From the January 2007 Idaho Observer:

Fifteen years and counting

My mane is Timothy Hoot and I am one of Les Miserables. No, I am not a gang member. I am referring to the book by Victor Hugo that takes place during the French Revolution and whose central character, Jean Valjean, spends half his life in prison for stealing some apples.

I mention it because of a certain affinity I have for Jean, having spent most of the last 15 years in prison over taking $130 from a victim who first tried to drop charges and, when that failed, requested that I at least not go to prison. Ultimately, I received a sentence of 1 year, 1 day in prison plus 5 years of probation. After a year and a half on probation, I was given two technical violations (no new crimes) and re-sentenced to 22 years in prison.

This all started in 1991. Since then I have been screwed by the state more times than I care to mention and most certainly should be wearing a skirt by now. Most recently I filed a 3.800(a) motion to vacate illegal sentence based upon valid statutory law and case law I recently discovered. The motion was filed properly and timely and because of its nature and being based on law (not a supposition), Florida law requires that it be answered with an opinion and, if denied, it must have attached portions of the record and/or case law directly refuting the claim.

Since they couldnít do that, they rubber stamped it denied, which is illegal. So I appealed. The law is quite clear on the matter, as was my appeal. The appellate court refused to touch it, giving it their version of a rubber stamp called PCA (per curian affirmed) which basically kills the motion and denies me the right to appeal again to the Florida Supreme Court. Federal courts generally wonít touch issues of state law unless they expressly violate federal law.

So Iíve been swept under the rug again, but not before a timely motion for rehearing was filed. So I filed the motion for rehearing. I no longer hold any hope for justice so, instead, perhaps unwisely, I used the motion to let them know how I feel. Obliquely comparing them to fascists and communists may not have been wise, but it sure made me feel better. I have at least six more calendar years to do but at least Iíll do it without their skirt on. I felt a little like Patrick Henry. Iíve enclosed an accurate copy of the actual motion filed verbatim.

I have heard several times the topic broached (then quickly retreated from in most news sources) that it is inexplicable how the crime rate is dropping yet the prison population continues to grow disproportionately. People like me are the reason.

In 2004 I was released for good-time earned, yet, in violation of certain codes and laws, they forced me to do that time on probation instead of freeing me. In six months I earned $25,000, paid over $4,000 in taxes and social security, had a nice apartment, girlfriend and new car, and then I got pulled over for speeding. Because of my record, an @#$% cop blew it way out of proportion and, even though I wasnít charged with anything but going 40 in a 25, the incident led to my being violated and returned to prison again.

I take that back. People like me are not the reason; weíre the result. Corrupt politicians who donít care about the budget, the taxpayers or the victims, but only about their kickbacks, are the reason. It truly is an industry. Unfortunately, it was my stupidity in 1991 that started all this so ultimately I have no one to blame but myself. Nonetheless, it would be nice if the system worked the way itís supposed to. While Iím dreaming, Iíd like peace on Earth and a cottage by the lake.

You all take care and keep up the good work. Never surrender. Freedom is worth fighting for.

Timothy Hoot

Madison Correctional Institution

Madison, Florida

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