Diversity vs. Freedom in Idaho (contd.): Rae Acquitted on Felony, Convicted on "Misdemeanor"
December 27, 2001, 04:00 AM
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Where else have you seen this reported: The Lonnie Rae case has been tried in Payette, Idaho. After a two-day jury trial, Rae was found not guilty of the Malicious Harassment, the "hate crime" charge. He was, however found to have committed the lesser offence of misdemeanor assault, which was a surprise to his lawyer, as the indictment hadn't included a charge of assault and it's questionable whether Malicious Harassment has "lesser, included offenses."

On August 20, I wrote that Lonnie Rae

"offended multicultural manners when he got in a scuffle with Kenneth Manley at a high school football game."

Brad Hem reported in the Idaho Press-Tribune that:

In October, Notus High School defeated Council High School in a football game that sent Notus to the playoffs and ended Council's season. During the game, Council fans became upset at the referees because they thought there were too many penalties called.

Rae's wife, Kim, was covering the game as a freelance reporter and photographer for the Adams County Record. After the game, she tried to take pictures of the referees because she thought it would add to her story.

When she continued to snap pictures after the referees had asked her to stop, one of the officials, Ken Manley of Boise, was reported to have grabbed the camera and pulled it, causing the strap to burn Kim Rae's neck.

The two were separated and the referees entered the locker room. Witnesses said Lonnie Rae began yelling at Manley, who is black, and repeatedly called him the "N-word." Rae declined to comment Monday.

Rae's lawyer, Dan Hawkley, said his client was simply coming to the defense of his wife, who was simply doing her job.

"It's our contention that in fact the usage of the racial slur was not racially motivated," Hawkley said. "He probably would have used some other word had the official been white."

A first offence conviction for assault involves virtually no punishment, and so is rarely appealed. But Rae and his lawyer, Edgar Steele, plan to appeal on principle.

Edgar Steele calls himself "Attorney for the Damned." He's certainly defended a number of difficult and unpopular cases.

He also seems to have accepted some conspiracy theories on the subject of the WTC bombings, believing things against the government that he wouldn't allow the government to even suggest about his clients without out some actual evidence.

If you like, you can join his e-mail list, ConspiracyPenPals, for news of his cases and theories.

But he was willing to represent Lonnie Rae pro bono. And this may be what kept Rae from an actual felony conviction in what amounts to a thought crime trial.

The charge of malicious harassment leveled by prosecutor Myron Gabbert was out of all proportion to the "offense."  Rae at worst, committed assault without battery, I.E. yelling without actual physical contact.

The case was reported on ABC.com, which wrote

While the referees went on into the locker room, the Raes said, Lonny asked his wife what happened and she showed him burn marks on her neck from the camera strap. Lonny Rae said he was furious, and went after the man who had tried to get the camera.

He found Adams County Commissioner Ray Stoker at the door to the locker room.

"I looked at him and I said, 'You bring that n—— up here. I want to kick his f—ing ass,'" Lonny Rae said. "He looked at me and said, 'Yeah, sure you will, Lonny.'"

Lonny said it was clear to Stoker that he was angry, and not likely to do harm to the referee, who is larger than Lonny.

This is the kind of case that, when reported to the police at all, generally leads to unsupervised probation and no fine at all.

The Malicious Harassment charge is one that is designed to deal with the motives for crimes, and here can be used where there's practically no crime.

Earlier, I wrote that the Lonnie Rae case was like the old Spanish Inquisition cases, where he was being charged with, in effect, having heretical thoughts.

Luckily for him, he had two things the Inquisitors' victims didn't have: a good lawyer, and trial by jury.

If you get ever wonder why Paul Craig Roberts spends so much time on prosecutorial malfeasance, and Sam Francis spends so much time worrying about military tribunals, you should remember the  case of Lonnie Rae, who almost went to jail for using one unapproved word.

December 27, 2001