By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
By Jesse Marx
"And that, in the end, is why Paul is behind bars today," Jean Ekblad says, pushing across the kitchen table a folder containing a December 13, 1994 jury verdict against her husband, who refused to move from the spectator section during his trial, and asked that he be known as "John Doe I" during opening arguments. In all, Paul Ekblad was convicted on 15 Class E felony counts of "submitting for recording liens relating to title, in real property, knowing the contents to be false, sham, or frivolous."
"This is Wild River territory, and what that comes down to is a few citizens willing to stand up and say no to our rights being washed away. It is Sonny Lundeen who understands all the sophisticated laws that allow this county to steal free land. It is Mike McGrath with knowledge of the secret bureaucracies behind so much of the chaos making our lives unrecognizable even to us living them. And it is my husband who stood up and put his body on the line for our constitutional rights. Someone must do this. Someone must fight it."
Turning away from the table for a moment to steady her composure, Jean Ekblad says: "I suspect, after all I've seen said and done, that we may be fools to believe in a just government. I wonder if it isn't time for some kind of revolution. I'm hoping it turns out to be a peaceful one."
In July of last year, Paul Ekblad was transported from the jail in Siren to a prison cell three hours from home, where he is scheduled to stay until 2005, when he would be 76 years old. In recent letters to Mike McGrath and Sonny Lundeen, Ekblad reports that his work assignment in the greenhouses is going well. He worries that the so-called owners of Hillside Trust's back 40 have been clearing timber without permission. He sends his regards to his wife and children. He mentions an article he's just read about paramilitary agents performing covert exercises near the U.S.-Mexico border, and another about promising arguments that have stood up on appeal in a Nevada courtroom. Thank you for the stamps, he writes, which have been put to good use in pursuing my post-conviction relief; we must continue down this road, for it is my sense that there is shame only in living a life of quiet desperation. CP