With this note I intend to accomplish two things:
First, to publicly announce an open 'agenda setting' meeting of The
Committee, to take place this Saturday, January 17, 11:30am to
1:30pm, in the Community Room of the Petit Jean Electric Cooperative
in Clinton. All are welcome. Contact me (501-745-4153) for details.
Second, what follows is a lengthy note
over-viewing my present state of mind about all that has transpired
since March of 2007, the facts about which are complex and from my
point of view this is the most difficult part of the problem I as
The Committee seek to resolve: That most everyone gives the
whole matter involving
Michael C. Kelley a cursory glance, zeros in on the fact
that Mike has 'plead guilty' to cultivating marijuana and concludes
that there is nothing more to it than that.
Respectfully, I hope you will invest the time and thot necessary to
gather sufficient background information to see what has become
self-evident to me over the course of the last 22 months: that
Mike is incarcerated ONLY because he took
vigorous action to expose injustice and corruption in the
practices of local law enforcement and that because of that he has
been prosecuted for 'political motives' and is now facing 5 years in
federal prison, resultant of a relatively 'minor' violation of the
law which - had he kept his mouth shut about what has been going on
- should have likely resulted in a fine and probation or might have
even gone completely away if only he'd been willing to become a
'snitch' (or perhaps, as rumor has it, paid a bribe).
Which is, quite frankly, at the core of what has incensed him and I
and all of us about all of this all along, yet I feel that for those
of you who my be new to all this that I am getting ahead of myself,
because this whole mess is a lot to digest, let alone accept at face
value from a virtual stranger.
Heck, it is even been a big gulp to swallow
for some of my dearest friends. But truth is truth and right is
right and all we need to is let the facts speak for themselves. So
please let me start by explaining I am soon to be 60 years of age,
a 'single mom' -- mother of Patty (39), Adam (22), Shalom (20), Josh
(17) and Shawna (15). Also of Gerald who would have been 42 but died
of SIDS when he was a month and 3 days of age -- and an employed
professional who works 40 hours a week in an office that is in no
way related to law enforcement.
I am also the co-founder of The Committee with
Michael C. Kelley (age 64) and I have known Mike for 8 years. He
came to me as a client when I was doing freelance website
development. He contracted me to post a manuscript he'd written
(which was all about 'accountability') on the Internet. Over that
time we've become good friends.
When my children's father, Daniel Weiss, and I
divorced (2005), Mike helped my children and I tremendously. He
helped my boys find jobs (when they were old enough) and he was
'backup' for me (ie: chauffeuring kids) when duties required that I
be 'two places at once'.
Throughout that entire time the Mike Kelley I have witnessed has
always treated everyone with kindness and respect, tho at the same
time he has always been outspoken about the
principle of 'accountability'.
That is, he has a religious 'work ethic' and
deeply believes in 'doing the right thing', ie: being responsible,
being true to one's word, taking one's duties and obligations
seriously. And when he observes injustice, he is outspoken and takes
whatever LEGAL action is available to him to right the situation.
At the same time, Mike is the first to admit that he is 'no saint'.
His 'past' (prior to moving to Arkansas about 10 years ago) is
stained with a (non-violent) felony conviction (counterfeiting).
However, when he relocated to Arkansas (to care for his aging and
recently bereaved father who was then
in his 90s), of his own assertion he 'left all that behind him' and
determined to make a new life on the right side of the law from then
Which, from all that I have personally observed, he did in every
instance save one which is what Mike is currently awaiting
sentencing for (cultivation of marijuana for his own personal use)
but is NOT 'honest & truly' why he is really in jail.
To understand this you must first know that Mike has always cared
deeply about my children. His jaded past resulted in his
estrangement from his own daughters and in some ways over the years
my children became surrogates for
his fatherly affection.
Thus after he was arrested in March of 2007 on allegations of
cultivating marijuana and he learned that my daughter Shalom's
ex-boyfriend, Joseph Daniel Watts (who we now know to be a
drug-dealer and twice convicted domestic violence offender who is
routinely shielded from full prosecution by local law enforcement
because he serves them as a Confidential Informant) had (unbeknownst
to my daughter) used his relationship with my daughter to
gain Mike's trust and learn enough of his 'secret' to have him
All this as an act of 'proving' how powerful the ex-boyfriend's
connections were with the police so that my daughter, who had
broken-off their relationship, would take him seriously when he
threatened her that unless she moved in with him he would kill
her and burn our house down with all of
us in it AND GET AWAY WITH IT because he (the ex-boyfriend) had
insider connections with the local cops.
Thus Mike was outraged but not on his own account. That is, he
accepts full responsibility for his own actions, including for the
'crime' of marijuana cultivation - tho I must confess a personal
bias here in that it is impossible for me to comprehend how 'growing
a plant' constitutes the
'commission of a crime', but I digress.
Mike was distraught that local law enforcement had enabled the
ex-boyfriend to utilize the power and authority of law enforcement
to carry out a personal vendetta and as facts have come to light it
has become self-evident that local law enforcement did in fact
knowingly do this, does not care that
their actions have enabled and emboldened a real criminal to further
terrorize innocent victims and is willing to go to any lengths to
keep this whole ugly mess under wraps.
At which point I fear I have probably lost you as usually by now
most folks eyes glaze over, they nod appreciatively (seeing that I
am deeply troubled by all this and not wanting to offend me,
they extend a sort of condolences as one would to a bereaved friend
but still, really 'not getting it' in terms of what is truly at the
core of this mess.
Which is the purpose of this backgroound: to
supply a full dimension of context and thus enable thotful
deliberation so that each reader is empowered to decide for his or
her self just exactly what is actually going on.
Thus it must be noted that all I've written so far
has, of course, been condensed by virtue of hindsight. And so it
must be acknowledged that when Mike was arrested in March
of 2007, none these facts were understood to the degree that when
the idea was first proposed to me that Joseph Daniel Watts was a
drug dealer and an undercover agent for local law enforcement, I
laughed in disbelief.
Yet the events which have unfolded since that time prove
conclusively that this is true and made such a believer of me that I
co-founded The Committee for Honest Law Enforcement with Mike in
August of 2007 and have served as Chairwoman ever since.
One of tne of several things we then started looking into as The
Committee at that time revolved around a report conveyed to us (by a
concerned citizen who was 'too afraid'
to speak up on their own) that our Sheriff's office was in violation
of the law regarding serious fiduciary matters, a fact which is
confirmed by state legislative audits (see newspaper clipping,
below, published by the VBCDemocrat, January 1, 2009, Top 10 news
stories from 2008).
Also noteworthy, by the time we
jumped into this issue (early 2008), we had already written letters
and made personal appeals to numerous public officials calling for
the arrest of Joseph Daniel Watts as a drug dealer (details and
proofs of which are documented at
Also we raised serious questions about law enforcement making
greatly exaggerated claims about the size of a widely publicized
marijuana bust (unrelated to Mike's case) so that they (law
enforcement) might reap significant financial rewards (from the DEA)
which are based on the 'number
of plants' seized in any given interdiction and which we allege is
the 'end justifies the means' motive to 'stretch the truth' to
benefit law enforcement at the expense of the person accused - who
then pays a more serious penalty for a crime NOT factually
As Mike became more aggressive in bringing public attention to the
very real chicanery that has been and is taking place locally under
the guise of law and order, the 'penalties' (threatened and imposed)
upon him for his alleged crime (and it was 'alleged' at that time,
he was by law 'innocent until proven guilty', but you'd never have
known this by an objective look at what was going on) increased
exponentially in direct proportion to his outspoken public stand for
accountability and honesty in law enforcement.
For example, when the charges against Mike for cultivation were
initially filed, they were STATE charges. But by March of 2008, our
local prosecutor -- after first denying that Watts was an informant
and then filing to quash the defense subpoena of Watts so that Mike
could face his accuser in open court (which is a Constitutionally
guaranteed civil right) -- had persuaded the federal
government to take over the case because (we were told by a highly
credible source) local officials feared that Mike would 'get off too
easy' if the case was tried locally and since Mike had become 'an
800 pound gorilla in the middle of the courtroom' who was calling
attention to things (like exaggerated drug busts and financial
mismanagement) that they could not risk his being free 'in an
election year'. (continued at top of right column)
THE COMMITTEE FOR HONEST
LAW ENFORCEMENT will meet Saturday,
January 17, 11:30am / 1:30pm at the
Community Room of the Petit Jean Electric Cooperative in Clinton.
An agenda for 2009 will be planned.
All are welcome. Contact Christine,
501-745-4153, for details.
Thus the State dropped all charges
against Mike and he was indicted at federal level. And at this
point, quite frankly, we were all very hopeful that finally the
truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth would come to
light. Yet still to this day, that has not happened and in fact from
that time until
now things have actually gotten more intense, which is admittedly a
direct result of Mike's continued activism.
That is because during April of 2008
- after 13 months of being respectful of due process, meeting with
local officials, writing letters to the editor and
picketing twice at our county
courthouse in the interest of getting Joseph Daniel Watts arrested
for having SOLD marijuana to Mike (which is
factually what happened) Mike - in the interest of bringing Watts to
justice - took it upon himself to attempt a PERFECTLY LEGAL
'citizen's arrest' of Watts.
Now I won't go into here whether, given Mike's personal/legal
circumstances, this was a prudent thing do to. Probably, looking
strictly at his own self-interest, many would say it was not. Still,
however, you must understand that to Mike's mind it was as if his
own daughter's life had been
threatened by this miscreant Watts; that he had taken every action
available to an honest and law abiding citizen to bring this
criminal to justice; that law enforcement was ignoring their duty to
arrest Watts and was instead shielding and protecting him while
allowing and enabling him to commit
crimes. And that the next reasonable step for Mike to take in the
course of due process was to attempt a perfectly legal citizen's
arrest of Joseph Daniel Watts.
Which is precisely what Mike did: He went to Watts' house, knocked
on his door and, when Watts opened it, announced that he was there
to arrest Watts for the sale of marijuana. Watts, on hearing Mike's
announcement, retreated into his house and closed the door. Mike
went home and - knowing that his/our(anybody's) only 'real power' in
the this type of whistleblowing situation is 'public exposure' by
virtue of 'media attention' -- Mike wrote a news release about it.
At the same time, Watts delivered himself to local law enforcement
with spurious claims that Mike had threatened his life. The police,
of course, took Watts' word as gospel and on Friday, May 9, 2008,
Mike was arrested on charges of 'witness intimidation' - which is
Still, Mike was hauled into jail and when he was arraigned on these
new charges his attorney was (we now know by hindsight) completely
blindsided by the prosecutorial agenda which - I was told - was
aimed at implicating me as
having colluded in this new crime that Mike was charged with. I was
dumbfounded and demanded to testify. but Mike's attorney refused to
put me or either of my daughters on the stand.
Which I must point out was not the first time we have been denied
the opportunity to testify, nor would it be the last, but still I am
doing my best to timeline only sufficient information for a reader
to make his or her own judgment about what has truly been going so
that you may reasonably decide what, if any, action you wish to take
In this interest I must interject
that Mike, a Navy veteran of
the Viet Nam War, is an adamantly NON-violent person.
He is also an accomplished musician,
which is of little consequence here except to mention that before
all this ugly mess burst into our quiet lives, I personally chided
him about being a cross between Mahatma Gandhi, George Carlin and
At the time he responded that he was not that fond of Carlin who
had, as Mike saw it, 'gotten too cynical in his old age,' but that
he was pleased and flattered to be associated with Gandhi who was
one of his all time heroes. All of which I reference to help
substantiate that Mike is a peaceable man.
On the other hand, I know Joseph Daniel Watts to be a liar. I found
out, belatedly, that he began lying to me the day we met when I
inquired about his age and was told that he was 'only nineteen' (he
was actually 25) and 'liked hanging out with my sixteen-year-old
son, Adam' all the while he was
actually stalking my fourteen year old daughter, Shalom. who he had
convinced (by the time she was sweet sixteen) that he was the only
man in the world for her; that she was the love of his life; that
she was the only person on the face of the earth who 'really
understood him' and that he would die without her.
All of which is potent stuff to lay on a pubescent girl whose
disabled/abusive father has recently (to her dazed, innocent and
heartbroken eyes) abandoned her and her siblings and her mom.
But of course, as soon as her allegiance was won this psychopath's
true colors began to show. He became aggressively possessive and
within a year Shalom broke off with him because he had physically
assaulted her and for a time Watts was evicted from her life.
Sadly, by time Shalom turned
eighteen, he had wormed his way back in with pledges of reform and
persistent protests she again took up with him, imbuing me with the
uncomfortable knowledge that if I put my foot down
too severely she would likely move out of our house and in with him
which I was by then convinced would lead to the worst imaginable
By mid-March of 2007 (and unbeknownst
to me at that time) Shalom was struggling to break free from Watts.
There had again been physical altercations between them and he was
again being manipulative of her feelings and had started threatening
to harm her and her siblings if she broke-up with him.
On Thursday, March 22, things between them came to a head in my
presence as a bitter argument which resulted in me telling Watts to
leave my home (which after some argument and threatening conduct he
did) and I told Shalom that he must never come back.
She agreed. Then he started harassing
her on the phone, stalking her at work and threatening her that she
(and all of us) 'owed him' and that if she didn't move in with him
he would kill her and burn our house down with our whole
family in it. and that he would get away with it because he had
'insider connections' with the cops.
On Monday, March 26, Mike was arrested and events as told here began
to unfold. Also, Shalom did file charges against Watts, which were
(minimally) prosecuted and tho this proved to be Watts' second
conviction as a domestic abuser, his 'punishment' was 'plea
bargained' (over my daughter's strong objections) to a 'misdemeanor'
and a small ($500) fine.
And I ask you to earnestly consider that for as involved and complex
as all of this is, it is only the tip of the iceberg. Not yet
considered, for example, is how easy it was for those who wanted to
cover-up their own dirty dealings to 'criminalize' Mike's every move
because of his prior conviction, regardless the fact that he had
fully and honorably paid his former debt to society, had not been in
any trouble whatsoever since moving to Arkansas, had nursed his aged
father thru chemotherapy only to watch him die a couple
years later from a resurgence of leukemia, and that resultant of his
father's illness and death, Mike found himself penniless and
homeless. Yet still, throughout this time he maintained his
full-time employment as a dishwasher, paid his bills on time and
always found the means to help out folks who needed a hand.
Now please consider in light of all this: Between Michael C. Kelley
and Joseph Daniel Watts, who is the peaceable person and which man's
word is good to trust? Because that, in a nutshell, is wholly and
totally what all of this is fundamentally all about: Justice - real
justice - is supposed to determine accountability by discovering who
is telling the truth.
Yet the facts in Mike Kelley's case have never been put to that
test. If they had been, by virtue of the law, the first 'crime' in
the series of events that led to Mike's initial arrest took place
when law enforcement officers became aware that Joseph Daniel Watts
was using his 'insider connections' with them to carry out a
personal vendetta and failed to call off a 'bad
The second crime was that law enforcement not only illegally
utilized this 'fruit of the poison tree' to interdict a man whose
behavior (rightfully or wrongfully) might have otherwise gone
unnoticed, but that law enforcement officials further violated the
law by refusing to interdict the actions of a de facto law breaker
--- Joseph Daniel Watts -- because Watts was 'useful' to them.
Respectfully, this type of abuse of power is itself the highest form
of criminality as it violates our Constitution: The Highest Law of
And this is the scariest part of the
whole thing to me, having witnessed it and having had my eyes opened
to the mild-mannered 'socially acceptable' corruption, bigotry and
deceit that has been and is continually going on all around us,
every day in the namesake of law and order...
Which is emphatically NOT to say that
all cops are bad or to vilify every law.
But it is to strongly assert that some things about our overall
justice system have gotten way out of whack, a fact which is
blatantly self-evident when we look at what has transpired on Wall
Street among real criminals like Bernard Madoff who, upon confessing
to stealing BILLIONS of dollars (which
has absolutely caused 'real harm' to an untold number of people), is
being 'detained' in his multi-million dollar penthouse apartment
while Mike Kelley does hard time in a real jail for having committed
the cardinal sins of telling the truth and growing plants.
And it is this sanctimonious 'above
the law' brand of hypocritical corruption that Mike Kelley has,
since the day I met him, worked diligently to expose.
SIGN THE PETITION TO FREE MIKE KELLEY NOW