Category Archives: Michael Hoover

8. “SHE PUT HER FINGERS IN MY MOUTH, WHO DOES THAT?”

From time to time people come into my living unit with outrageous stories from their County Jails. For the most part they are wild and unsubstantiated claims, but they make for good stories I suppose.
Last year a young man told me about how he was treated by a female corrections deputy at the Klickitat County Jail after coming back from Court. Apparently this 130 lb. 19 year old kid had been talking during Court. This angered Deputy Kim Dukes enough to grab the young man by the ear while screaming at him, “I told you to shut up!” Moments later while in the jail’s booking area, an inmate worker gave the young man, a tortilla with peanut butter on it. Upon seeing this Deputy Dukes flew into a rage. She hit him in the mouth, grabbed his cheek, crammed her fingers in his mouth to sweep out the food, and then to add insult to injury she slowly wiped her soiled fingers off on his shirt while staring him dead in the eye. He was incapacitated by restraints save for one hand.
The young man filed a civil suit. (SEE – Jussila v. Dukes, et all.; Klickitat Superior Court cause NO. 16-2-00036-9). During discovery all the above described conduct is admitted to by Dukes except hitting him in the face. Apparently the Deputy claims that her actions were warrented because the inmate was breaking a rule that forbids inmates from sharing food. Upon review of the Jail’s policies it has been determined that no such rule exists. The Jail provided a self serving affidavit from another Deputy which stated that sharing food is not allowed except sometimes when a Deputy gives permission. Dukes employment file outlines 6 unpaid suspensions, unsatisfactory and needs improvement marks accross the board on her employee reviews from 1999 to present. One supervisor noted that Dukes is a liability to the County and Sheriff’s Office. Why is she still working in a place that provides ample opportunity for her to cram her fingers in other prisoners mouths…. who knows.
All too often stories like this are playing out across America in Jails and prisons. It is very rare that these stories ever reach the public, let alone go to Court for a vindication of prisoner rights. Aubrie Hicks W/ Seattle law firm Christie Law Group represents the County. Brian Christtensen W/ Ephrata law firm Jerry Moberg & Associates represents Deputy Dukes. One uneducated prisoner taking on 2 law firms to find some measure of justice and hopefully change a practice of excessive force apparently condoned by Sheriff Songer.

Michael Hoover
DOC #804614

5. JUSTICE

“In proportion as torments become more cruel,
the spirits of men…. become callous.”

– Cesare Beccaria

In the 8 months I spent in the Snohomish County Jail I did a good deal of soul searching. Although I had become bent on destroying myself I never intended to harm anyone else in the process. And yet I had. There was nothing I could do to give back the security I stole from my victims. There was nothing I could say to undue what I had done. So I decided that the best course of action was to plead guilty and save everyone the inconvenience and expense of a trial. I wanted to take responsibility, to be accountable.

When I got to prison I knew that if I were to make good on the apologise I had made at sentencing I had to make a change in my way of thinking. I took every program available to me. In 2009 I was given a hardship override to WRS. My father had stage 4 prostate cancer. While in jail dad came to visit every week and we had developed a relationship. At WSR I had weekly visits from my parents and I opened up to them about the hardships of my childhood. It was then that I discovered neither of my parents ever knew about the abuse at Home On The Hill. All the hurt and anger I had for my parents apparent abandonment slipped away. I had come back into the fold of my family.

In 2010 with the help of an attorney I started a law suit against the state and the group home. In 2013 we negotiated a settlement. The entire process was extreamly therapeutic. So much about the reasons I struggled in life were revealed to me.

So what does all this have to do with prison and the criminal justice system? I believe it reveals a great deal about self executing laws like our states 3 srikes law. Society is told that the law captures only the worst of the worst and removes them from the community forever to prevent them from committing future most serious violent crimes. The POAA statute proclaims that a person such as myself is unameneable to the treatment of law. The law abolishes individualized sentencing making mitigating factors irrelevant therefore the penaly is fixed by the nomenclature of the crime. In large part the LWOP sentence for 3 strikers is based upon prediction of future conduct. Professor Andrew Von Hirsch, a prolific writer on crime and punishment, has stated: “It is wrong to punish a person for crimes he or she has not yet committed.” I’m inclined to agree, but then again I’m biased.

So that’s it. That’s my story. Who knows what the next chapter of my life holds. I used some of the money I won in the law suit to pay off the principle of my LFO’s and restitution to my victims. I gave my daughters a chunk and invested in my future by hiring a clemency lawyer. I was extreamly lucky to get Maureen Devlin with David B. Zuckerman’s office. The clemency board has granted me a hearing set for March, 2017.

Michael Hoover
DOC #804614

4. THE END OF A HARD RUN

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“Whatever the gains,
whatever the loss, they are yours.”

– Five Wounds,
Nez Perce

At the end of my year and a day sentence I was released from DOC. Homeless and without resources. The night before I was released from the Washington State Penitentiary I stood at the front of my cell in 8 wing. It was very late and all was quiet. I wrapped my hands around the steel bars, closed my eyes and gently rested my head against the bars. I wanted to remember the feel, the sound, and the smell of captivity. In a sense I wanted to absorb the negativity of that place so that I would remember not to come back. I had to remind myself that this was not a home, it was only a respite from the hardships of life on the streets. I cried quietly there at the bars. Gripping them tightly as tears streamed from closed eyes. I knew I was alone in this world and that there was nothing out there for me. I knew I would struggle to survive. But I also knew that if I came back it was for keeps and any hope of a real life would be as insubstantial as the many ghosts that haunted those halls of justice.

I was taken by van from the prison to the greyhound station. I got my $40 dollars gate money and well wishes of good luck from the transport officer. I was headed back to Everett. Upon my arrival I went to my old girlfriends apartment. I had no where else to go. Sadly, she was still using dope and offered to get me high. I couldent. I had to try. The next day I went to see my CCO. I explained that I was not in a good place and requested emergency housing vouchers. I was told that because I was a violent offender I did not qualify for housing, but that DOC would approve the Everett Gospel Mission as a residence. I was given a handful of bus vouchers and scheduled my next appointment. Having no where else to go I went and stayed at my ex’s apt. After a couple of days she left me there with her 13 year old daughter so she could go on what turned into a 1 month run.As far as her kid was concerned it was party tim. Each day after school she invited a handful of kids over to get stoned in her bedroom and while I was out looking for work my she and her friends would eat everything in the house. I would kick 5 kids out only to come home and find 8 different lil’ shits sitting around the t.v. eating big bowls of cereal and top ramen. At one point I was going to the local supermarket 3 times a day to shoplift food. Eventually I became overwhelmed. It had been 8 weeks and I was not getting any work despite putting in 8 to 15 apps a day.

One night I lifted a couple of 40 ouncers , got hammered & contemplated suicide. I had a bottle of doxepene and I though It might be a peaceful way to go out. But, before I could decide,nmy ex show up with some random guy and told me I had to leave. So that was that. The decision had been made for me.
I found some abandoned trailer down the road in a trailer park behind Fluke Technologies. I was there for a couple of days and one night a nice lady brought me a hot plate of food. Later the womans daughter, who was my age, invited me to go with her on an errand. Turns out the errand was a meeting with her dealer to score some crack. I think that at this point I had already given up. We got got high together and that was that. Over the next 5 months I committed between 3 to 5 robberies every other day to support a quarter oz. a day crack habit. My last robbery was at a QFC in Mukilteo at 4
a.m. Despite the cops getting there quickly. I managed to slipped away to my co-defendants ride and told him to punch it. We got chased for about 20 min. before slamming into a cruiser, at which point I exited the car and fled on foot. The dog got me about a half hr. later. Three police officers stood over me with firearms drawn. I was chewed up, bloody and exhausted from fighting with the dog. There wasent anything I could do, life had run its course and I was resigned to my fate…. so I told a couple of profane jokes to the officers to lighten the mood until the ambulance arrived.

Michael Hoover
DOC #804614

For too long I’ve seen friends come and go, watched as brothers fought inglorious and bloody battles, I’ve seen good men go bad and bad men become gentle. I have watched men slowly die inside and give up as everything they knew and loved in this world went away, I’ve seen men stronger than me slowly deteriorate and slip into madness. My eyes have seen all these things and so much more. My soul has been drenched in justice and they say I have not been here long enough.
I am a 3 striker. All my crimes were robberies. I knocked off convienent stores, gas stations, grocery stores, coffee stands and the occasional dope man when the opportunity presented itself. I never meant to be the cause for remorse, I don’t belong to a gang, and I certainly was not committing so called “hood crimes” to get rich. I was a homeless drug addict who had all but given up on life. The man I was in 2006 was fully deserving of incarceration and my victims deserved justice. The only measure of justice I could give them was to plead guilty and spare them the inconvenience of having to show up at court for my trial.
-THE WORST OF THE WORST-
The above lable inevitably allow our minds to conjures all sorts of horrific violent acts being carried out against society by heartless Machiavellian thugs. Clearly and admittedly I am no Angle. But after all these years I want to tell my story – my journey. You may be able to draw parallels in that I may not be all that different than you or someone you know. I do not advocate for anyone doing time. I am telling my story in part as a cautionary tale and in part so you the reader can understand how a person can find themselves at the end of their rope.
1. THE BEGINING
“My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow? So many other men have lived and will live that story, to be grass upon the hills.” – Black Elk,
Oglala Sioux, 1863-1950
I was born in 1973 at Waldo hospital, the predecessor of General hospital at North Gate in north Seattle. My mother is Irish and a member of the Lumbee Nation in south Carolina. She was also a drug addict. My father is Klamath and an enrolled member of the Summit Lake Paiute tribe. He was also a Vietnam Veteran and an alcoholic.
I was born addicted to heroin . My first experience in life was withdrawal. Back in those days it was easy for babies to fall through the cracks. Despite my mom’s addiction and my being born with heroin in my system I was allowed to go home with with my parents.
The creator made babies tough and resilient. Maybe doubly so in my case. The first seven months of my life were spent in solitude. Bottle feedings and diaper changes were infrequent at best. These times were the only human contact I had. Both my parents were too preoccupied with their heroin addictions to be nurturing. By the time the state got involved I was described as having “Failure To Thrive”syndrome. Basically I had checked out and lost any will to live. This occurrs in severe cases of neglect.
Rather than allow the state to take my sister and myself away, she turned us over to the care of her family doctor until she could get clean. Getting clean took my mom 15 years. In the mean time my sister and I were raised in an upper middle class white christian household. Eventually My sister, half brother who came along later, and myself were adopted by the doctor and his wife. I had 7 new sisters who fawned over me and a new mother who poured love and attention into a fragile, malnourished unresponsive “blob” as she put it. Eventually I came around and grew to be an inquisitive, energetic, affectionate and imaginative little boy.
In school I was constantly frustrated by my learning disbilities , one of which is dyslexia. As I approached adolescents the difficulties my parents had raising me prompted them to seek the advice of a child psychologist. I was not a bad kid but there were some lingering effects from the earlier neglect, malnourishment, and exposure to narcotics. It was determined that I needed to be placed temporarily in a group home. The decision would have far reaching consequences.

Michael Hoover
DOC #804614

3. ETIOLOGY OF A CRIMINAL MIND

“Silence always encourages the tormentor….
never the tormented.”
– Elie Wiesel

I committed my first serious fellony in September of 1999. Armed with an empty b.b. gun I robbed the Midlands Garden Grocery store, a mini-mart, on 4th avenue in Everett. At the time of the robbery I was homeless and had been for the previous 4 years. My grand scheme for the robbery culliminated out of desperation and was carried out with all the deft sophistication one would expect from a shit faced drunk. The desperation I was feeling came from an endless cycle of inebriation and homelessness. I was 26 years old.

The back story leading up to my chronic homelessness is that once I turned 17 I entered the Job Corps Seamanship program at Tongue Point, in Astoria, OR. I met a girl there who would become the love of my life. We had 2 beautiful girls and lived together for 4 years. It was the most stability I had known since before going to the group home. I now had a family of my own and a home and I never imagined I could lose either. Unfortunately I had become a very young alcoholic and this destroyed the relationship. I lost both home and family…. I was crest fallen and broken hearted.

When I came to the Washington State Penitentiary the era of “Concrete Mama” and “Blood Alley” had died, but the ghosts of that volitile and violent past still lingered and WSP was still a place to be feared. It was categorically the most dangerous place I have ever lived. For some odd reason though, I was able to comfortably navigate those muddy social waters and survive without being scathed by the toxicity enshrined in the unholiest of places.

Prison has its own language. Its the universal language of violence. Even if you don’t speak it you understand it. I have heard the cries of men echoing off of impassive stones, men who were having unearned and unsanctioned tattos removed with toenail clippers, men being raped, getting punked for their store. I’ve seen the line between offender and gaurd get blurred. Not all fights were between inmates. Back then certain guards if called out would go into a cell and run a fade one on one with no repercussions regardless of who “won”. There was still a level of respect that was a 2 way street. Despite the violence there was a brotherhood, especially within the Native Circle.
My first bid I did 28 months on a 31 month sentence. I was out for 3 years before comming back. I did alright at first. Had a good job doing shipyard welding in Seattle, hooked up with a cool chick that I thought had her shit together. This girl dident like my drinking but she liked to party. She introduced me to crystal and I had a good run with it for about 2 years. The relationship was boo boo though. I still pined for my kids and their mom even though I had no contact with them. By 2004 I was living on the streets again. I felt trapped and wanted to have a redux like a reset button. I consciously made the decision to commit a robbery to go back to prison. But the best layed plans of mice and men always go a wry.

The gratitude I showed one of my previous employers was to steal a truck from a ship yard in Seattle and committed a second degree robbery on J’s mini mart in Edmonds. I decided to buy some meth, got hooked up with people I dident know and got myself in a Jack pot. Being drunk I don’t make the best decisions and when my would be dope dealer stuck a shotgun in my face and demanded the money I had just stolen I grabbed the barrel placed it to my chest and dared him to shoot me. I then proceeded to try and take the shotgun by jerking on it while it was still pointed at me. His homie came through a door, put a .38 snub nose to my right temple and fired. The bullet blazed a 4 inch long furrow accross my scull and played me open badly. I was knocked unconscious. When I came to I was soaked in my own blood, my were pulled pockets out and I was seriously concussed with a blown eardrum and with the belief that the 4 inch gash in the side of my head were my brains hanging out. I made it to the sidewalk outside the apartments on Casino in Everett before passing out. I was transported by ambulance to St. something in Everett. The next day I was arrested for the robbery I had committed. I never said a word about being robbed.

After a month or so in jail and despite my sentencing range only being 1 year and a day to 14 months I plead guilty and received 1 year+ 1 day for 2nd. robbery. I now had 2 points and 2 strikes.

Michael Hoover
DOC #804614

2. DARKNESS

“Be happy in order to live long. Worry makes you sick”.
– Hopi Teaching

In 1985 I was Sent away to a group home called Home on the Hill in south Tacoma. It was ran by Children’s Industrial Home, the predecessor of Gateways For Youth and Families. What ensued for me over the next 7 months was absolute mystery. The home had a storied history of abuse. Unbeknownst to my parents , prior to placing me in the home’s care, 3 older boys had raped and tortured another resident of the home. The victim was 8 years old.
At the time of my placement the total sum of my experiences were limited to what you would expected of a 12 year old child. Prior to going to the home I attended private school, had been raised in a nice neighborhood and for the most part led a sheltered life. One of my favorite things to do was to go fishing off the Edmonds pier and play pee wee league football. I was a boys boy and to me the world was full of promise and adventure. I believed that the group home was going to be like a summer camp. Little did I know that the home, described as a semi secure facility, housed mentally ill and violent children ages 6 to 18. Imagine a dimly lit run down house. The atmosphere itself was gloomy. The acrid air reeked of urine, stale smoke and stringent cleaners. This was an eternity away from my home and family in Woodway.
What happened to me in that place pierced my soul. It cast a long shadow which darkened my path for many years. The home’s policy of a 6 month black out period ensured that no one who cared would ever hear my cries for help. For 7 months I was sexually abused by multible boys. The brutality of those first couple of encounters coupled with staff, who were aware of the abuse, and chose to do nothing and in fact orchastrated stage fights pitting one boy against another, weakened my resolve. In essence it was safer, less violent to just allow them to do what they would. I remember living in constant fear. When they would come I would close my eyes and hold my breath through the blinding pain. After the first 2 or 3 times I stopped fighting back. This really messed me up though. As a kid I internalized this and it made me feel responsible which filled me with guilt and shame. Tragically the home never told my parents about the abuse. I went back to my parents because the home had temporarily shut down after another boy told his case worker that he had been raped. I was so ashamed of what had happened that I did not tell my parents. I thought they would ask me about it. But instead I was sent to another group home called the Jessie Dyslan Ranch in Auburn. I believed that my parents knew about the abuse and that they blamed me, I truly felt like damaged goods and this was the reason I was being sent away again. From 12 to 17 I experienced an unanchored childhood. I bounced from placement to placement. I was never in one spot for more than 6 months.
what happens to a child when the world he knew is obliterated, when love, safety and security are replaced with pain and uncertainty? Where does a child go when no one wants him? How does a child survive under the yoke of untreated sexual abuse and abandonment? For me, I took all that pain and sickness and pushed it to the farthest reaches of my mind. I learned to be distrustfull of all I encountered, especially adaults and people in positions of authority. I became a master at reading people and sittuations. I tried as hard as I could to forget the sobbing little boy huddled in the corner of a shower watching ribbons of blood swirl down the drain. But that injured little boy never truly went away…. he was always residing just below the surface.

Michael Hoover
DOC #804614

My name is Mike Hoover. I’ve been down since 2006. I’m serving life without the possibility of parole under Washington’s 3 Strikes Law for robbery.

I am Klamath – Lumbee and Irish. I’ve been a Pipe Carrier at the Washington State Penitentiary for 7 years now, and in my tenure within the Native American Circle I have been a strident activist for religious rights within prison.

Our Sweat Lodge is the only place we can go within these iron houses were we r freen to engage each other in a meaningful way and to practice the old ways of our faith. During those 8 hours at lodge we are relieved of the pressures and rules of everyday prison life.

Since first coming to this prison in 1999 our lodge has always been the same. It is a humble plot. there are no flowers or grass. There is a bare area where the sweat lodge structure sits, a mound, a path leading to the fire pit, a staff in each of the four dirctions, and a 4’X6′ garden where we try to grow sage or lavender.

Recently our lode came under attack by administration and custody for not being as bucolic as they felt it should be.
Various members of the circle were called out to the lodge and dressed down by an associate superintendent. Topics discussed: Weeds, water being offered to the fire, an unauthorized garden, water left running, urinating, placing retired rock elders around the mound and path leading from the mound to the fire. (spirit trail).

We were told that if we dident get rid of the weeds and if we could not maintain our grounds that they would consider cementing the entire area. If the water was left on, it would be shut off, and replaced with 2 five gallon buckets of water. We were accused of creating a smoke screen and diversion by placing water on the fire. We were chastised for urinating at lodge during the 8 hours we were locked in the enclosure. (there is no toilet). We get 1 bathroom break for 8 hours.

The worst part of the ordeal for me was being told that we were not even authorized to have a mound, let alone putting the rock elders around it. “Policy only allows for 50 rocks”…. The associate superintendent said she would allow us to keep the mound (the mound is the dirt taken to create the pit in the center of the lodge, a small amount), for now, but that the rocks around the mound and path had to go.

I refused to participate in desecrating the mound. I feel that DOC wants to sterilize and dilute our religion, our way of life. Everything we do at lodge has a meaning and there is a reason for it. If we don’t keep the old ways we are lost. But how can we continue to walk the red road to healing, spiritual growth, and rehabilitation when DOC places so many detours and road blocks along our path.

Lodge was the one place they never interferd with. Yeah, in the past they have always tried to test the fences by creating ludicrous and insensitive policies which were always amended when the tribes or outside factors got involved but this is different. They came into our house and dident just rearrange the furniture they they broke shit. I’be made several attempts to get them to allow us to restore the practice of lining the mound and giving us hourly bathroom breaks, but they’re not trying to hear it.

#firstblogeva

Michael Hoover
DOC #804614