Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dave Dahl, Co-Founder of Dave’s Killer Bread headquartered in Portland, OR / New Criminal Charges

On February 14th, Dave Dahl appeared in Washington County Circuit Court to enter a plea in the melee of November 14th, last year.  During the November dust-up, he rammed Sheriff’s Office vehicles with his Cadillac Escalade, fought with deputies (injuring same), was high on intoxicants and was generally a bad boy.

I’m not making light of this.  But, the judge seemed to think the incident was rather minor, subsequently releasing Dahl on a mere $20,000 bail of which Dahl put up $2000 to a bail bondsman.  This was the designated bail given to a previously convicted felon and currently a rather well-heeled man.

Please refer to my posts of November 16th, 17th, and 21st for background.  Reading the earlier posts, it will be clear to all that I was not particularly sympathetic with Mr. Dahl.  I referred to the $20,000 bail, ordered by the judge, as mere ‘chump change.’

Well, to the point:

Dahl appeared in court on Friday, February 14th, with his attorney Steve Houze, for the preliminary hearing involving the aforementioned crimes.  At that time, prosecutors nailed Dahl with 14 additional counts (nine felonies and five misdemeanors).  Crimes included multiple counts of ‘assault with a dangerous weapon’ – presumably the Cadillac Escalade.  Yes, a vehicle can be considered a ‘dangerous weapon.’  Dahl was handcuffed and taken to jail.  Bail, this time, was set at $520,000.  Don’t worry, he has posted the bail and is now out again.

I know it is becoming increasingly clear that I have little regard for many attorneys, particularly those in the criminal justice system.  Why?  The whole system is often little more than an inside joke – perpetuated by defense attorneys, prosecutors and judges.  They play their legal games with an alarmingly straight face.

So, what’s my gripe?  After being kind of down on Mr. Dahl, I hate to see this kind of ‘pile-on’ justice or whatever you want to call it.  Washington County prosecutors took three months to decide what to charge Dahl with.  Three months, can you imagine?  In other words, the prosecutors spent the last three months reading their code books before they decided on just what crimes Dahl had committed; and finally, exhausted by their professional efforts, pared the charges down to 14 additional.

'Whoa,' they might say.  We had to wait for the sheriff deputies’ reports.  Well, they should have had them within a day or two.  'But,' they might counter, 'the deputies were injured.'  OK, how about someone conducting an inquiry, interviewing the deputies, and presenting prosecutors with the facts?  After all isn’t "justice delayed, justice denied?"

So, what’s the game here?  Well, prosecutors pour through the elements of every conceivable crime associated with a given situation.  After they have drawn up the list, they have no half-baked illusion that they will receive a conviction or a guilty plea on each charge.  Of course they won’t.  It’s just how you play the game.  Houze will negotiate and 'deal-down.'  Some concessions on charges will be made by the prosecution in exchange for a guilty plea on others.  Dahl will go to jail for a short period of time - plus a sizable fine.  Houze and prosecutors will go to lunch.  Game over.

True Nelson
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