Flanders asked, in the comments under the Octopus post, when I was going to share my “good news”. Logically Enough surmised that the octopi had got me. The truth is somewhat worse: my good news is on hold for the time being, having been swamped by an unrelated development that is, well, not so good.

After receiving some very positive indications from the Prosecution earlier this week — she wasn’t going to push for jail time, she doubted the judge would hand any out, the guy writing the presentencing recommendations was “very mild” — I’ve just been hit with a presentencing report that recommends jail time. Four to six months of it.

What’s odd about this is not that a cheery prognosis was followed by a kick in the teeth; that’s pretty much been the norm ever since this whole fiasco kicked off. What’s odd is that the recommendation isn’t even consistent with the rest of the report, which cites numerous “positives” to my benefit and no “negatives” that can be factored into the decision at all. Furthermore, the person who signed off on the recommendations is not the person who penned the report itself (as is usually the case, I’m told), but someone higher up the food chain. I leave the math to you.

Anyway, it’s up to the judge now. He sat through the trial,  heard the guards tripping over each other’s stories, knows I didn’t assault anyone (evidently the guy who writes the sentencing reports does not even have access to the official court record, which doesn’t routinely get transcribed from the video). The judge has also, by now, seen a variety of testimonials from Respectable Citizens as to my good character — not to mention an appeal from proudinjun, the juror who’s been speaking out on my behalf.  In a rational system I would appear on Monday at 2pm, and be on my way back home before six.

Of course, in a rational system this would have ended the moment the Feds decided not to press charges. In this system, there’s now a significant chance that I go into Port Huron on the 26th and simply don’t come out again. I’ve therefore been running around for the past couple of days making arrangements for the paying of bills and the feeding of cats should I go dark. Since there’s no internet access in jail I’ll be putting the ‘crawl into stasis just before I leave, in case of the worst (earlier, should some bloodthirsty troll happen along before then; I have neither the heart nor the time to spare on any more hope-you-get-ass-raped jokes at this point). If I make it back to Canada I’ll boot everything right back up. If not, my good friend Dave Nickle has the keys, and will be managing the site in my absence. Whether he wants to post relevant updates here, or on his own blog, somewhere else or nowhere else, is up to him.

I’m really sorry I never caught up on responding to all the comments I wanted to. The Sarasti thread shows no sign of dying off, and I would have liked to have hung around and hashed out some of the cool ideas you guys are playing with. I would at the very least liked to have said hi to 03, and enquire further into her Sarasti fetish. (Hi, 03. What’s up with that Sarasti fetish?) I have a couple of half-finished text files languishing on my desktop, waiting to be finished and posted.

But this presentencing report hashed everything. It arrived almost a week late, and in light of those earlier hopeful signs I’d allowed myself to get complacent in the interim. (I’ve always been too much the optimist.) Now the fun stuff has to take a back seat to apocalypse prep.

Anyhow. I hate to break up the party, but there are other places you can convene until rifters.com boots back up. There’s a facebook page devoted to Squidgate, and another more general Wattsian fan site. Both were pretty much moribund last I checked, but I know you guys could shock some life back into those dusty pages if you show half the enthusiasm I’ve seen here. Dave will doubtless be posting, either here or over at his place (which you should check out anyway; honestly, the guy’s a more clever and diverse writer than I am, plus he’s got a Real Job).

Feel free to chat here until the lights go out — if we’re lucky we can make it all the way to Sunday evening. If things shake out as they should, I may be turning them back on as early as Tuesday. If they shake out as they generally have up to this point, however — well, I guess I’ll see you on the other side.


PS. Apologies also to those who contributed to my defence fund, whom I still haven’t got around to thanking.  I’ll keep at it when I return.  It’s just that there may be a greater delay than even I was expecting before you hear back from me.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 24th, 2010 at 10:28 am and is filed under Squidgate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

154 Responses to “Lockdown”

  1. Logically Enough

    Hang in there Dr. Watts. If worst comes to worst, you may receive a cake in the post. Eat it carefully, if you know what I mean.

  2. Allister01

    Well that’s pretty lame. It’s kind of shocking really. I knew how strange the American justice system was, but some of the stuff coming up now is just so out there it makes my head spin.

    Whatever happens, just go with it and get through it. We can at least hope the judge pulls an “Office Space” and just declares you a very bad person. Good luck, and Darwin-speed.

  3. Andreas

    All available fingers crossed. Hope it all turns out as well as it can, now.

  4. Michael Johnson

    If you, by some ridiculously bad twist of fate, do end up going to jail, post the information. I have the summer off from school to prepare for Grad studies, but that really just means have fun and get drunk before diving in last-minute. Since I don’t drink, if you DO end up in jail, perhaps I can redirect some of the funds toward a trip.

    On a side note: Since your prosecution I’ve noticed dozens of stories popping up on Reddit that involve police mistreating people. I’ve collected a handful of them and can provide them if anybody is interested, but they’re fairly common.

    The most recent I read: Person was beaten by police, charged with assault and went to court. Police said the police tape was unavailable and unable to be retrieved. Charges ended up being dropped, but the person found out later that the files were still there and that they had been accessed multiple times by the officer and his lawyer.

    Good luck.

  5. 02

    There are no other places to hang than rifters. Hope you come back in one piece (of mind).

  6. Chris J.

    Peter, I’m so sorry to hear that this is (potentially) taking a turn for the worst. All the best, man.

  7. 03

    Good morning , Mr. Watts!
    (I suspect it’s morning in Canada).

    First and foremost, on behalf of myself and 01 (who is unlikely to show up here before the lockdown) I would like to wish you best of luck.

    As for my “Sarasti fetish”… Well, yes, I find Jukka as described in Blindsight (and as depicted in that sketch linked by RandomJ in the Jukka thread) to be sexually attractive.
    …Not sure I could elaborate as to reasons beyond what was already said in the Jukka thread, but I’ll be glad to discuss it when you come back 🙂

  8. kristyrennt

    Hopefully your optimism will be justified. I will try to keep my fingers crossed.

    Maybe I will also try to send you a “cake” in the post if it comes down to it. If enough people try, maybe one will get through.

  9. eriko

    As someone that gave to the fund there are more important things on the todo list than thanks.
    #1 You making it back Canada ASAP and barring that taking care of what needs to be taken care of. The cats basically.
    #2 You writing books that need an english translation.
    #3 You feeding the cats.
    #98934 Individualized thanks to the people that part of the screwed up system that is in the process of *****ing you over that have tried to help where they can.

    I would say something about cakes and files but you seem much to polite for that sort of thing.

  10. turn.self.off

    sounds to me like the whole trail have been political since day one.

  11. Andrew

    Best of luck to you. Get back safe and sound whichever way it turns out.

  12. RedIndianGirl

    If you decide to go on the lam, I know some people.

  13. Ian j.

    Hi Peter, I’m saddened by this news even as it affirms my anarchic cynicism about legal structures. I’ve been a fan or yours since getting Starfish as Christmas present way back in ’99. You’re writing has always been the definition of what science fiction should be, in my mind. It’s a real loss to Canadian literature to have you away for so long. I can only hope that new inspiration will flow from hardship, as it so often does.

    As I’ve said to many activist friends of mine when they faced the potentiality of jail time: have hope, have strength and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  14. Scott C.

    Peter, I’m so sorry to hear this news. I’m really embarrassed by the whole situation.

    Please keep your chin up, and if the worst comes to pass, let us know if there’s anything that might help you out. If you find yourself unavailable for a length of time, be sure to have someone post a mailing address where you can be be reached. I read somewhere in ancient times they used to make marks on paper to correspond over distance. It seems like it would be an interesting experiment.

  15. Phiala

    Aw fuck… I continue to be ashamed of my country.

  16. 03

    Hello Mr. Watts!

    It seems that my previous post in this thread is either scheduled for moderation or lost.

    in case it’s merely on hold, I’ll just once again wish you best luck on behalf of 01 and myself. (01 will be back around Wednesday)

  17. Jeremy

    Best of luck, and in the even that things go FUBAR make sure to tell us what prison you’ll be in so we can smuggle you copies of Science and Nature.

  18. Daniel

    Rifters never die, Peter. We’re out here, and we’ll miss you even if it’s only for the few days.

  19. jmcdaid

    Peter, this is such depressing news. Best of luck on Monday. Here’s hoping for a rational outcome that sees you back soon.

  20. gMike

    Now, that just sucks the big hairy one. Hang tough and bring folks to testify to your good character at the sentencing. Having had some experience with the Federal Law Enforcement system over the years, their behavior is typical of their training. I am hopeful that the judge will ignore the pre-sentence report and do what’s right. Occasionally some common sense seeps into the system and I certainly hope this is one of those occasions!

  21. Tommaso Zillio

    I second the “post an address” motion. If you end up in jail, have someone post an address so that we can reach you. I don’t even know if I can handwrite more than two lines before my hand cramps, but damn if I’ll try.

    Of course if you do not make it back next week, a small but dedicated part of the ‘net is going to explode with indignation. There will be more than a handful of people feeling like Lenie Clarke at the end of the first book. I don’t know what we will be able to do, but for Darwin’s sake, we will find something.

    Please make it back. And regardless if you do jail time or not, from this moment on whenever you’ll pass from Edmonton not only the beer but the dinner is on me.

  22. Charlotte

    If the worst does happen (which I hope it does not), please let us know if there’s anything else we can do.

    Perhaps somewhere to send mail in the form of letters, books, etc, if you’re able to/interested in receiving such things?

  23. DavidK

    Damn, not the news I was hoping to read when I checked in… Here’s hoping for a sane and discerning judgement from the judge. Best of luck on Monday

  24. Hljóðlegur


    Goddammit all to hell.

    What if you just don’t go; will the Mounties come get you?

    In which prison will you serve your time?

  25. ET

    What to say in this most awkward situation?
    Best of luck and any it works out may it be a learning experience.
    Hope all goes well.

  26. Sheila

    “Perhaps somewhere to send mail in the form of letters, books, etc, if you’re able to/interested in receiving such things?”

    This is also my request. If things go bad, please considering providing a snail mail address. Also, please make sure someone has the keys to the kitty fund, so that donations towards feeding the cats can be processed.

  27. Hljóðlegur

    Ditto what Sheila said.

    Snail mail address, yes. Cards and letters will help keep your chin up when you go into internet withdrawal.

    Fuck it, I know how Peter feels about this, but I’m gonna pray. The judge could still suspend the sentence.


  28. Hljóðlegur


  29. Hljóðlegur

    Okay, just


  30. Ken

    Ok, what can we do? Is there any way that we can write our own appeals to the judge? Can we somehow influence the powers-that-be to see that sentencing you to jailtime is ridiculous?

    Someone tell me. Give me an address. Maybe Doctorow can help – he’s a pretty well-connected fellow.

    Peter, you will prevail, one way or another.

  31. Terry Findlay

    This case is way overdue for some common sense. I hope the judge has some.

  32. Hljóðlegur


  33. Stephen Frug

    What Phalia, JMCdaid, DavidK, Hljóolegur (at 5:16) and Terry Findlay said.

    May sanity prevail, may justice be done, and may you be home by Monday night.

    And then !@#$%ing pardoned so this unjust conviction isn’t over your head any more.

    Best wishes & high hopes.

  34. Flanders

    Given my recent track record, I’m going to hold off on cheery prognostications and merely wish you the best of luck, and my sincere hope that we’ll be hearing from you personally on Tuesday.

  35. Jason Stackhouse

    Please have Dave* post your temporary address, should you be detained. Contact (and contrast) with the outside sometimes helps, sometimes hurts… If the latter, leave the letters sealed till you walk. We won’t mind.

    David Simon wrote that you only serve two days in prison: the day you get in and the day you get out.

    My hope is that you’ll post good news on Tuesday. In either case, you’re in my thoughts.

    *After skimming his work, I’ve gotta thank you for the nod in his direction. That’s some fine wordsmithery.

  36. rm3154

    Hope to hear from you on Tuesday.
    I echo the other poster re contingency plans.
    I’ll try to be there for you regardless of what happens.

  37. Sardonyx

    Hey Peter,
    Good luck okay?? I’m crossing all my fingers and toes and stuff for you. *squish*

  38. Paladin

    Good luck Peter. I say this because i’m selfish and hope to read more from you as soon as possible.

  39. David S.

    All fingers and toes crossed for you mate. When all hope seems lost the justice system comes down to individual judges, and they’re often pretty wise. I hope you got one of those, one who can smell a stitch-up when he’s smacked across the face with it.

  40. Paul J

    Just want to say I so hope you don’t spend any time in jail, wish you all the very best whatever happens. I enjoy your writing and blog. I hate injustice for anyone. Fingers crossed, regards from the UK

  41. mtm

    Remain positive, there surely must be still some speck of common sense in the universe to make sure that this fiasco will end sensibly. Good luck with everything and take care.

  42. Nick N

    Peter, best of luck with our mockery of a “justice” system. Thank you for all of the light you’ve shed on the process. Your fans will be waiting for you, whether you’re back Tuesday or six months from now. Let us know if there’s anyone that needs reminding of this.

  43. Jannie

    There are not nearly enough expletives to express the incompetence of the judicial system as mis-applied to your case. Best of luck to you on Monday! (Especially since logic and commonsense seems to have fled the scene.)

  44. Nestor

    Best of luck Mr. Watts.

    Michael > I would be interested, this must be a regular thing, hell I have a cousin going through the US on her way back to Europe, she got safely through Colombia, I hope she makes it out of the US!

  45. Laur

    Good luck, Peter. Here’s hoping you’ll be back here on Monday to tell us how it all went.

  46. J Meijer

    I can’t find the proper words, Hljóðlegur might express it best. Hoping for a bright spark of common sense and justice. Best of luck!

  47. Mark Robinson

    Hello Peter,

    What can I say that hasn’t been said already? Perhaps another “ARRRRRGGHHH!” 4 months???? WTF? Hopefully the sentencing judge will see sense. I would have said common, but common sense isn’t all that common these days it seems.
    All the best – hopefully you’ll be straight back home.

  48. Gilles

    Merde !

  49. Hljóðlegur

    St Clair County:

    31 4/21/2010 SENTENCING
    BEGIN 4/26/2010
    $1,000.00 COURT COSTS
    $500.00 FINES


    Wait does that mean 180 days minus 60? That he is getting 60 days suspended if he pays the fines?


  50. The Doctor

    I remain embarassed by my country of citizenship. For what good it does, I humbly apologize for this /clusterf.{3}/ – this is insanity. I still suspect that they’re making an example of you due to how public this mess got.

    All appropriate appendages are crossed for you. I’m about to cross those of my school of stuffed cephalopods, just in case.

    You’ve probably heard this a number of times up in the quadruple digits, but should our paths ever cross I’d like to buy the first round of the beverage of your choice.

    Be careful out there, and travel safely. We’re all pulling for you.

  51. Martin

    Hope you return with good news. If not: Hang in there.

  52. Selcaby

    I’ve never posted on here before, but I just want to say good luck. This whole case is bonkers. I hope you’re back home safe and sound tomorrow.

  53. Alehkhs

    Best of luck to you, Dr. Watts.

    I expect to hear good news from you tomorrow evening.

  54. Somebody Who Has Been There

    Dr. Watts,

    I emailed you awhile back, but I imagine it got lost in the flood.

    A few things you ought to know, in case your lawyer isn’t telling you this:

    Judges usually go with the pre-sentencing report, unless there is a significant reason to deviate from it. You can request a time to report in for serving a sentence, and they may go for it, if you’ve posted bail and aren’t considered a flight risk.

    As an alien, you’re probably not going to get put in a minimum security facility, which would be the usual for someone with no priors. Given the length of the sentence, you’ll probably spend the entire time in an overcrowded county jail. The keys to survival: be polite; don’t play any games that involve gambling; don’t bother with the television; and try to avoid using the phone. Any of the above are the usual reasons for fighting among the inmates. If you can, get a job in the laundry or something — it keeps you busy, and you can make friends. Not everyone in jail is a bad person, but county jails are worse than most.

    Your best bet is to hang out in your cell as much as possible, read and write. You may end up in a dormitory with bunk beds and up to forty other inmates.

    If you have extra commissary money, sharing with other inmates who are less fortunate is going to make friends. Don’t borrow anything from anybody; just politely decline if offered.

    I hope the judge shows some sense, but given my own experience? It’s best to plan for the worst.

    As I mentioned in my email, feel free to call or write. I’ll send another email with my address shortly, if you find yourself in a position where writing a letter is the only option.

    I’m very sorry this has happened to you.

  55. Lars

    This profoundly smooches the poodle. Good luck, Peter, and get back to us with good news as soon as you can.

  56. Kate Baker

    Big tentacle hugs, Peter. Here’s hoping familiar and warm light returns soon.

  57. Jason Stackhouse

    @Hljóðlegur Just read through the docket details, myself. I’m seeing the same thing you are… Is there a lawyer in the house?

  58. Somebody Who Has Been There

    @Jason Stackhouse: It means, in all likelihood, that the judge’s initial sentencing assessment has been that the law says he ought to serve a minimum of 6 months in jail, but will waive the sentence providing that he pays off something like $1700 in court fines, and if not, he serves 60 days in jail. However, that’s entirely open to whatever the prosecution argues tomorrow. The sentencing isn’t concluded until the day of delivery.

    That said: it -is- encouraging.

  59. Janice M. Eisen

    As a US citizen, I can’t tell you how happy I am that my tax dollars are being used to screw you over. Everyone who says this smells political is right. Good luck, Peter, and I hope the judge is as rational as you think.

  60. Jason M. Robertson

    Any differences aside, good luck at sentencing. I hope an incarceration-free outcome eventuates.

  61. RandomJ

    Peter, I wish you best of luck, Cthulhu-speed.

  62. Aliette de Bodard

    Oh dear.
    I’m trying not to feel angrily bemused by this latest development, but it’s really hard. Wishing you the very best of luck.

  63. Jetse

    Best of luck, Peter.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed, and hope for a rational verdict.

  64. Jesús Olmo

    what can I say that hasn’t been said already, dear Peter?
    my most sincere and best wishes are for you, man,
    big hugs from Tenerife, on behalf of myself and of thousands of your spanish readers for which “Visión Ciega” (Blindsight) was a milestone in science-fiction genre. This sounds selfish, I know, but we need you to keep on writing fiction, and jail is not a proper place to do so!
    whatever happens, be strong, be positive, Peter,

  65. Jason Stackhouse

    @Somebody Who Has Been There We’ll know in a few hours, I suppose. I’ll be off-grid most of the day, hoping to come back to good news.

  66. Chris in MI

    “For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.”

  67. Hljóðlegur

    @Jason – I’m definitely not a lawyer. I’m gonna say a prayer, and concentrate on work today, to keep the aaaarrrrrggggghhs at bay.

  68. Mike Tevee

    I gotta believe the transparency of the case, as thouthtful as PWs posts have been– worked against him–not in a rational, justifiable way but in an unconscious, vindictive way. Hence the murky chain of command vis-a-vis sentencing.
    Imagine if the Mob followed you around and mugged you and
    and you wrote about the details on your blog.
    I discern less and less difference between American law enforcement and the Mob these days. They want the imprimatur of “Land of the Free” but
    lock up Canadian visitors for getting their ass kicked and pepper-sprayed at the border.
    I don’t get it. I just don’t fucking get it.

  69. Matt Tarplee

    A little late, but luck Peter. And I echo what Phiala said.

  70. Bud

    Best of luck, Peter. You’ll be in our thoughts.

  71. Anonymous
  72. Bazz

    Found this after a random walk after reading Maelstrom.
    ok, now, correct me I’m wrong, but it seems to boild down to:

    got to jail
    Pay the court.

    Doesn anyone else feel a justice system based on bribery is fundamentally flawed?
    Anyway, I’ll add my good wishes to all the others, All the best of luck, Dr.

  73. George C.

    Un-squid-lurking to say that I hope it’s going well, Mr. Watts. Worst case, learn what you can about our “justice system” (the most shameful part of U.S. society, in my opinion as an incoming lawyer*) and hold it together while you’re in there. But I hope you come back this evening to well-fed cats and a writing desk.

    * Incidentally, is it clear that you can’t appeal based on the possibly unconstitutional vagueness of the statute? Has this been discussed with your lawyer? On the forums? If you’re to be the test case for overturning this clustershit bullfuck of a cop-inflating law I have no doubt that you will be fully funded.

  74. andrew chase


    according to this


  75. PC

    Good luck, Dr. Watts.

  76. robot17

    i also wish you good luck too(from panama, were i live)and hope you don’t end up in jail since that is not a pretty place for a human to be and i DO know all those HORRIBLE things that can happen to a man in there(the same can happened to me if i were send to a only women’s jail)unless you can defend by your self with no problem and if you are very strong as yours vampires.

    anyway good luck mister Peter.

  77. Anna Feruglio Dal Dan

    You know what? I took it as obvious that Sarasti was fetishable… and I’ll be happy to discuss this with you, by longhand if necessary, should you find yourself unable to access a computer for some time.

    Best of luck, Peter, if I may presume to call you Peter. Jail sucks, but if it comes to that, I think it will be easier for you to do the time than it has been to go through this grotesque process. I’m pretty cash-strapped at the moment, but I can and will happily contribute to cat minding, and I will send books, cakes, and photos of rescue cats from my local shelter with attendant good news.

  78. david ker thomson

    I wrote something on Peter for CounterPunch today. I don’t usually show my face this much, as I’ve had my own scary history with that border, but I screwed up my courage because I really like this guy. The title’s not mine–I’m not usually this direct with anything–but it’s a good one, something about them beating up Dr. Watts. I’d been having dreams all night about him, so it seem’d like something I’d best take care of. Look for it today under the screamtitle at CP, or under my name. I can’t believe I’m actually associating my real name with this much direct criticism of Homeland Security. See? Even our skulkiest people can be brave if it’s for a good cause. I love Peter and his writing. Long live Peter Watts!

  79. V

    We’re all rooting for you and thinking of you, and even if things go dark, we’ll be thinking about you for that dark six months, and will be here when you come. back.

    Bright blessings.

  80. V

    gah stupid posty button.

    retyped –

    and even if things go dark, we’ll be thinking about you for that dark four-to-six months, and will be here when you come back.

    Bright blessings. You know this already, but a lot of people believe in you as a good person and think you’re brilliant as a writer. Please, please don’t forget. Times like this are dark and lonely, I know.

  81. Caryn

    Best of luck.

  82. keanani

    @Peter: I was so hoping that things would turn out right at the end…still hoping the best for you Peter.

    Hljóðlegur said: “Fuck it, I know how Peter feels about this, but I’m gonna pray.” That’s ok Hljóðlegur. 🙂
    Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I participated in something amounting to praying all week, and into last night when my mother passed from the here and now into the darkling void. Amongst her very last words she said “tell (my real name) I will visit her in her dreams”.

    @03 who said: “As for my “Sarasti fetish”… Well, yes, I find Jukka as described in Blindsight (and as depicted in that sketch linked by RandomJ in the Jukka thread) to be sexually attractive.”

    Holy moly, I knew I was not the only one, but I wasn’t going to fess up about it. So, 03, you are not alone in this. Unreal as it may be to some, I suppose. I don’t know exactly why(well maybe), but when I first read Blindsight last March, well, Jukka was attractive to me too.

  83. Hljóðlegur


    It’s like sitting around in the dark!

  84. Hljóðlegur

    Keanani – your mother passed away last night?

  85. Branko Collin

    Hljóðlegur, according to the intarwebs, credit minimum and maximum is the amount of time deducted from a prison sentence depending on whether he got the minimum or maximum prison term. That is, if Peter had been held in custody before the trial (for instance after an arrest), up to 180 days of that time would have been deducted from a maximum sentence (2 years for obstruction, IIRC), and up to 1 day from the minimum term.

    That is how I am reading things, although this legal mumbo jumbo sure sounds like it is meant to hide justice rather than shine a light on it.

    I am mildly optimistic (considering the thought of even 5 minutes of jail time freaks me out completely).

  86. Richard Duffy

    Fabulous news, suspended sentence: see http://file770.com for details.
    I’m sure we’ll get the official update here before long, but I thought people
    might like a heads-up anyhow. (Note to proxy or moderator: obviously don’t
    bother posting this if it’s held until after Dr. Watts gets back.)

  87. Hljóðlegur

    @Branko – Ah! Thanks much. I was kind of excited when yesterday St C County recorded what looked like 60 days suspended with fines, and what you tell us here makes that look kind of possible.

    the thought of even 5 minutes of jail time freaks me out completely

    I am with you on that, brother.

  88. DP

    I don’t feel culpable that my country is like this. I just feel that much more vulnerable that it is like this. I do some political work to try to change things to be less statist, but it’s an uphill battle. It may not be winnable. We’re losing ground, not gaining it.

    My sister lives in a rich neighborhood where the police are accountable to the citizens and will hesitate to make an arrest when someone’s unruly but not hurting anyone because they know that can ruin someone’s future. That’s what you call local accountability.

    My local police force is taking increasing amounts of federal money and finding funding sources such as confiscation that disconnect them from local accountability. Other than isolated incidents that are enabled by a statist-minded citizenry that gives the police the benefit of the doubt over citizens, they aren’t completely out of control. I’m afraid that, as the funding shifts from local to federal over the years, things will quickly deteriorate.

  89. Robert K

    Good Luck, if i was a praying man, i’d pray, but as it is, i’m just hoping for the best.

  90. ScottC

    Docket database says 60 days, suspended sentence, pending payment of fees:


  91. Peter Delmenico

    The latest update from the court looks like the jail sentence was suspended. What a relief.

  92. Ken

    Suspended Sentence?

    I found this in the comments section David Nickle’s blog. Someone says that Peter got a suspended sentence: http://file770.com/?p=3701

    However, none of their links work to support this claim. This might be good news, but let’s wait until we have solid conformation.

    Could someone with a head for navigating the courts databases look into this: http://www.stclaircounty.org/Offices/courts/courtselect.aspx

    We just need the name of the judge and maybe we’ll find some solid info.

    Here’s hoping that Peter is on his way home right now.

  93. Peter Delmenico

    Sorry, meant to include the actual text from the court:

    31 4/26/2010 SENTENCING

    BEGIN 4/26/2010

    My IANAL take on this is that the judge revised sentencing down to 60 days (from the recommended minimum of 180) and then suspended it contingent on payment of court fees. I really hope I’m reading this correctly, otherwise apologies to everyone here.

  94. Ken


    Folks, I’m not sure if my earlier comment was posted (board is acting weird), but it looks like Peter Watts got a suspended sentence!

    Don’t take my word for it, please confirm this for me:

    Go to : http://www.stclaircounty.org/DCS/search.aspx

    Enter his case ID:: 09-003320-FH

    Click on his name (it’s a link)

    Click on EVENTS at the top

    Scroll down to today’s date to see the words “JAIL TERM SUSPENDED”

    Please tell me that this isn’t bullshit.

  95. Anonymous

    According to http://file770.com/?p=3701 he received 60 days, suspended, about 10 minutes ago.

  96. keanani

    @Hljóðlegur who asked: “your mother passed away last night?” Yes. I am not working on all thrusters at the moment…

  97. Nick N

    Meanwhile, Twitter has picked up on the “suspended sentence” bit from the courthouse web site that Hljóðlegur found yesterday and misinterpreted it (I know, inaccurate information on the inter-tubes!). Thus destroying any hope of actually getting worthwhile real-time updates…

  98. Ron

    Pleasure meeting you on the way OUT of the court house today. Great outcome in light of the ludicrous nature of this whole thing. Also, I’ll be renting “The Thing” on your advice.

    Best of luck.

  99. Branko Collin

    Front page of this blog says: “I am coming home tomorrow. Comment closed. By Peter Watts.”

  100. Branko Collin

    Argh. s/Comment/Comments/

  101. keanani

    See above new post by Peter.

    That is such good news Peter, that you are coming home! 🙂

  102. Hljóðlegur

    In re: I. Am. Coming. Home.

    Jesus fucking Christ.

    Jesus Christ.

    Finally. Jesus fucking Christ.

    Jesus. Fucking. Christ.

  103. Hljóðlegur

    @keanani – Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry! Was it sudden? Like that make a difference. I’m so sorry for your loss; nothing on this planet prepares a person for the death of Mum.

  104. turn.self.off

    congrats, seems things have stayed “sane” after all.

  105. keanani

    Yes, coming home…just like Major Tom… 🙂 Wow, what a space-out odyssey it has been for Peter.

  106. Hljóðlegur

    @PW – thank the gods. You know, man, you have the stiffest neck in this hemisphere, and I just had visions you being constitutionally unable to say “Yes, Sir!” convincingly to the guards in prison, and ending up accidentally dead or dismembered or whatever else happens to inmates.

    Jesus Christ.

  107. keanani

    Hljóðlegur said: “@keanani – Oh, sweetie, I’m so sorry! Was it sudden? Like that make a difference. I’m so sorry for your loss; nothing on this planet prepares a person for the death of Mum.” Thank you, sweetie you.

    No. For most of my life the trajectory of her life has been riddled with health problems and almost dyings (1987 & 2000-2001), but until two Fridays ago, she was really in a bad place. She decided this past Wednesday that she wanted to go. Mr. MRSA had a bad grip on her legs and her kidneys were very tired. She hung on longer than the doctors believed possible, but she finally let go Sunday evening…

  108. Mats

    phew, Peter! well, i’m happy now.

  109. Nick N

    Congrats, Peter. Here’s hoping that this means a moment of sanity prevailed in this mess.

  110. Julia


  111. keanani

    @Hljóðlegur ~ The end of Peter’s ordeal has made things a bit brighter for me at this profoundly dark time of dealing with her passing.

    I could only come to peek on the internet early this morning hoping so very much for a sign of good news for Peter’s tail end of what started early December of last year…

    Thank the deep space stars and the giant squidly tentacles…

  112. Bahumat

    Glad you’re coming home, Peter. I’m guessing from the tone and closed comments that all is not perfectly well?

    But, at least, I’m glad you’re coming home.

    Let’s all hope like hell that this is the end of the whole stupid fiasco.

    Visit edmonton soon, the beer and pizza’s on me.

  113. Hljóðlegur

    @keanani – are you doing something trad Hawaiian for the funeral, or do you know yet? You know, I have no idea what is Hawaiian traditional for memorials and funerals is. I imagine something poetic, involving the ocean….

  114. ceti

    Great news!

    I’ve had two friends now who got arrested at protests, charged with all sorts of felonies, having their lives turned into a nightmare for years, only to have the court case finally come to a judge and be dismissed for lack of evidence. All the while, they have had to endure the suspicion of others due to almost automatic trust placed in the police.

    This faith in the state at a time when civil liberties are in full retreat, massive abuses abound, and the surveillance state is damn dangerous. At risk of violating Godwin’s Law, this case as in so many recent others of police brutality and CYA manoeuvring (a tale as old as civilization) have only serve to highlight the growing gestapo mentality amongst the legions of “bloodthirsty trolls” out there. Sadly, Peter has had to play the role of the canary in the coal mine, taking on their noxious fumes to flush out these fascist bullies who glory in other people’s suffering while thinking that a police state is just peachy.

    But at least there are small victories!

  115. Branko Collin
  116. Jesús Olmo

    “I. Am. Coming. Home”?!

    god, that means what I think it means?!!!

    I never felt so happy to read a sentence of just four words…!

  117. Hljóðlegur

    Thank the deep space stars and the giant squidly tentacles…

    Verily, the FSM was with Peter today, bestowing blessings from his noodly appendages. And to think, he doesn’t even believe in him, and still found favor of the marinara one.

  118. Paul J

    🙂 Yay 🙂
    Truly that’s good news, hope you are feeling well!

  119. Hljóðlegur

    @Jesús Olmo – god, that means what I think it means?!!!

    Either that or the judge is having him executed. I think the more literal interpretation prolly applies here.

  120. Logically Enough

    Happy Feet Do a Happy Dance!

  121. Michael_gr

    Best. News. Ever.

  122. Jesús Olmo

    I am in a ‘State of Grace’ !!!!
    thank god or brahma or tao or yahve or alah or rorschach or whatever

  123. Ryan F

    Phew……. Wipes forehead

  124. Mike Tevee

    Good thing they arrested the guy, rounded up a jury, got
    a conviction and clogged up the judicial system with another stupid-ass
    non-crime. Way to go, men in Blue!

  125. Tommaso Zillio

    Ooooooh, yessssssss 🙂

    “Dinner on me” offer still valid, anytime in the future. Go squid!! 🙂

  126. DavidK

    I’ve been checking periodically during the day, both here and on David Nickle’s site, for news… From the front page micro-post and from Nickle’s post, it sounds like a relatively sane resolution to an event not marked by much degree of sanity. Looking forward to more of the details when Peter’s gotten a chance to catch his breath.

  127. PC

    Congratulations, Dr. Watts! Great news!

  128. 03

    Finally, something to stir the dying embers of one’s belief in humanity…


  129. Flanders

    Well, that went as well as could be hoped, but is still nothing to cheer about. Man’s out a couple k, and will have a lot of trouble if he ever wants to return to the States (and I wouldn’t blame him one bit if he didn’t).

  130. Michael Johnson

    Ha! If this is correct–no jail time. I’m supremely happy for you! Congratulations on coming out of this ordeal without serving jail time atop everything else.

  131. Terry

    Been thinking about you nonstop all month, Dr. Watts, and am very glad to have heard the news that you’re coming home.

  132. Jason Stackhouse

    Excellent news.

  133. keanani

    Ah I feel bad for posting about my loss on Peter’s blog, so sorry, I hope it is ok in order to converse with Hljóðlegur…:)

    @Hljóðlegur who said: “are you doing something trad Hawaiian for the funeral, or do you know yet? You know, I have no idea what is Hawaiian traditional for memorials and funerals is. I imagine something poetic, involving the ocean….” Yes to all that you asked and imagined…

    Last night the immediate family gathered after the death vigil ended in the inevitable.

    When she left life, and with the hospice nurse present, my family washed and dressed her, then had a private personal service which started in Hawaiian chant, transitioning into a Christian middle, and ended in Native American chant. Every family member present spoke in turn. I being of no religious background simply spoke to my mom.

    Today is cremation and the “Iwi” or “bones” will be wrapped in the traditional Hawaiian way, and her remains will await the burial sometime later when we can do so on the island of her main ancestors, Kaua’i, to be interred with her British father who had drowned in waters off Kaua’i when she was four. Where her grandparents, great grandparents and many others reside in the land that had rooted her and now claims her.

    The Hawaiian chanting, via my brother, and the Native American chanting, via my sister, was the most profoundly emotionally stirring for me.

  134. Humble Puppy

    Appears to be an update on the site.

  135. V

    Mr Watts –

    If you still need money, we can donate more to the kibble fund. Very relieved. Bless you.

  136. keanani

    The Times Herald online reported today, April 26th, 2010:

    “Author Watts To Be Sentenced Today”

    “A Toronto author convicted March 19 of assaulting, resisting and obstructing a border officer at the Blue Water Bridge is expected to be sentenced today. Peter Watts is scheduled to be in St. Clair County Circuit Judge James Adair’s courtroom at 2 p.m. Information his online court record shows the recommended sentence is 180 days in jail with credit for one day served and 60 days suspended upon payment of $1,600 in fines and costs. A jury found Watts guilty of refusing to comply with orders during a random inspection at the bridge. An officer testified at trial that Watts tried to choke him.”

    Something is wrong with the first sentence…as well as the last sentence leaving out the fact that officer testifying lied about the choke…

  137. Chris J.

    Excellent news! I’m very glad to hear that something finally and rightfully went your way this time!

  138. Allister01

    I wouldn’t call it justice, since justice would have meant the guards were on trial instead of you. But if you did manage to avoid jail time, some sort of celebration is necessary. I plan on getting stupid drunk tomorrow to rejoice in your skirting even more unjust treatment.

    Hoping everything went well.

  139. Somebody Who Has Been There

    Dr. Watts: I read the news elsewhere that they only made you pay a fine. That’s great! Has your lawyer said anything about how this impacts your ability to travel to the U.S.?

  140. Uplinktruck

    Glad you are coming home Peter.

  141. Proudinjun

    Hope you’re home safely. My best to you and yours. Karma’s the shit, ain’t it?

  142. Branko Collin

    Congratulations on not having to go to jail Peter.

  143. Branko Collin

    Peter, congratulations on avoiding jail time.

  144. The Doctor

    @keanani: The Times Herald has not shot straight once with respect to this situation. Why should they start now?

  145. Hljóðlegur

    @keanani – Old traditional songs are the best for sad family occasions like that, aren’t they?

    My mother saw the end coming, and had a big index card on her kitchen cabinets with what hymns she wanted played, what to put on her tombstone, et cetera. Sounds weird, but it was really helpful when I was in the funeral home, trying to guess what kind of send-off she wanted.

    Got any music picked out for yours when you go?

  146. Proudinjun

    Traditional funerals are so exhausting… my best wishes to you in your time of grief. You have offered me kind words, and I would like to return the courtesy.

    Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds.
    And whose breath gives life to all the world.
    Hear me! I am small and weak.
    I need your strength and wisdom.
    Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes
    Ever hold the red and purple sunset.
    Make my hands respect the things you have made.
    My ears sharp to hear your voice.
    Make me wise so that I may understand
    The things you might teach me.
    Let me learn the lessons you have hidden
    In every leaf and rock.
    I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother.
    But to fight my greatest enemy, myself.
    Make me always ready to come to you
    With clear hands and straight eyes.
    So when life fades, as the fading sunset.
    My spirit may come to you without shame.

    Chief Yellow Lark, Lakota

    I know you are not a religious person, but may the sentiment bring you some comfort in these trying times. Good luck.

  147. keanani

    @Hljóðlegur who asked: “Got any music picked out for yours when you go?”

    At the moment I am thinking Flight of the Valkryes since I have been in such a fierce mood and a bit easily reactive with other humans for longer than I would like, followed immediately by Bali’s Jalan Jalan Firefly Sanctuary to dissipate that emotive passion.

    I do however like perhaps something from the duo “2002” such as something from their album “River of Stars” ~ River of Stars, Stella Maris, but Starwalkers and Tanabata Moon are really lovely.
    their album “Across an Ocean of Dreams” ~ The Sound of Still Water or Nautilus…

  148. Hljóðlegur

    @keanani –

    perhaps something from the duo “2002″ such as something from their album “River of Stars” ~ River of Stars, Stella Maris, but Starwalkers and Tanabata Moon are really lovely.

    And soothing! Probably what the bereaved could use at that point. Does that kind of music have a genre? What do you call it?

    Gee, now I feel kind of shallow. I was thinking “Brick House” by the Commodores, “Now is Strange” by TMBG, “So Lonesome I Could Cry,” Hank Williams, and, of course, the sappy “Vincent,” by Don McLean.

    Also, if I wanted to be a jerk, “Cold Turkey,” by Plastic Ono band. The last minute of the song is just inchoate, anguished screaming. Male screaming is always hair-raising. Or “Damaged Goods,” by Gang of Four?

    Flight of the Valkyries sounds more inspirational, now that you mention it. Maybe something by Ludwig van? That 9th was rocking, and it makes you want to fly. Or invade Poland. Something.

  149. keanani

    Aloha Proudinjun ~ Oh thank you so kindly for your lovely words, thoughfulness and beautiful Native poetry. 🙂

    My father is partly Seneca and Mohawk, so that is just bits & pieces in me. The hospice nurse was Native American and she was moved by my sisters’ rendition of a Native American chant.

    Actually, although I am not religious per se, having been basically a non-practicing Protestant, both dad and mom’s ancestral religions, some of my ancestors were Chinese Budhist and Indigenous Hawaiian Huna, but I do have a sort of “spiritual interior life”. Both my sister and I actually feel more attuned to Native American Philosophy and Spirituality.

    Hence the hard time I have grappling with science, reason and rationality and the realm of the spiritual. I have been to traditional funerals and wakes, of various kinds, and my mother’s service was just a personal family lets all just bascially wing-it to bring closure.

    @Hljóðlegur ~ I like your suggestions! Perhaps Ode to Joy would be good. You know I like the music to “A Clockwork Orange”. (Certainly Flight of the Valkyries was inspired also by my apparent persona of being a “pissy missy” on here with some. 🙂 )

    I think “Enjoy the Silence” by “Depressed” Mode would also be appropriate, followed by “Shake Your Groove Thing”, “Shake Your Booty”, and “We Got the Funk”…”Your Own Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode followed by “Losing My Religion” REM…then “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve, “In Your Eyes” and “Red Rain” by Peter Gabriel, followed by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” on solo ukulele, and finally Eva Cassidy’s rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird”.

  150. cphi

    that really really sucks mate. good luck. if you do time that would have to be the biggest miscarriage of justice I’ve heard of in recent times.

  151. Gord Wait

    Glad to have you back with us in Canada!

  152. Cookie McCool
  153. Hljóðlegur

    @Keanani – OMG, we are doon this rong- we need to have this party before we die, so we don’t miss the music! I vote we have it at your place, since Hawaii is way nicer than DC. I’ll see you there, say, 2040?

  154. keanani

    @Hljóðlegur~ Holy canole! DC? 🙂 I have only been to DC once in my small, pitiful, sad sacky life thus far 🙂 It was on my way to France & Ireland, years ago..

    As for party before the end of days of the fleshly ways…2040? I hope the flesh can still party at that far-out point in time. Hmm, better load up on the antioxidants and continue the fitness bodybuilding-yoga stuff…