Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2016 Issue

The U. S. Constitution Saved this Book Thief $510.

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We have all heard a police officer reciting the Miranda Rights. Hopefully, we have heard it on a crime drama on television, rather than from having a police officer recite them to us personally. You know the line: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you." Recently, those rights saved a book thief $510. However, they did not get him off.

 

Usually, these cases are focused on the first part of these rights, the right to remain silent. In this case, the issue was the second part, the right to an attorney. More specifically, it concerned the right to a free attorney for those without the money to pay for one. Of course, you would think a thief of all people shouldn't be wanting for money, but that's another story.

 

The right to an attorney emanates from Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution. That is the one that provides for the right to a speedy trial, an impartial jury, to be informed of the charges, to have the right to confront witnesses, and finally, to have the assistance of counsel. In a 1963 case, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled anyone accused of a felony but unable to afford counsel was entitled to have an attorney provided at the expense of the state. No constitutional right is very meaningful if it is only available to those of adequate financial means. That is why the court has ruled against such actions as the poll tax, which limited the right to vote to people who could afford to pay the tax.

 

In 2013, Bill Joe Davis, II, of Milwaukie, Oregon was convicted of stealing around 50 books from various Portland area libraries. That's not a misspelling. That is how they spell "Milwaukee" in Oregon, just as someone named "Billy Joe" is called "Bill Joe" instead. Heck, they even pronounce the "on" part of "Oregon" as "'n." They are distinctive in Oreg'n. Bill Joe had checked out $3,800 worth of library books, but never returned them. It wasn't just that he forgot to return them. Instead, he was selling them to stores and online. Davis maintained the library books were accidentally mixed together with his own books before being sold, but the jury must have concluded that was a bit too many "accidents" to be believed. He was sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison, ordered to provide restitution of $3,800 to the libraries, and pay the $510 bill of his attorney.

 

Davis appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals, where he won one and lost one. Unfortunately for Mr. Davis, he lost the larger claim, but a small victory is better than none at all. He tried to get the entire conviction overturned on the grounds the court had permitted the introduction of inadmissible evidence. The trial court had allowed evidence that he had previously been convicted of stealing books from a Friends of the Tigard Library book sale. Evidence of similar prior crimes is generally not admissible, the requirement being to show guilt in the current case, not a prior one. However, there are exceptions. The appeals court ruled none applied here. However, it determined that presenting evidence of the Friends of the Library sale theft was harmless error since Davis did not contest the presentation of evidence of his theft from the Multnomah County Library. In effect, presenting one more straw didn't make any difference since the camel's back was already broken, without objection from Mr. Davis.

 

That led to the $510 bill for attorney's fees. The appeals court quickly threw that out. Davis had a court appointed attorney, for whose services he was billed. The court threw the burden of proving a lack of financial need on the state. The prosecution had not presented any evidence that Davis could afford to pay for his attorney. Absent of a showing that the defendant could afford to pay for his attorney, the appeals court ruled that such a presumption could not be made. Davis will not have to pay that $510 portion of the judgment against him, but everything else stands.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
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    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
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