Case ID: CR18-791 Sarpy County, NE.
My name is Mark Spitzock and I'm a 64-year-old Caucasian male and this is my experience with our police state.
I'm an experienced CDL Driver and had moved from Chicago to Los Angeles California to pursue a few job offers I had inquired about three years ago, and to be near family. Within two weeks I had tested and converted my license over to a California CDL. What I did not know was the rampant age discrimination of this state. All said I was well qualified through e-mails even before I left; after arriving and my application was submitted in person with my birth date, I thought I'd never hear from them again.
After three years of "gig" jobs and going broke I decided to move back to Chicago where my old position was still available, with a raise. A marijuana grower I had met asked me, "Since I'm making the trip anyway why not take a few pounds of his product there?" He also stated that many suppliers run short since demand was higher than the locals could produce. I don't smoke marijuana because of my CDL and we are tested all the time and never failed a drug test, but I did recall my friend of 55 years had contracted a cancer and he had problems getting the medical product in Illinois so he had asked me to send some from California. I refused as I did not wish to send marijuana through the mail and get both of us in trouble, so he turned to a street dealer in the last months of his life. I felt much guilt after his passing as I had known him for 58 years. I realized this offer as a morally "right" cause, and accepted to take the 30 lbs with me. This was end of July 2018.
While on I-80 and driving through Sarpy County Nebraska on July 30th, Omaha police officer Jeffery Vaughn pulled me over for a phony traffic stop, due to my out-of-state California plates. He said I cut a truck off while changing lanes, a total fabrication as I did not and knew I didn't. This cop looked like the old WWII photos of a Nazi SS officer; he was dressed totally in black with all kinds of weapons hanging off of him, I was surprised he did not have a few hand grenades hanging off his vest as well. He seduced me back to his car where he asked to search my vehicle, I refused to grant him permission, so he than proceeded to illegally search my auto right there alongside the Interstate. I was arrested, charged with three felonies and thrown into Sarpy County Jail, my auto and all possessions confiscated, including my phone.
Mind you I had NEVER been in jail before, nor do I have any felony convictions.
Bail was set at $50,000 anyway and I could not afford even the 10% bond, and since my phone was confiscated I had no way to contact friends or family to inform them of my situation. By September I was moved seventy miles away to Seward County Jail due to overcrowding at Sarpy Jail, and for the next five months I was jailed there; they shuttled me back and forth for my court appearances. During this shuttle process I was driven along I-80 several times and could not believe the many out-of-state plates I seen pull over, and I'm sure only a very few may have had drugs. This police state was harassing citizens from other states on I-80 while traveling through, every day, and making up phony traffic violations to pull them over to then illegally search them.
In late November of 2018 I finally had my "Motion to Suppress" hearing at the Sarpy County Courthouse and while in a holding cell my public defender said to me, "You can go home today but you have to accept one felony." I replied, "NO WAY!... I know my civil rights and my 4th-amendment rights were violated, the police car video will prove this."
In the courtroom the arresting officer made his statement but the video proved him a liar; he committed perjury without a second thought. Being a CDL driver with 30 years' experience and over twenty years without any traffic violations while wheeling 60,000-lb trucks around the congested highways of both Chicago and L.A. qualifies me as an "Expert Witness", and this would be a problem for the state in front of a jury along with the video. This evidence would then also question all past arrests this officer made because of his perjury at this hearing... they had a problem.
After my "Motion to Suppress" was sustained because of the illegal search I still had to appear for a pretrial hearing, but they did reduce my bond to $10,000. I could not pay this either. Soon my pretrial date was set for January 3rd 2019 and I told my Public Defender, Carolyn Wilson, "Should they continue to try to prosecute me I want a jury trial, by a jury of my piers, and not a one-judge bench trial."
Then, suddenly and without warning, on Dec 23rd I was released from Seward Jail on a PR bond. Literally thrown out into the street on a cold December day with only the clothes I was arrested with back in July, a T-shirt and shorts! I had very little money, no car, no clothes, no phone and had to walk three miles to a hotel where I could spend the night... I had no idea where I was. The PR bond also stated I could not leave the state and had to appear at the Sarpy Country Courthouse, some 70 miles away, on Jan 3rd or a warrant would be issued for my arrest and other charges added... and I had no way to get there.
After burning through the little cash I had on hotel rooms, meals, and a cheap set of clothes but no winter jacket, an employee of the hotel offered to drive me the seventy miles on the day before my court date as he had friends there in Omaha and would visit them. I checked into a hotel across the street from the Sarpy County Courthouse on January 2nd, 2019.
I truly believe Sarpy County and the State of Nebraska was expecting me to miss this court date and threw every obstacle they could into my way for insisting on my civil rights and the right to a trial with a jury of my peers. As for the public defender, their job is to get one to "take the deal" and not really defending their client; after all, they're all friends there anyway and work together every day... but Cari Wilson did ask a few good questions to the arresting officer Jeffery Vaughn during my motion-to-suppress hearing.
On January 3rd 2019 my name was called by Judge George A. Thompson in Courtroom 8 of the Sarpy County Courthouse and I will admit, to me, the judge seemed a bit surprised to see me. My public defender was not present and this concerned me, but I was prepared to insist on a jury trial. Than the judge says, "All charges dismissed".
A favorable decision for me but I would soon see how much damage they had really done to me within a few days, and how I ended up in a Nebraska homeless shelter today.
I found out my car had been auctioned off a few months ago, without actually being convicted. They said everything in my car was shredded but I'm sure the cops just took what they wanted, including all my clothes, an expensive Carhart Jacket and Redwing boots. My overnight bag, tools, and over $500 of art supplies since my hobby is watercolor painting. My wallet is also missing with other identification, credit cards, my SS Card, my CDL health card, the last two items making it hard if not impossible to find a job in CDL field here in Nebraska where I'm a complete stranger without connections. So all I have is my California CDL Drivers license for an ID.