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, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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