[Pnews] Nato protester's prison term extended for throwing human waste at guard
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Apr 13 12:28:40 EDT 2016
Nato protester's prison term extended for throwing human waste at guard
Renée Feltz - April 12, 2016
A 30-year-old Illinois prisoner diagnosed with a degenerative disease
that destroys higher brain functioning will spend at least two more
years behind bars for conduct experts say deserves treatment instead of
Jared Chase was sentenced on Monday to an additional year in prison for
squirting a shampoo bottle of his human waste at a correctional officer.
At the time of the assault in 2013, he was in jail facing state
terrorism charges related to protests against the 2012 Nato summit in
In a high-profile trial in 2014 prosecutors argued that Chase and two
friends planned to attack police stations, the mayor’s house, and Barack
Obama’s campaign headquarters. Defense attorneys countered that the men
were entrapped by two first-time undercover police officers who plied
them with alcohol. Recorded audio of their drunken bravado was used in
court. The terrorism charges failed to stick, and the three were instead
convicted of felony possession of an incendiary device – four molotov
cocktails made from beer bottles – and misdemeanor mob action.
Prosecutors sought a maximum punishment of 14 years, but judge Thaddeus
Wilson sentenced the three to between five, six and eight years. Chase
got the longest sentence after a correctional officer testified during
the punishment phase of the trial that he had attacked him in jail – the
same incident for which Chase was sentenced on Monday. The other men
served half their time. Chase is the only one still in prison.
Dr Kathleen Shannon, an associate professor of neurology at Rush Medical
College, testified during the 2014 trail that Chase had physical and
cognitive signs of Huntington’s disease, and that a genetic test had
confirmed the diagnosis. The disease is hereditary and marked early on
by personality changes, irritability, impulsiveness and impaired
judgment. Physical symptoms appear later, such as slurred speech, and
involuntary, jerky movements known as “chorea” .
Shannon met with Chase twice, and testified he had a life expectancy of
about 15 years, or a maximum age of about 39. Chase’s father died of the
disease while his son was awaiting trial.
When Chase appeared in court on Monday he was dressed in a brown
jumpsuit worn by inmates in solitary confinement at Pontiac correctional
center, a segregated unit packed with inmates who have mental illness.
He was thin and struggled to speak. At a court hearing in December he
was heavily bruised and explained he had struggled with guards.
Court records show that while in prison, Chase stored his human waste in
cartons he hoarded in his cell, and would throw them out into common
areas. Chase said in a letter that he acted out when he did not receive
the special diet or vitamins prescribed for his disease.
In 2013, Dr Shannon testified that throwing feces and urine at people
was “very common” for people with Huntington’s disease, and compared the
outbursts to a toddler’s temper tantrum. Those who suffer from the
disease often struggle to learn from their mistakes and may be compelled
to repeatedly engage in behavior that is not in their best interest. *. *
A 2015 study by an international team of experts found that
neurodegenerative diseases can “cause dysfunction of neural structures
involved in judgment, executive function, emotional processing” and
“lead to antisocial and criminal behavior”. It noted that while “they
are able to understand their actions and sometimes even to verbalize
that they were wrong” the patients they observed “lack the inhibitory
circuitry in the orbitofrontal, anterior insular, and anterior cingulate
cortex to prevent inappropriate behavior”.
It concluded that this made them “particularly vulnerable to legal
systems” and that “these individuals should be treated differently by
Last year Anne Leserman, a social worker and assistant director of
community services at Huntington’s Disease Society of America, wrote a
letter to prison officials urging better treatment for Chase. She noted
that, “in a stressful situation, like one that would be experience in a
prison environment, these set of symptoms might be enhanced”.
But instead of prompting his release or additional treatment, Chase’s
continued outbursts and resulting stints in solitary confinement have
resulted in a loss of one year of “good behavior” time, which means he
will serve at least one more year than the usual half-time of his
eight-year sentence. His new one-year sentence for assault must be
For Brent Betterly, who traveled with Chase as an activist in the Occupy
Wall Street movement and was a co-defendant in the Nato case who has
since been released, Monday’s court hearing was “like watching my friend
die before my eyes.” he said.
Betterly said Chase appeared to have lost more weight, and twitched
repeatedly as he struggled to speak in court.
“Every year they add on is another nail in the coffin, so to speak,” he
said. “At this point it is just vindictive what they are doing to Jay.”
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