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Arizona Supreme Court Intervenes, Delays Simcox Trial to Mull Victims’ Testimony

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Crime by David Neiwert on April 10, 2015 - 8:18 am

The Arizona Supreme Court intervened in the child-molestation trial of onetime Minuteman leader Chris Simcox on Thursday afternoon, calling a halt to the proceedings until it can consider whether Simcox – who is insisting on his right to represent himself at trial – should be permitted to cross-examine the young girls he is accused of molesting.

KPHO-TV in Phoenix reported that Justice John Pelander of the state’s high court granted a stay in the trial at the request of Phoenix attorney Jack Wilenchik, who is representing the parents of one of the girls pro bono. Wilenchik had filed an emergency motion on behalf of the victim with the Arizona Supreme Court on Wednesday night, after the state appeals court declined to stop the trial while it considered whether or not it was appropriate to allow Simcox to cross-examine the girls.

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Maricopa County prosecutors had asked Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla, who is overseeing the trial, to require Simcox to cross-examine the girls through court-appointed associate counsel, but Padilla had refused. And when the appeals court declined to prevent the trial from proceeding while it waited to consider the prosecutors’ arguments, Wilenchik stepped up with what he admits was “a Hail Mary pass,” in an interview with Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times.

“If the court allows the child victim to be subject to cross-examination by her abuser,” Wilenchik argued in his motion, “then the victim’s constitutional right [under the Arizona Constitution] to be free from harassment and intimidation will be permanently violated.” ( continue to full post… )

Appeals Court Declines to Hold Up Simcox Child-Molestation Trial, Clearing Way for Him to Query Alleged Victims

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist, Trial Updates by David Neiwert on April 8, 2015 - 5:56 pm
Chris Simcox.

Chris Simcox.

Prosecutors in the child molestation trial of erstwhile Minuteman leader Chris Simcox were rebuffed by a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals in their attempt to appeal the trial judge’s ruling allowing Simcox to cross-examine his alleged victims on the witness stand.

The ruling, following a teleconference between three appeals-court jurists, means that Simcox’s trial will get under way this week. It also means that Simcox, who has insisted on representing himself in this trial, will certainly be permitted to directly cross-examine the two young girls he is accused of molesting – ages 8 and 7, now, and one of them his daughter.

Maricopa County deputy prosecutor Keli Luther argued strenuously against forcing the girls to face cross-examination from their alleged molester, insisting that they could be potentially victimized a second time. Luther requested the judges issue a stay until a full hearing could be held on whether permitting Simcox to engage his alleged victims would be psychologically traumatizing. Padilla had previously dismissed assertions by the girls’ mothers that such a situation would be traumatic for them, but Luther warned of a “very real risk of irreparable harm” by forcing the girls to “endure the defendant’s cross-examination without the buffer of defense counsel.”

She noted that:

Children who are victims of sexual abuse already re-experience that abuse when they are forced to testify in a courtroom in the presence of the accused. The trial court’s order inappropriately subjects the victims in this case to additional trauma by allowing the very man who victimized them to question them on the stand. This issue undoubtedly raises a question of public importance. The harm to the victims and society can only be stopped by preventing Defendant from personally cross-examining the victims and allowing advisory counsel to conduct the cross-examinations – a remedy recognized by several jurisdictions including the United States Court of Appeals in Fields v. Murray. Fields v. Murray, 49 F.3d 1024, 1035 (4th Cir. 1995).

The judges overruled her request, but set a hearing for oral arguments on the underlying issues for April 29. They conceded that the trial may well have concluded by then, making the argument moot.

Simcox was arrested in July 2013 and charged with molesting three young girls at his home earlier that year, when the girls were ages 6 and 5. After a grand jury declined to indict him for any crime involving the third girl, who he allegedly enticed to expose her genitals in exchange for candy, those charges were dropped. However, that girl is expected to testify as a witness for the prosecution.

According to the papers filed by prosecutors, Simcox “is alleged to have digitally penetrated his biological daughter’s [vagina] on two occasions, penetrated her vagina with an object on [one] occasion and to have fondled the genitals of his daughter’s friend on two occasions.

Simcox had initially been offered a plea bargain that would have required him to serve 10 years in prison, but he refused and insisted on taking the case to trial. Eventually, after months of disputes with his court-appointed attorneys, Simcox decided to assert his constitutional right to defend himself in court. Padilla granted him that.

However, prosecutors then sought to require Simcox to relay questions to the alleged victims through his associate attorneys, but Simcox fought them, insisting he be given the right to directly confront the girls. Judge Padilla sided with Simcox.

Judge Padilla is no stranger to controversy. In 2009, he came under harsh criticism for having refused to allow a Phoenix woman named Dawn Axsom to move herself and her son out of state to avoid violence she feared would come at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, who a short while later shot and killed both Axsom and her mother before killing himself.

Simcox was warned by a previous judge in the case (the trial has been delayed nine times) not to mount a “grand conspiracy” defense predicated on fanciful claims of a nefarious plot to persecute him for his long history of anti-immigrant activism on the Arizona border.

That long history, as the SPLC reported in 2005, includes previous allegations of sexual misbehavior with another daughter, not to mention a well-established record of erratic behavior as the leader of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps prior to its demise in 2010, as well as allegations of abuse by his third ex-wife, the mother of his current accuser.

Arizona Judge Rules That Simcox Can Cross-Examine Young Alleged Victims

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Crime, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on April 3, 2015 - 10:20 am

The oft-delayed Arizona trial of erstwhile Minuteman leader Chris Simcox on child-molestation charges has blown up once again, thanks primarily to Simcox’s insistence on having the right to personally cross-examine his alleged victims — two young girls aged 7 and 8.

Simcox had previously raised the possibility that this might occur when he announced that he intended to represent himself at his trial, something he has a constitutional right to do. However, Maricopa County prosecutor Yigael Cohen requested before the trial began that Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla require that Simcox’s two “advisory” attorneys question the girls, one of whom is Simcox’s daughter.

Chris Simcox

Chris Simcox

Now, according to a report by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, Judge Padilla has conceded to Simcox’s counter-argument — namely, that he should be permitted to directly cross-examine the two girls because doing so is “a crucial cornerstone of his desire to present his best defense.” Padilla ruled in a hearing Thursday afternoon that Simcox would be allowed to question the girls, who were 5 and 6 years old when the crimes allegedly occurred.

But Padilla refused to remove himself from the trial, which Simcox had also requested.

According to The Associated Press, prosecutors plan to immediately file an appeal of Padilla’s ruling, meaning the trial — which had already been delayed nine times since Simcox’s arrest in July 2013 — is likely to last into the summer. Lemons reported that deputy county attorney Kelli Luther argued strenuously against allowing Simcox to “control his own victims in the courtroom,” pointing to U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate court rulings allowing for special accommodations to be made in similar instances.

However, Padilla said he would need evidence that the children are traumatized at the prospect of being interrogated by their alleged molester, and brushed aside letters from the girls’ mothers attesting to that effect: “With all due respect,” he said, “[the mothers] are simply not qualified to make that assessment.”

In the filing made this week, Simcox argues that the children “were never subjected to … harm in the first place,” so the county attorney is “asking the court to find the defendant guilty … before the trial has even begun.”

Simcox was originally charged with also molesting a third little girl, whom Simcox allegedly bribed with candy to expose her genitals, but those charges were dropped after the grand jury chose not to indict him in that case. However, that girl is expected to be a prosecution witness as well.

Simcox’s trial was most recently scheduled to begin March 24. However, when attorneys gathered in Padilla’s courtroom that day, they were informed that Simcox was in the hospital, for reasons that could not be disclosed under medical-privacy laws, and would be there for a week. At a pretrial conference on Thursday, Judge Padilla scheduled jury selection to begin on April 6.

But if the prosecutors proceed to take the ruling on the girls’ testimony to an appeals court, that schedule seems unlikely at best.

These developments are the latest in a long and twisted road to trial for Simcox, who previously had suggested he would present a “grand conspiracy” defense that he had been targeted for prosecution, and the evidence against him invented, because of his prominent role as a leader and co-founder of the nativist extremism group called the Minutemen. The judge later informed him that such a defense would not be allowed.

At the height of the border vigilante movement, Simcox was president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a nationwide, anti-immigration organization that led armed “citizen border patrols” in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, along with a smattering of states on the Canadian border where Minutemen had deployed to protect America from northern invaders. Never modest, the cigar-chomping Simcox was a hyper and relentless self-aggrandizer who came across with the smug egotism that quickly earned him the nickname “The Little Prince.”

He was known for over-the-top claims, like his repeated assertion that he had seen Chinese Red Army men at the Mexican border, preparing to attack the U.S. Nevertheless, he was featured repeatedly on Lou Dobbs’ CNN show and a plethora of shows on Fox News, where he was treated as a serious critic of immigration policy.

But even then, there were allegations of sexual abuse. As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, although no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife — the mother of his current accuser — took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.

Simcox’s Child-Molestation Trial Only Latest Instance of Border-Watcher Criminality

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Extremist Crime, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on March 16, 2015 - 11:37 am

Editor’s Note: Officials said today that the start of the trial of Chris Simcox had been delayed until Monday, March 23.

One of the great ironies of the now-moribund vigilante border-watch movement is that its members were obsessed with the lawlessness of the immigrant border crossers they sought to apprehend — but themselves often had criminal backgrounds or, worse yet, hid behind their activism to pursue criminal acts.

Exhibit A: Chris Simcox.

Chris Simcox

Chris Simcox

Simcox was the co-founder of the Minuteman Project, the April 2005 gathering on the Arizona border of citizen border watchers south of the Tombstone area, where Simcox lived at the time. Originally founded as a border militia, Simcox and his Minutemen became the epitome of the nativist border-watch movement, embodied by a national fund-raising campaign that he led to build a fence on a section of the border as a demonstration project that mostly ended up lining the pockets of his Beltway-based handlers. The movement, which peaked with 319 nativist extremist groups in 2010, had faded to just 19 groups by late last year.

Simcox was a volatile personality with a history of destroyed relationships, and eventually his Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC) shut down amid turmoil within its ranks over finances and egos, as well as the decline of its reputation as the border-watch movement became increasingly associated with criminality.

Simcox himself provided the latest evidence of that association when he was arrested in July 2013 and charged with three counts of child molestation — later reduced to two — after his then-6-year-old daughter and one of her friends, age 5, accused him of sexually assaulting them. If convicted of the felony charges, Simcox could face life in prison.

Simcox goes on trial this week in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on the charges. (Hatewatch will provide coverage of the trial.) He plans to act as his own attorney in the trial, although he will be required to work through his court-appointed associate attorneys when it comes to cross-examining his two alleged victims.

Simcox’s is hardly the only such case. Seen retrospectively, the border-watch movement was remarkable for the number of its leaders and participants whose careers ended in criminal acts.

Even before Simcox came along with his Minuteman concept, one of the early border-militia organizers who preceded him also had a number of brushes with the law. Casey Nethercott, another Arizona resident, was involved in a border-watch operation called Ranch Rescue at the turn of the century, and he too had a number of criminal legal problems.

ranchrescueNethercott — who had done prison time in California for assault in the 1990s — and some of his fellow Ranch Rescue members in 2003 assaulted two Salvadoran migrants who had crossed the border on foot and wound up on a ranch where the nativist border watchers operated. The migrants were held at gunpoint, and one of them was pistol-whipped and attacked by a Rottweiler. With the assistance of the SPLC, the migrants sued their attackers and won a million-dollar civil judgment against Ranch Rescue, including $500,000 against Nethercott, who also faced criminal assault charges in the case but eventually had them dismissed.

Nethercott eventually left Ranch Rescue and then began organizing his own border watches at a property he purchased in Arizona. Eventually he had a tense standoff with Border Patrol agents at that property; when FBI agents tried to arrest him for his role in that incident two weeks later, they wound up shooting the white supremacist who was accompanying him at the time.

Indeed, while the phrase “rule of law” even today is often bandied about by the remaining bands of vigilante nativists, the record demonstrates that this was a peculiarly flexible concept for many of the Minutemen and their associates.

Shawna Forde

Shawna Forde

Shawna Forde, for example, incorporated the phrase into the logo for her offshoot border-watch operation, Minuteman American Defense. Forde’s operation was widely promoted at the website of Simcox’s Minuteman Project co-founder, Jim Gilchrist; previously, she had been deeply involved in Simcox’s MCDC operations in Washington state.

Then, in June 2009, Forde was arrested and charged with masterminding the horrific murders of a 9-year-old girl and her father in the small Arizona border town of Arivaca, along with a white-supremacist cohort named Jason Eugene Bush and a local man, Albert Gaxiola, as part of her plan to create a border-militia compound. All three were convicted, and Forde and Bush wound up on Arizona’s Death Row.

After the arrests of Forde, Bush and Gaxiola, Forde’s former associates in the Minuteman movement fled from their onetime protégé. National leaders of the Minuteman movement — particularly Simcox and Gilchrist — hastily tried to put distance between themselves and Forde and her group. To this day, Gilchrist tries to claim that he had little to do with her.

Todd Hezlitt

Todd Hezlitt

But while Forde’s conviction severely damaged the border-watch movement — as one ex-MCDC leader put it,  “A lot of people felt, well, you’re a Minuteman, you’re a killer” — that was not the end of it.

In April 2012, one of Forde’s associates in the desert, a Tucson man named Todd Hezlitt, was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor for an affair he had initiated with a 15-year-old girl from a local high school where he was an assistant wrestling coach. Two months later, he fled with the girl to Mexico, and he briefly became an international fugitive.

A few weeks after that, the girl turned herself in to the American consulate in Mazatlan. Hezlitt was caught a short time later and extradited. He eventually wound up agreeing to plead guilty to the sexual conduct charges in exchange for not being charged with kidnapping, and was sentenced to six years in prison.

J.T. Ready (center) and friends.

J.T. Ready (center) and friends.

Another violent incident from a former border watcher erupted in Arizona in May 2012 when Jason Todd “J.T.” Ready — a longtime leader of the state’s neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, and an organizer of independent NSM border watches in Arizona — went on a shooting rampage at the home of his girlfriend.

Before committing suicide, Ready shot and killed his girlfriend, Lisa Lynn Mederos, 47; her daughter, Amber Nieve Mederos, 23; the daughter’s boyfriend, Jim Franklin Hiott, and Amber’s 15-month-old baby girl, Lilly Lynn Mederos. Investigators later found chemicals and military-grade munitions that apparently belonged to Ready at the residence.

As Tim Steller at the Arizona Daily Star observed: “Undoubtedly, there have been border-militia members in Arizona who have carried out citizen patrols without harboring racist motives or having criminal tendencies. The problem for the movement … is that people with these motives or tendencies have cropped up repeatedly among citizen border-watchers.”

Extremist Highlights from CPAC 2015

Posted in Academic Racism, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, Anti-Muslim by Hatewatch Staff on March 5, 2015 - 2:16 pm

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which took place this past weekend in Maryland, is almost always stacked with white nationalists and extremists. And this year was no different, even though American Conservative Union has sought to shun far-right groups and individuals from its event.

From anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant extremists, to the anti-LGBT activists who paraded halls, a good number of groups and individuals still managed to share the spotlight.

Here are some highlights from CPAC 2015:

• As Little Green Footballs reported, the organizers at CPAC gave press credentials and free access to the Tennessee white supremacist radio show Political Cesspool, a radio program that has been nexus of hate in America. Its sponsors include the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) and the Holocaust-denying Institute for Historical Review.

Faraj

Nigel Farage.

Nigel Farage, head of the anti-immigrant and right-wing populist United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) stated, “We have all in the West mistakenly and I think in a very cowardly manner, we have pursed a policy of multiculturalism. We have pursued a policy of actually encouraging division within our societies rather than pursuing a policy where we should all come together.” Farage went on to say, “We must stand firm and defend our Judeo-Christian culture. We must make it clear that we believe in common law and not Sharia law.”

ProEnglish, an anti-immigrant group headed by white nationalist Robert Vandervoort, had an exhibitor’s booth. Vandervoort is the former head of the white nationalist group Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance. The group was affiliated with the New Century Foundation and its publication American Renaissance, published by white nationalist ideologue Jared Taylor.

• A number of anti-immigrant activists attended an impromptu press conference held by Sen. Jeff Sessions, organized by Breitbart Media. Sessions used the press conference to attack President Obama’s executive action on immigration. Rosemary Jenks, Chris Chmielenski and Jim Edwards of the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA and Bob Dane with the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) all attended the press conference.

• Frank Gaffney, one of the leading anti-Muslim voices in the country, also attended the Sessions press conference. Gaffney’s group, the Center for Security Policy (CSP) had a booth in the exhibitor’s hall of CAPC. CSP was also a sponsor of the conference. Clare Lopez, CSP’s vice president for research and analysis, also spoke on two panels.

• Sen. Ted Cruz called for IRS to be abolished and said if he was elected President he would instruct every IRS employee to be stationed on the U.S./Mexico border – remark which received a standing ovation.

• The devil is in the details, or in the case of CPAC, the fliers people hand out. One young person passed out a flier for the racist website VDARE.com founded by white nationalist Peter Brimelow that advertised his new book Alien Nation and talked about how “the national disaster of mass Third World immigration” would “spell the eventual doom of the American nation.” Another flier passed out to CPAC attendees warned “We cannot continue to help the world if we are brought to our economic knees by a flood of illegal aliens.” The bottom of the flier read, “Paid for by Chris Phillips. Not coordinated with any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

• Zuhdi Jasser, one of the few Muslim spokespersons within the anti-Muslim movement, called for America to stand up and defeat ISIS during a panel, claiming that the Muslim world is incapable of dealing with the threat. “Within Islam right now is a laboratory that only breeds cockroaches,” he said.

• White nationalists representing a number of groups participated in a protest outside of the CPAC hotel on Saturday afternoon voicing support for Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Matt Heimbach of the Traditionalist Youth Network organized the protest, which also included members of the Neo-Confederate group League of the South.

• The Convention of States, a project of the group Citizens for Self Government calling for a convention to propose amendments resulting the a reduction of federal powers, also had an exhibitor’s booth at CPAC. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma recently signed on as a senior advisor for the project. Mathew Staver of the anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel is on the Convention of States legal board of reference.

• One U.S. governor, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, compared his state’s union protesters to ISIS, stating, “I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world.” Another, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, used his speech to attack President Obama, claiming the Obama isn’t fit to run the United States as Commander in Chief.

Judge Clears Way for Simcox To Represent Self in Child-Molestation Case

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on February 26, 2015 - 11:13 am

Chris-Simcox-HatewtachA judge this week granted Chris Simcox, the former nativist extremist known sarcastically among those on the border as the “Little Prince” because of his arrogant bearing, the right to represent himself in his forthcoming trial in Phoenix for child molestation — charges that could put him away for life.

Simcox’s trial was rescheduled on Monday for March 16 by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla, who stipulated several rules for Simcox’s plans to conduct a self-represented (pro se) defense on three counts of child molestation and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

All this means that Simcox likely will be personally cross-examining his two young victims, who were ages 6 and 5 in 2013 at the time of their alleged abuse. According to the papers filed by prosecutors, Simcox “is alleged to have digitally penetrated his biological daughter’s [vagina] on two occasions, penetrated her vagina with an object on [one] occasion and to have fondled the genitals of his daughter’s friend on two occasions.

Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, told Hatewatch that victim advocates with backgrounds in dealing with sexual abuse cases involving children had been assigned to the two young girls.

But cases in which the victims of a sexual assault are required to face their accused attackers on the witness stand are relatively rare. Even rarer, according to legal experts consulted by Hatewatch, are pro-se cases involving child sex assault victims. In fact, allowing accused perpetrators of a sexual assault to directly cross-examine their alleged victims remains a controversial component of American jurisprudence. The practice recently came under intense scrutiny when a rape victim in Seattle, distraught with the prospect of having to face the man she said attacked her when she was a child, threatened suicide at the courthouse, after he won the right to represent himself.

“Judges can be very creative about this, but the fundamental constitutional right of somebody to represent themselves in trial is pretty strong,” said Patty Eakes, a former prosecutor now with the Seattle firm Calfo Harrigan Leyh & Eakes. “So it’s always a tricky position for a judge when someone decides they want to go pro se, and when they go pro se, then technically he has the right to examine the person.”

This often throws the courts into a balancing act between the rights of the victims and the rights of the accused. In any event, Eakes observed, Simcox was dooming his chances in court, as well as closing off at least one avenue of appeal (inadequate representation), by asking the court to represent himself.

“He may have delusions of grandeur about what a great job he’s going to do, but he’s going to have two strikes against him with that jury before he stands up, just because he chose to do this, right?” Eakes said.

Simcox had initially been offered a plea bargain that would have required him to serve 10 years in prison, but he refused and insisted on taking the case to trial. According to a report by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, Simcox engaged in a tense back-and-forth with Judge Padilla during the hearing to determine if Simcox would represent himself.

“In a sense, I kind of welcome the trial,” Simcox said at the time. “I would relish the opportunity for the truth to come out.”

The developments are the latest in a long and twisted road to trail for Simcox, who previously had suggested he would present a “grand conspiracy” defense that he had been targeted for prosecution, and the evidence against him invented, because of his prominent role as a leader and co-founder of the nativist extremism group called the Minutemen.

At the height of the border movement, Simcox was president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a nationwide, anti-immigration vigilante organization with armed “citizen border patrols” in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, along with a smattering of states on the Canadian border where Minutemen had deployed to protect America from northern invaders. Never modest, the cigar-chomping Simcox was a hyper and relentless self-aggrandizer who came across with the smug egotism that quickly earned him the nickname “The Little Prince.”

But even then, there were allegations of sexual abuse.

As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife — the mother of his current accuser — took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.

When Hatewatch contacted Simcox then, he refused to answer four direct questions about the allegations.

“I would never answer those questions to you. You can’t ask those questions,” he said. “You’re on a witch hunt and you’re trying to discredit our movement, which is to secure the borders. … My personal life has nothing to do with anything that goes on here.”

Simcox Seeks to Act As His Own Attorney in Child-Molestation Trial

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on February 19, 2015 - 2:05 pm

Onetime Minuteman leader Chris Simcox has filed papers seeking to act as his own attorney in his upcoming trial in Phoenix on child-molestation charges, raising the prospect that he could wind up cross-examining his own alleged young victims on the stand.

Simcox was arrested in July 2013 and accused of molesting his daughter and her friend at his home on two occasions when the girls were ages 6 and 5, respectively. Both are now in their preteens. The charges are all felonies, and if convicted, Simcox could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Chris-Simcox-HatewtachInvoking the 1975 Supreme Court ruling in Faretta v. California, Simcox on Feb. 12 filed a request with Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla saying that, “after conferring with his assigned attorneys in this matter,” he “invokes his right to represent himself for all further proceedings, including the jury trial set in this matter for March 2, 2015.”

Simcox has been in prison since his arrest, and the trial has been delayed multiple times, largely at Simcox’s request, as he has gone through multiple defense attorneys in the case.

Simcox is known nationally for his role as one of the two founders of the Minuteman movement, an array of armed groups that patrolled the southern border looking to apprehend migrants illegally crossing into the United States. Among other things, he became known for ridiculous statements like his claim to have seen Chinese Army soldiers massing at the American border.

Prosecutors had requested another delay in the trial earlier this month, explaining that the lead prosecutor in the case was currently in court with another case. However, Judge Padilla denied that request, so the trial is currently scheduled to begin as scheduled on March 2. However, a pretrial conference on Monday, at which Simcox and Judge Padilla are expected to establish ground rules in his attempt to represent himself, could change that schedule yet again.

According to the documents filed by prosecutors in the case, Simcox “is alleged to have digitally penetrated his biological daughter’s [vagina] on two occasions, penetrated her vagina with an object on [one] occasion and to have fondled the genitals of his daughter’s friend on two occasions.” He has also been charged with providing harmful materials to a minor.

Prosecutors at one time had offered Simcox a generous plea deal that would have given him a 10-year sentence. However, according to Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, the spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said the offer had been taken off the table.

Earlier filings made by Simcox’s attorneys suggested that he might attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political and media profile. He also appeared to be claiming that the charges against him were based on evidence from a daughter who was subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.” The judge hearing the case at the time warned Simcox that he could not plan an attempting a “grand conspiracy” defense.

As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife — the mother of his current accuser — took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.

House Judiciary Subcommittee Continues Invite Anti-Immigrant Voices to Testify

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Hate Groups, Neo-Confederate by Hatewatch Staff on February 11, 2015 - 11:22 am

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold yet another hearing this afternoon, and no surprise —members of the anti-immigrant right are once again itching to have their voices heard.

For the second time in just over a week, the Subcommittee has stacked the day with testimony from some of the most hardline immigration opponents in the debate. And if it’s anything like before, what they’ll say will be more of what we’ve come to expect from the anti-immigrant right: worries based more on fear than fact.

The published list of witnesses scheduled to be called for testimony include so-called immigration experts who have spent years demonizing immigrants, warning that they spread disease, take jobs from U.S. citizens and responsible for increases in crime, a dubious fact with little statistical support.

Among them is Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, N.C., a longtime ally of some of the most established anti-immigrant groups in the country, including the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

This past summer, Page took part in a two day “fact-finding”trip to McAllen, Texas, compliments of FAIR. The trip took place as panic mounted on the right-wing over children escaping violence across Central America and showing up on the U.S. border. He also is a regular attendee at FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire”event in Washington, D.C., an event that brings together anti-immigrant activists, right-wing radio hosts and politicians to bolster outrage over immigration.

Sheriff Sam Page, left, with Michael Peroutka, right.

Sheriff Sam Page, left, with Michael Peroutka, right.

Page has taken part in a number of events organized by the Constitutional Sheriff’s & Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group founded by former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, a leading figure in the antigovernment movement. At a 2014 CSPOA event, Page was pictured shaking hands with Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS).

Dan Cadman, a CIS senior fellow, and Frank Morris, a CIS board member, are also testifying this afternoon.

Morris has been involved in the anti-immigrant movement for decades, serving on the board of numerous groups including FAIR and Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) — the group he is representing today. He was also led attempts to appeal to the African-American community through the creation of front groups such as the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) and its predecessor, Choose Black America (CBA). Both groups, now defunct, sought to divide communities of color over the issue of immigration by promoting the falsehood that immigrants are taking jobs from African Americans.

Though Morris and Cadman do not have a history of racist statements, the organization they both hold title with, CIS, most certainly does.

Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, CIS executive director Mark Krikorian wrote, “My guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”In 2008, CIS published a report in which it called immigrants who marry U.S. citizens “Third-World gold-diggers.”And Jessica Vaughan a CIS staffer who spoke at last week’s immigration hearing on Capitol Hill, wrote in 2008 that one legacy of the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) program, “has been its contribution to the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”

Police: Austin Shooter Apparently Tied to Phineas Priesthood

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Antigovernment, White Supremacist by Bill Morlin on December 2, 2014 - 10:03 am
Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

A man who went on a shooting spree last week in Austin, Tex., firing at government buildings and a police headquarters, was a “homegrown American extremist” with “hate in his heart,” the city’s police chief said.

Larry Steve McQuilliams, 49, also appeared to have been a devotee of a doctrine known as the Phineas Priesthood, an ideology that believes violence to be divinely justified if used against race-mixers, gay people, abortion proponents and others.

“He is a homegrown American extremist,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday at a news briefing in the Texas capital city. “Hate in his heart was part of his problem. … What keeps me up at night is these guys—the lone wolf.”

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Texas Gunman Likely Motivated by Antigovernment Beliefs

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Antigovernment by Bill Morlin on November 29, 2014 - 7:16 am
Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

A gunman displaying violent “antigovernment behavior” fired more than 100 rounds yesterday at the U.S. Courthouse, the Mexican consulate and a police headquarters in Austin, Texas, before dying of a gunshot wound, authorities say.

Hours after the shooting, various media sources identified the gunman as, Larry Steve McQuilliams, a 49-year-old resident of Austin. No one else was injured in 12-minute shooting spree which began about 2:20 a.m. (CST) and briefly shut down Interstate 35 through downtown Austin.

The suspect, who was wearing a vest, died from a gunshot near police headquarters and close to his vehicle that police suspected may have contained an explosive device, Assistant Chief Raul Munguia told the Austin Statesman. A police SWAT team later searched the gunman’s Austin home, but the results of that search weren’t immediately released. ( continue to full post… )