As a native of the USSR received in the US 20 years in prison
Sergey received the maximum sentence for a car accident, which he committed in Montana. I cannot yet reveal the name of my hero - at his new place of work they do not know that he was convicted and, moreover, spent several years in prison. Although under the laws of New York, a prison term cannot be a reason for dismissal or any other discrimination, Sergei still prefers not to expand on this. But he says that sooner or later everyone will know about it, because he is going to write a book about his adventures. And I have already thought of the name - "Hope dies first." Sergey says that this is exactly what happens when you find yourself in the millstones of the US judicial system - you are immediately deprived of exactly hope, and this instantly breaks many.
I was arrested two years after the accident
I came to the USA with my family - son and wife in 1997. We were reunited with my mother-in-law. I was then forty-two years old, before that in the USSR I was a naval officer, captain of the second rank. They settled in Brooklyn. I did not know English, although my mother is an English teacher, moreover, an honored teacher of the RSFSR. I started to teach, went to language courses, then to courses of mechanics for the repair of refrigeration units. I worked as a loader, repaired refrigerators, worked in a bakery ... And then I ended up in a driving school, where they taught me to drive heavy vehicles.
Then I passed my license and started working. He opened his own company, bought his cars, then closed ... and then came to Fedex. And in 2008, right before Christmas, I had an accident in Montana, Mineral county or Mineral County. It happened on the seventeenth of December. I was driving and my partner was sleeping next to me. I drove about thirty-five miles an hour, drove out around the bend and saw that a passenger car had overturned in front, there were already policemen, some people on the side of the road. On the left side of the road there was ice and it was so dark, it was not visible, I drove out there and, as we say, I began to fold or was carried away. The fact is that Fedex has very big cars, we call them 18-wheeled vehicles, two trailers and all filled and all this rushes behind me ... When I realized that I was "folded", and there was a pickup in front, people ... I decided to go into a ditch, I think the devil is that I turn over, well, at least I won't hook people. He shouted to his partner and drove to the ditch. And did not turn over. I just saw my second trailer flashed by me. I got out of the car and looked at the pickup truck, which stood at the side of the road, in the middle of the road. I didn’t even feel how he was hit, there were no special marks on the pickup itself, it was quite gently moved to the middle of the road. But behind there was a volunteer firefighter named Jerry sleeping, he was 59 years old, divorced for a long time, very grown-up children. There are many volunteer firefighters in the United States. And Jerry was like that. He came to the accident, however, he could not help in anything - only later it turns out that there were four different types of drugs in his blood, he could only sleep. When my trailer hit the pickup, Jerry hit his temple on the toolbox that was right there. And he died on the spot.
I didn't even know there was a man there. Everyone rustled at me, and I say - guys, calmly, nobody died, I went to the ditch, because I got carried away - ice. And then they show that there is a man in the car. I rushed to take him out, and he was done ...
I was interrogated for a long time, on the spot a policeman named Gaston described everything, examined it, left the car there, another trailer arrived and reloaded everything that was inside, and then we were released with a partner. Then they wrote that I was not injured by the accident. Later, after a few years, it turned out that he had suffered and how. And then it seems like there was a shock. So we flew back to New York.
How I was arrested two years after the accident
I returned to Brooklyn and continued to work. I was not summoned to court, I learned that Fedex had paid the family six hundred thousand dollars. And that the family signed a paper that has no complaints for seven years. It was not even a criminal case, but a civil court or civil. The lawyer of my company and the lawyer of the family met there. The prosecutor in the case was a certain Sean Donovan. They solved everything quickly and peacefully. The children of the deceased - the son was then thirty-six, the daughter was thirty-four years old - took the money and were happy. Two years have passed. And I flew on vacation to Ukraine, I come back, my son meets me at the airport, but they don't let me see him: as soon as I crossed the border, they immediately put on handcuffs - you were arrested! The fact that they show in the movies how you can call is, of course, funny. I could hardly call my son. Those who arrested me knew nothing themselves. They only said - at the request of the state of Montana. I spent the night in Queens - the conditions are terrible. They arrested me on the twenty-fourth of July, the heat, the cell is like a cement bag, there is nothing to breathe. I stood almost all day. Then I was taken to a prison near LaGuardia airport, then to the Bronx ... In short, a complete mess. It’s especially funny when they put handcuffs on your feet, on your feet, they all fasten it, as if I’m a cannibal. Another would be to wear a mask like in "Silence of the Lambs"!
Finally, a lawyer got to me. And he says to me: listen, you can refuse to go to Montana, but if I were you, I would go there and take care of everything there. I still don't know if it was a mistake to listen to him or not ... But I decided to go and find a lawyer there. In Montana, you only need to hire a local lawyer, because he must have a license to work in this state. I remember even a defender came from Fedex, and they were all there for him - do you have a license to work in our state?
And so I went to deal with the case "State of Montana v. Sergey B." We flew - three transfers, then my companion rented a car. Arrived. It is a burgundy prison, the court is on the second floor. And the beauty around is indescribable - Montana, a state with magnificent nature, there are such views ... Then the former pilot Silverstone sat with me, he was given a huge sentence for transporting drugs, he told me that police officers were in the business with him, they say, then they he was framed, his plane was taken away and now they fly on it - he recognized him by the sound when he flew over the prison. So he once said a good phrase: evil also likes to settle in beautiful places. And it was absolutely true. There is no other way to describe the prisons in the midst of this beauty.
When I flew there, I did not understand that it was for a long time. Tell me then that they'll give me twenty years and I'll serve five! - I would not believe it. I thought that now we will quickly find out everything, and I will go home ... A friend came to me, I remember, and took photographs with me - so we both smile and are so cheerful, because I still don't know what I have to go through. And my son did not take this seriously, he also called and specified, they say, will you be there for a long time? "Don't forget, I have a wedding in May!" I missed not only the wedding, but in general five years of my life.
Montana - state of prisons
Montana is a very peculiar state. They live there in many places poorly - trailers are whole streets, a couple of expensive houses, and so are trailers. The population is mostly white. There are Mexicans and also Indians. For five years there I have visited both private and state prisons. Private is, of course, hell, you will not wish on the enemy. But that's how money is made in Montana. And so they build and build new prisons, and they are never empty. On average, a year in prison for one inmate costs the state twenty-five thousand dollars - somewhere more, somewhere less. Just count how much I cost them with my five years. Or he could have worked, pay taxes ... And how many people are there who got caught out of stupidity? And they sit for years!
With me sat a Mexican who was facing twenty years for the fact that, just like me, he was driving a truck, he also “folded up” and pulled over to the side of the road. He did not hurt anyone, did not kill, the road was empty, he himself was not injured. A policeman came and took him to the hospital to check for alcohol. On what grounds? There was no accident. But the guy said nothing, and in his blood they found almost a box of tequila. For this in this state threatens twenty years. And if an accident happened, and you are drunk, and, for example, there was a child in the cabin, then all forty years! There, lumberjacks often sit for five to seven years: drove from work, drank a beer, then your neighbor, a policeman, caught you and that's it! Seven years! And this Mexican sat for six months and could stay there for a long time, but his brother from California found his recent blood tests and they did not coincide at all with those that were obtained in Montana. In the hospital, it turns out, the tests were mixed! And the guy was not indignant, because on the eve of the accident he smoked marijuana, and was afraid that he would start to be indignant and would also be credited with marijuana! I remember the release papers thrown at him - sorry, the nurse was wrong. And the man spent half a year, lost his health due to nervousness. And that's it, no formal apology.
Small-townism flourishes there. And they put me in prison for five years, because I am not one of them. There are the same surnames all around. Ridiculously - they were talking about releasing me on bail. And being in a local pre-trial detention center is not very pleasant - everything is made of metal, in winter everything is ice, the mattresses are thin, we put it in two, but as a check, one is thrown away and only the one that is supposed to be left is left. With long sleeves, nothing is possible, rubber slippers, although they were given socks, but only one pair, and the floor is concrete. I remember our heating was turned off, so the locals immediately cut all the blankets onto ponchos, sat down on the tables so that they could get socks higher from the floor, warmer. And still no contact with the outside world! You get the hell money, it's expensive and inconvenient to call, and at first they were told to write letters only in English! Until one guy from Cuba started to judge them. And it was awarded that if you, the jailers, want to read those letters, then you are looking for an interpreter, and the prisoners have the right to write them in their own language.
In general, the desire to go on bail is quite understandable. And they gave me a bail of two hundred thousand dollars! In the next cell was Mike - the local guy who killed his wife, they asked for fifty for him! Two hundred for me. At that time we already had an apartment in a good area in Brooklyn and it was possible to mortgage it, but I thought so ... my son was supposed to get married, plus, I hoped that I would soon be released ... And he remained in prison. Here's another interesting point - there is no logic in the appointment of the collateral. You ask, why am I two hundred, and he is fifty? And to you: but we so want! No money? Run to borrow at interest. And then again it is interesting - in the police and local offices, where they give money at interest on bail, the same names! Coincidence?
Montana has both jail and prison. It seems that this, and that - a prison. In fact, in the first you are temporary, in the second for a long time. And the difference between them is significant. For example, before the trial I was in jail, where there was no doctor and no medical center at all. We had one guy there, stupidly sat down - he had a fight with someone, his wife came to him. Good people. So he had diabetes and he fainted there how many times. If it falls, they will call an ambulance. And so no help. My leg was swollen there, I was afraid that there was gangrene, so the guards brought me a basin of hot water in the evenings - to soar. That's all, because keeping a doctor in prison is very expensive. You can buy an aspirin or ibuprofen tablet for your money - twenty-five cents a tablet. No boiling water. You can buy tea, coffee, and brew with tap water. For walking there is a room with a grid on the ceiling, where you can walk. At first I was there in a cell with a neighbor, and then I retired alone in the extreme. I slept during the day and read at night. I planted the kidneys, of course, you need to sleep, in fact, on a steel couch - the mattress does not help.
But we were fed quite well from a nearby cafe - pancakes like maple syrup, pasta ... Common American food. And the guards were pretty good. One, for example, when he quit, brought two buckets of ice cream.
We changed our linen and robes every Thursday - they took away the dirty ones, brought clean ones. The TV worked there from six in the morning until ten. By the way, there was no need to get up at six in the morning, no one forced me, there was no schedule as such. It's too bad they made me take off my long-sleeved T-shirt there. Moreover, the guards explained - someone is checking us all the time, cameras are everywhere, and if we keep silent, someone will see you anyway. And they saw and forced to take it off - hands must be bare. Although Montana is far from the southern state.
After the verdict, the conditions were already different, of course. There was a doctor there, and some sort of horizontal bars, if you want to go in for sports, but the libraries were there and there. You can also buy a hobby permit in prison - this is a permit to make something. There, the Indians, of course, did amazing things - from horsehair, from beads, from leather ... All this was immediately sold in a local shop.
“I plead not guilty”
From Brooklyn I was taken to a town called Superior. Three streets. Poverty - there are almost no trailers all around. And a prison. The next day they took me to court. Gave a free lawyer. In court they asked, they say, do you plead guilty? I said "No. Ok, they said, and took me back. And only later I learned that any criminal case here is considered in six months ... I'm talking about 2010. And now, in general, a year! My family and I did not believe in the reality of what was happening - there was a trial, everyone considered, and my speed, and how I moved, it is terrible that a person died, just terrible, but I did not kill him, I did everything to prevent this from happening. In general, my son found a local lawyer, a local, that time came to me to say that Jerry's family wants me to pay forty-nine thousand. Not fifty, but forty-nine. Even then I hoped that my employers would help me, but they paid the family and that's it. True, they handed me papers that could help me, for example, a blood test of the deceased, from where I learned that he was under drugs at that moment.
I remember how information about me was presented in the local press - only from the position: a Russian killed our volunteer! But that volunteer could not be at this time in this place. He was incapable of any action. When I told my lawyer about this, he noticed, they say, well, the drugs may have been obtained by prescription! I say ok, but his friends should have seen his condition and told him: “Jerry, where are you going? You are not standing on your feet! ”. The lawyer said: "Of course, of course, I will mention it in court, but mind you - he was ours, he was local, he was loved, so I will touch on this in passing." And I never even once even hinted about it, and I had no right to say it. I could only answer questions. By the way, a guy from Belarus, Sasha, was sitting with me there, for the same drugs that were found in Jerry's blood, but without a prescription, he received five years in prison ...
I waited a year and a half for the trial. There was no translator - I understood everything, but they wanted to be on the safe side. I had a translator by the name of Malina, she then left for New York, but they could not find a new one. As a result, they found an Irish woman who taught Russian in her country and in court all the time looked in a dictionary and asked me the meaning of words. Either the judge went to Hawaii to rest, or something else ... I can’t call the trial itself anything but a comedy. My partner, who just saw everything - he woke up before the accident - was not summoned to court at all. The people who stood on the road and saw everything too were not called. The expert from Fedex who came, a very intelligent and nice person, was literally not allowed to speak. He only listened to what the local expert was saying, raised his hands to the top and spoke - but this is unrealistic!
And the local expert Roquefort and the lawyer of the Paoli family, of course, struck my imagination. Two years after the accident, an expert found a trace of my braking on the road, a sidelight in the bushes and, based on this, concluded that I was driving at a speed of seventy-one miles per hour. I told the jury then - if you drive sixty-five on this road in a car, I will plead guilty. Ice, a heavy car with trailers, turns ... - what were they talking about? Why did the Fedex expert, who examined the car and the scene of the accident almost immediately after the accident, did not find what was suddenly revealed two years later? The lawyer focused mainly on aerial photography of the area, they say, look, the road was flat, he could not help but see! I said - so I saw and braked, but the car was carrying. Then they found that one of the eighteen wheels was not braking well enough. And that's all - I was credited that I entered the state of Montana in a faulty car and "could have killed everyone here!"
I was asked why I had not examined the car before the trip. I said that I examined it as it should be according to the instructions. For example, I have no right to look under the bottom of the car on it - even our insurance does not cover this, God forbid the car will go or something else, I will remain dead or disabled, and my family without a penny of money. And then the lawyer raised his hands to the sky and just like in a movie: “Maybe it was worth sacrificing yourself and saving people ???”. I say - I went to the ditch, thinking that I would turn over, precisely to save people! I even told them that up to 20% of the braking system may not work and this is not scary, but here is one wheel. But they didn't listen to me. By the way, it was necessary to see those jurors ... On the first day they started a fight, because everyone who was called came, but they called in with a reserve and they did not have enough space. They were paid then fifty dollars a day, the trial against me had to last three days - decent money for those places, considering that we are talking about the events of six years ago. One of the jurors looked at me closely and asked: "Does he understand American?" I still wonder if he knows that this is not American, but English?
I was charged with two articles - one is charged to everyone, it is a criminal threat. Up to ten years on it. The second is murder by inattention - there are up to twenty. There was a library in the prison, and I reread everything according to the laws and articles of this state. But I never found my case in criminal proceedings ...
During the time that I was waiting for the trial, the prosecutor Sean Donnovan left, who started it all and who, by the way, asked for thirty years in prison for me, a young woman Maria Bores was appointed to his place, and I hoped that this would somehow affect my destiny too. And when a new prosecutor came, they offered me a deal, they say, let’s plead guilty, we’ll release you, but you will have a suspended sentence of ten years. But how we let go - first I would have been sent to prison, and then released. But the fact is that I had already been deceived so many times by the time that when I heard that they would send me to prison first, I did not believe them. And he said - no, on such conditions I will not admit my guilt. It seems to me that I did the right thing then.
What struck me the most about sentencing is that everything is at the discretion of the judge. The guy Rosander was sitting there with me. He drove drunk into people on the side of the road and knocked three of them to death. So the judge, when he was considering the case of this Rosander, said - I somehow can't believe that such a carcass could be so drunk after six cans of beer! And Rosander weighed under two hundred kilograms. Perhaps, the judge continued, he passed out! And here is the verdict - two hundred thousand families of the victims for three and two years of house arrest. And my case ... The jury, by the way, dropped the first charge against me. But they left the second. But even they were shocked when the judge announced the verdict, and so did the prosecutor. Nobody expected that I would be given the maximum term out of the maximum possible. I listened and did not believe that this was happening to me. I, of course, filed an appeal, but by that time the one who started this process against me was sitting in the court of appeal - and, of course, I was refused.
How I became an Indian and a fireman
After the verdict, I was still held in a temporary detention center and then sent to prison. Our prison was divided into buildings: in one there were those who did not commit anything serious, in the other there were dangerous criminals. And then there were those already sentenced to death. There was no place where there were people like me, so I was sent to the second. They guarded us, of course, thoroughly - towers, machine-gun nests. There was also a trailer where death sentences are carried out. And the building where those sentenced to death are sitting. Here is the unfortunate Canadian Ronald Smith, for example, has been languishing there for thirty-five years. A well-known story. He killed two Indians in 1982, and since then neither here nor there - and they do not kill, and life there is such that horror.
This prison had its own food factory or place where they cooked. They cooked well and not only for us, for the officers, for example. They had their own farms, cowsheds, a fire station ... Of course, the benches on which to sleep were made of concrete and again there was only a thin mattress. But food was not brought on trays, we went to the dining room and could eat as much as we wanted. Even the apples were in whole boxes. True, one BUT - you can't take anything with you. If they find it, they will punish it. But it's not even a matter of punishment - everyone wanted parole, and any violation was immediately entered into your personal file, and then you could forget about parole.
We washed there for our own money - there were washing machines and dryers right there. There was a doctor. They were also allowed to open the window and the view from it was simply amazing. Forest, animals ... We had an Indian bath there, they brought firewood for it, so a huge porcupine settled in them. I washed in that bathhouse, and for what I was a bathhouse attendant, but even then I could barely hatch - the Indians made it so hot that the stones became transparent.
I was there alone white, because I was accepted into the Indians. I didn’t seem to be friends with anyone there, I kept to one side. As a result, I became acquainted with the Indians, and one of them told me, they say, according to his theory, not only Indians, but also Russians, lived on this territory before Columbus! And I say, not just Russian, but Native Russian or native Russian. In the end, I applied to the religious center of the prison and became an Indian, more precisely, I accepted their religion. I was given a special card confirming this, I saved it for memory. So I got the right to go to the Indian bath, it was possible to sit there for hours and it really supported me there.
One of the people I made friends with there was an Indian named Koonepoovatoo. On his camera it was written, and below in English - everybody talk about - the translation of the name into English. Healthy, even taller than me, the grandson of the chief of the Blackfeet tribe. Royal blood, breed! You should have seen how he walked - with what a straight back, just unbending! You should have seen his hair, always well-groomed, very beautiful. He studied in Seattle, was well educated, understood economics, played chess well - this is how we escaped boredom there. By the way, I taught him to play the "fool", he is gambling, like all Indians. He came to his grandfather on his lands, he received money from them, they somehow found dinosaur bones there, so they paid him five thousand for permission to dig them up, drank and seemed to threaten someone with a pistol - and then sat down. Somehow, unexpectedly, we became close. Once, however, we had a fight, which ultimately made us even closer to each other. Later, when I was transferred to a private prison on the border with Canada, I met another Indian. His name was La Forge, the Indian name Frogman, mine, by the way, was a Stray Horse, they gave it to me, and I was amazed - this very accurately reflects my essence ... So only later, when I met La Forge, I learned that Kunipuwata about he put in a word to me, and he took me to work in his kitchen.
In general, in prison, whoever I did not work, even milked cows! Now I know everything about the milk yield and fat content there. At some point, I decided to go to the fire department. They told me - take a bag of twenty-four kilograms and run with it. If you can - take it! And then I was already under sixty, but I could. I ran as long as necessary. And he began to work. In prison they pay pennies - four dollars a day. And twenty-four dollars for the fire. There, everyone was almost eager to set fire to such money. True, I had to buy boots for my own money. Three hundred twenty dollars by the way. Professional, with thick soles, so that you can walk on a hot walk, but still - it's expensive. As a result, I was kicked out of the firefighters for a contrived scandal - the guy who ran there thought I was his main competitor, they say, it is not clear who the guys listen to more - me or that Russian.
With the first parole, I did not succeed, although I went to it with the mood: who should I release if not me? I was not even invited to the second session ... But a lawyer was found. Rare clever, professional. His name was Joe Howard. He didn't even take money, he came himself. He looked at my file, gasped and said - we can turn things around so that you will also be paid compensation for spending so many years in prison, a 90% guarantee. To which I replied - Joe, I know these people, if you told me that the guarantee is one hundred percent, I would agree, but knowing these people and my “luck”, I think that the remaining ten percent will play against me, and therefore no.
Then we agreed as follows: these five years they count me as if I had served the sentence completely, no conditional sentence, but no compensation.
I have been at home for three years now, working as a driver. Sometimes I drive past “my” prison and signal my homies - those whom I knew are still sitting and will be sitting there. He brought back from there a bunch of documents, drawings of inmates and much more. I know that a lawyer for the Pioli family published an article about me in one of the local newspapers about how dangerous Russians are when driving on the roads of Montana.
I will not hide what happened to me, made me very disappointed in many things. In my book, I will write about them.
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stdClass Object ([term_id] => 12746 [name] => US prison [taxonomy] => post_tag [slug] => amerikanskaya-tyurma)american prison
stdClass Object ([term_id] => 13337 [name] => Our people [taxonomy] => category [slug] => nashi-ludi)Our people
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