Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Predators of Marengo County


Diane Avera (rear, left), with grandchildren Gavin and Caleb (foreground)

“What brings you to Demopolis?” 

The question seemed harmless, as did the questioner, Sgt. Tim Soronen of the Demopolis, Alabama police department. Diane Avera, the 45-year-old grandmother from Meridian, Mississippi to whom that question was posed, couldn’t see any harm in answering it candidly.

“I came over to buy some Sudafed for our scuba diving trip this weekend, since we can’t buy it in Meridian anymore,” Mrs. Avera explained. 

Soronen asked Avera if she knew it was against the law to cross the state line to buy Sudafed. 

“No, sir, I did not know,” the startled woman replied.

“I need you to step out of the car,” Soronen demanded.

“For what? I swear I didn’t know. What did I do?” Avera asked in alarm.

“You came to Demopolis to buy some Sudafed,” came the curt response. “Step to the back of the truck.”

 Before the sun set on July 29, 2010, Diane Avera was in the Marengo County Jail, where she would remain for forty days. At one point she was shackled to a restraint chair for 17 hours. During that time she was denied water or access to a bathroom. She also developed edema in her feet. Edema-related blood clots have been identified as the cause of death for several of the inmates who have perished while chained to  the “Devil’s Chair.”

(For illustration only: This is not Diane Avera.)
Using the threat of kidnapping Avera’s grandchildren, Soronen extorted from the terrified woman a confession that she had knowingly purchased Sudafed for the purpose of manufacturing crystal methamphetamine. After more than a month in a government cage, Avera was released from jail on $51,000 bail.

Marengo County DA Greg Griggers offered Mrs. Avera his standard plea bargain: Five years of probation if she agreed not to defend herself in court. If she turned down that deal, however, Griggers promised, “I will send you to prison.”

If Avera had been a meth dealer, she almost certainly would have accepted Griggers’ offer. As an innocent woman whose unwitting violation of an obscure technical statute had injured nobody, Avera contested the charge. 

During Avera’s three-day trial, Judge Eddie Hardaway gave Griggers generous latitude to make entirely unsubstantiated claims, among them that Diane had confessed that she and her daughter had been using meth for at least two years. He also insisted that Avera had somehow “diluted” drug tests she had undergone after being bailed out of jail – a charge that was refuted by the clinicians who had examined the samples. 


Avera was found guilty of conspiracy to manufacture crystal meth and sentenced to a year in prison with an additional seven years of probation. She was released two months later after filing an appeal, and remains free today on a $20,000 appeal bond – if the word “free” applies to someone living in the shadow of a prison sentence.

“This has cleaned out my retirement savings, and [her husband] Keith’s as well,” Diane Avera told Pro Libertate. “We can’t get any answers as to when the appeal hearing will be held, because nobody in Marengo County seems interested in filing the paperwork. So right now, all we can do is wait with our lives on hold, and with this thing hanging over my head.”
Prior to her arrest in July 2010, Diane had no criminal record, and no history of drug abuse or addiction of any kind. 

“I have known Ms. Avera for approximately 10 years,” wrote Dr. Dennis Sims in an October 8, 2010 letter to Judge Hardaway. “Ms. Avera worked as a nursing assistant at Rush Medical Group for many years. She worked part time for me as a nurse…. I have never heard the first hint concerning any drug use, drug dependence, or any hint of scandal whatsoever.”

Dr. Simms related that he has treated Diane for “recurrent sinusitis and recurrent allergy symptoms” on roughly a dozen occasions over the past decade, and that she has undergone surgery to deal with this persistent problem. Diane routinely purchased pseudoephedrine as an over-the-counter medication to treat the problems described by Dr. Sims. In July 2010 – just weeks before Diane was arrested – a new state ordinance went into effect in Mississippi that made pseudoephedrine a prescription drug. Dr. Simms astringently refers to that measure as “a rather asinine law.”

New hobby: Diane Avera on a scuba expedition.
It wasn’t allergies that prompted Diane to buy Sudafed in the middle of the summer – it was her newly acquired hobby of scuba diving. 

She and her husband Keith – a Public Safety Diver with the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency – were planning a scuba trip to Panama City, Florida.  Dr. Simms explains that “changes of air pressure when diving can lead to ear block, sinus block, sometimes with grave and immediate consequences including acute dizziness and disorientation.” 

In his own letter to Judge Hardaway, RC Sample, the Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) who instructed Diane, testified that “when Diane would travel to depth, she had difficulty equalizing the pressure at the boundary of her eardrum of a number of reasons … relating to her sinuses,” a condition that can be treated through the judicious use of pseudoephedrine.

“Pseudoephedrine, contrary to what law enforcement believes, is used for something other than making crystal methamphetamine,” wrote Sample, displaying the kind of weary patience exhibited by adults trying to explain the obvious to a resolutely dim-witted child. “Without belaboring all of the biochemistry involved … [the medication relieves] inflammation of the nasal membranes,” thereby reducing “the effort needed to equalize the pressure on the eardrum when scuba diving….”

“It is common among our group of divers to use an over-the-counter decongestant sinus medication to aid in equalizing the pressure associated with the water depth required to scuba dive,” confirmed Liza Gilton, another member of the Meridian-based diving group, in her letter to Hardaway. “I have been on literally hundreds of dive trips and have personally used such medication on almost every trip.” 

The explanations offered by Sims, Sample, and Gilton are perfectly reasonable and should be sufficient to convince any rational person.  The deranged people responsible for the Drug War would probably view those letters as an admission that Avera’s scuba club is a front for a meth manufacturing ring. In fact, that was essentially the charge made by DA Griggers in court, when confronted with more than a score of people who had come to act as character witnesses on Diane’s behalf.

 “He claimed that all of these people were somehow involved in meth trafficking,” a disgusted Keith Avera told Pro Libertate. 

Perhaps we should expect to see “Diver Down” bumper decals added to the informal profile used to conduct forfeiture-focused pretext stops. I wish I were kidding. 

 In anticipation of the trip to Panama City, Sample advised Diane to pick up a box of Sudafed. On the suggestion of a Wal Mart clerk in Meridian, Diane decided to go across the state line to Demopolis, where it would be possible to obtain it over the counter. 

In the company of her 27-year-old son Larry, his girlfriend Shana, and three small children (her grandsons Gavin and Caleb, and the girlfriend’s nephew), Avera made two stops – the first to the CVS pharmacy, where he son and his girlfriend each bought a box of Sudafed, and then to Wal Mart, where she bought another, in addition to crayons for the grandchildren.

At the time the Demopolis  PD was “conducting a sting operation,” reported the Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger. As it happened, the oh-so-helpful pharmacist at CVS was a police informant. 

 As soon as Avera pulled out of the Wal Mart parking lot, Soronen intercepted her. 

“If it’s against the law” to make an out-of-state Sudafed purchase in Demopolis, Diane asked the officer, “why did Wal Mart sell it to me?” Soronen was too busy calling for back-up to reply. Within a few minutes two additional officers arrived and started to search the vehicle.

“How much Sudafed did you buy?” Soronen demanded of Diane.

“I only bought one box,” she replied.

“So, if I search the truck I’ll find one box of Sudafed,” he persisted.

“No, sir,” Diane responded. “I bought a box, my son bought a box and Shana bought a box. So you’ll find three boxes.” 

Up to this point – as her ingenuous candor demonstrated -- Diane assumed that she was mired in a misunderstanding, rather than caught in a trap. When Soronen told her that he could “call in the DEA to come down here,” she mistakenly assumed that the officer was trying to help, rather than making a veiled threat.


“I appreciate it,” she said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was against the law.”

By this time, Soronen surely knew that he wasn’t dealing with a drug manufacturer. He just as clearly didn’t care. The officers continued pawing through the vehicle. They eventually exhumed a bottle of methadone that had been prescribed to Diane’s son Larry, a habitual drug user who had been through several rehab programs. A few minutes later an officer found a pouch containing drug “paraphernalia” – which Larry admitted belonged to him.

Diane’s grandsons had been taken into custody and were in the back of a police vehicle. One of the officers loudly inquired of Soronen, “Do you want me to go ahead and call DHR to pick up these kids?”

This sadistic bit of stagecraft had the desired effect.  

As a child, Diane and her siblings had been seized by “child protection” bureaucrats in Mississippi and scattered across the state.  When Soronen announced that he was going to handcuff the adults and call for the child-snatchers to collect the children, Diane’s reaction was immediate, and visceral. She broke down entirely – which was the intended result.

“What do I have to do to prevent DHR from picking up my grandkids?” Diane pleaded. Soronen insisted that Diane would have to “confess” that all of the Sudafed was hers. He didn’t explain that this put her over the legal limit in Alabama.


Soronen's roadside interrogation of Diane lasted roughly an hour. The entire incident was captured by way of a concealed recording device worn by the officer. Only a few minutes of that recording was played in court -- the portion containing her purported confession. In her appeal, Diane is demanding that the complete record be entered into evidence.

Diane’s son Larry – an admitted drug user – was permitted to drive the children back to Mississippi. She was taken to jail, where Soronen – acting as an exceptionally demanding copy editor – had his victim commit the bogus confession to writing.  “I did not know it was against the law to cross the state line to purchase Sudafed,” Avera’s statement concluded. “I promise to never buy another box in my life.”

During the five weeks she spent in Marengo County Jail, Diane was denied the rudimentary decencies of a human existence. Blankets and sheets were withheld from her, leaving her to freeze on a bare metal bunk. For an entire week, she and the other inmates were deprived of utensils and forced to eat with their fingers. Each inmate was given a single set of clothes. The 17-hour torture session in the restraint chair inaugurated a regular course of smaller acts of calculated cruelty by the jail staff.

This question should be considered in light of the mistreatment Diane endured: Why would she turn down the plea bargain and risk a prison sentence after suffering as she did, unless she is innocent?

Keith Avera describes Diane as “a prisoner of the drug war going on inside America.” Under Mississippi’s newly enhanced “meth”-control law, he points out, people can be arrested on drug charges for possessing “isopropyl alcohol, Hydrogen peroxide, acetone, potassium, and many more commonly used house hold items” – all of which are listed as meth “precursors.”

 “When common household medications and disinfectants are now illegal to possess, I believe we have gone overboard in the drug laws,” he observes. 

Embellishing on that point, it should also be said that when your local pharmacy clerk is a police informant ready to report you for buying an over-the-counter cold medicine, it should be obvious that, whatever the USA may have been at one time, it has formally degenerated into a reich. Avera’s case is particularly infuriating – not just because of the practiced viciousness with which Soronen used her grandchildren as hostages, but also because the snitch that got the grandmother in trouble works for a large corporation that was spared federal charges for its admitted role in providing large amounts of pseudoephedrine to meth manufacturers.

Since 2005, over-the-counter cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine have been treated as a controlled substance. Jeffrey Tucker of the Ludwig von Mises Institute points out that “Before 2005, you could by as many Sudafed packages as you did Big Mac sandwiches…. Now, your 30-allotment is nine grams,” which for most people won’t survive the cold and flu season. The  government-approved replacement is a placebo.

Pharmacies are required to limit customers to no more than 3.6 grams a day, supposedly to make it more difficult for would-be traffickers to obtain the raw ingredients of methamphetamine.


In predictable fashion, this created a flourishing black market for pseudoephedrine. Cash-strapped people are eagerly acting as “smurfers” – that is, proxy buyers who obtain huge quantities of Sudafed and other cold remedies on behalf of meth dealers.

About a year ago, CVS, whose corporate leadership admits that it knowingly allowed extensive purchases of pseudoephedrine by “smurfers,” avoided criminal charges and given a large fine that was passed along to customers. As Avera’s case illustrates, the pharmacy chain is also eager to aid in the prosecution of small-time defendants who purchase forbidden amounts of cold medicine. Some of them face years in prison – where meth and other illegal drugs are readily available. This is particularly true in Alabama.

In early 2009, reported the Opelika-Auburn News, twenty-five people in that region of Alabama were arrested on “meth-related charges.” Of those arrested, only two were charged with either possessing or manufacturing methamphetamine; the others were arrested for what was described as “unlawful possession of a precursor” – that is, “purchasing over the legal amount of pseudoephedrine.”

The Averas point out that Diane is not the only Mississippi resident who was entrapped in Marengo County’s Sudafed snare: During her ordeal, Diane met another Meridian-area woman of similar age and background who fell prey to the same racket. Unlike Diane, however, the other victim (who prefers not to be named) accepted a plea deal from Griggers.

Tim Soronen seems to typify the kind of “good people” Isabel Patterson described in her essay “The Humanitarian with the Guillotine” – the kind who routinely do horrible things they believe “to be motivated by high ideals toward virtuous ends.”

Soronen’s name appears in the 2009 case Baney v. State, in which the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the conviction of a man who had been caught in one of Soronen’s child predator stings. 

The ruling describes how Soronen “developed several teenage-girl profiles in an Internet chat room,” two of which attracted the attention of John Baney. 

After enticing the deviant into sending explicit images of his anatomy and of a self-administered sex act, Soronen attempted to lure him to a nearby park. Although Baney appeared to take the bait, he “failed to show up at the designated place and time.” It was never proven that Baney had acted on his degenerate impulses. However, the applicable statute doesn’t require an overt act – only evidence of a “culpable mental state.”

Which is more loathsome – pursuing sexual liaisons with underage girls, or exploiting those depraved impulses by playacting the role of a potential victim? That question is best pondered by someone equipped with a mind more subtle -- and a gag reflex less sensitive -- than mine. This much, however, is indisputable: Someone who would wring a confession out of an innocent woman by using her grandchildren as hostages is a child predator at least an order of magnitude more contemptible than John Baney.

Many thanks...

... for the kind donations to help keep Pro Libertate on-line. While supplies last, I will continue to send a personalized copy of Liberty in Eclipse to anyone who contributes $20  or more. We really appreciate your kindness. Thanks, and God bless!


























Be sure to check out Republic magazine. 






Dum spiro, pugno!

70 comments:

Saladin said...

one of many wonderful examples of "rulership." God help us all.

Anonymous said...

if she needed ephedrine for diving then a prescription shouldn't be that hard to obtain. 3 boxes in a car with methadone...how dumb can you be.

swiftfoxmark2 said...

Sure Anonymous, blame the victim. Your attitude is the reason that we live in a police state.

Chris Mallory said...

Anon, why should an adult be required to waste time and money getting a permission slip to buy a product? 3 boxes, 30 or 300 it is none of the government's damn business. These cops, the prosecutors, judges and all the state legislators who voted for these laws should all face judgment one day, in this world or the next.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, did you bother to read about it? She missed the deadline for obtaining a prescription, and didn't want to cancel her dive trip.

The point is, sudafed shouldn't be illegal to create, and she was completely railroaded by the system. She had no intent to produce meth, she just wanted to equalize her ears. You shouldn't even need a prescription for sudafed anyways.

Deoxy said...

The officers involved are morally and ethically guilty of kidknapping and extortion, even if the law somehow manages to avoid labelling them such.

Eventually, if this sort of this becomes too common, the people will deal justice if the law won't. I bloody well hope it doesn't come to that, but I'm surprised it hasn't yet. Each time another one of these happens, it makes that outcome more likely.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Somebody in Marenga County needs to do an Open Records request for the budgets of the DA's office, Sheriff's office and local police. Then they need to get the statistics on local crime to determine whether violent crime is going up and down. If the the DA's office is heavy on employees and has prosecutors twiddling their thumbs, there is an incentive there to charge and prosecute innocent, middle class, productive people. This kind of analysis is being done in a county in Iowa by a friend of mine. The impetus of it is the prosecution of a man who defended himself with a gun against a carjacking. The guy was acquitted within minutes. Now scrutiny is being placed on the DA whose budge and staff is pumped up far beyond the rate of crime. The DA has young prosecutors on the payroll who are spending most of their time in the break room drinking coffee. Might that be a reason for unjust prosecutions?

Anonymous said...

Absolutely horrified by what I have just read. It's plain to anyone with any common sense that a simple misunderstanding took place on the part of the woman involved, yet she was subjected to the sort of psychological and physical abuse that Amnesty International regularly castigates third world countries for. On this evidence, the USA is heading for the dark ages - to quote Saladin: "God help us all".

Anonymous said...

Such is life in a police state.

#1 Rule in life: ALWAYS avoid cops! Cops exist to forcibly rule over people.
They enjoy the state's monopoly on violence and they will not help you.

#2 Rule in life: NEVER talk to cops (if rule #1 fails)!

I recently learned from an MD on a Canadian Broadcasting radio show
that methamphetamine was the first psychoactive prescription drug and
it was commonly used to "treat" mental disorders from about 1940 to
1960. This is obviously a bit of trivia that the drug war Fascists don't want us to know.

Anonymous said...

Hey everyone! Anonymous at 9:27pm is a cop and a terrorist. Ignore the piece of shit.

William N. Grigg said...

I think it's more likely the comment was the product of uninformed presumption, rather than malevolent motives.

David McElroy said...

The ranks of law enforcement and attorneys' offices, yes, District attorneys' offices and Attorneys General, are filled with criminals of the lowest order. They are worse than mafia enforcers, and function much the same way for that organized crime called government!

Anonymous said...

personally i think Anonymous' was the comment of an informed presumption, that being, anonymous knows how cops are and what they will do if they find this combination of products in your car.
I can't agree more that things should not be this way, but, this is how things are.
-njt

Tatiana Covington said...

Fight.

Anonymous said...

Boy does Sorenson look like a smug fuck! We'll see if he still has that same smug look on his face when the Great Default has taken place and parasitical pieces of shit like him are forced to pan handle for a living.

MoT said...

Another sad tale from the heimat of madness.

MisterDamage said...

"3 boxes in a car with methadone...how dumb can you be"

She didn't know the methadone was in the car as it belonged to someone else. This is why you should never talk to police and why you should never consent to any search. Had she not talked to the police they would have had no probable cause for the search. Had she not consented to the search, her lawyer might have been able to get evidence from the search excluded.

"I respectfully decline to answer any questions, I would like to speak to a lawyer" Words to live by

JFP said...

For those who haven't seen this:

http://cascadepolicy.org/pdf/pub/02.22.12_Steve-Cold_Medicine_Prescriptions_Have_Not_Reduced_Meth_Lab_Incidents_or_Use_in_Oregon-PDF.pdf

A study showing the Oregon prescription law (since 2006) for sudafed has done jack squat to curb meth but it has raised prices and wasted time.

Anonymous said...

Think I'll head on over to Alabama and buy me some. Let the S.O.B.'s try to arrest me.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/tag/jay-rodney-lewis/

This is the county that has prosecutors drinking coffee all day, which I mentioned earlier. This is the kind of prosecution in which they engage to "make work" in order to justify their budge.

Chris Mallory said...

Mister Damage,
I imagine that since the clerk(s) had already informed on her, the victim here would have been held while a warrant was rubber stamped.

Why weren't the clerks arrested for this as well? They were party to an "illegal" transaction. Obviously they had enough knowledge to contact the STASI.

Anonymous said...

This is what you get for talking to the PIGS.

The lesson: NEVER (EVER-NEVER-EVER-NEVER-EVER) talk to the PIGS. It will absolutely, positively NEVER help you. Give them NO data to work with beyond what is absolutely required under the law: identifying yourself. Beyond that, say NOTHING!

Anonymous said...

Wow.

The same nation that imprisons people who buy over the counter cold medicines is the same nation that made possible - via Fedgov/Wall St. credits and funds - the mass murdering regimes of Leninist/Stalinist Russia and Ukraine, Hitler's Germany and Maoist China, not to mention the millions of needless U.S. murders of Koreans, Vietnamese, Iraqis and Afghanis.

This country sucks from top to bottom, left to right, near and far; from sea to shining sea. This place is a cesspool of statism, incarceration and death.

It makes me sick to my stomach; I'm beyond disgusted.

I want a citizen's divorce from this bitch. FTS/FTUS

"There comes a time in a man's life when he must spit in his hands, hoist the black flag and start slitting throats."

-H.L. Mencken

Anonymous said...

i dont say anything-the cops want ID --I ask for 3 pieces from them -they dont show me i dont show them-2 sometimes a friend gets on the cell and calls 911 and says i have a raging idiot outside my window and i dont know if he is a cop. I am scared. They leave in about 60 sec,s-3 if i have to sign anything- i do and the across my name i put UNDER DURESS. on a 45 degree angle - in RED INK if i have one. but mostly blue-They get real pissed -but hey -the said sign-they didnt say what i could put on it-----4 keep yer window down 3 inches from the top-stop the spray and ALWAYS keep the passenger door locked- This way you are in control----Blessings to all-just another Canadian-

David Macko said...

After reading this report no decent person would be able to support any drug laws. As for the prosecutor in the case, I do not want to be banned from making further comments on this site and therefore I will not describe what would be done to him by citizens of a free country.

Anonymous said...

I've used Sudafed for the exact same reason. I didn't need a prescription because buying it over the counter was much easier - and cheaper than setting up a doctor's appt., paying for extensive allergy tests and getting a prescription for something that doesn't work because some drug company bought the doctor's opinion with a nice expensive vacation. Yeah, that happened too. The prescription didn't work which is why I was left to find my own solution with OTC allergy medicine.

Anonymous said...

"Diver Down" suddenly has a whole new meaning for me now.

Anonymous said...

Sadly I live in Alabama and I have to agree with the mentality that goes on here. Not just in these "drug" cases...it happens in so very many others too. I have personally watched how officers here get a "big swollen head" and start believing they can treat others like garbage.

I do not have a record of any kind, but I have seen what these officers do through others. We have a local one who was asked to leave one department because (sshh...I am not supposed to know) in a year and half service he had 6 lawsuits for impropper conduct brought against him and the little town...now he works one town over. This young man went to school with my own children...decided to let his job go to his head and now has decided to "try" to harrass my whole family. I literally watched him pull out one evening behind me as I turned into a DQ to get dinner. As I had passed him just a few doors down in a drive across the street, my alarm went off for some reason (I have this funny little quirk in me at times). So...I watched him. When I placed my order and drove up to the window to pick it up...one car ahead of me...I watched as he circled in the WinnDixie/Walmart parking lot across the street...nothing unusual there. What was unusual was he then pulled up to the exit...heading the same direction he just came from 3 doors down...and just sat there...he sat there through the car ahead of me getting their order (which took a few minutes) and my pulling up to get mine...he didn't leave until shortly after he saw them hand me my "drinks"...they were Blizzards...it took them a minute longer to bring my food, but not that long. When I got to the road to head home...I saw he had vanished quickly. Me? I just figured he wanted to harrass me because of how long he sat there watching...through at least 3 or 4 lights of traffic...so, I went the other way home. There is more than one way in and out of this little town he works in and I don't live in either of the towns he has and does work in...I live between them...I just took the other route home because of how obvious he was being. Sad...he has tried to wave at me, but I ignore him now because of the person he has shown me he has grown into as an adult. There was a time this young man used to come over with his brother quite often in their high-school years...have known the family for many years as we have had children of the same age playing ball for many of them. In fact, the younger brother used to spend the night quite regularly with my youngest son...they were closest of friends all through elementary to high-school.

In Alabama, I have found this is a common problem...too many of the officers get "power hungry" and let it go to their head thinking it gives them the right to do whatever they feel.

Great Article...hits the nail on the head about what does really go on here in Alabama. Only thing I would add is...Just stay out of "All" Alabama as you'll find some of the most "backwoods" attitudes and "kangaroo" courts in all the USA.

Anonymous said...

PS...Yes, I am moving out of this state by year end...I have seen enough in my 20+ years here!

Anonymous said...

Amen!

Anonymous said...

Another great but sad article Will. I suspect though that this type of attitude is not limited to our modern day police state. The politicians who wish to appear tough on crime have passed law after law giving the bullies with a badge more excuses to harass and persecute the populace. There will always be these type of people in authority. That's why the founding fathers knew to limit their authority as much as possible. Until enough people realize that the government is not their friend, then these types of abuses will continue.

Lee Killough said...

Every time I buy decongestants, I feel like I'm treated as a crime suspect. I've had pharmacists who didn't know that a 30 day supply of 12-hour Claritin-D exceeds the state limit (while a 20-day supply is okay), and when I try to buy it and a computer rejects it, their behavior changes suddenly as if I'm a scary criminal. I decrease it to 20 days, and the computer accepts it, so they aren't as afraid, but are still cautious. These people are mindless automatons of their computers and the police state drug war

Anonymous said...

I would really love to read the court transcript of this case. If it is just as stated here I wonder how it got to court. This seems to be based from her point of view.

William N. Grigg said...

The roadside encounter described above was captured on video by Sorenen. The interrogation lasted over an hour, but only a few minutes of it was shown in court. The Avera family is demanding that an appellate court review the entire video record, and they are also attempting to obtain video recordings of the abuse she experienced in the county jail.

Diane Avera is pushing for full disclosure; the County -- as noted above -- isn't cooperating. That strikes me as significant. It's also a common pattern in stories of this kind, I've found.

Let's not forget, as well, that the genesis of this whole episode was an $8.98 box of a common cold medicine. We're not dealing with someone who was found in possession of a large bundle of cash, as well as heroin, coke, meth, or even marijuana: She was caught red-handed with a box of cold medicine, which she did nothing to hide.

liberranter said...

Disgusting, despicable, disgraceful. That describes not only the agents of the State of Alabama in this case (seriously, can't we just sell the entire Deep South to China and retire the national debt?), but also the ignorant, bloodthirsty inhabitants of that shit hole who allow them to stay in power.

As for sudafed and its relatives, I don't know why anyone even bothers to buy it anymore. In the five or so years since its "discovery" as a key ingredient in methamphetamine, the manufacturers have adulterated and diluted it to the point of uselessness. Drinking a gallon of chicken soup has more of an effect at relieving congestion than does the "new" sudafed.

Anonymous said...

she confessed. not hard to convict.

don't ever talk to the police..this is the lesson here

Lee Killough said...

Oh, and I wrote about this almost 7 years ago:

http://theszaszblog.blogspot.com/2005/07/decongestants-targeted-in-meth.html

I am a sufferer of chronic non-allergic (vasomotor) rhinitis, and the only treatments short of experimental sinus surgery or living in a cave, are prescription drugs (primarily Nasacort and Astelin), or meth precursors like Claritin-D.

Pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I say give her life. Those private prisons can't fill themselves, and some people are trying to make a buck, here.

Todd said...

This criminal should just be thankful that she wasn't tased and/or shot and/or beaten to death at the scene of the crime, as would have been the arresting officer's right.

She should be doubly thankful that she wasn't raped and/or beaten to death in prison, again, as would have been the attending correction officer's right.

She should just say a sincere "thank you" to the heroes in blue and the noble prosecutor (not to mention the heroic agent as CVS); do her time; pay her debt to society and get on with her life (as a convicted felon).

It's in incredibly poor taste to make such a fuss out of this. Some people just don't know how good they have it.

This tweeker scum should move to Iran if she doesn't like it here in the land of the free.

Anonymous said...

Email a a link to this article and/or copy to the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce as well as the several state, county and city officials listed on their website.

http://www.demopolischamber.com/governmentOfficials.asp

Let them know how good a job they are doing....

Yossarian said...

The first time I saw a photo of someone in a restraint chair was on your site, Will, and it made me sick to my stomach. I hope everyone will read the article you linked to, "The Devil's Chair." Poor Avera will never get over this.

Like some other posters, I'm from Alabama and I, too, have gotten an almost overwhelming urge to leave. Not because of the cops because they're pretty much the same in every state. The evil that sets Alabama apart is that it is run by neocon republicans and their obnoxious bedmates, the religious right. I read an article a few years ago by Scott Horton in which he quoted the governor who bragged that soon the Alabama government will be almost totally republican. Since they could hardly get rid of elected democrats, they did the next best thing and started arresting them on bogus charges. (I thought Scott Horton was from antiwar.com, but apparently there are two Scotts.) At any rate, here we are.

In a lull from the warmongering and dreams of a church and prison on every corner, our rulers have passed the worst immigration law in this voluntary union. Businesses are closing, farmers are going under, schools are closing, and people are leaving in droves. It's so bad that I saw Joe Arpaio cry like a baby on TV because he couldn't believe man's inhumanity to man.

If you're thinking about leaving, just give it a little time; you could be next. It is in our rulers best interest to alienate and marginalize every group, race, and religion and pit them against each other, right Libberanter? – so if you're reading this blog, you're obviously not welcome in Alabama.

When I previewed this, the text was all over the page. Did I do something wrong?

LanceThruster said...

Diving while congested is nasty, unrecommended business.

The law is an ass. I feel for this poor woman and her family.

The war on drugs is more accurately a war on us.

Bob said...

In agreement with you, Lance.

liberranter said...

Anon 11:53, I don't think reaching out to the tyrannical creatures ruling over Demopolis would be anything other than a complete waste of time. None of them can read and write, and I doubt that any of the loot that they've stolen is being spent on literacy support to the ruling class.

Incidentally, in reference to the "restraint chair," I wonder how the typical swine like Soronen and his porky pals would fare after several hours --or days-- shackled to such a device. I would gladly volunteer to assist in helping one of them (and us) find out.

Anonymous said...

Thing that struck me was, the double standards in play.

If a clerk at a store sells alcohol to a minor - at a minimum - both of them get fines. The clerk never gets away with it scot-free.

Somehow it's different in this type of case?

Of course, neither should be considered crimes, but the double standard is odd.

Anonymous said...

I just donated 25.00 to Will Grigg using the link on his web site. I will be looking forward to giving my boyfriend a personalized copy of Liberty in Eclipse!!! Commenters, will you join me and give to Will a donation tonight and give a really different gift to a friend?

Anonymous said...

It's done far better than that. Mexican heroin has become more price competitive.

Anonymous said...

well, I don't know how I even ended up on this blog page, but it is ironic, because I just got finished posting in Adam Kokesh's forum. But anyway, I would like to share my story with you. I live on the coast in North Carolina. I will try and shorten the story some, but if anyone has any questions please ask. June 1, 2012 will be two years since I was arrested and held in the county jail for 9 days. My crime??? My boyfriend was trying to make meth at my house. When I knew what he was going to do, I told him I had to go to the store and buy some dog food. I left and went down the road to the store and used my cell phone and called and talked to one of the Carteret County Narcotics officer. I told him what was taking place and told him that I was fearful of my life. (just a few days before this, my boyfriend held me in the house with a sword and wouldn't let me leave. The cop knew who I was calling about because (brandon) had been in trouble before about 9 years earlier for the same thing. When I told the cop that I was scared he would kill me he stated.."who are you talking about? Brandon?" I said yea, and he said "oh he aint shit, he's just a pussy." The cop asked me 'what stage' was brandon at? I told him that I didn't know anything about making meth so I didn't know what he meant. I told him that when I left the house he was cleaning the red stuff off of the pills. The cop told me to "go back to the house and wait a couple of hours until he started cooking it and then to call them back." So I went back home and sat on the couch watching tv (scared to death). I had the living room windows open and the blinds raised so I was able to see a SUV with their lights turned off pull up in front of my house. It had been about 2 hours since I had first called them, brandon hadn't started cooking it yet, so I hadn't called them back yet.

Anonymous said...

(ran out of room) The two cops came up to my door with their guns drawn and told me through the window to open the front door. I got up and opened the door. One of the cops (jamie pittman) asked me where was brandon. I pointed to the back of the house and said he was in the master bath. He (jamie), told me to stay in the living room until he got brandon out of the bathroom and then for me to come back to the bedroom and start yelling.."WHAT IS GOING ON HERE!!" I did as I was told to do. They took us both outside and arrested both of us. I had to spend 9 days in jail. After brandon got out of jail and rehab (16 months) they finally dismissed my charges. This ordeal has completely destroyed me. I have been major depressed since this happened. I am a licensed NC real estate broker, and I do home health care and have taken care of some of the more prominent people of this county in the last 20 years. Well, you can only imagine what this has done to my reputation. I still don't have an attorney to represent me, because of course no attorney around here will sue the Sheriffs office. I need to get someone that is far away from here where there will be no conflicting interest. I don't have the money to hire an attorney and need to find one that will take my case and get paid after we sue them. I have my cell phone records showing what time that I called the cops, and I have the search warrant that states right on it that I am the one that called and reported the crime. This has affected so many aspects of my life, that I can't even begin to try and tell you without taking up the whole page. I have been wanting to write a letter to the editor of our local newspaper so I can get the story out to the citizens here and I have been wanting to call the local news on tv and have them do a story. At this point though, I don't know if I should have an attorney before I go public or not though. I had a clean record before this, not even a speed ticket. They dismissed my charges but I was told that I would have to pay an attorney to go to court with me to get the 'charges' expunged from my record. This is a nightmare and they have aged me about 10 years since all this has happened. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Liz

PJ said...

I feel for this woman and her family. What has happened will be very, very difficult to put behind them - if they can. It is time that people wake up to the almost unlimited power of police, prosecutors, judges, and state governments (or the federal government for that matter).

I have been on the receiving end of such a "witch hunt" by police and prosecutors. It took me almost 9 years to be exonerated of the crime of which I was accused, convicted, and spent time in jail over.

Unfortunately the unethical and apparently criminal behavior of those associated with law enforcement has been "rubber stamped" by a society that has been brain-washed by too much popular TV. Hence the term "witch hunt".

Anonymous said...

i have read carefully the original post and find lots of quotes from the woman and her husband but none from anyone else. as paul harvey always says lets hear the rest of the story.

William N. Grigg said...

Anonymous -- As noted above, Diane Avera and her husband are exerting themselves to make public "the rest of the story"; that's why they are seeking the entire video record of the original traffic stop, as well as records of her mistreatment in jail.

They're the ones pursuing transparency and full disclosure. The aforementioned Predators of Marengo County are the ones trying to prevent this.

In addition to the comments from Diane and Keith, you've also read several quotes confirming that Mrs. Avera 1) had an existing sinus condition; 2) belonged to a scuba club planning a trip to Panama City; 3) made use of Sudafed for scuba-related purposes; and 4) had no previous history of drug or alcohol abuse. The only "evidence" to support the charges against Diane was a confession extracted from the panicked woman after her grandchildren were seized by armed strangers.

Chris said...

Welcome to the USSA. You could very well be next!

Anonymous said...

i believe i did not state my earlier comment properly .. i meant to say that this appears to be all statement from the ladys side of the case. i didnt read any information in this post that was from the other side. thats why i said we need to see the rest of the story.... sorry

Anonymous said...

The ends justify the means. Where have I heard this before?

Anonymous said...

Bottom line os this War on Drugs is lost and causing more trouble than benefit. These loons that take pefectly good medicine and make it illegal because some mis-guided individuls use it for purpose other than intented is insane. What's next make gas, paint thinner, Pam, and other common items illegal because teens huff it to get high? What happend to common sense?

liberranter said...

What happend [sic] to common sense?

For the life of me, I cannot understand why people still refer to it as "common" sense. Once upon a time such an adjective might have been appropriate, but today, no. Even a cursory interaction with the world around us tells us that such sense is anything but common.

JoMama said...

To Liz who told her story about her boyfriend making meth in their home... I feel so sorry for you, for what you're going through. I'd suggest you get hold of your states attorney and state your case then ask for his/her suggestions as to how to move forward. If you can't get any help from that direction then call your Congressman or your Senator(s) and ask them to intervene on your behalf. If you have to actually go TO their offices and insist they help you. They are there for YOU. If none of that helps you try to get hold of Jay Sekulow at www.ACLJ.com (American Center for Law and Justice). If they can’t help then ask them for some direction. And there’s always the A.C.L.U.

ACLU of Northern California
39 Drumm Street
San Francisco, California 94111
Phone: 415-621-2493
Fax: 415-255-1478
TTY: 415-863-7832
http://www.aclunc.org

Legal assistance by phone:
415-621-2488 (English)
Legal Assistance Information and Times

I hope that something here will help.

Just a bit of 'motherly advice' is to know who you're dating. DON'T associate with a drug user since they will always love the drug FAR more that you! God Bless

Anonymous said...

I can't help financially, but she has my prayers!! Why doesn't the ACLU show up when they're needed. Has she tried Liberty Law School? It's based out of Liberty University. There's also Apalachlan (not sure of the spelling of this one) Law School, Regent's University Law School. All three are based in Virginia and stress Constitutional Law.
Sandy

Dean Palmer said...

Look everyone, nothing is going to change or turn this situation around until the public - "We The People" - who are 'supposed' to be in charge stand in masse' and raise all kinds of hell incessantly to our state and federal governments. And sadly, I think that even this time has passed. After all, in a totalitarian government system, who is to stop the ones seated in the lofty offices of high places from doing anything they wish? The Rule Of Law used to be the guiding force behind what law enforcement, the courts, and the governments could do, but no longer. An oblivious public - more interested in American Idol, football scores and what Oprah did today - is the reason, AND the problem. We've (collectively) let things come to this. There is now no accountability in the government or legal system, and the federal government routinely disregards even our US Constitution. From the top to the bottom, it's become a train wreck of a society, yet the band plays on as the ship sinks lower and lower into the depths of oppression. We have only ourselves to blame, and as such, only we can act to change it. But be warned: it's going to take much more than votes.

Anonymous said...

Warnings are all over the INternet re. lAW and its Minions:

See:

"DON"T TALK TO COPS!"


Well, another citizen knows now!

MoT said...

Dean, I agree that things are only going to get worse but I have to disagree that either you or I are to blame for the state of affairs. That's like blaming the public for the criminality of Capone or the heavy handed diktats from the likes of Bush or Barack. No, you and I are not to blame because WE didn't instigate the violence by their hand. THEY are responsible and god help them when the dam of repressed civility finally breaks.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there is only one way to deal with the police and these incidents...

This involves financial knowledge..
Even though, the authorities are morally bankrupt, as evidenced by this article as well as many others... It cannot be properly dealt with any other way then financial...

Understand when a public charge is given to you, it is a draw of public funds... Regardless of what the charge is...

The state or fed code for the charge is a tax code, a regulation that determines the amount of $ drawn from floating public currency...

A debt has been created, and it has to be settled... The settlement can take place immediately or over time with interest displacing it...

When you argue against the charge, you have automattically chosen time, and your body is held...

However, you have annother option - accept the charge immediately, by attaching your signature immediately to the charging instrument, and returning it to the person who gave you the charge...

This pays the regulation in full immediately, as you have admitted to the public debt, and only you as a living person can extinguish the debt...

The charge cannot be given to you, without the remedy... That remedy is the charging instrument...

No one is ever told this, no education whatsoever and very few police officers know what is going on...They are in big trouble if they do not acknowledge that, they gave remedy, but, refuse to acknowledge the remedy was used...

A few posts back - someone suggested, never talk to the police... This is a wrong attitude... The right to remain silent is a misleading statement intended for the uneducated...By remaing silent, you are giving up your right to remedy...

The only way to deal with these pseudo authority figures on criminal charges is like I described...

Now, that the criminal aspect is out of the way... You can now go after them in a civil suit, a court of equity... Where, if they lose, their personal belongings are at stake... car, house, boat, etc...

Approaching your situation in this manner, will strike much more fear in the petty little tyrants...

Anonymous said...

"The devils chair"...where several others developed edema related sicknesses and died. Torture, enough said. There needs to be a criminal investigation with the arrest of all officers in this detention center.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I'm done feeling sorry for these idiots.

No. You do not live in a free country. Do. Not. Talk. To. The. Cops. The good cops - and there are many - will tell you not to talk to the cops. Repeatedly. So take their advice.

We are all confronted with our lack of freedom on a daily basis. This is reality. Denial is not a solution. I no longer have patience with those who are too witless to recognize reality: they get in the way of those of us who do, and who strive to do something to mitigate the slave society in which we live.

Anyone who tells a state official that she crossed state lines to buy a restricted substance is either too stupid to be off her leash, or mentally deranged. Lock her up in an institution and throw away the key.

Anonymous said...

For the last anonymous, who posted...

No one person could possibly be aware of all the laws, regulations, etc. of each state, country, etc.

Chances are, you have broken several laws every day that you are not aware of...

I live in Canada... Our fed, has over 60,000 acts and regulations on the books... Now add the 10 provinces acts, and city ordinances, which are similar in volume to the fed...

And, more are being added every day, as they sit around with their make work projects...It is a nightmare, that no person should have to endure...

The U.S. is worse off, with the fed, 52 states, counties, city's, etc. People are being completely strangled with babble...

The only way to deal with this babble is straight forward financial mathematics... 1 plus 1 = 2... It cannot be denied or interpreted any other way...

In the case of a tax code regulation on a criminal charge, the $ figure is not indicated, but it does not matter...Just as the police officer has the right to draw up public funds to give you a charge... You also have this right, and by attaching your signature to the charging instrument, you are displacing the charge with an equal amount of funds...

You mentioned - the good cops will tell you not to talk to the cops... Well, as I said - these cops are not educated... They may be well intentioned, but, they do not know what they are talking about...

This beaurocratic nightmare is beyond dealing with it, in a common sense manner...It takes coordinated education to be successful in dealing with it...

It all boils down to this;

We are all here for spiritual experiences...Who gave the orders to impose these laws - GOD...Who can tell me, what I can, and cannot put in my body...

The most I can do, is break a public law, but, this law does not take precedence over my GOD... I have the higher trump card, and that card is my ability to counter the public with a financial ace...

I have done it before, and will do it again if the occasion calls for it...It is not a license to act foolishly, but, when you are acting in good conscience... This card should be played...

Anonymous said...

http://www.demopolistimes.com/2012/04/27/laws-target-cold-medicines/


Saw this thought u might be interested

Doc Ellis said...

anon 539

I tried to read this and failed. Unbelievable trash...

thx for the link, though.

ugh!

Anonymous said...

WHY ISN'T THIS TRASH IN ROBES AND UNIFORMS DIEING?

Henderson Bail said...

There are some huge unintended consequences of these law applications. Very sad when people fall victim to these things.