J’can claims to have been swindled out of pay in US, then deported Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

A Jamaican man who claimed to have been swindled out of his pay then had the police called on him, causing him to be arrested and eventually deported, is seeking to get justice in that country.

Rhuan Campbell, 50, of a St Andrew address, had been living in the US since 2017 when he got married. He became eligible to work there in 2020 after applying for his ‘green card’.

Campbell’s run-in with the law started in August 2022 while he was living in Indiana, after he was contracted to install windows at a building in West Valley, Salt Lake City, Utah. He said he drove 1,600 miles with two workers to complete the work.

Campbell said prior to taking the job, the parties agreed that payment would be made per window. However, he said after the work was completed, the beneficiaries of the work refused to pay the outstanding amount of US$36,000. He said instead the persons wanted to pay him by the hour, which would have reduced what they initially agreed on by more than a half.

He said he called the police, who told him that they could not force them to pay him.

Campbell said he was then unable to leave the state to go back home in Indiana, and he and one of his workers were stranded in Utah, with them sleeping in his truck.

In September, Campbell found work in Utah at a construction firm in a bid to earn money to get back home. On September 6, he reportedly received a text from the persons who owed him for the installation of the windows, informing him that they would send him US$1,200 to get him back to Indiana.

However, the following day, September 7, he was informed that he would get US$1,500, and that would be the final payment for the installation of the windows.

Campbell, who was then living 90 miles from West Valley, said he was given a cheque for US$1,500 and a document for him to sign agreeing to it as the final payment.

He said he did not sign the document, and after speaking with his new employer, he was given time to go and sort out his situation in West Valley.

Campbell said he informed the persons who owed him money that he would be coming there on September to discuss his payment.

According to documents filed in Utah Court of Appeals “He (Mr Campbell) decided to call the police because there was going to be trouble in Salt Lake City, and he wanted an escort. He met the police in Brigham City, and they arrested him.”

He was released on September 21, 2022, and rearrested the same day after he went to collect his truck and other belonging from the police.

Campbell was charged with stalking, electronic communications harassment, and threat of terrorism. He was given a public defender for his trial, but he did not think the lawyer was doing a good job.

He told the court as much during his trial in February 2023, and that he wanted to represent himself.

He was tried and convicted of stalking and electronic communications harassment, but acquitted on the charge of threat of terrorism.

He said he was removed from the country shortly after his conviction, which slowed his appeal process.

In his appeal, Campbell’s lawyer, Emily Adams, petitioned the courts to reverse his convictions because the District Court had applied the wrong legal standard in response to his invocation of his right to self-representation.

According to the court document, “Mr Campbell timely and unequivocally invoked his right at a pre-trial hearing, and rather than assess whether Mr Campbell’s waiver of his right to counsel was knowing and voluntary, the district court told Mr Campbell he was overreacting. The court’s failure to grant Mr Campbell’s waiver resulted in him continuing to be represented after he had waived his right to counsel.”

Campbell said he wants to get justice as he was swindled out of his money and then deported.

However, the West Valley police reported on September 8, 2022, that Campbell was arrested by the Brigham police after the Jamaican called them to say he was homicidal, and that he was on his way to his former employers.

They said that Campbell, shortly before heading to West Valley, had sent threatening text messages to his former employers.

The police said the offices of his former employers were closed and there were police posted in the area in response to the alleged threats from Campbell.