James Arthur Ray was arrested today in Prescott Arizona. The charges are even more serious than expected. Surprisingly he’s being charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 3 human beings last October.
Yavapai County officials presented their case to a grand jury on Wednesday February 3, 2010 and an indictment was handed down very quickly, on the same afternoon. The grand jury returned a "true bill" on 3 counts of manslaughter. This means that, after having heard the witnesses for the government, the grand jury is of opinion that there is sufficient cause to put the defendant on trial. The indictment took almost 4 months and alleges that the deaths of Kirby Brown, James Shore and Liz Neuman were a result of James Arthur Ray’ recklessness.
This afternoon, at approximately 3:30 pm, deputies delivered a warrant to James Ray’s at his attorney’s office in Prescott Arizona. Ray surrendered to authorities and was taken into custody at the sheriff's Prescott office to begin booking procedures. He was then transferred to the Camp Verde Detention Center for final processing where he will spend the night and will face a judge tomorrow morning.
I couldn’t find precise statistics, but I’ve been told that the majority of the prison population in Yavapai county is brown – either Native or Mexican. Since Native Americans are placed under correctional supervision at twice the rate of whites in this country, I’m guessing that the great shaman is about to be surrounded by a whole bunch of those Native folk he claims to have such a close association with. The word, Custer comes to mind.
The court considered Ray’s means and his likelihood to flee and wisely set his bond at $5 million. Good Morning America is reporting that Ray is unable to pay the bond so he may have to stay in jail until a trial can be scheduled. That'll give him a lot of time to get acquainted with the skinz inside the iron house. I'm sure they'll be very interested in hearing about how his prosperity philosophy landed him in the pokey.
Arizona Revised Statutes defines manslaughter as:
Arizona Revised Statutes §13-1103
A. A person commits manslaughter by:
1. Recklessly causing the death of another person; or
2. Committing second degree murder as defined in section 13-1104, subsection A upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion resulting from adequate provocation by the victim; or
3. Intentionally aiding another to commit suicide; or
4. Committing second degree murder as defined in section 13-1104, subsection A, paragraph 3, while being coerced to do so by the use or threatened immediate use of unlawful deadly physical force upon such person or a third person which a reasonable person in his situation would have been unable to resist; or
5. Knowingly or recklessly causing the death of an unborn child by any physical injury to the mother.
B. An offense under subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section applies to an unborn child in the womb at any stage of its development. A person shall not be prosecuted under subsection A, paragraph 5 of this section if any of the following applies:
1. The person was performing an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on the pregnant woman's behalf, has been obtained or for which the consent was implied or authorized by law.
2. The person was performing medical treatment on the pregnant woman or the pregnant woman's unborn child.
3. The person was the unborn child's mother.
C. Manslaughter is a class 2 felony.
Manslaughter is a lesser crime than murder. It is defined as the unlawful taking of another life under circumstances that make the criminal less culpable than someone who commits murder. A criminal who's found guilty of manslaughter will usually receive a lesser punishment than if he was found guilty of murder. Manslaughter is usually divided into two types:
• Voluntary manslaughter
• Involuntary manslaughter:
To prove involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors will have to convince jurors that James Arthur Ray took risks he shouldn't have -- and that other, reasonable people, wouldn't have.
James Ray faces three felony counts. Each count carries a penalty of 3 - 12.5 years in prison. However, the actual sentence could range anywhere from probation to the full 37.5 years in prison. James Ray could only serve the time it takes to schedule a trial or he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Unless there is a change in venue, it will most likely all depend on a jury composed of several people who conduct the same type of plastic sweat lodges that Ray did. They may choose to deny their own exploitation of Native American spiritual practices and depict Ray the "one bad apple" making and example of him so they can define themselves as the opposite. They may let him off with probation out of fear of setting a precedent that may one day lead to being charged with a similar offense (jury nullification). How a jury will vote is anyone's guess. Looking at the way James Ray's attorney's are arguing, it looks like they're going for jury nullification to me. Here's an example of the type of instructions a jury may be given. Nevertheless, James Ray's troubles will not end even if he does receive probation. After the criminal trial, James Ray will be facing civil charges as well as possible Federal charges from the Lakota Nation.
James Ray posted what he sees as the facts on his website [jamesray.com/sedona]
Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh issued this media release
You can learn more about the arrest in this link:
YCSO Media release
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at:
(928) 771-3260 or
the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov
UPDATE: February 17, 2010
An up-to-date list of all legal documents in James Arthur Ray negligent homicide case:
UPDATE: February 12, 2010
An interesting development today in Rick Ross's Anti-Cult Forum
Forum member confirms that James Arthur Ray was a $cientologist.
James Ray’s right hand man, Josh Fredrickson and his wife, Meagan, spoke with detectives on the condition of immunity from prosecution.
Transcripts of Meagan & Josh Fredrickson’s Immunity Interview are posted on the Salty Droid Blog: Mania Megan’s Memories
No gag order ruling by judge in sweat lodge case
Judge Warren Darrow did not rule on the gag order today. Instead, he took the matter under advisement and advised attorneys to comply with rules governing their conduct.
KTVK 3 Phoenix
No Gag Order in James Arthur Ray Case
Judge Warren Darrow did not immediately rule Friday over whether a gag order should be issued.
Judge Warren Darrow, Yavapai County Superior Court, ruled against the State’s motion for a gag order in James Arthur Ray’s manslaughter trial.
FOX News Phoenix
Judge Darrow said he would take the prosecutor’s request for a gag order under advisement and reminded attorneys to comply with ethical rules that govern their conduct. Attorney’s for the media also argued against a gag order stating that it would it "severely limit the public's ability to monitor the proceedings."
UPDATE FEBRUARY 8, 2010
Breaking news: 2nd secret James Ray conference call
It seems that James Arthur Ray can't legally plead guilty yet. His attorneys were just attempting to manipulate the media by getting the words "not guilty" out into the media and (subliminally?) influencing potential jurors to associate the words "James Ray" and "Not Guilty". IMHO, it’s kind of like trying to get people to associate the terms "Glenn Beck" and "self-control", but Ray seems to be getting desperate and the truth just isn’t working for him.
An Editorial in the Prescott E-news has the entire audio of the James Ray initial appearance. This may be the last information you get on the trial if Yavapai Prosecuting attorney, Sheila Polk has her way.
After James Arthur Ray’s attorneys plastered their faces all over the media, on Good Morning America and Larry King Live, in a transparent attempt to influence a potential jury, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, has requested a "gag order" hearing. A gag order is a judge's order prohibiting the attorneys and the parties to a pending lawsuit or criminal prosecution from talking to the media or the public about the case. The intent is usually to prevent prejudice due to pre-trial publicity which would influence potential jurors. Based on the "freedom of the press" provision of the First Amendment, the court cannot constitutionally restrict the media from printing or broadcasting information about the case. The prosecutor's tool to stop a case from being tried in the press is a gag order on the participants under the court's control.
While the Gag Order would stop James Ray’s attorney’s from trying the case in the media, it would also stop the public from having access to any information from Yavapai county staff regarding any aspect of this case with the exception of the scheduling of hearings.
Please contact Sheila Polk to protest any limitation on the public's right to be informed about the James Ray trial:
County Attorney's Office - Camp Verde
2830 N. Commonwealth Drive, Suite 106
Camp Verde, AZ 86322
Camp Verde Office
Phone: (928) 567-7717
Fax: (928) 567-7745
Prescot E-News Certain Hearings Cancelled in James A. Ray's Case
The expedited Reduction of Bail hearing set for Friday, February 12, 2010 at 8 am has been cancelled along with the Early Disposition Court hearing scheduled for Thursday February 11, 2010 at 8:00 am.
Phoenix New Times
Sweat Lodge Prosecutor Seeks Gag Order in James Ray Manslaughter Case
Prosecuting Attorney Sheila Polk's motive is probably to stop James Ray's PR team from making a pubicity tour and polluting potential juries, but the ax of media censorship swings both ways. The gag order would prevent the public from learning about the trial also.
Larry King Live
See for yourself how James Ray's PR team is spinning this crime.
FOX News Phoenix Prosecutors want gag order in James Arthur Ray Trial
Arizona Central Prosecutors want gag order in Arizona sweat-lodge case
KPHO 5 Phoenix: Gag Order Sought in Sweat lodge Case
Debunking Nuage 'Detoxification' Quackery
New Wager$ and Neo-Pay-gun$ are fond of claiming that Native Americans used the sweat lodge to "detoxify" the body in a literal, physical sense. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do not be fooled by those claiming to "detoxify" the body with plastic sweat lodges. Even some of our own people are beginning to believe the New Wage psedo-science. This harms us for generations as it confuses our young people and makes it nearly impossible to hand down our authentic traditions with the integrity of their truly beautiful and meaningful symbolism intact. New Wager$ only seem to be interested in living a long life for its own sake, without any commitment to community. To the indigenous mind, this is a selfish, sacrilegious, un-spiritual way of being. There is always a price to pay for this lack of humility.
Quack Watch: "Detoxification" Schemes and Scams by Stephen Barrett, M.D.
The detox and the cleanse: science and pseudoscience collide
Sweat Lodge can be Deadly but NOT Cleansing
New Age Detoxification Quackery comes from $cientology - It is NOT INDIGENOUS
Meth cops swear they can sweat off toxins (Scientology Quackery)
UPDATE February 6, 2010
Washington Post Employees of sweat lodge leader granted immunity by Felicia Fonseca
Two key employees of James Arthur Ray, Megan and Josh Fredrickson, upon being granted immunity from prosecution are now coming forth with information that Ray erroneously told them that people passing out and vomiting was to be expected in a sweat lodge. Even though Megan Fredrickson was sitting right next to Ray, she still claims she cannot recall much of what he said and did. She told investigators, "James is my boss, so I listened to what he says and I listened to what he told participants."
UPDATE February 4, 2010
James Arthur Ray's Hearing To Be Today at 11 am a detailed account
It has been widely reported that James Ray plead not guilty in court on February 4, 2010. Judge Warren Darrow set a hearing on whether to lower the bond amount for Thursday, February 11th.
KPNX-12 News: James Ray plead not guilty today in court.
Phoenix New Times
James Ray pleads not guilty and opts to stay in jail
Native Protest at James Ray's Court Appearance
The Camp Verde Bugle Native Protesters Hear Ray's Pleas By Jon Hutchinson
The Intertribal Eagle Feather Law Council claims that James Ray’s practices violate the American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990.
"We have been given that ceremony by our elders. We are taught to fast. A sweat lodge is never that large and we don't charge for it. We don't sell spirituality. That is greed ... This is a giving-of-life ceremony, not a taking of life." -- J.R. Packhorse, (Ponca, Black Hills Sioux)
Note: An amendment to the American Indian Arts and Crafts, HR 725, bill is being considered that would authorize any federal law enforcement officer to investigate crimes relating to an alleged counterfeiting of Indian arts and crafts. This is significant because it would authorize the Indian Arts and Crafts Board to refer any violations involving the sale of goods misrepresented as Indian-produced goods to any federal law enforcement officer or agency, as opposed to just the FBI. In addition, any federal law enforcement officer would be authorized to conduct an investigation without a referral from the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. [www.gop.gov/bill/111/2/hr725]
Prescott e-news - the most thorough coverage
Sedona Sweat Lodge Organizer James Ray Arrested
CNN Video of James Ray's Perp Walk
ABC Nighline: Day of Reckoning
Nightline investigation - February 3, 2010
CBS NEWS: Sweat Lodge Guru Faces Manslaughter
USA Today video
Good Morning America
James Ray may be in jail until the trial because he doesn't have the money to post bond.
Survivor Beverly Bunn talks about the arrest
"He only wants one thing, money."
Anderson Cooper 360 blog
New York Times
Sweat Lodge Leader Is Indicted in Deaths
Los Angeles Times
Self-help guru arrested in Arizona sweat lodge deaths
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