LA Courts System Kicks Ass Yet Again

CJ.jpgIs there some critical bit of information, like, “Dave Reeves then produced a baseball bat and attacked the driver,” that I’m missing here? Because right now Dave Reeves, a columnist for Arthur magazine, is sitting in jail on a 30-day sentence for NOT REPORTING AN ACCIDENT. Judge Kirkland Nyby, if all the facts I read are correct and complete, you are an abysmal waste of my tax dollars. I’m calling on you to immediately, and without any delay, remove Dave Reeves from Men’s Central Jail, which, according to the LACSD website, “houses the majority of Los Angeles County’s high risk, high security inmates,” (YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME)–and put someone there who actually SHOULD be imprisoned. Kirkster, if you have any confusion about who you should be focusing on instead, may I suggest you go here. Arthur posts:

“Dave Reeves was convicted of not reporting a traffic accident. The other driver was an SUV on his cel phone who inadvertently hit Reeves (who was driving a weak motorcycle) and knocked him over; the driver then swore and gestured aggressively at Dave. Dave got up and drove away with crazy SUV guy charging/yelling after him, trying to run him over. Finally Dave loses him. Dave doesn’t call it in because there’s no damage to his bike, he was the one who was hit, there were no witnesses, and he didn’t have license plate, year or make of the other driver. And also you don’t call in stuff like this from where he comes from (Echo Park-it’s a gang area where LAPD response time is slow to never, and bothering cops with trifling matters like this is a bad-to-stupid thing to do). Anyways other dude calls Burbank PD and says HE has been victim of hit and run. Etc etc. Actually goes to trial, prosecuted by the City of Burbank (Dennis A. Barlow, Burbank City Attorney -Telephone: (818) 238-5700 -Fax: (818) 238-5724), even though there are no witnesses. Damage to guy’s SUV is a pencil mark-sized scratch on front of SUV guy’s mirror, obviously caused by the SUV’s forward motion against Dave’s motorcycle. $200 in “repair.” Jury can’t believe this is a trial. Reeves admits he didn’t call Burbank PD. Jury has to convict, given judge’s instructions. Judge Kirkland Nyby gives max sentence. Reeves gets 30 days of community service which is 240 hours of picking up trash and abating graf. Reeves did 7 days by the deadline to complete the service. Nyby has now sentenced Dave Reeves to jail for the remainder of his sentence. Dave Reeves should not be in high-security jail with high-risk inmates for this trifling offense-and nor should anyone else.”

Seriously, am I missing something here? This sounds completely insane. While the pic of Reeves on Arthur’s website doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, this story inspires even less confidence in LA’s judicial system.

Tipped off by the adorable K-Rod over at LAObserved.

27 thoughts on “LA Courts System Kicks Ass Yet Again”

  1. Man, thats seems a bit extreme, I hope he gets through the system ok.

    My .02,

    Never, ever, ever leave the scene of an accident without exchanging license and insurance numbers. One evening I had a lady tap my back bumper and then insist that she did not have to give me her information since there was no visible damage to my car. I stood in front of her car to prevent her from leaving while she called LAPD. They confirmed that by law she must provide me with the requested info damage or not. Next day when it was light out I confirmed that there was no damage, called her and told her I would not be going forward with any claims.

    Another tip, carry a disposable camera and take pictures of both cars, the location and everyone that is in the other vehicle just to be safe. If the driver is aggressive, get away and call the cops immediately!

  2. As far as I can tell, he’s in prison because he didn’t fulfill the community service hours he was sentenced to. Everything else is pretty moot at this point.

    Although, as Jason points out, its insane that people guilty of more serious crimes seem to get off the hook much more easily.

    I suspect, or at least hope, that we’re only hearing a very skewed, one sided take on the story.

  3. Dave left the scene of accident cuz DUDE WAS YELLING AND THREATENING HIM AND CHASING HIM in an SUV. His first words to Dave were “Do you want me to kick your ass mothefucker?!!” Dude even testified to this in court! (I was there for his testimony at the trial. The trial, btw, took THREE DAYS.)Dave got out of there quick. He was on a dirtbike motorocycle, the guy was in a giant SUV. WTF was he supposed to do?

    Dave should never have been sentenced to 30 days of comm service in the first place. That he didn’t serve it is to his credit.

  4. This whole incident is pretty f*cked up. David while I know this sounds totally crazy, the cops are totally crazy.

    Unfortunately this kind of thing happens ALOT. Someone was obviously gunning for him for some reason, maybe they needed a conviction for some kind of job promotion, maybe they just didn’t like his face.

    There are lots of reasons people leave the scene of a crime and guilty is only one of them.

    Others are:

    Afraid of someone kicking your ass.
    Afraid of someone killing you.
    Afraid of a nasty sort of retaliation for talking.

    My cousin got to spend a week in county as an 18 year old high school student (he also allegedly left the scene of a crime) because a guy said he hit his car and actually what happened was the older guy got mad at my cousin for not letting him merge, my cousin flicked him off the guy got pissed and called it in as a hit and run…

    My cousin an 18 year old high school student with no record got to spend a week in county. He was 150 and 5’9.

    Eventually the guy admitted that he was lying and my cousin was let out of jail but while he was in there they kept telling him, “just say you’re guilty and we’ll let you go.”

    Watch this

    There’s no justice. If this guy had not have had that on tape. If the cop wouldn’t have noticed that he was being taped…no this isn’t directly related to the above, but people get effed by the system all of the time when they did absolutely nothing wrong.


  5. I don’t see the relevance of the video, but it is pretty creepy. Most of the cops I’ve known are awesome – but way too many are on power trips.

    As for Dave – sorry, dude should have called the cops. Otherwise, it opens the door for anyone to use the same reason to commit hit and runs.

  6. Markland: And what should Dave Reeves have told the cops? He had no witnesses, no license plate number, no description of driver, no make or year. All he knew was it was an S.U.V. And again, you don’t bother cops with this in Los Angeles. It’s a way of making them not like you. He didn’t even know he was inside the city of Burbank and not in L.A. — much less know that there’s a different Burbank cop culture from LAPD cop culture. The cops could’ve resolved this rather easily — by putting the two parties in touch with each other and having insurance sort it out. Instead, the DA wanted to prosecute David Reeves. If you can tell me the cost/benefit analysis to the taxpayers on that one, I’d love to hear it.

  7. Again, without seeing the full case, which should be a matter of record, its hard to make a reasoned judgement on this. Why did the DA “have it out” for Dave Reeves? What was he actually convicted for?

    Unfortunately, Jay, as fantastic as Arthur is, the article appears skewed as hell and short on non-biased details.

    30 days, like I said, seems totally unreasonable, and by no means does it sound like he should be imprisoned with with violent offenders.

  8. The video was a demonstration of how the system can screw you even if you’ve done nothing wrong.

    People can turn things anyways they want if they have a badge, a gavel, a gun, or a blog and you have no recourse.

    As Jay’s article was bias, why couldn’t the way the court intepreted this case have been biased. They are humans. They aren’t gods. They just think they are.

    It seems to be open season on what the court views as “cocky rich” kids, not saying Dave is rich or cocky, but I’m just saying what he is viewed as. In my opinion lots of people are going to jail out of spite. Getting way more time to show, “We can put anyone in jail, even you.”

    This is becoming like a military state with no wiggle room. It’s insane.

    Which is why people should really be concerned when poor people are abused, because poor people whether they be in the US or abroad are just test subjects to see how they can screw everybody else.

    The guy in the video had he not had a camera running could have done jail time and the story would have been he was resisting arrest.

    If that guy had been younger, a person of color, and poor, he totally would have ran and would you have blamed him? That’s the kind of cop that would beat the crap out of you and they would have said “he was resisting arrest.” But would that have been the whole story?

    My cousin could have spent time in jail, real jail, because the courts believed someone else’s side over his.

    Why should you have to do community service or jail for something you didn’t do?

    Dude did not commit a violent crime he should not be in county for 30 days. County jail sucks, alot, I mean not like sucks like, “Oh I have headache and my tummy hurts,” or “Just lost my job.” It sucks like, “I want to kill myself. I would rather die than spend one more day here.”

    Especially for someone not used to that kind of thing. The sad thing about this is that there are lots of people in county for stupid stuff, because they are too poor to pay for a lawyer, didn’t pay some traffic violations. There needs to be a rehaul of the whole system.

    And it needed to happen when JUST poor people of color were going there for bs. Now white people who aren’t even that poor are going to County, seriouly people need to wake up and stop being so, “well the gov’t wouldn’t hurt us,” Oh yes the gov’t would bloody hurt us. The gov’t was supposed to be US, the people are supposed to run the gov’t, it’s not supposed to be the other way around.

    If we don’t do something we will all are walking around with tracking devices up our tushies.


  9. Markland – 1. Christ on a crutch! What other details do you want to know? 2. Dave Reeves was convicted of not reporting an accident. That’s it. We already told you that. He was found not guilty on the other charges, something about making an illegal turn and doing property damage. 3. As for the D.A.’s motives, YOU TELL ME. I don’t know.

  10. Markland – 1. Christ on a crutch! What other details do you want to know? 2. Dave Reeves was convicted of not reporting an accident. That’s it. We already told you that. He was found not guilty on the other charges, something about making an illegal turn and doing property damage. 3. As for the D.A.’s motives, YOU TELL ME. I don’t know.

  11. My initial post did not go thru, wierd.

    Anyways, my comment was to the first post by Jason. The guy got treated the way most working class minority gangbangers and drug dealers, ridiculous oversentencing for semanitcal reasons. David Markland hit it on the head with the fact that the guy was sentenced for not finishing his community sentence, not for the actual bullshite crime. It happens all the time, and generally to brown and black young men, I have buddies who seriously spent several months in Wayside for parking tickets.

    I myself got 70 days in county for not completing the last 2 days of community service on a sentence of 10 (I did 8 and mistakenly thought I was done) for a DUI got when I was 18. A combo of getting picked up for it (Like I said, I thought I completed all my time, and even the community service people did), a Public defender who was pathetic and withheld a lot to the judge (I had to tell her things she had supposedly conveyed to the judge while being sentenced), and a malicious judge at Alhambra court led to this ridiculous semtence. Did I mention my wife was 6 month pregnant, I had completed everything else on my community service/restitution (which the public pretender did not tell the judge until I urge her in the middle of sentencing), and I ended up spending 4 weekks in county jail before I spent a couple grand on house arrest? Because I’m Latino and have tattoos I was in a dorm with mostly gang members and real criminals where I was in the middle of 2 riots, one where a guy a foot taller and 100 lbs heavier than me knocked me out from behind. Our system is a travesty of justice, we got rich stars getting 84 minute stints, I’ll bet not one poor latina or black DUI offender has ever gotten that little time.

    Poor guy was victim of a systme, a judge’s good or bad morning can get you several more months or a sentence at all.

  12. Here’s the problem I’m having Jay: I can’t seem to find any law that would fit the punishment given.

    According to the CA DMV:

    Failure to report an accident:
    California law requires all drivers involved in a car accident to file a Report of Traffic Accident form within 10 days if anyone was injured or killed, or if damage exceeds $750. Failure to file a report will result in the suspension of your driver’s license.

    California Vehicle Code holds a similar standard.

    The damage, as you write, was only $200.

    Indeed, if Dave was convicted of “failure to report an accident,” not only was the judge and prosecutor misreading the law, but Dave had a crappy lawyer.

    Of course, the other option is that I’m missing some county or city law that takes any “failure to report an accident” differently.

  13. Art,

    I don’t think certain people will ever get that they are the same. That we are all the same. None us deserve to go to County for parking tickets are unserved community service on some nonviolent offense.

    Some people think the only people who are in jail, get arrested, or end up in bad situations deserve to be there except of course when it’s someone that they know or it’s someone in their social circle.

    The rest of the people in jail with Dave deserve to be there, while Dave he’s a good guy who is the victim of circumstances.

    Yeah I believe that Dave is a good guy that is the victim of circumstances, but I believe a whole lot of people in county are the victim of circumstances and unfortunately I think Dave’s case isn’t an exception so much, but a rule in regards to why he’s there.

    Now this might be shocking to people who haven’t experience working class urban life and don’t quite understand why are we so freakin’ angry, but this kind of victim of circumstance happens alot, like everyday to some people.

    Art’s story is probably a very good little reality check to what happens to most people in LA when they go to a party and throw back a few or forget to pay a parking fine.

    We don’t get to have our husband the DA to take care of it, we don’t get to go to a private jail, we don’t get to go home and write a blog entry about it, we just have to suck it up. I’m not saying its right, its not, but it’s odd when working class people complain they tell us to shut up and to stop being so negative and blaming the man for all of our problems.


  14. Markland: Yeah it doesn’t make sense, does it? That’s what we’re saying. The whole thing is FUCKED UP. I don’t know how we can be any clearer. Go look at the court transcript if you have any more questions.

  15. This is what I came up with after talking briefly with Burbank Muni Court:

    1. He was convited for “Hit and Run,” which is a different charge than “failure to report an accident.”

    2. “Hit and Run” has a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and/or a $1000 fine. So, that he got off with only one month is not the “maximum sentence possible,” (although I’m guessing that to get the full max sentence, bodily injury needs to be involved.

    3. Dave was also found guilty of vandalism, Penal Code 594 A2, and Vehicle Code 22107, which regards safe driving.

    In short, the basic details, I’m guessing, are that a jury heard the evidence, found that Dave was guilty of driving unsafely, vandalism, and then hit and run.

  16. markland: I believe you have the wrong information. You are repeating the charges that were brought against Dave, rather than what he was convicted of. They characterized it as “hit and run” but it was described in court as failure to report an accident. I was there; that’s what they argued.

  17. markland: Also, Reeves was found guilty on only that count, not all three. And seeing as how Reeves was hit — he didn’t do the hitting — it can’t be hit and run.

  18. Jay, thats the info given to me when I offered the case number and asked what he was convicted of.
    The phone number: 818-557-3466.

    Dave’s lawyer, and Dave, should have a docket or some sort of written documentation, that spells out exactly what he was charged of. They pointed out that the “hit and run” is what resulted in his imprisonment.

    Again, if he was given jail time for merely “not reporting an accident” there appears to be something seriously wrong, the jury was lied to, and Dave’s lawyer needs a phone call.

  19. Markland: 1. Again: they gave you the incorrect info, and now you are broadcasting it as fact. 2. Dave is in jail; I can’t ask him for the document so I can scan it in for you. 3. Dave’s lawyer sucked. Dave got the guy out of the yellow pages after the first public defender didn’t show, and the second one encouraged him to plead guilty to something he didn’t do. 4. Yes there is something seriously wrong.

  20. Step off? I actually called the Court, reported what they told me – including links to relevent citations, and even offered a phone number.

    If there’s a problem with what info the court is giving out, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised. But instead of telling me to step off, I suggest you or Dave contact them and make sure they get it right.

  21. Markland: I don’t give a good goddamn what you claim the court told you. You’ve got your facts wrong. You’re just another internerd posing as some sort of muckraker. You kicked a man while he was down –actually, worse, while he was in jail. That’s low.

  22. Jay, how about applying the same amount of energy you used whining to david markland about incorrect facts to the thousands of other cases where people get overly sentenced over semantics in the LA court system daily. It seems like so many people only care when “one of their own” gets the same treatment jamal or jose get all the time. The LA court system sucks, and those unable to buy an expensive lawyer are screwed from day one. Public pretenders are the most apathetic assholes known to man, and many should be charged for criminal negligence for their behavior in the courtroom they supposedly are upholding. I have had numerous public defenders do everything short of force me to plead no contest to charges I had nothing to do with, I have had these losers withhold evidence crucial to my cases.

    Either way, my sympathies to David reeves, it sucks to be treated like that by our legal systme, and totally screws with your notions of our society being equal or civil or whatever.

    BTW, where’d they put him, twin towers, old county, lynwood?

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