THE AUDACITY TO HOPE!
This is an update to the Omnibus Hearing that the family and supporters attended January, 24th at the District Court in Lake County for Sunny White, who has numerous charges against her, including negligent homicide in the death of my granddaughter, Mika Jo West Wolf.
As we sat in the courtroom waiting for the hearing to begin, according to state law, the purpose of the hearing is "to assure that all parties are prepared to go on to trial, if necessary, and to discuss alternate means of settling." In other words, this is where most plea bargains start for the defense to wheel and deal with the prosecution.
As court began with several cases before Ms. White's hearing, we noticed that she was not present in the courtroom and her attorney was not there as well.
The judge appeared agitated and moved the issue of White's hearing to be addressed with Lake County attorney and the defense.
She stated that there was a motion for a continuance by the defense, and the county attorney was agreeing to the motion. This caused her to weigh into the fact that the motion was made by White's attorney at 2:30 pm yesterday through email to the county attorney because she had another trial to be present at, and she instructed White not to show up for today's hearing in person.
The judge was not made aware of this and articulated that the motion could have been filed last Friday, which would have been in a timely manner. She further said that when the court sets the date for a hearing they needed to be here, or White could have appeared via zoom.
She asked the county attorney why this happened in their failure to appear. His answer was that he had a conversation with the attorney and she sent him an email, but he lost it.
Before I let you know what the judge's response was, here is what Montana law says about filing continuances under rule 18. "The motion for a continuance must be in writing and served to counsel. No continuance will be granted if not timely made and must be for good cause."
Well, obviously, filling one by her attorney via email and at 2:30 before the 3:00 pm deadline is not in a timely manner. Also, the attorney could not make it due to another case she had to be at and advised her client not to show up. Was her other court case she had to appear at, more important than this?
The judge wanted to serve Ms. White a warrant for arrest for failure to show up for the hearing and wanted to hold the attorney in contempt for failing to show up as well.
Much to our surprise, the county attorney went to bat for them and advised the court not to issue a warrant for white or the attorney to be held in contempt.
The county attorney smoothed it over for the defendant and counsel, which begs the question- what about the victim and the family and supporters who showed up on time and had to travel long distances to be here? Why didn't he agree with the judge's actions?
We viewed this as a slap in the face of being more concerned for this person's rights than justice for Mika, who was taken from us. He's supposed to be representing the State of Montana as the prosecution, not for the defense.
The judge did point out that the defendant was facing numerous years of incarceration for the alleged crimes. Was this case not serious enough for both the attorney and her client to fail to show up in her courtroom?
So, the judge went with the county attorney's lame excuses for the opposition and she did not issue a warrant for White's arrest, but she did issue a show cause hearing for the attorney to explain why the court should not hold her in contempt for failure to appear.
So dear friends, imagine if this was turned around and that was a native in this situation with their attorney doing this. I bet a warrant for arrest for the native would be issued, and the attorney would be held in contempt, with no objection from the county attorney.
Let me also let you know that prior to this issue being raised, the judge dealt with individuals who failed to show up for jury duty. She issued warrants for their arrest with a $500 fine and to spend one day in jail. Why? The judge said that in order for the legal system to properly function, people have to do their civic duty when called upon.
The county attorney did not object to the warrants for arrest and did not go to bat for jurors to be excused, but goodness gracious, don't do this to Sunny White who is facing homicide, child endangerment, drug possession, amongst other charges.
I apologize for this being long, but it just makes you wonder if the system of justice in this case seems to be more inclined to side with the defendant and not for my granddaughter who was killed and is the victim here. She was left on the side of the road by this person who didn't even stop and left her there on that cold early morning.
So, here we go again for a rescheduled hearing on February 28th. As long as it takes to get justice for Mika we will be there on time and in solidarity for future hearings and hopefully the trial in May. God bless and thank you for your prayers and support..
Update to Mika's Case!
The Fight Continues
In a significant development in the case of Mika Josephine Westwolf, it has been confirmed that the suspect, Sunny White, was apprehended today, October 20, 2023, in Kalispell, Montana. She is currently being held in Kalispell and is expected to be transferred to Polson, MT, where she will face charges for the death of Mika Westwolf.
The news of Sunny White's arrest marks a bittersweet moment for Mika's family and the broader community. While there is a sense of relief and satisfaction that charges are finally being pressed, it also serves as a painful reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by countless families in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) movement.
Mika's family expresses their sympathy and solidarity with all families who continue to endure the heart-wrenching uncertainty and loss associated with MMIR cases. They understand that in this day and age, it is deeply disheartening that such fights for justice are still necessary.
As we mark seven months since Mika's tragic passing, it is essential to acknowledge that this arrest is just the beginning of the journey towards justice. The fight to seek accountability, raise awareness, and protect the lives of Indigenous people and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives remains an ongoing battle.
Our hearts go out to the families who are still searching for their loved ones, and we remain deeply saddened by the fact that Native Americans continue to go missing at an alarming rate. The urgency to address this issue has never been greater.
Mika Matters reaffirms its commitment to continue helping and advocating for justice for Mika and all Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives. The movement is dedicated to pushing for appropriate sentencing and comprehensive charges for those responsible for these heinous crimes.
We urge everyone to join us in our mission to raise awareness, support affected families, and work towards a future where no one has to endure the agonizing pain of having their loved ones tragically murdered, kidnapped, trafficked, or gone missing. Together, we can make a difference, ensure that these cases are never forgotten, and strive for a world where justice prevails.
The organization deeply appreciates all the support from those who have tirelessly worked to get the word out, shared the movement, joined in the walks and booths, and helped amplify the voices of MMIR. We extend our gratitude to the news outlets, friends, family, and loved ones who have stood with us in this critical mission.
For media inquiries or further information, please contact:
About Mika Matters Mika Matters is a movement dedicated to raising awareness and seeking justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR). Our mission is to support affected families, advocate for accountability, and raise awareness about the systemic issues that perpetuate the crisis of MMIR. Together, we stand as a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves and work towards a future where justice is served.
Mika Josephine Westwolf
"Everybody looks at her"
Mika Josephine Westwolf was killed on March 31st 2023 north of Arlee, MT by a driver in the early morning hours. We are in the process of seeking justice for Mika with the local authorities, whose cooperation has been frustrating, at best, so far.
Why are we seeking justice? Because Mika’s life mattered. She was a beautiful human being with so much to live for and contribute to this world for years to come.
This is an awful tragedy for our family. Mika’s hopes and dreams were taken away by this perpetrator who committed this crime. This person did not even brake or try to avoid hitting her. Instead, the person drove off and did not even try to provide any aid to our girl, leaving her on the side of the road.
We need your support as we must proceed with our tribal advocates/friends that have been helping since the beginning. We are trying to find answers and work with local authorities to find justice for Mika Westwolf. We will not give up. We will not stop. We will not let this be another story of “just another dead Indian” or that she was somehow to blame for this atrocity. Someone committed this crime, and we will not allow this to become another unsolved MMIW case.
We are doing whatever we can to help other families facing this situation and bring awareness to the larger public about this systematic failure of MMIW. Our lives matter as Native Americans.
Why? Because each individual who is missing or murdered has family who love them and are continuing to grieve. There is no closure for us.
Our girl may be gone, but we will keep her memory alive. Justice for Mika Westwolf will happen, and we will not rest until it is met.