‘Fiddle man’ avoids probation pending right-to-travel appeal

Arthur Jay Hirsch is caught in state traps against free use of the roads but is appealing his convictions. (Photo David Tulis)

Arthur Jay Hirsch is caught in state traps against free use of the roads but is appealing his convictions. This morning he tries to stay out of the state’s probation quagmire. (Photo David Tulis)

This morning in circuit court in Lawrence County, Tenn., Arthur Jay Hirsch will move to avoid probation after his conviction for the free exercise of the right to travel and for the possession of a pistol in is truck cab under a law that shortly after his arrest was eliminated.

He’d been advised by his state attorney that filing notice of appeal stayed the demands and costs of probation. He has been sentenced for convictions on four counts. But the judge who sentenced him, Stella Hargroves, may continue to “have it in” for Mr. Hirsch. “Quite a few liberty issues are to be discussed,” Mr. Hirsch says in an email. “Please pray that the Holy Spirit will impress the judge to do what is, fair, impartial, righteous and merciful with respect to my appeal and stay of probationary reporting and paying fees.  Thank you for your prayers in the past.  May the Lord Jesus be glorified whatever the outcome.”

Probation is a racket. Poor offenders such as Jay Hirsch pay the price when probation turns on profit, according to a major Associated Press story published this weekend in the Chattanooga Times Free Press and other print outlets. The system is “full of traps” for convicts, Mr. Hirsch says. He barely has any money left after his right-to-travel ordeal, and is being ruined by state oppression in two cases. He will appeal one case, and is seeking to plea bargain the other prior to trial. — DJT

[UPDATE — Mr. Hirsch texts me that probation reporting has been stayed. “Praise God! Thanks for  your prayers.” Here is a letter to prayer warriors and other supporters of Mr. Hirsch.]

By Jay Hirsch

The LORD greatly blessed in my court hearing today, and I praise His holy name!  Judge Russell Parks proved to be a good, fair and merciful judge.  Without hesitation he granted my motion to stay probationary reporting and paying fees, and entered an order regarding the same (he didn’t even require the prosecutor to be present for his ruling on my motion, but entered it exparte — THANK YOU LORD!).

The probation officer didn’t show up for the hearing and it became obvious why, i.e., it was disclosed that someone from his probation office lied to me on Feb. 26th by phoning me and saying that Judge Parks told them that I was supposed to continue reporting to probation and paying the fees even though I had filed my notice of appeal.  When I told this to Judge Parks he shook his head (negative) and said on the record that he had never talked to probation about my case, and that he did not order me to continue reporting as probation alleged.  He said that a stay of probationary reporting was always in order when a timely notice of appeal was filed with the appellate court.  (Note:  This is an important issue that I’ll not have to take up with Judge Stella Hargrove, who most certainly would have rule against me per my past experience with her. THANK YOU LORD!)

Since Judge Hargrove has recused herself from my second case in deference to Judge Parks (PRAISE THE LORD!), and since the local district attorney’s office has recused all of its staff from prosecuting any of my cases due to my federal lawsuit against them in 2014, and since the pro tem trial prosecutor was recused from my second case due to being named as a defendant in my 2015 lawsuit against them,  Judge Parks said he was uncertain how to proceed regarding the appointment of another prosecutor to consider my plea offer.  He said that he would contact the office of court administrators right away and have them decide who should be appointed as the new prosecutor.  (This is another issue that has been removed from Judge Hargrove’s prejudiced discretion. THANK YOU LORD!)

The hearing on my plea offer is scheduled for April 12 at 9:00 a.m.  Please remember me in prayer that I may get this second case favorably dismissed.

Lastly, the appeals court has requested the trial court to send them an order stating whether I intend to waive my right to appeal counsel and proceed pro se, or whether I was going to request the assistance of counsel.  I told Judge Parks that I was planning to proceed on my own without counsel, but that I did not waive my right , but rather reserved my right to counsel should I chose to exercise it later.  He said he would review the appellate court’s request and respond accordingly per my intention to proceed without counsel.  (This issue, too, was divinely removed from Judge Hargrove’s unrighteous court.  THANK YOU LORD!)

My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your prayer support through the past two years (going on three years, now).   May the Lord richly bless you. I’m standing firmly on God’s promises that He will deliver me from the hand of the enemy to the honor, glory and praise of His name.

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore, will  I deliver him.  I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.  He shall call upon me, and I will answer him.  I will be with him in trouble.  I will deliver him, and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”  Ps. 91:14-16.

Motion for stay on probation reporting

Defendant moves this Court to enter an order granting a stay of probation reporting and the paying of fees during the pendency of appeal and states as follows:

1. Defendant was sentenced to six months probation by the trial court on February 11, 2016.

2. After discussion with appointed attorney defendant filed a timely notice of appeal on
February 16, 2016.

3. Defendant relied on counsel’s opinion based on his experience as a public defender that
filing a notice of appeal stays the probation reporting and filing of fees during the pendency of appeal. In fact, counsel told defendant he is currently representing a defendant with a felony conviction who has been free from probationary reporting for over six months pending appeal.

4. Counsel’s advice to defendant is supported by case law:

State v. Cravens, 2003 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 846 In State v. Lyons, 29 S.W.3d 48, 50 (Tenn. Crim.App. 1999), the court held that when a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor offense and receives probation, the sentence is stayed pending the outcome of the appeal. As noted by a panel of this court in State v. Sandra Brown, No. M2000-00792-CCA-R3-CD, 2001 Tenn. Crim.

App. LEXIS 759, at *8 (Tenn. Crim. App. Sept. 19, 2001, at Nashville),the holding in Lyons involved a “direct appeal of a sentence. . .”

5. Defendant provided a copy of his file stamped notice of appeal to the Lawrenceburg
probation office prior to the first scheduled reporting date on February 26, 2016.

6. Defendant, relying in good faith on counsel’s above-mentioned opinion regarding the stay of probation reporting, did not report to the probation office as scheduled on February 26, 2016.

7. On February 26, 2016 the probation office notified the defendant by phone that Judge
Russell Parks had told them that defendant’s notice of appeal did not stay his probation
reporting and the paying of fees, and that he was required to continue reporting during the pendency of appeal.

8. Defendant checked with the court clerk’s office and found no order from Judge Parks stating the aforesaid opinion/ruling as to a stay of probation reporting and paying of fees upon notice of appeal.

9. Defendant feels that the notice of appeal would be meaningless if there is no stay and he has to continue to report to probation and pay the fees should his case be remanded to the circuit court. How would he be reimbursed for the time and expense of reporting or how would the probation fees be refunded if his conviction is overturned?

10. Defendant declares that he is serving the Lord Jesus Christ weekly as a minister of music, of the Gospel and prayer to the patients, residents and inmates at Crockett Hospital, NHC Lawrenceburg nursing home, NHC HealthCare-Scott nursing home, Countryside nursing home and the Lawrence County jail. He has faithfully appeared at every scheduled court hearing from December 10, 2013, to the present and is no flight risk. (See attachments in support.)

11. In light of his eight-year ministry to the spiritual needs of the sick, dying and incarcerated members of the Lawrenceburg / Lawrence County community, and since there are presently convicted felony defendants who are not being required to report to probation or pay the fees upon filing their notice of appeal, defendant feels that it is only fair, impartial and nondiscriminatory that his misdemeanor conviction and appeal be treated in the same way by this Court.

WHEREFORE, defendant moves this Court to impartially enter an order granting him a stay from probation reporting and the paying of fees during the pendency of his appeal.
Date: March 14, 2016

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