The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Judge Clears Way for Simcox To Represent Self in Child-Molestation Case

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on February 26, 2015 - 11:13 am

Chris-Simcox-HatewtachA judge this week granted Chris Simcox, the former nativist extremist known sarcastically among those on the border as the “Little Prince” because of his arrogant bearing, the right to represent himself in his forthcoming trial in Phoenix for child molestation — charges that could put him away for life.

Simcox’s trial was rescheduled on Monday for March 16 by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla, who stipulated several rules for Simcox’s plans to conduct a self-represented (pro se) defense on three counts of child molestation and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

All this means that Simcox likely will be personally cross-examining his two young victims, who were ages 6 and 5 in 2013 at the time of their alleged abuse. According to the papers filed by prosecutors, Simcox “is alleged to have digitally penetrated his biological daughter’s [vagina] on two occasions, penetrated her vagina with an object on [one] occasion and to have fondled the genitals of his daughter’s friend on two occasions.

Jerry Cobb, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, told Hatewatch that victim advocates with backgrounds in dealing with sexual abuse cases involving children had been assigned to the two young girls.

But cases in which the victims of a sexual assault are required to face their accused attackers on the witness stand are relatively rare. Even rarer, according to legal experts consulted by Hatewatch, are pro-se cases involving child sex assault victims. In fact, allowing accused perpetrators of a sexual assault to directly cross-examine their alleged victims remains a controversial component of American jurisprudence. The practice recently came under intense scrutiny when a rape victim in Seattle, distraught with the prospect of having to face the man she said attacked her when she was a child, threatened suicide at the courthouse, after he won the right to represent himself.

“Judges can be very creative about this, but the fundamental constitutional right of somebody to represent themselves in trial is pretty strong,” said Patty Eakes, a former prosecutor now with the Seattle firm Calfo Harrigan Leyh & Eakes. “So it’s always a tricky position for a judge when someone decides they want to go pro se, and when they go pro se, then technically he has the right to examine the person.”

This often throws the courts into a balancing act between the rights of the victims and the rights of the accused. In any event, Eakes observed, Simcox was dooming his chances in court, as well as closing off at least one avenue of appeal (inadequate representation), by asking the court to represent himself.

“He may have delusions of grandeur about what a great job he’s going to do, but he’s going to have two strikes against him with that jury before he stands up, just because he chose to do this, right?” Eakes said.

Simcox had initially been offered a plea bargain that would have required him to serve 10 years in prison, but he refused and insisted on taking the case to trial. According to a report by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, Simcox engaged in a tense back-and-forth with Judge Padilla during the hearing to determine if Simcox would represent himself.

“In a sense, I kind of welcome the trial,” Simcox said at the time. “I would relish the opportunity for the truth to come out.”

The developments are the latest in a long and twisted road to trail for Simcox, who previously had suggested he would present a “grand conspiracy” defense that he had been targeted for prosecution, and the evidence against him invented, because of his prominent role as a leader and co-founder of the nativist extremism group called the Minutemen.

At the height of the border movement, Simcox was president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, a nationwide, anti-immigration vigilante organization with armed “citizen border patrols” in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, along with a smattering of states on the Canadian border where Minutemen had deployed to protect America from northern invaders. Never modest, the cigar-chomping Simcox was a hyper and relentless self-aggrandizer who came across with the smug egotism that quickly earned him the nickname “The Little Prince.”

But even then, there were allegations of sexual abuse.

As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife — the mother of his current accuser — took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.

When Hatewatch contacted Simcox then, he refused to answer four direct questions about the allegations.

“I would never answer those questions to you. You can’t ask those questions,” he said. “You’re on a witch hunt and you’re trying to discredit our movement, which is to secure the borders. … My personal life has nothing to do with anything that goes on here.”

Simcox Seeks to Act As His Own Attorney in Child-Molestation Trial

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on February 19, 2015 - 2:05 pm

Onetime Minuteman leader Chris Simcox has filed papers seeking to act as his own attorney in his upcoming trial in Phoenix on child-molestation charges, raising the prospect that he could wind up cross-examining his own alleged young victims on the stand.

Simcox was arrested in July 2013 and accused of molesting his daughter and her friend at his home on two occasions when the girls were ages 6 and 5, respectively. Both are now in their preteens. The charges are all felonies, and if convicted, Simcox could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Chris-Simcox-HatewtachInvoking the 1975 Supreme Court ruling in Faretta v. California, Simcox on Feb. 12 filed a request with Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Jose Padilla saying that, “after conferring with his assigned attorneys in this matter,” he “invokes his right to represent himself for all further proceedings, including the jury trial set in this matter for March 2, 2015.”

Simcox has been in prison since his arrest, and the trial has been delayed multiple times, largely at Simcox’s request, as he has gone through multiple defense attorneys in the case.

Simcox is known nationally for his role as one of the two founders of the Minuteman movement, an array of armed groups that patrolled the southern border looking to apprehend migrants illegally crossing into the United States. Among other things, he became known for ridiculous statements like his claim to have seen Chinese Army soldiers massing at the American border.

Prosecutors had requested another delay in the trial earlier this month, explaining that the lead prosecutor in the case was currently in court with another case. However, Judge Padilla denied that request, so the trial is currently scheduled to begin as scheduled on March 2. However, a pretrial conference on Monday, at which Simcox and Judge Padilla are expected to establish ground rules in his attempt to represent himself, could change that schedule yet again.

According to the documents filed by prosecutors in the case, Simcox “is alleged to have digitally penetrated his biological daughter’s [vagina] on two occasions, penetrated her vagina with an object on [one] occasion and to have fondled the genitals of his daughter’s friend on two occasions.” He has also been charged with providing harmful materials to a minor.

Prosecutors at one time had offered Simcox a generous plea deal that would have given him a 10-year sentence. However, according to Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, the spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said the offer had been taken off the table.

Earlier filings made by Simcox’s attorneys suggested that he might attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political and media profile. He also appeared to be claiming that the charges against him were based on evidence from a daughter who was subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.” The judge hearing the case at the time warned Simcox that he could not plan an attempting a “grand conspiracy” defense.

As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife — the mother of his current accuser — took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.

House Judiciary Subcommittee Continues Invite Anti-Immigrant Voices to Testify

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Hate Groups, Neo-Confederate by Hatewatch Staff on February 11, 2015 - 11:22 am

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security will hold yet another hearing this afternoon, and no surprise —members of the anti-immigrant right are once again itching to have their voices heard.

For the second time in just over a week, the Subcommittee has stacked the day with testimony from some of the most hardline immigration opponents in the debate. And if it’s anything like before, what they’ll say will be more of what we’ve come to expect from the anti-immigrant right: worries based more on fear than fact.

The published list of witnesses scheduled to be called for testimony include so-called immigration experts who have spent years demonizing immigrants, warning that they spread disease, take jobs from U.S. citizens and responsible for increases in crime, a dubious fact with little statistical support.

Among them is Sheriff Sam Page of Rockingham County, N.C., a longtime ally of some of the most established anti-immigrant groups in the country, including the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

This past summer, Page took part in a two day “fact-finding”trip to McAllen, Texas, compliments of FAIR. The trip took place as panic mounted on the right-wing over children escaping violence across Central America and showing up on the U.S. border. He also is a regular attendee at FAIR’s annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire”event in Washington, D.C., an event that brings together anti-immigrant activists, right-wing radio hosts and politicians to bolster outrage over immigration.

Sheriff Sam Page, left, with Michael Peroutka, right.

Sheriff Sam Page, left, with Michael Peroutka, right.

Page has taken part in a number of events organized by the Constitutional Sheriff’s & Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group founded by former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, a leading figure in the antigovernment movement. At a 2014 CSPOA event, Page was pictured shaking hands with Michael Peroutka, a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS).

Dan Cadman, a CIS senior fellow, and Frank Morris, a CIS board member, are also testifying this afternoon.

Morris has been involved in the anti-immigrant movement for decades, serving on the board of numerous groups including FAIR and Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) — the group he is representing today. He was also led attempts to appeal to the African-American community through the creation of front groups such as the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) and its predecessor, Choose Black America (CBA). Both groups, now defunct, sought to divide communities of color over the issue of immigration by promoting the falsehood that immigrants are taking jobs from African Americans.

Though Morris and Cadman do not have a history of racist statements, the organization they both hold title with, CIS, most certainly does.

Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, CIS executive director Mark Krikorian wrote, “My guess is that Haiti’s so screwed up because it wasn’t colonized long enough.”In 2008, CIS published a report in which it called immigrants who marry U.S. citizens “Third-World gold-diggers.”And Jessica Vaughan a CIS staffer who spoke at last week’s immigration hearing on Capitol Hill, wrote in 2008 that one legacy of the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) program, “has been its contribution to the burgeoning street gang problem in the United States.”

Police: Austin Shooter Apparently Tied to Phineas Priesthood

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Antigovernment, White Supremacist by Bill Morlin on December 2, 2014 - 10:03 am
Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

A man who went on a shooting spree last week in Austin, Tex., firing at government buildings and a police headquarters, was a “homegrown American extremist” with “hate in his heart,” the city’s police chief said.

Larry Steve McQuilliams, 49, also appeared to have been a devotee of a doctrine known as the Phineas Priesthood, an ideology that believes violence to be divinely justified if used against race-mixers, gay people, abortion proponents and others.

“He is a homegrown American extremist,” Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday at a news briefing in the Texas capital city. “Hate in his heart was part of his problem. … What keeps me up at night is these guys—the lone wolf.”

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Texas Gunman Likely Motivated by Antigovernment Beliefs

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Antigovernment by Bill Morlin on November 29, 2014 - 7:16 am
Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

Larry Steve McQuilliams. (Facebook.)

A gunman displaying violent “antigovernment behavior” fired more than 100 rounds yesterday at the U.S. Courthouse, the Mexican consulate and a police headquarters in Austin, Texas, before dying of a gunshot wound, authorities say.

Hours after the shooting, various media sources identified the gunman as, Larry Steve McQuilliams, a 49-year-old resident of Austin. No one else was injured in 12-minute shooting spree which began about 2:20 a.m. (CST) and briefly shut down Interstate 35 through downtown Austin.

The suspect, who was wearing a vest, died from a gunshot near police headquarters and close to his vehicle that police suspected may have contained an explosive device, Assistant Chief Raul Munguia told the Austin Statesman. A police SWAT team later searched the gunman’s Austin home, but the results of that search weren’t immediately released. ( continue to full post… )

Political Right Reacts With Fury to Obama Immigration Plan

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino by Mark Potok on November 21, 2014 - 10:53 am

Broad swaths of the far right reacted with outrage and accusations of looming dictatorship to President Obama’s announcement last night of unilateral moves to allow some 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in this country — and some of the most inflammatory rhetoric came from the political “mainstream.”

Even before the Thursday night speech, people like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — a conservative, but known as a personal friend of the president — were sounding apoplectic as details of Obama’s planned executive actions leaked out. Coburn warned that they could lead to “anarchy” and “violence” in the streets. U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said the actions might warrant a “jail penalty” for the president, and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann said they would legalize millions of “illiterate” people — the same Latinos many GOP leaders have said they want to reach out to.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, another Republican well known for his strident opposition to immigration and efforts to suppress minority votes, agreed with a caller to a radio show that Obama’s plan might amount to “ethnic cleansing,” presumably of white people, adding that it appeared to be an effort to “replac[e] American voters with newly legalized aliens” to create a “locked in vote for socialism.”

It wasn’t that Obama’s moves didn’t anger the radical right along with many of those in the ostensible polirical mainstream. Stewart Rhodes, leader of the radical antigovernment group Oath Keepers, said that if Republicans do not impeach the president for his actions, then people would seek out “other options” to take on the man who “violated his oath, grossly.” Television extremist Glenn Beck warned that Obama’s executive actions, along with a possible decision to not indict Ferguson, Mo., officer Darren Wilson, would lead to a “race war.” And Larry Klayman, leader of the extremist Judicial Watch organization, filed a suit within hours of Obama’s announcement on behalf of Arizona’s infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio, claiming that the executive actions were unconstitutional and would cause “irreparable harm.”

But most of the fury did seem to come from politicians and others closer to the political center. For instance, Mark Krikorian, the head of the Washington-based anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies, likened Obama to Richard Nixon and said he saw himself as the nation’s “ultimate ruler.” U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.) said that the president’s actions would lead to a national “internal crisis” comparable to the period just before the Civil War. And House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused Obama of “acting like” a king or an emperor.

It’s not clear if all the sturm und drang will continue to heat up as awareness of the president’s new initiative spreads. But there are real signs that the nativist extremist movement, which swept the country between 2005 and 2011 with Minuteman and other radical “citizen border patrol” groups, may be roaring back to life. Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a major new report examining how the anti-immigrant movement has swelled in recent months, beginning with the blocking of buses carrying undocumented children in Murrieta, Calif., in early July. President Obama’s new moves may well exacerbate that apparent rebirth.

As Fury Mounts Over Obama Actions on Immigration, SPLC Releases Major Report on Nativist Movement Rebirth

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Muslim, Intelligence Report, Neo-Confederate by Hatewatch Staff on November 21, 2014 - 8:39 am

Just a day after President Obama announced a series of executive actions meant to allow millions of undocumented residents to remain in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center is releasing a major report on the apparent rebirth of the nativist extremist movement that swept the country between 2005 and 2011.

ir156_coverToday’s release of “Back to the Border,” the cover story of the new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, comes amid a rising din of anti-immigrant fury from both the mainstream and the radical right about Obama’s moves, unilateral actions that an array of enraged nativists claim could set political violence. The new report traces the resurgence of the movement to early July, when a furious mob turned back buses carrying undocumented and unaccompanied minor immigrants to a Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif. The new edition of the quarterly investigative journal carrying the story can be read at www.splcenter.org.

The confrontation in Murrieta led to a series of similar nativist outbursts around the country and the massing of antigovernment militias and other radical groups on the U.S.-Mexican border in the months that followed. The movement grew large enough that it sparked worries about the return the Minuteman and other nativist groups that harassed undocumented immigrants in recent years. Now, with Obama’s Thursday night speech on immigration already setting off a renewed round of enraged attacks on the president, the threat of a major nativist resurgence seems strong.

“The success of a howling mob in turning back buses filled with undocumented immigrant children bound for a shelter was the first spark to reignite the nativist extremist movement,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and author of the new report. “Now, with the new executive action initiative announced last night by President Obama, that spark may turn into a conflagration.’

This issue of the Intelligence Report also examines another radical movement experiencing a revival — the racist music industry. Racist bands are using iTunes, the world’s largest music vendor, to distribute their music following the collapse of several racist music labels and distributors. Although its terms of service appear to make iTunes off limits to these groups, the Report found that the music of at least 54 well-known racist bands was being sold by the music service this fall.

“The racist music industry, long a major source of money and new recruits for the white power movement, had been in decline in recent years,” Potok said. “But the discovery of iTunes by racist bands, and the fact that iTunes seems unwilling to move against them, has helped this industry find new hope and profits.”

Also in this issue of the Intelligence Report:

  • “Warrior for God” profiles retired three-star general William “Jerry” Boykin, a longtime anti-Muslim activist now serving as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
  • “War Dreams” investigates how the neo-Confederate League of the South is forming a secret paramilitary unit called “The Indomitables,” another step in its continuing radicalization. The group now appears to include white supremacists, former Klan members and neo-Nazis.
  • “East of Eden” examines how a small group of racists are promoting the Orthodox Church as a home for fascism. Although the church has its share of extreme-right officials, it vigorously rejects any association with such groups.
  • “Redeemed” is an interview with Yvette Cantu Schneider, a woman who worked in religious-right “ex-gay” ministries for years, but recently joined other former activists in renouncing the movement.

Judge Tells Simcox He Can’t Rely on ‘Grand Conspiracy’ Defense in Molestation Trial

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist, Trial Updates by David Neiwert on November 18, 2014 - 2:29 pm
Chris Simcox.

Chris Simcox.

Chris Simcox, the erstwhile border vigilante Minuteman movement leader, has been sitting in the Maricopa County Jail for over a year as he awaits trial on two counts of child molestation, one involving his own preteen daughter. But, judging from a recent court appearance, he is confident that he will win his freedom.

How? Apparently Simcox has some secret evidence.

According to a report from Stephen Lemons at Phoenix New Times, Simcox indicated during a recent court hearing on a possible plea agreement that there is previously unknown reasons for his arrest.

Documents filed by Simcox’s attorneys suggest he will attempt a defense based on claims that he was targeted for prosecution because of his high political profile, and that the charges against him are built on evidence from two daughters who were subject to “parental alienation” because of a “contentious divorce.”

However, Judge Joseph Welty of Maricopa County Superior Court apparently was not buying. Saying that Simcox was suggesting “some grand conspiracy at play,” he reminded Simcox, 53, that the evidence against him also involved victims who were not his daughters, and that the charges he faced were not political crimes.

The purpose of the hearing last week was to review the plea bargain that prosecutors had offered to Simcox earlier this year that would limit his prison time to seven years in exchange for a guilty plea. However, Simcox adamantly continued to refuse the deal, saying he intended to prove his innocence in court.

Simcox’s refusal ensures that the two victims in the case—one of them his now-teenage daughter, the second being a friend of hers who Simcox was supposed to be babysitting at the time—will be required to testify on the stand. The trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 17, but Simcox’s decision on the plea bargain probably means it will be pushed forward to January.

According to Lemons, a previous judge in the case ensured that so-called “propensity evidence”—involving previous incidents that suggest the defendant’s crime is part of a behavior pattern—would also be admitted.

As the SPLC reported in 2005, Simcox was accused by his first wife of molesting another daughter when she was a teenager, though no complaint was ever made to police. His second wife also sought custody of their teenage son because, she said, Simcox had become violent and unpredictable. His third wife—the mother of his current accuser—took out a restraining order against Simcox in 2010 when she divorced him.

If convicted, Simcox could face up to life in prison.

Border Militiaman Claims Explosive Found In Hotel Room Was Legal

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist by David Neiwert on November 10, 2014 - 3:25 pm
K.C. Massey (YouTube)

K.C. Massey (YouTube)

Kevin “K.C.” Massey III contacted Hatewatch this weekend to explain that the explosive found among his belongings when he was arrested at the “Camp LoneStar” hotel room on federal weapons charges, thought to be ammonium nitrate, was in fact a legal form of explosive.

Massey said in an email that the explosive, which was found inside an ammo can and listed in the inventory filed by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents after his arrest Oct. 20 in Brownsville, Texas, was in fact a completely legal explosive called “Tannerite.”

Unlike the version of the explosive used by domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh in his bomb-truck attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, Tannerite is a legal form that uses an aluminum powder, instead of diesel oil, as the fuel that creates an explosion. It requires mixing in order to become an explosive, and in its unmixed form, it is legal to transport it anywhere. However, when mixed, it becomes an explosive and is subject to strict regulation.

After Hatewatch’s original post noted that the ingredients for a bomb were found in his belongings, Massey wrote and explained:

The “ammonium nitrate” and “fuel” is Tannerite a legal product sold in almost every sporting goods store in the USA. It was not mixed and is COMPLETELY legal in all 50 states. Second, the Tannerite was NOT in my/Camp Lonestars [sic] room, it was in my truck in an ammo can to keep it dry and to stop from someone having access to “misuse” it.

Massey went on to explain that Tannerite is a favorite target device for people practicing with long-range weapons, since it lets a shooter know from a distance if he or she has hit their target.

It is for long range target shooting which we did not have at Camp. I had it since I went to the border four months ago, and never had a place or reason to use it for its intended purpose.

He then went on to explain that his arrest for weapons possession stems from a felony committed in 1988.

I am no terrorist and my felony conviction was when I was 22 years old. I am now 48. Are you the same man at your age as you were at 22? I have proven by my actions and all who know me, KNOW I am not a racist. Nor am I a member of any militia OR hate group. I love all Americans no matter their color or creed.

Ask the people who really know me and you will see I am telling you the truth. My grandson is half black, and I have a lot of Hispanics in my family. I have NEVER been in any HATE group. I don’t like racists of ANY color.

Massey is currently awaiting trial on two counts of being a felon in possession of weapon.

Makings of Ammonium Nitrate Bomb Found in Border Militiaman’s Hotel Room

Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Antigovernment, Extremist Crime by David Neiwert on October 31, 2014 - 1:57 pm
K.C. Massey (YouTube)

K.C. Massey (YouTube)

When ATF agents arrested Kevin “K.C.” Massey III at a Brownsville-area hotel last week on charges that he had been illegally carrying weapons while leading border-militia patrols in Texas, they found more in his hotel room than just guns and ammo. There was also a container of ammonium nitrate and fuel—a potent bomb in the making.

According to an inventory of items taken during Massey’s arrest, an “ammo box filled with ammonium nitrate (suspected) and fuel” was found in the room, which participants at Camp LoneStar—the border-militia operation at which Massey had been dubbed a “commander”—had described as a place rented out by the camp as “a place to take a shower and get a good night’s rest.”

As the San Antonio Express-News noted in a report on the arrest, ammonium nitrate, which can be purchased as a farm fertilizer, can make a potent explosion when mixed with diesel fuel and detonated. It was the explosive Timothy McVeigh used in his 1995 terrorist attack on the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

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