BR><BR>"I'm hearing you calling me Scrooge!" Ohanesian said<BR>in a stern voice.<BR><BR>Tanalepy subsequently asked the judge to reduce or<BR>postpone the sentence because it was "cruel and<BR>unusual punishment," but the judge refused.<BR><BR>If he behaves in custody, he could be out of jail in<BR>16 days, the judge said of McManus who will begin his<BR>sentence Friday morning.<BR><BR>After the morning court hearing Tanalepy said she will<BR>come back to court Friday before another judge to seek<BR>a postponement of the sentence pending an appeal.<BR><BR>Tanalepy maintains that sheriff's officials, who run<BR>the work project program, told her client it was<BR>policy not to admit the homeless into the alternative<BR>sentencing program. The program relieves jail<BR>overcrowding and allows non-felony offenders to keep<BR>their jobs wh ile making amends for the ir crimes.<BR><BR>In court, Sgt. Scott R. Jones, who is also a lawyer<BR>representing the Sheriff's Department, denied that<BR>there was such a blanket policy. Of the 1,700<BR>participants annually, there are some who do not have<BR>traditional residences but are reliable and keep<BR>deputies apprised of their whereabouts, he said.<BR><BR>When McManus was interviewed for his eligibility for<BR>the program he showed what Jones described as a<BR>"militant defiance to establish a residency."<BR><BR>The judge, who presided over the trial where McManus<BR>was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of illegal<BR>camping, said the defendant may be homeless by choice.<BR><BR>"The evidence at trial was that some people, including<BR>this defendant, may make a voluntary lifestyle choice<BR>to not maintain regular employment and to live in a<BR>tent," the judge said in her written opinion.<BR><BR>Afterward outside of court, Jones accused Tanalepy and<BR>McManus o f attempting to inflate the significance of<BR>their case.<BR><BR>"This isn't a case about the homeless. It is about Mr.<BR>McManus," Jones said.<BR><BR>The defense attorney said the judge's decision sends<BR>the wrong message to the homeless community and its<BR>advocates who are fighting to decriminalize<BR>homelessness.<BR><BR>"They are very afraid of the justice system," Tanalepy<BR>said.<BR><BR>About the Writer<BR>---------------------------<BR><BR>The Bee's Ramon Coronado can be reached at (916)<BR>321-1191 or rcoronado@sacbee.com.<BR><BR><BR><BR>__________________________________<BR>Do you Yahoo!?<BR>New Yahoo! Photos - easier uploading and sharing.<BR>http://photos.yahoo.com/</BLOCKQUOTE><BR><BR>Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?<BR><B R>You are a child of God. Yo ur playing small does not serve the World. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.<BR><BR>And as we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.<BR><BR>- Nelson Mandela <P> <HR SIZE=1> <FONT face=Arial size=2><A href="http://uk.rd.yahoo.com/mail/tagline_messenger/*http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com"><B>Yahoo! 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