Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Northwest Indiana Officials Trample on the Constitution on Constitution Day

On Constitution Day, no less.  The Northwest Indiana Gazette has this interesting story:
A Hammond man is behind bars tonight being held without bail. 25 year old Kevin Kirby of Hammond posted the following Facebook comment yesterday:

Shortly thereafter, the comment went viral. The Gazette received it from several sources. Today the Gazette has learned that bond for Kirby has been revoked on an unrelated Felony charge. In May of this year, Kirby was charged with resisting arrest as a result of an incident that occurred in Highland. He was out on bond for that offense. After Kirby’s comments went viral, prosecutors quickly moved to revoke his bond on that charge. According to Court documents, Prosecutors faxed a notice of hearing to Kirby’s attorney on September 16. A hearing was scheduled for September 17 but neither Kirby nor his attorney showed. At that time, the Court issued a warrant for his arrest for failure to appear which was quickly executed.
Information as to the nature of the revocation hearing was not available at the time of this article. Presumably, the revocation had something to do with his comments. Nonetheless, the case raises a serious due process issue. There is no indication in the record that Kirby’s lawyer actually received the notice of hearing. Absent actual notice, a failure to appear warrant should not issue absent an imminent and specific identifiable threat. On the other hand, if action was not taken and someone was injured, we may be having a different conversation.

My immediate thought was that there is also quite possibly a free speech violation.  Kirby's comment was crass, even reprehensible, but crass and reprehensible comments are still protected speech.  Punishing that speech by revoking one's bond could be considered to be chilling of Kirby's free speech rights in violation of the First Amendment.  

Then, as the Gazette notes, you have the issue of the arrest on a failure to appear for a bond hearing with the notice of the hearing only being given by a faced order to the man's attorney one day before the hearing.   Obviously with such a short notice, it's not surprising that the defendant and the attorney weren't there.   Yes, there could be a due process problem.

It really looks like a bunch of people - police officers, the prosecutor, and judge - exercised extremely poor judgment in overreacting to Kirby's comment.  It might be time too for them to take a refresher course on the Constitution.

1 comment:

  1. And all the people that called and threatened him should be arrested and charged for their threats. Many of those people are threatening his life and bodily harm. Regardless, those are serious threats and Kevin did not threaten the life of anyone. He voiced a personal opinion that wasn’t thought through. Kevin was voicing a sick sense of humor but did not mean what he said. There were people all over Facebook screaming stuff like “The only good cop is a bad cop”. None of those people went to jail for it. Some I would highly assume have warrants. There were other cops on facebook that were posting what they were going to do to him once they pick him up. I logged screenshots of these that I will send to his family in the event bodily injury may be done during his time serve.

    Though Kevin expressed his bad sense of humor to his hundred or so Facebook friends, it was Jessica Poland of Hammond, Indiana who brought focus of this post to the family of the fallen officer during their grieving. Making them sad that someone would say such a thing after a member of their family passed.

    We’ve all said things out of anger or frustration; even hatred. Things that spewed from from our mouths before we really thought about them. Kevin didn’t understand the power of his words at the time. I don’t feel he should have lost his job over this. As far as jail goes, im uncertain about the terms and violations of his warrant, but if proper due process wasn’t followed and these cops just used his warrant as an excuse, then I ALSO do not believe the arrest was justified and the county owes him some money for that. In this event, a fundraiser will be started for yet another citizen who had his civil rights violated; to help buy him a damn good lawyer.

    If anyone would like to contact the girl who put Kevin’s post on the dinner plate of the grieving family and friends during the final hours of the fallen officers memorial service.. Her name is Kristina Poland. She works at

    Crown Point Christian Villiage
    6685 E 117th Ave, Crown Point, IN 46307
    (219) 662-0642

    Her Facebook page:

    Feel free to send her a message or contact her work if you feel she shouldn’t have pushed this in the family’s face of the fallen officers during their grieving. A post that otherwise would have stayed among the very few friends of Kevin. A post that turned their stomachs during the last memorable time his friends and family had to honor him. Just to get her some attention on social media. She was found on taking pride and sulking up all the attention she could.

    Others were found trying to get the same attention and can be seen from the LCCALocal11 FaceBook page as well. So much stuff that family would not have otherwise seen and would not have been so disturbed at such a sensitive time.