Curtain Closes On Act One Of Real Life Drama
By John Taft Investigative Reporter
GRANTS PASS, Oregon (10-16-02) – "My health is beginning to be affected," were the words of Raymond Karczewski, 65, after a 33-day hunger strike. He told Judge Allan H. Coon in Courtroom One that he was ready for trial, "If I’m capable of going through with it." Karczewski then made a preliminary statement discussing his legal position. He told Judge Coon, "I’m a victim of false arrest and imprisonment." Karczewski stated that on two occasions he had been brought before the court in secret, "And no witnesses were there to hear what I had to say." Karczewski pointed out the confusion on court dates, and Judge Coon denied personal responsibility, the judge did admit there was a mistake in setting November 1 as a trial date for Karczewski. He then attributed the error to a court clerk. Judge Coon was sympathetic at one point saying, "I know your health is deteriorating." Karczewski told the judge, "I will continue until I am free and clear of all charges."
33 Hours Under Deliberate Duress In County Jail
Karczewski also discussed the 33 hours he was initially held in a holding cell in the county jail. This specially constructed cell is small and has a 2 foot by 4 foot cement bench to sit on. He was placed in the cell with minimal clothing, which included light pants and a T-shirt. The cement floor was too cold to sleep on and the air conditioner never stopped blowing frigid air on him. Under this condition the air chill factor would drop the temperature a few degrees below the room temperature. Over a period of 33 hours his body temperature began to drop, causing symptoms of hypothermia. Karczewski described his stay in the cell as resulting in being extremely cold and causing mental fuzziness. After talking to a jail clinic worker, a thin mattress was thrown on the floor a few minutes before he left the cell.
I Would Do It All Over Again
Karczewski made a motion to postpone to secure adequate counsel, meaning attorney Peter Smith, the judge’s choice, was not acceptable. An exasperated Judge Coon offered Raymond Karczewski a deal for release when he said, "Promise to obey the laws and return to court on November 12, at 1 P.M." The judge granted time for Karczewski to confer with his wife and court appointed attorney to consider the offer. The love and care for his frail wife Anita tipped the scale and Karczewski said, "I will accept your offer." Two sheriff deputies then manacled his wrists behind his back and led him through a rear door out of the courtroom while his friends watched. He was released from the Josephine County Jail a short time later.
I asked Mr. Karczewski if he would do another hunger strike in the Josephine County Jail to defend his Constitutional rights. He replied, "I would do it all over again."
How Many Cops Does It Take To Watch Ray Karczewski?
Comments: There were at least eight police officers from the Grants Pass City Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office in the courtroom. One can only wonder why so many armed men were needed to watch over a man who is 65 and has just completed a 33-day hunger strike. Some of the police officers in the courtroom were: Deputy Michael Burke, Deputy Randy Lucas, Deputy Coney, Deputy Wantling, Deputy Havercroft, Deputy Larry Michaels, and City Police Corporal Mike Schmidt.
Corporal Randy Lucas Goes Mute
This reporter had an interesting encounter with Sergeant Thomas R. Lucas a.k.a. Randy Lucus. I have been acquainted with him previously and we were on a friendly basis. I said, "Good morning Randy, how are you?" Sergeant Lucas gazed straight ahead as if in a trance; he made no sound or gave a sign of recognition. I tried once more with a, "Hello Randy," but the result was the same. The deputy sitting on his left briefly glanced at him. This appears to be extremely questionable behavior on the part of Sergeant Lucas. He is a county employee, a man who carries a gun and badge on a daily basis. Sheriff Dave Daniel has been notified regarding Lucas’ bizarre behavior.
John Taft can be reached at email@example.com this story can be read on StrobeZone http://www.strobezone.homestead.com