[Pnews] The Empire Hits! and an update on Bill Dunne

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jan 10 20:23:55 EST 2015


    The Empire Hits! and an update on Bill Dunne
    <https://denverabc.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/the-empire-hits-and-an-update-on-bill-dunne/>

Posted on January 10, 2015 by denverabc*
https://denverabc.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/the-empire-hits-and-an-update-on-bill-dunne/*

Bill Dunne #10916-086
FCI Herlong
Post Office Box 800
Herlong, California 96113

- – – – – – – – – – – – -
The Empire Hits!/
/

The U.S. Parole Commission conducted a hearing for a 15 year 
reconsideration of my case on 5 November 2014. The last 15 year 
continuance (“hit”) was set to expire in December. The hearing examiner 
went through the usual things:offender characteristics; the circumstances
of my 1979 offenses; a 1983 escape attempt; ancient disciplinary 
infractions. I was thinking a good outcome would be a one year date, a 
bad one, five years (and, having long experience with the agency of 
repression, expecting the worst!). Then the examiner went unusual. He 
unleashed a tirade about anarchist connections and anti-authoritarian 
views. He recommended another 15 year hit on the basis thereof. Four 
weeks later, I got a Notice of Action (NOA) from the commission adopting 
the recommendation and setting my next reconsideration for November of 2029.

The commission made much of the facts that I was on parole and the 1979 
conspiracy included three armed bank robberies to finance the escape of 
a federal prisoner who had killed a customs agent. It also changed the 
assault of a Seattle police officer during the escape to attempted 
murder, using this change to raise my offense behavior category and 
guideline range. It did so notwithstanding that I was not at the scene 
of the shooting, the shooter was paroled ten years ago, and having 
established the old category in 2000 and defended it through seven 
hearings and appeals. The real reason for the higher offense behavior 
category is that its guidelines have no upper limit. I’ve already served 
more than the top guidelines under the previous, lower category.

The commission then added a specific amount of time to my parole 
guidelines for each disciplinary infraction I’ve had. That came to 
(erroneously, but ad arguendo) 32-132 months. Next, it singled out five 
of those infractions from 31, 31, 30, 25, and 19 years ago (attempted 
escape, knife, handcuff key, “uncompleted” handcuff key, escape 
paraphernalia — the second and last bogus) as indicative I was a more 
serious risk than my parole prognosis showed. These infractions, the 
commission alleged without saying why, further justified exceeding the 
guidelines by so much as the 15 year hit. It thus used the infractions 
to both raise and exceed the guidelines contrary to its own rules.

The commission required my codefendant to serve some 198 months on 
identical charges stemming from the jailbreak conspiracy, and our 
offender characteristics are virtually identical. The 132 month maximum 
the commission’s rescission guidelines say should be added to my parole 
guidelines thus suggests a sentence in the range of 330 months for me. 
The commission and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) both agreed I had 344 
months in at the time of the hearing. (I actually had 421 months in, but 
they say the other 77 months went to the state time I got as a result of 
the same events.) The commission also ignored the statutory injunction 
that “old law” prisoners like me should be paroled after 30 years, which 
would put me out no later than 18 March 2016, even under their erroneous 
calculation.

The commission shifted into political police mode, saying, “the 
Commission finds your continued association and affiliation with 
anarchist organizations is evidence you still harbor anti-authoritarian 
views that are not compatible with the welfare of society or with the 
conditions of parole.” The NOA says zero about what it means by 
“anarchist,” “association,” “affiliation,” or “anti-authoritarian views” 
or why they might be problematic for society or parole. The examiner did 
mention a few specifics and waved some printouts, but did not explain 
what was so wrong with their content. He said I’d get copies, but so far 
I have not. There is no BOP or commission rule forbidding information by 
or about prisoners being published on the net.

The commission’s hearing examiner mentioned three sites: Prison Radio, 
LA-ABCF (Los Angeles Anarchist Black Cross Federation), and Denver ABC. 
None of them advocate violence or criminality. They are posted by mostly 
working class and poor people who want to make their communities and 
world better places. The examiner denounced “Running Down the Walls,” 
but did not say why. RDTW is a running event sponsored every year by 
LA-ABCF for more than the last 20 in which people from many communities 
participate to express their opposition to the overuse of incarceration, 
especially for political purposes. The Prisoners’ Committee of the ABCF, 
of which the examiner also disapproved for no stated reason, advises the 
ABCF on effective ways to support political prisoners, none of which 
involve illegality. Nor is the committee’s advice always solicited or 
followed. Prison Radio produces broadcasts of news and information about 
prison issues from a radical left perspective but advocates no violation 
of the law. All of these web sites post information about particular 
cases, prisoners, situations, and events their operators think the 
bright light of public scrutiny would help reach a more positive 
resolution. They make their posts based on their own analysis and 
choices; they are self-directed and independent. As for 
anti-authoritarian, that’s supposed to be the position of the government 
itself: “anti” authoritarian regimes such as Putin’s Russia, etc., and 
pro democracy. The commission’s decision was the reverse.

The commission also said efforts to contact my codefendant were evidence 
I am likely to “reengage in similar criminal activity” if released, but 
does not say how so. My codefendant was released from prison 10 years 
ago and from parole five years ago. I don’t think he’s had so much as a 
traffic ticket in that time. One would think the commission would want 
me to learn from him whatever it was he did to convince them to release 
him from both prison and parole. No hearing examiner could tell me, and 
I asked at many hearings.

The commission apparently feels anything it deems anarchist — and, by 
implication, any radical left–political activity or connection warrants 
denial of parole. It denied me because it feels I am thus involved. I’ve 
already served more time than could be reasonably assessed for my 
offense behavior and disciplinary record. My codefendant’s offense role 
and offender characteristics are virtually identical. Hence, the time 
demanded of me should be comparable plus prescribed disciplinary time. 
That total would be less time than I’ve already served. Nor is politics 
any basis for parole denial. The notion that mere correspondence with 
anarchists or my codefendant evidences criminal intent is simply 
frivolous: no print or pictures or audio to felonious intent were ever 
alleged, and there are no rules against such contact. Nor has the 
commission ever objected before to these long-standing connections, and 
the BOP approved them. Neither the “anarchist organizations” nor my 
codefendant has any criminal history during the relevant times.

The commission’s blatant use of such demonstrably inadequate and 
inappropriate reasons to deny my parole is remarkable. I have already 
filed an administrative appeal and will continue the appeal via habeas 
corpus against both the BOP and commission. Not only are the 
unsupported, conclusory, and irrelevant claims cited for denying me 
parole a violation of the commission’s own rules, their use constitutes 
a gross infringement on the First Amendment. That use violates what 
remains of my right to hold and express positive, progressive politics 
as well as that of the people and groups whose speech and association 
are undermined by such government attacks on political expression via 
the internet. I am confident that I and any comrades who have supported 
me by putting information by or about me or my politics into the public 
domain to protect me from the depredations of power have done so in good 
faith and not in any way that could legitimately be construed as “not 
compatible with the welfare of society.” I’m confident we will not cave 
to such pressure to self-censor.

-- 
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863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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