Friday, June 24, 2016

It All Begins With a Place

Panama City, Florida
March 30, 2010

The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent her or him.

United States Supreme Court, Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

This story, like all stories, begins with a place. It begins in the early morning of June 3, 1961 at the Bay Harbor Pool Room in Panama City, Florida. A robbery at the Bay Harbor Pool Room set into motion a row of legal dominoes that toppled all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The trial of Clarence Earl Gideon, who lived just down the street from and frequented the Bay Harbor Pool Room, who did not have the benefit of an attorney at his trial, and who pressed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, enhanced the right of Americans to counsel. Before 1963, each state determined if and when an attorney needed to be provided to a defendant and this determination could be applied selectively on a case-by-case basis. In 1963 the Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wainwright ruled that the right to the assistance of counsel was a fundamental right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and essential for a fair trial.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Goodbye to Greensberg

Choice Valley, San Luis Obispo County, California
November 22, 2001 and December 22, 2007

You will not find Greensberg, California on a map. You will not find it on the Internet.  You will not find it on the land. A few of us may remember it if we traveled through Palo Prieto Pass in the far eastern slice of San Luis Obispo County. What we remember is the Greensberg General Store: a desolate building with a mysterious past, a building once part of the land, a building now just a memory.

I traveled through Cholame dozens and dozens of times I drove between Kettleman City and Paso Robles. This route is the fastest way from Lompoc to the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada beyond it. My first time was in April 1981 on my way to Fresno to explore my soon-to-be university. I traveled through Cholame many more times on my visits back to Lompoc from Fresno and then Mariposa and Truckee.

There's not much to slow you down in this part of San Luis Obispo County along Highway 41, but in all my travels through Cholame, I did stop a few times to sample what Cholame had to offer. There was that time I had to stretch my legs, a couple of times to check out the Japanese memorial to James Dean who died in an auto accident only a few miles away, and the time I had the most delicious coconut cream pie at Jack Ranch Cafe. There was, however, one offering near Cholame that I did not avail myself. It would entice me every time I passed it – Bitterwater Road.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pictures on Rocks

Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Luis Obispo County, California
February 18, 2010

I have driven through the Carrizo Plain several times over the last few years but never really stopped to smell the roses that this national monument offered. On my way back to Lompoc from the Mojave Desert, I decided I would stop at one of these roses, the Painted Rock.  Painted Rock is a horseshoe-shaped formation of sandstone rocks with Native American pictographs. One of the three major forms of Native American rock art, a pictograph as defined by the Archaeology Wordsmith is "Any design, picture, or drawing painted on a surface (usually rock/stone) and used to represent a thing, action, or event. Pictographs are believed to be the earliest form in the development of writing (pictography). It represents a form of nonverbal communication used by non-literate people."