I was sentenced last Friday for my crimes against the People of the State of Colorado:
$249.50 in fines and fees
32 hours of useful community service to be completed by October
12 months of unsupervised probation
The fine for being convicted of “unlawful conduct on public property” was only $50 (there was no fine or penalty associated with the “criminal trespassing” conviction). The fee to perform useful public service was $75. The rest is standard fees which I think go along with any misdemeanor conviction.
The probation officer who conducted my pre-sentencing investigation interview recommended first fines/fees alone, like he said he would, and secondly a whole variety of probation options (luckily the court saw fit to select only one of them). He also snuck a line in there about how I’m determined to be a public nuisance.
Mr. Wenig, Denver’s Chief Deputy District Attorney who tried my case, wanted supervised probation (expensive) and argued that my case demanded some form of rehabilitation since I showed no remorse for my actions. He explained to the judge that obeying (or enforcing, I presume) laws, even when they contradict one’s own conscience, is necessary to prevent people from justifying crimes and acts of violence by arbitrarily appealing to their own conscience. I believe his exact phrase was, “conscience is not sufficient.” This is the same argument he delivered to prospective jurors during voire dire.
Accepting as moral exactly those things as are legal is not only a surrender of reason and personal responsibility but leads, at least historically, to a support of atrocity. It was this legalistic thinking, the rejection of the possibility of autonomy for the false promise of authority, by Mr. Wenig’s 18th and 19th century counterparts which enforced for so long the devastating (legal) institution of chattel slavery in this country. Now I don’t know if the DA personally lives by such a simplistic moral philosophy, but I am convinced that he would professionally argue for and enforce any deplorable law with the same wasteful vigor as he prosecuted me for being a nonviolent resister to the criminalization of homelessness.