Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2002 09:30:10 -0600
From: ("Leon F.")
Subject: FEAR: 15-year-old pro-se achieves Superior Court dismissal
To: "FEAR-Both Lists":;

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I post this story here so as to provide encouragement to those of you that may ave to defend yourself in court, as this young lad did. At least this case shows that it is possible.

It is online at


15-year-old pro-se achieves Superior Court dismissal

POC prosecutors foiled in attempt to prosecute minor for a crime that does not exist

NEWPORT, Wash. -- At his trial January 3, 2002, 15-year-old high school student Joshua Krawiek represented himself against the state of Washington and charges of possession of paraphernalia were dismissed by Superior Court Judge Rebecca Baker. Joshua was able to prove to the court that he was charged with a crime that does not exist in Washington state.

On October 11, 2001, Joshua J. went to his locker between classes to retrieve books from his backpack only to find that his backpack had been taken to the main office. Joshua asked why his backpack had been taken from his locker. Three law enforcement officers insisted that the K-9 drug dog had signaled the presence of marijuana on two of the three 35mm film canisters found in his backpack.

When asked about the film canisters, Joshua's explained that he used them to store fishing tackle, such as flies and hooks, as he would sometimes fish on the way home from school. He procured film canisters free from various photo processing establishments around town and stated that there was no marijuana in the canisters to his knowledge.

The officers found a trace of a green leafy substance in one of the canisters, one canister was empty, and one contained a fishing fly. A field test showed positive for THC in one of the containers. However, because there was not enough marijuana present to be charged with possession, Joshua was charged with possession of paraphernalia.

To help prove his innocence, Joshua had a drug test performed at the local hospital. He submitted these negative test results to the prosecution, but to no avail.

Joshua then contacted Citizens Against Corruption (CAC) of Newport. The CAC directed him to the local library and assisted him in pulling up Internet sites for legal research, such as LOIS Law which is offered free by the county as provided by law.

Joshua found in his Internet travels that "possession of paraphernalia" in Washington State is not a crime as quoted in State v. McKenna and State v. Welker. Joshua also pulled up the entire section of the statute under which he was charged, RCW 69.50.412. This statute clearly states that it is unlawful for any person to use drug paraphrnalia for illegal purposes. POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA IS NOT A CRIME.

According to Washington state law, the USE of drug paraphernalia is classified as a misdemeanor and all misdemeanors must be witnessed. No one saw Joshua using containers for drugs. Several people have, however, witnessed Joshua using film containers to store fishing tackle.

Joshua was assigned court appointed attorney Tim Trageser who had no contact with Joshua until his first hearing and did nothing to defend him. At the first hearing, the Trageser lied to the court about his communication with Joshua and his father.

Joshua chose to fire Trageser because he not only lied to the court on the record, but did nothing toward defending him.

The court also refused to allow Joshua's father, his guardian and first friend, any right to defend Joshua, a minor, who has no legal standing in the court and must be represented by counsel of choice, in this case his father. Representation by a parent on behalf of a minor has repeately been allowed in the federal courts because it is a constitutional right to counsel.

After several pre-trial motions for dismissal had been rejected by Superior Court Judge Rebecca Baker, she reluctantly dismissed the charges at the trial on January 3, 2002. Judge Baker stated on the Order of Dismissal, "the court heard the State's offer of proof and concludes (1) the charging document is deficient and (2) the proof is inadequate under Knapstad to establish the presence of drugs."

Judge Baker, apparently irritated at the prosecution's inability to outsmart a minor in her court, reportedly stated to Joshua, "Don't laugh when you leave this courtroom, thinking you have beat the system because you have looked these things up yourself. We are going to get you down the road."

The CAC concluded that this 15-year-old boy had his reputation tarnished, and was suspended from school for using 35mm film canisters to store his fishing lures. "This tells us that the drug dog needs a new nose, and Newport City Police officers need to get a life and a new job they can handle," commented CAC founder Leonard Browning.

The Pend Oreille County Prosecutor's office charged Joshua with a crime that is not a crime and prosecuted him maliciously without probable cause. The county's actions caused strife and dissention in Joshua's family and his father was forced to transport him to a special school while this matter worked its way through the legal system.

"I think everyone should thank Joshua Krawiek for exhbiting the character and patriotism it takes to stand up for his God-given and constitutional rights. We need more young people like this in our society to insure lawfulness and justness in our legal system and to preserve our way of life here in America. If enough people, young people and adults alike, will stand up to this type of malicious persecution, government officials will be returned to their rightful place as public servants," Browning said.

Citizens Against Corruption, a non-profit Idaho association dedicated to achieving justice through legal means, can be contacted at P.O. Box 9, Priest River, Idaho 83856.

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