For Immediate Release
November 25, 2014
Friends of Support Amber Batts
What Amber Batt’s 3rd bail hearing
Where Judge Smith’s court rm Nesbitt Court House 825 W 4th Ave Anchorage
When Tuesday December 2, 2014 at 2:15pm
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Friends of Amber Batts, the Anchorage woman being charged with 8 counts of felony sex trafficking, are not only questioning the overzealousness of her prosecution; but also questioning why she is being treated as if she’s already been convicted. After posting two $15,000 bond(s), Amber Batts is not only on house arrest, but on ankle monitor as well, while awaiting trial and is only allowed to leave her house 3 times a week to attend support group meetings.
The mother of 2 is facing more than 20 years while struggling to defender herself. Batt’s had been offered a plea deal of 10 to 25 years and to register as sex offender for life while under the councel of her former the court appointed attorney. Our concern is that the alleged charges don’t include any sexual abuse.
Her current attorney, Rex Butler will be withdrawing as her defense counsel because she doesn’t have the ability to raise the money to pay him under the restrictive bail conditions that which include paying for a $600 a month ankle bracelet provided by Anchorage Pre-Trial Service. According to its the website, this privatized non profit is an adjunct to the criminal justice system to provide defendants alternatives to a Physical “Third Party Custodian” so they may continue to work and remain productive during the pre-trial phase of their judicial process.
However Batts hasn’t been afforded the ability to support herself. Nor has her ‘third party custodian’, her sister Tiana Escalante, who is required to live with Amber and live under the same restrictions. “I left my three year old son in the care of his father in Juneau and was denied the access to vote just to help my sister”. Escalante, who suffers from a chronic illness, has had to choose between going to emergency room or sending her sister back to jail.
“I am concerned about the health and welfare of my friend Amber and her children in the event an emergency arises and she doesn’t have the right to even go to the emergency room without risking being put in jail”, said Elena Stewart “She cannot even shop for food.”
A recent op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News called for the necessity of holding our law enforcement officials and judicial system accountable because reported rape and sexual assault statistics are three times higher than the national average. “Given the number of reported rapes that go uninvestigated annually due to lack of financial resources, it is quite disturbing that law enforcement prioritizes commercial activities between adults consenting and treats women as children by threatening decades of incarceration for those who provide a safe working environment,” said Norma Jean Almodovar of International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education.