Free copy of Joe’s novel Blue Dharma

Hello Supporters!

As a token of his appreciation for your attention and support, Joe has asked us to share a special gift: a free copy of his novel, Blue Dharma: The Story of Anaiyailla, which he co-authored with his cellmate Alan Adams. Recounting the struggle between good and evil, this book is complete with Demons, Elves, and other mythical creatures.

A word from Joe about the novel and of the title:

“The collaboration with Alan Adams on this series has proven to be one of the more rewarding experiences of my life. Starting with Alan’s seed-thought seven years ago, it has grown far beyond our first expectations. Blue is the color of prisoners, but it is also the color of this planet and the astral world. Dharma, from the Sanskrit root dhri, “to uphold or support,” in simple terms, means religion or righteousness. In a deeper sense, it refers to the eternal laws that uphold the divine order of the universe and of man, its microcosm. It is written that Man should perform virtuous dharma so that he can free himself from the laws of cause and effect and thereby realize his true nature as spirit.”

Download your free PDF of the book below, and check out the links to help you convert to your favorite eReader format. Happy reading! We sure hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Blessings,

Katherine and Michael

 

Blue Dharma Novel (PDF)

How to convert pdf for Kindle

How to convert pdf to ePUB for Nook and Kobo

P.S. If you’d like us to publish a version already converted to ePUB format, let us know!

The Joe Hunt Case: The Basics

In 1988, one true crime story dominated the news cycle: The Billionaire Boys Club.

Three decades later, the story has faded from the tabloids, but it remains the painful present-day reality of club leader Joe Hunt, who remains in prison, serving a sentence of life without possibility of parole for a murder he maintains that he did not commit.

Hunt readily admits to financial misdeeds — he became the unwitting head of a ponzi scheme when a con man named Ron Levin bilked him out of a half million of his investors’ dollars, leaving Joe holding the bag. The 23-year-old Hunt naively overextended himself when he took Levin at his word that he would fund a large commodities investment intended to repay investors with a handsome profit. Instead, Levin assured Hunt he could proceed with a purchase made with nonexistent funds. That’s when law enforcement got involved.

Soon after, Levin, who was out on bail and facing an FBI investigation for grand theft and fraud, went missing. In response to police inquiries, the rich kids of the Billionaire Boys club directed attention away from themselves and pointed to Joe, the scholarship kid. Prosecutors decided to charge Joe with Levin’s murder, even with no body and no forensic evidence.

In addition to defending their client, Joe’s lawyers were burdened with the task of filing a judicial misconduct motion for mistrial after Judge Laurence Rittenband, well known as a “prosecutor’s judge,” slapped one member of the defense team with a gag order, leaving a workload meant to be divided among two lawyers to just one.

A Los Angeles Times article about the judge’s conduct explained that the mistrial motion raised charges that “Rittenband deliberately elicited prejudicial evidence against Hunt by questioning witnesses, that he belittled and banished defense staff from the courtroom, that he frequently refused to allow the defense to approach the bench to voice objections and that he aligned himself with the prosecution by grimacing, smirking and showing impatience and disbelief at crucial points in the defense’s cross-examination of witnesses.”

Ultimately, Hunt’s media notoriety (which extended to a fictionalized 1980s made-for-TV movie and a 2018 version of his story starring Kevin Spacey) worked against him in the trial, and he was sentenced to life without possibility of parole — which many observers characterized as an unjust sentence, especially in a murder case with no physical evidence — not even a body. Hunt’s sentence is an anomaly, not comparable to those of his fellow Boys Club members or even far more notorious criminals. For example, even the psychopathic cult leader Charles Manson was granted several opportunities to go before a parole board for his role in multiple murders. Yet Hunt has has never been granted the right to a parole board hearing.

Grants of parole consideration are made not by guilt or innocence, but by an evaluation of an inmate’s rehabilitation, as well as an evaluation of any threat they may pose to public safety. Hunt hangs his hopes on a commutation petition that, if granted, would give him the opportunity to go before a parole board. Hunt, if given the opportunity, could make a strong case. His prison record is blemish-free, and his commutation application includes many letters of support, including letters from prison guards and chaplains.

“In my opinion, Hunt has no inclination to re-offend. All of his activities appear directed towards positive goals,” wrote a correctional officer from Pleasant Valley State Prison. “He has a reputation for helping others. I would place him solidly in the top one percent as far as suitability for reintegration with society.”

It’s testimonies like these — 47 in all are included with his petition — that form the last remaining basis for Hunt’s hope of release.

“I do hope that attention is drawn to the fight of people who have life without the possibility of parole,” Hunt said of the website his family has created to share information about his campaign for release, FreeJoeHunt.com.

Hunt explained that like himself, many of his fellow inmates who have been incarcerated since their youth have made profound changes by the time they reach middle age. “So I do hope that society as a whole becomes acquainted with this fact and they make room for the fact that the the work they have done is redemptive, and possibility invite them back to that role in society.”

 

Levin hunters: This 1996 Los Angeles Times story summarizes the reasonable doubts around Ron Levin’s disappearance.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Dead or Alive?
Billionaire Boys Club founder, convicted of murder, contends victim is still living. Prosecutors doubt witnesses’ accounts.

July 12, 1996
Alan Abrahamson

Ron Levin is dead. Or maybe he’s not.

Joe Hunt helped kill him and then buried the body in the Angeles National Forest.

Or maybe he didn’t and, like Elvis, Levin keeps turning up: at a funeral, driving a car through Brentwood, even relaxing in a taverna on a trendy Greek island.

Levin’s body has never been found.

And therein lies the riddle that has dominated a reprise of the Billionaire Boys Club saga–the drama that riveted Los Angeles in the 1980s and played out again over recent months at the Criminal Courts Building.

Is Levin really dead? Or has Levin, a skilled con artist, staged his own disappearance and pulled the ultimate con?

Hunt, the charismatic leader of the club and himself a man who’s been described as a con of some renown, was convicted nine years ago of murder. Since March, he and his lawyers have been back in court, arguing that he deserves a new trial, mostly on grounds that Levin is alive and well.

Read the rest at LATimes.com

Fighting to End the Other Death Sentence: Life Without Parole

TRUTHOUT

By Jean Troustine

When incarcerated people in 17 states initiated a 19-day prison strike last month, one of their 10 demands was that all “imprisoned humans have [the] possibility of rehabilitation and parole.” This includes the opportunity for early release, allowing prisoners both to exit before the end of their sentence and to serve their remaining time in the community.

The Lady Lifers at SCI Muncy sing, "This Is Not My Home" at TEDx in 2014.
The Lady Lifers at SCI Muncy sing, “This Is Not My Home” at TEDx in 2014.
COURTESY OF ELLEN MELCHIONDO AND NAOMI BLOUNT

 

 

It also means an end to the harsh sentencing practice known as life without the possibility of parole (LWOP). In an August 26 interview with MSNBC, formerly incarcerated activist Darren Mack described LWOP as “death by incarceration,” explaining, “You will not leave prison until you die.”

Noted political scientist and author Marie Gottschalk has called life without parole “death in slow motion.” Pope Francis deemed it “a death penalty in disguise.” Kenneth Hartman, who served more than 37 years in prison before California governor Jerry Brown commuted his sentence, was the first to label it “the other death penalty.” When he was still behind bars, Hartman wrote for The Marshall Project that life without parole is “the sense of being dead while you’re still alive, the feeling of being dumped into a deep well struggling to tread water until, some 40 or 50 years later, you drown.”

Across the country, activists inside and outside prison are making headway in organizing to end this harsh sentencing practice. They say more and more people are realizing that the US is an outlier in extreme sentencing. Jonathan Simon, writing in Life Without Parole: America’s New Death Penalty by Charles Ogletree and Austin Serat, Jr., explains that the United States, unlike Europe, rejects the role of “dignity” in its sentencing practices. Joseph Dole, currently serving life without parole at Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois, and the author of numerous articles (several published in Truthout) discussed progress against harsh sentencing in a letter: “There has finally been an acknowledgment that long sentences are the main driver of mass incarceration, that people age out of crime and are thus less of a threat when they are older, and that longer sentences don’t deter or reduce crime.”

 

Read the rest at Truthout.org

Report wants life without parole abolished

ABC NEWS

By Kevin Johnson and USA Today

A record 140,610 inmates in state and federal prisons are serving life sentences and nearly one-third of those have no possibility of parole, according to a criminal justice research group that supports alternatives to incarceration.

The Sentencing Project, whose reports are regularly cited in academic and government reviews examining criminal justice policy, concluded that the number of inmates sentenced to life without parole has more than tripled to 41,095 since 1992. The report, citing in part the rising cost of incarceration, urges that life without parole be abolished.

The recommendation was met with strong opposition from some law enforcement officials who said life sentences, including life without parole, help drive down violent crime.

Joseph Cassilly, past president of the National District Attorneys Association, acknowledged that long prison terms are a “huge drain on resources.”

Read more at ABC News

Inmate paroled with Joe Hunt’s help

With the help of Joe Hunt, William Baldwin of Contra Costa County was released on September 8, 2018 from the California Health Care Facility at Stockton.

Joe met William, nicknamed “D,” at Pleasant Valley State Penitentiary, and the two became friends. In 2014, William received a copy of a letter sent by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to his trial judge demanding an increase in his sentence. In the letter, corrections officials took the position that there had been a sentencing error in William’s case, and they believed the law required William’s trial judge to increase his sentence by two years.

William came to Joe for help, and Joe filed a brief in opposition to CDCR’s request for resentencing on William’s behalf. After reviewing Joe’s filing, William’s trial judge did the exact opposite of what the corrections department had recommended: he reduced William’s sentence by two and a half years.

“Any time I have an opportunity to help someone in need, I am grateful,” Joe said. “It’s deeply gratifying to know that I had a role obtaining justice, and ultimately, freedom, for a friend.”

A 1987 Los Angeles Times story described the “crusty” judge who presided over Joe Hunt’s trial as one who “has been known to rule before hearing the evidence,” with an “unorthodox judicial style.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Laurence J. Rittenband, 81, Shows an Unorthodox Style: Crusty Judge Rules His Court With Iron Hand

April 13, 1987

Lois Timnick
Times Staff Writer

He has been known to rule before hearing the evidence and to show his disdain for a written motion by tossing it in the wastebasket.

He makes–and sustains–his own objections. He grills witnesses when he thinks they have not been thoroughly questioned.

He sometimes tells lawyers appearing before him to “shut up” or “get on with it.” He frequently evicts a defense attorney he dislikes from his Santa Monica courtroom. And he once berated jurors who voted to acquit a defendant, saying that the verdict was “the most horrible miscarriage of justice” he had ever witnessed.

Unorthodox Judicial Style

Now a crusty 81, Superior Court Judge Laurence J. Rittenband is believed to be the oldest full-time judge on the bench in California. While presiding over the murder trial of Billionaire Boys Club leader Joe Hunt–which is scheduled to go to the jury this week after 2 1/2 months of testimony–he has astonished courtroom observers with an unorthodox judicial style that some call “refreshing” and others “reprehensible.”

The short, stocky judge leaves no doubt as to what he thinks of the participants–a tendency which occasionally results in the prosecutor’s siding with the defense against him.

“I am gravely concerned with the course that the court is taking,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Frederick Nathan Wapner told Rittenband during an in-chambers discussion about his refusal to permit Hunt’s second defense attorney to question witnesses.

“I will take my chances,” the judge snapped back, according to a transcript. “I know that you have an obsession about any kind of error. . . . I am running this trial, not you nor they.”

Read the rest at LATimes.com

California considering end to felony murder rule

ABA JOURNAL

The Marshall Project reported last week that the California State Assembly’s Public Safety Committee had recommended the approval of a bill to limit murder prosecutions to people who intended to kill, actually killed or behaved with reckless indifference to human life. The bill has already been passed by the California State Senate.

Read more at ABA Journal

Joe Hunt describes the deceit, pretense and posturing rampant through BBC.

Joe Hunt describes the deceit, pretense and posturing rampant through BBC, and the prevalence of flaws in the judicial system.

Transcript:

There are cases which say that prisoners can maintain their innocence and that no inferences to be drawn against them for making that assertion.

The reason the law has changed on the subject is they have come to realize that not all prisoners are guilty, that there have been so many cases where people have been wrongfully convicted, that it would be extremely unfair to coerce prisoners that maintained their innocence to say that they’re guilty as a precondition of release, since society itself must admit that all human processes, including the trial process, does not necessarily arrive at the truth.

I mean, there’s so many cases where there have been, with seemingly overwhelming evidence, where the person ended up being exonerated.

There was a huge number of cases before DNA, which, subsequent to DNA, were reinvestigated, and turned out the people that were convicted were innocent.

There’s that famous Florida case, where a guy convicted of seven rapes by seven women that independently identified him as their rapist and turned out not only was it not him, but it was a guy who’s almost a foot taller, a hundred pounds heavier, just massively different.

My case, we have no blood, no bullets, no body. We have a guy that was saying that he was gonna run, researched Brazilian extradition treaties, likely changed his hair the day before he disappear, changed his hair color, and was subsequently seen by like 10 independent, uninvolved citizen witnesses who they attested to his being alive.

So it’s pretty interesting to see how the judicial process could go wrong in my case when it’s all based upon, a “he said” sort of inference.

Like, Joe said that he killed him, therefore not only must he be dead but that Joe would of course tell the truth on such a subject. That’s the common inference. And of course that inference ignores the actual real-world dynamics of what was taking place between me, and the various factions of the BBC at the time and Ron Levin.

There was a lot of deceit going on, pretense and posturing. Everybody was trying to manipulate each other through smoke and mirrors. And my assertion as of June 24, 1984 meeting, that I had knocked off Ron Levin was part of the posturing and the dynamics between me and a faction of the BBC that was trying to, and ultimately did, steal the crown jewels of the BBC. Raided some of our accounts and took our… after torching with an acetylene torch a lock that doors of a warehouse in Gardena for Microgenesis of North America.

Video: Joe Hunt explains the infamous “to-do” list was an intimidation tool, not a murder plan.

In this interview, Joe Hunt describes the to-do list entered as evidence was meant as a desperate ploy to intimidate Ron Levin into paying back the millions he owed BBC, because the con man had no fear of lawsuits.

Transcript:

This was something that was a bombshell in my second trial in San Mateo County. It’s the mainstay of the prosecution’s case, it’s their centerpiece and like you say, it’s what they have called the smoking gun.

The jury in San Mateo felt otherwise, and let me play out here that the thing that I am talking about I testified to. I did not hide from the San Mateo jury. I took the stand. I was on the stand for ten days. I was cross examined by the prosecution for five days. So it’s not just a case of well he’s just saying that you know in a recorded message on a Gtel conversation from prison. This was heard by a real jury and I have declarations from over half of that jury saying that they after seeing all the evidence including hearing my testimony, they felt that I should have been acquitted on the Levin charges.

But be that as it may, the to-do list, it’s a seven page document it is mostly in my handwriting, almost all in my handwriting, and I testified as to what that document was.

It was prepared, it was notes primarily from a meeting held at the BBC offices, involving some of the prosecution witnesses, and for obvious reasons they don’t want to admit that there was notes taken at that.

But we were trying to think of a plan because we’re dealing with this con man, Ron Levin and he’s judgement proof. So the idea of civilly suing him, it’s just like, get in line. There’s a whole list of the civil litigation he was involved in at that time.

He’s an expert of turning what was criminal fraud into a civil matter to avoid an arrest. He would even talk about that in our presence. Anyhow so the idea of suing him to recover the money he owed me as a result my profitable trading for him was not looked at as a viable alternative. So the idea came up that we would bluster and posture, like, bad things would happen to him if he didn’t pay.

If you seen TV, movies and things like that, this kind of a device commonly comes up in Hollywood movies and television shows where some group of people tries to fool or finagle another group into believing something is false in order to cause them to act in a way that’s expected. So this is pursued that’s what the notes were about and the notes became a prop in the plan to intimidate Levin. Where I showed the notes to Ron Levin, on June 5th and left them there in his possession. Now that would all just be my assertion, except for the fact that this woman named Karen Marmor, who was the wife of Len Marmor and a neighbor to Ron Levin testified in San Mateo county that she saw these to-do lists on Ron Levin’s desk while he was having a phone conversation. She was in his office waiting for him to get off that phone call. She saw them picked them and looked at them and saw some of the key words that in it and recalls it now.

Karen was during her professional career an officer in a bank. She is not a person that I had any relationship. We were not like friends or had any knowledge. She was the wife of Ron Levin’s — what’s believed to be Ron Levin’s best friend — a guy named Len Marmor and who just had no motive to aid me in this at all.

Her testimony was heard by the San Mateo jury and they’ve written about it, how credible and persuasive they found her testimony, because the choice is between either believing Carney, Dean Carney was the chief prosecution witness, a troubled young man who was in a very complex predicament legally and facing all sorts of jail time. Either believing Carney or Karen Marmor so they choose to believe the neutral, independent witness rather than the immunized compromised witness that the prosecution argued as to be the meaning of the to-do list.

So basically if Karen Marmor told the truth then the whole prosecution case is wrong and that there is a witness like Karen Marmor is never mentioned in any of the documentaries or either of the movies or either of the books that are out there on the case.

Video: Joe Hunt discusses laws that give accomplices the same punishment as perpetrators.

Joe Hunt discusses the Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine, which results in “aiders and abettors” of a crime getting the same punishment as perpetrators.

Transcript:
I’ve often said to some of the other men in prison that they’re my people, in that these are my peers, this is who I’ve lived with.

I’ve bonded with some of these guys, some of these men who are doing life without and are murderers are my friends.

Now a lot of them are here on this aiding and abetting theory of what they call vicarious liability in the law, and there’s several different ways that vicarious liability can be assigned but one of the principal ones is the aider and abetter rules and there’s also something called the Natural And Probable Consequences Doctrine. So under aiding and abetting if you exhort, encourage, incite or aid someone in a felony and that felony results in somebody’s death, under the felony murder doctrine and under the aider and abetter doctrine, together, stitched together, you end up with the same liability as the actual perpetrator, and this can be a travesty.

It does not, this is not the sort of travesty that occurred in my case, that’s of a different stripe, but it is the travesty that we’re giving, society is giving, handing out “life without” sentences to men who never had a moment where they crossed that line and became intentional murderers.

In fact they never actually chose to do an action that directly resulted in another person’s death. They never curled their finger around the trigger of a revolver or plunged a knife into somebody and so they didn’t have the — they never did anything that manifested the sort of depravity that you would associate with a “life without” sentence. A sort of malice of forethought or maliciousness or wickedness.

They might have done something like got talked into by their homeboys or actively decided to be a getaway driver or they might have been members of a gang and went to back to up a buddy in a confrontation with another gang and then suddenly their buddy pulls a gun and shoots somebody.

Unexpectedly to all of them and they end up doing “life without” time under the Natural And Probable Consequences Doctrine or aiding and abetting gang activity doctrine.

And it’s just so unfair because society is presuming that they are, that they were so given over to malice and depravity that they would kill another person, but really there’s no proof that they ever reached that state in their life. But the prosecution theory is otherwise.

So most civilized countries in the world, they don’t have doctrines like that and they don’t put people away for life without possibility of parole at all. Let alone in an instant where the person actually never chose intentionally.

Video: Joe Hunt describes his embarrassment over the media-created name, “Billionaire Boys Club.”

In this interview, Joe Hunt explains the history of the “Billionaire Boys Club” name. BBC actually stood for “Bombay Bicycle Club,” but, to Joe’s embarrassment, was changed to Billionaire Boys Club in the media.

Transcript:
Well I’ve always been embarrassed by the name being in the media. I was a jerk in many ways in my early twenties, but I did not run around with a group of people called myself the Billionaire Boys Club or us the Billionaire Boys Club.

We had a company called BBC Consolidated North America and the initials were taken from something called the Bombay Bicycle Club which was a restaurant with some video games in Chicago, and when Dean and Dan would come out to Chicago, we would go to the Bombay Bicycle Club and I just hung out there. So in a bit of whimsy, we decided to name the first company BBC Consolidated North America.

Now I’ve heard transcripts of some interviews that Tom and David may have given to IPC productions before the 1987 mini series, and told IPC productions that we would sometimes jokingly or boastfully refer to ourselves as the Billionaire Boys Club, but I don’t recall that, I just don’t.

I don’t have any connection with that name until seeing it in print with the media, and I wouldn’t have named us that, and I don’t like the name.

Certainly my own background is not from wealth and privilege. We grew up in Van Nuys, a block away from the Van Nuys Junior High, in a lower middle class area. And you know I remember there were a couple years when my dad was on food stamps. My family was on food stamps, so we were not from a family of riches and privilege.

Video: Joe Hunt describes all of the legitimate business activities of the BBC.

The name “Billionaire Boys Club” has become associated with scandal, but in this interview, Joe Hunt describes all of the legitimate business enterprises his organization — actually named BBC, which stood for the Bombay Bicycle Club — was pursuing.

Transcript:

We were organized to do legitimate business. Businesses at the outset of BBC ranged from a car company called West Cars of North America that were importing grey market automobiles from Europe so these were cars that were not up to EPA and American Department of Transportation or DOT spec.

We had a warehouse in Gardenia with a lift and a 2 gas analyzer. We had an employee named Frank Rabinsky who was our mechanic and it was our intent to import these cars from Europe and bring them into compliance and sell them. At the time there was a significant difference between what cars were selling for Europe and what luxury cars were selling for in the United States. It was an attempt to arbitrage that difference and secondly we have a company called Microgenesis of North America.

We hired a guy named Eugene Browning to build a sophisticated sort of rock pulverizer called a cyclotron and our goal was and we ultimately did. So some men go under contract with a group that was doing gold mining and wanted to use those same connections with them.

We also had Financial Futures Trading of North America which was a legitimate way to manage money for people by trading spreads in the interest rate futures market at the New York Mercantile Exchange and in the Chicago Mercantile exchange.

Video: Joe explains how men serving life without parole can change over time.

Joe expresses hope that society will understand that those who committed crimes as teens or young adults may grow to become profoundly different people by middle age.

 

Transcript:

I do I hope that attention is drawn to the fight of people who have life without the possibility of parole. Because there is a Japanese philosopher that wrote that Enlightenment, once it’s achieved, amounts to the same thing no matter how you got there.

In other words, you could have come through a life of sin and wickedness, but at the point where you wake up and you live up to the potential of the human being — so you have compassion for other people, you have a conscience, you have a desire for selfless action — when you have gotten over yourself and you’re feeling the (value) in other people, and you reach the point where you are willing to sacrifice on behalf of others for the greater good, when you get to that point, no matter how you got there, that consciousness is the same. Regardless of your past.

I’ve seen — this forget about me for a second here — I’ve met other people who have life without (parole) that are actually profoundly good human beings. They’ve reorientated themselves and they did so, the ones I that I know, before there was any possibility of commutation. They did that work, and it was difficult work for them, of redeeming themselves and resurrecting the spirit within them and reaching their potential as human beings. Without any thought of using it as a way to get out, but merely because there was a call in their souls when they woke up to do so.

So a lot of men got their cases when they were 18, 19, or 20 and when they are 35 or 40, their orientation has absolutely no relationship to where they were as teenagers.

So I do hope that society as a whole becomes acquainted with this fact and thinks about it. And this being primarily a Judeo-Christian society, that they make room for the fact that the suffering of these men, and the work they have done, is redemptive, and possibility invite them back to that role in society.

Joe Hunt answers the question, “If you had had a child, what would you have named her?”

Joe Hunt answers the question, “If you had had a child, what would you have named her?”

 

Transcript:

J: Mary, we’re gonna call her Mary. Mary Catherine Hunt. Catherine being my sister’s first name. An homage to the wonderful sister I have.

H: And Mary, why Mary?

J: Mary? Because of Mary’s place in the bible…But because of some of the experiences Jamie had when she was young with praying to the Virgin Mary. 

Joe explains the painful story of how Ron Levin’s scam led to the loss of all of his investors’ money.

Transcript: I was trading at a place called Cantor Fitzgerald for some of my investors, which included the May brothers, and some other people. And I had some of my own money there, and Dean had some money, Ben had some money, and so we were trading commodity futures, contracts for Cantor Fitzgerald which was a local brokerage house that had an office in Beverly Hills.

Anyhow, I saw the opportunity, I was also trading for Ron Levin through first Rauscher Pierce Refsnes, a regional commodity house, and then Clayton, so how I was trading for them and what was actually going on there is an interesting and complicated story.

But setting that aside for a moment, I saw the opportunity to go long, to keep on futures contracts. I thought it was going to be a big move, the interests rates were going to go down which would have meant that future contracts would have gone up. So I told Levin about it.

We had made some money already in the accounts that had been set up with Levin. I was owed around a million dollars at that time since my deal with Levin. So I said to him look, I see this opportunity and I’m going to be buying stuff for my other clients and I’m going to buy some of the account for you, but I’d like to be paid what’s owed me under our contract right now. I said, is there going to be a problem getting me a half a million dollars of a million owed by Friday? This was on a Monday.

He said no problem, and I said well, I’m going to be putting on accounts, I’ll be putting on trades for my own account and for my investors. Is there going to be any problem getting that money by Friday? And he said absolutely no problem — go ahead and do it.

So I put on a bigger position than I had cash for margin at Cantor, and I also put the position on for Levin. Anyhow, of course Levin didn’t pay. I’m sure he had absolutely no intention of paying, just why he would say that after I told him about the context, I don’t know. It was just part of the cruelty of Levin back in those days. This is like 1983, I believe.

Anyhow, so, the money is not forthcoming and on Friday, Cantor Fitzgerald wants their money, because that’s business, and margin call’s due that day. So it was a five day call period back in that time.

Anyhow, I didn’t have it, if the position had declined a little bit it wouldn’t have been a problem had I had the half of million, but the result was they sold it, which was there right and was particularly appropriate. And he moment they sold it in the morning when they blew the position out it was declining at that point. The result was that my investors’ money had been wiped out.

Again, if I had the half of million dollars the position would have been sufficiently margined and that sale would have never occurred. Anyhow, as luck would have it, I was right, and (futures) took off and went on this historic run from what I think was fifty-five to eight-five which was a huge move. Interest rates declined substantially. Now the position, the notional position, that would have been taken on in the Levin account went on to make millions but my investors had lost their money and this was the point at which the BBC shipwrecked which is rather than just straightforwardly telling the outside investors that money had been lost, I just couldn’t emotionally deal with having that conversation.

And since Levin was promising, and had a bunch of excuses and was promising to pay, I thought there is no reason to tell them. I’ll just tell them that everything is fine. In fact, I’ll tell them that everything is going well, and when I get this money from Levin, I will restore the funds that had been lost by the investors and give them a profit.

Now, it’s easy to say at this distance, but the truth was, I couldn’t have cared less about the money at the time. I was just emotionally incapable of facing these people and telling them that I had lost their money.

I knew their money was important to them. Some of them were like widows and orphans investors. There was scholarship money for their children, or money for their children’s tuition for college, money for health matters and stuff like that and I just couldn’t see facing them, so I made a spectacularly stupid mistake and told them everything was cool. And it wasn’t cool.

Video: Joe describes his daily meditation practice

Joe Hunt describes his daily meditation practice, and how it gives him a sense of optimism despite his incarceration.

Transcript:

In order to renew myself, I meditate every day, twice a day.

I do something called pranayamas, which is translated as a set of energization exercises that focus more on the flow of energy in the body than they do on the physical movement.

Like martial artists that work with chi — energy — it’s the same thing, only with the refinement just to promote the free flow of energy throughout the entire body rather than a connection to any particular martial practice.

Anyhow, the meditation is the wellspring from which I try to renew myself emotionally and physically and spiritually everyday.

Some days meditation goes a lot deeper than others, and I’ve experienced at times, states that were otherwise inaccessible to me. And what I mean to say by that, is up until the time I started meditating, I was completely unaware there were higher stages of consciousness.

People could talk about them, but they’re not real unless you actually experience them yourself. And having experienced some of those states, I’ve become personally convinced that we are spirit. We’re not just an animal. And that the spirit survives the life — the bodily life, the bodily existence – so I mean, this is true to me.

It’s a matter of the testimony of many of the great human beings down through the ages, but it became real to me while meditating. And, I would say that my optimism, which prevails most of the time, is rooted in what I’ve personally experienced while meditating.

Video: Joe Hunt explains why he should have been acquitted of robbery.

Joe Hunt explains why he should have been acquitted of robbery using the “Claim of Right” legal doctrine, which exempts people who are reclaiming what is rightfully theirs. Collecting on a legitimate debt is not a robbery at all, because you lack something called the animus furandi of robbery, which is the intent to take property belonging to another.

Transcript:

It feels pretty technical but it affected me and it had really harsh repercussions on my life.

I was charged and convicted of a robbery, and one of theories is that I came in and I had extorted a check for 1.5 million dollars from Levin.

Now unfortunately, my attorneys, at that trial in 1987, their legal education did not extent to something called the Claim of Right Doctrine, which was common law defense to allegations of robbery in California and throughout the United States. That you are taking back from somebody your own personal property or collecting on a legitimate debt is not a robbery at all because you lack something called the animus furandi of robbery, which is the intent to take property belonging to another.

So lacking that mental state, you can’t be convicted of robbery because that is now is a stated element of robbery in law. So for example, you know back in the 1800s if somebody took your horse, if you pursued them and shot them, you might be guilty of manslaughter or murder, but you wouldn’t be guilty of robbery, because it’s your horse.

Now under the state’s theory, Levin owes me 4 million dollars and that is something that he acknowledged publicly and to prosecution witnesses. The state’s theory was that I was seeking to force him to pay me what he owed me from a legitimate business transaction, that being the case, the jury should have been instructed on the Claim of Right defense.

And had they been instructed, given the fact that the prosecution theory was as described, I would have been acquitted of robbery. Unfortunately, when this issue was raised, it was considered too late to have anything done about it, due to certain legal procedural rules.

Video: Joe discusses his theory of what happened to Ron Levin

Joe talks about what he thinks happened to Ron Levin. It’s likely that Levin jumped bail, especially in light of witness accounts that Levin was researching Brazilian extradition treaties and had inquired about dyeing his hair.

Transcript:

I have thought about this a great deal over the years and tried to extrapolate what he would do or did in that situation so you know, his actual fate as a matter of personal knowledge is a mystery to me because my last point of contact with him was June 5th.

So far as I can reconstruct and recall, what I have seen of course is the same eyewitness accounts that my jury in San Mateo heard, about people in some cases had prior
relationships with Ron, had been over to his house, as Gerard had been for dinner, or had contact with him like Robbie Robinson and had seen him subsequently.

So those eyewitness reports, and some of them were asked to take polygraphs, and the ones who were asked took polygraphs passed them with flying colors. And so those reports have been persuasive to me of the fact that Ron Levin was alive through the last sighting, which was three years after his disappearance in Mykonos, the island of Mykonos in Greece.

I’ve also, since I’ve worked so hard on this case, I’ve seen the testimony and read interviews
of people like Oliver Wendell Holmes (no relationship to the great jurist), but he was employed by Levin to work on Levin’s pending criminal cases. The charges Levin was facing before he disappeared and he said that Levin was discussing with him and researching Brazil’s extradition treaties and policies, which I find highly suspicious.

How many people are doing that right before they jump bail?

You know and then furthermore, John Duran, his hairdresser at the time said that Levin called him right before he disappeared and asked him how do I dye my hair. And then detective Les Douler tells us that brown stains that he tested and were not from blood but there was some brown staining in the porcelain of Levin’s bathtub which would be consistent with some last minute change to his hair color.

Now when he was seen late in ’86 and ’87, he had his gray hair, so the postulate and the hypothesis is that Levin initially decided to change his hair but didn’t like it and letting it grow back out grey by when he was seen in Tucson Arizona and when he was seen on the island of Mykonos.

Levin’s grey hair was one of his most striking features people say that he was kind of a he had a very distinctive look back in ’84, in ’83 in Beverly Hills. He graced the cover of a magazine once.

Anyhow, so based on the information evidence that I’ve seen and also based on statements of Levin made in my presence where he said that he would never go back to prison. I deduced a long time ago that he fled and when he was no longer available after June 6, 1984 and I couldn’t get a hold of him and I heard other people couldn’t get a hold of him, and by June 24th I had concluded that he had fled.

He had a pending case so he couldn’t just up and leave without violating the terms of his bail and he wouldn’t just violate the terms of his bail unless he intentionally fled so that was the conclusion I reached and I think it’s the conclusion the Beverly Hills Department reached for the first couple of months as well.