Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Silence The Blind Guitarist Facing Jail Time For Multiple Traffic-Related Offenses

... and he needs our help.

Have you ever been so busy with life that you forgot to do something mundanely simple, like getting your car an emissions inspection? Imagine getting pulled over as you go about your busy day for a routine traffic stop, only to be told that not only is your license suspended without your knowledge but that you are now facing possible jail time for failing to remember to drive your car to an auto shop so you can sit for thirty minutes to an hour and wait to pay some inspection mechanic to do nothing more than look at your car.

Now, on top of whatever the court costs amount to, you have to worry about your very freedom being taken away for having been late over some silly bureaucratic process that really isn't important in the grand scheme of things.

That is what is happening to Silence The Blind guitarist Eric Holmes, although his case is a little more complex than just that, and it was the complexity combined with the lack of caring and redundancies by the enforcers (in this case, the MVA or Motor Vehicle Administration) that has resulted in a hammer being thrown down.

According to the fund site:

Eric Holmes, guitarist for Silence The Blind, had his driver's license suspended due to a missed emissions inspection. Eric was unaware that his license had been suspended. Now Eric is facing not only legal fees, but possible jail time as he has now been charged with the same crime under 3 different statutes for driving with a suspended license.

We believe that the criminal justice system is being overly harsh on Eric by charging him with 3 separate charges for the same offense.

Eric is a kind and giving person, he does right by people, and is a man of his word. We want to help Eric out so that he can afford a lawyer to fight the charges brought against him, get his emissions inspection, get is license back, pay a fine, and go back to living his life.

We appreciate any and all help.
Without going into too much detail as it is still an open docket, the trouble all began a few months ago when Eric was pulled over and was told his license was suspended. He later discovered that it was so because a car of his fiancée had missed an emissions check, leading them to suspend all registrations connected to her; his car included.

However, that was also the day he happened to have a stroke.

I imagine that no matter what transpired following that, emission inspections were pretty low on his list of priority concerns. A stroke is no small thing, and recovery can be downright torturous - and that's only if your brain even survives it.

Despite the ordeal, they took steps to remedy the issue to the satisfaction of the MVA while he recovered. As far as they knew, all was well as the inspections were now done... until he was pulled over again recently.

The officer who made this final stop allegedly suspected him of swerving and insinuated impairment, according to Holmes. Seeing as how Eric has affirmed his sobriety for fifteen years and counting and was found fit, they proceeded to arrest him and filed three charges; driving on a suspended license, driving on a out of state suspended license, and driving on state and federal property on a suspended license.

If that seems a bit harsh, it is. Especially considering each one individually bears a maximum sentence of 1.5 years in jail (which, if fully upheld, would equate to 4.5 years total incarceration time) and a minimum -. yes, minimum - sentence of thirty days.

If you've ever been there, you know how f*cked up of a situation that is. It's the worst feeling in the world to have the justice system that is supposed to be there to protect us out to get you over a redundant technicality. To have your own government threaten you with jail - a place for thieves and murderers and rapists - when you spend your life trying to keep up with all their demands (to say nothing of the demands of family, friends, your job, et cetera). It's just not right.

Fortunately, there is a way you can help. A crowdfund campaign is up to help Eric pay for someone to defend him in court, since anyone who has dealt with a court system will tell you that appointed lawyers are typically not worth a tinker's damn. If the judicial system wants to punish you, your only saving grace is to shell out for a lawyer.

After all, it is well known that lawyers feed off cold hard cash (and possibly the blood of firstborns); they will feed you to the wolves for anything less than a small fortune.

If only a handful of people show their support with five dollars or less, it will at least help to ease the burden. Despite the fact that life would completely such without music, musicians are on the lowest wrung of the pay scale. We must help one another to survive and still pursue our passions, our purpose on this earth. I urge you to give what you can. What was your pocket change could make a world of difference for him - and indeed, for Silence The Blind as a whole.

You can donate here.

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