Illegal Voting


Sitting here in the tiny living room of our small rented townhome, my daughter is doing her homework on her laptop and I write the account of my illegal voting trial on my desktop; it appears as though we have both nearly completed the long journey we have endured alone but together. 

The computer took our picture…

Since the fateful afternoon of 26 July 2007 which saw me being arrested for being in the wrong place and I cannot say, the wrong time because I had phoned 911 myself to get the cops there.  However, I hadn’t given a thought to the ex lying to the police as she lied to everybody else.

She was believed over me, well she was given the time to talk I think in part because of her petite size and her spigot turn on like, tears. I will not go into any sort of detail on the matter because that would just be a rehashing in my mind and I have definitely moved on and am ready to begin the next leg of my interrupted journey. I only wanted to express to you the reader, that it has been five years, not of jail, but probation, which to me, was like a jail sentence because some of my freedoms had been taken.

One of those freedoms was my voting privilege and that was what I spent this past year (since being served papers in August of 2011) trying to shed light on my reason for voting …I did not intentionally break the law. 

One of the Washington County prosecutors’ compared what I did (vote illegally) to murder because he said, “The law had been broken in both instances.”  Huh, was this guy crazy?  Allow me to share briefly, my mistake:

I told my social worker over the phone, “I am tired of this whole ridiculous mess!  It’s as if they are digging and snooping just trying to find something, anything when they should be looking at the ex. I mean she was the one who stole my identity and ruined my name all over the world, (I now realize that it makes no difference because I’ll never be a world traveler) sabotaged  (unknowingly) her daughter’s computer and mine purposefully.  I crossed her threshold without being invited in ergo the burglary charge. A felony charge that began the grief.

What I would like to do is to admit that I voted; ahh, but the reason for doing so was because of my Traumatic Brain Injury.  Things I’d been told and and the poor thought processing.”

When I received that letter from Washington County Corrections saying, “Your special conditions of probation have been completed.”   I assumed that my probation had ended also.  But apparently I was lied to again by another of their errant legal system. (The first was Luke Stellpflug public defender in the initial case that spawned all legal troubles), The second culprit was the probation officer I was assigned to – Randy J. Kopesky, MBA/MMA the program manager for “Low Risk Unit” (LRU), now car salesman.  He told me that if I did nothing else wrong and fulfilled all requirements early that I could get off in one fourth the time if the attorney would write a letter testifying to my diligence.  But if the attorney would not write the letter, he (Randy), could get me off with half the time, I was looking at two and a half years probation tops and that was from January 2008.

Let’s visit what I did on the morning of November 2nd and see if there is a reason for doggedly pursuing me in such a manner…  I walked in the office of my daughter’s school and there was much talk about voting, then when I left, “Make sure you vote today!”  Turning the radio on in the car, “Polls have been open for about an hour now but of course the votes won’t be tallied until the booths close tonight; so be sure to get out and vote today!”  As I drove from my daughter’s school I had to listen to words like that and so just before turning to go home I made an unwise split-second decision.  I did not turn to go home but drove directly to the voting place (St. John’s school or St. John’s Church, I cannot recall.)  I voted and though I was shown a little card before voting I asked, “The card is just wanting to know if my address is correct and stuff, right?” 

“Yes” she replied. 

I told the lady my picks and she filled the tiny circles in for me because of the lack of dexterity I was not able to do it myself.  I was given an “I voted” sticker and showed it to my daughter when I picked her up from school.  She was proud of me and I gave her the, “I voted” sticker.

And there you have it.  I did not yell at anyone nor touch anyone.  I could not fill out my own voting card because of my lack of dexterity.  Oh, and I did not murder anybody or even attempt to harm another.  I voted because of all the hype filling my head and because of mental processing difficulty resulting from the traumatic brain injury.

Mid January all will be forgiven and forgotten.

2011 painted face credited to her school carnival


Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


  • Stephanie knows she has a fantastic father. You meant well, and voted because it was what you were thinking! If someone wants to create havoc they will, and they have no idea how harmful things like this have been to you.

    I was listening to the news today about a car accident, and this was what I heard. The driver only had a traumatic brain injury, but no other injuries! What other injuries would be worse? It was mentioned, matter-of-fact as though TBI was nothing. We’re here to tell them differently.

    Take care and stay safe.


    • Yes, my own father who heaps praise on my brother because he is dyslexic and in spite of that does so well, but as for me when I phoned him from New York on an expensive (for me) trip taking my daughter to see her mom, he told me that I use my brain injury whenever it’s handy. Well that is most definitely not the case. I was extremely hurt to know that y own father thinks I am pretending. I cannot get a job or in some cases, even volunteer because I had even been let go while volunteering. This summer I was even turned down for a job at the Goodwill store. I would love to do something so simple as work and even make a few bucks! Oh well, my life is what it is, take care.


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