To begin to get to know the details behind the saga of Howard Zochlinski you might want to start with the petition he just posted on Change.Org: Petitioning To The Honorable John G. Roberts, Chief Justice, and the Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.
Other sources of information about Howard's story are linked below:
- DavisWiki page: Howard Zochlinski (with lots of background and links)
- Sacramento News and Review Story from 2001: Howard's End
- UC Davis student paper "The Aggie" story from 2011: Two-decade-long fight for Ph.D. continues
- Facebook Page maintained by Howard (I think): Justice for Howard Zochlinski
The DavisWiki page summarizes some of the details on the saga and I have copied the current text from there below:
Howard Zochlinski has been the center of academic and judicial controversy within California and the UC System, including at UC Davis.
When Howard was an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara in the early 1970s he was arrested; none of the charges stuck. 20 years later he was a Genetics doctoral candidate at UC Davis and was arrested by the same policeman who had arrested him back in Santa Barbara.
The arrests in Santa Barbara resulted in either dropped charges or were thrown out of court. All three of these arrests were made by the same two officers, John Jones and John MacPherson. Howard believes that these arrests were the result of his being a Vietnam War protestor. During his detainment he claims that he was sexually assaulted while in police custody and believes that officer Jones was instrumental in arranging it.
He transferred to UC Berkeley where four years later he graduated with a Bachelors degree. He then earned two Masters over the next six years from University of Hawaii and John Hopkins University. During this time officer Jones transferred from UC Santa Barbara to the UC Davis Police Department.
In 1984 Howard was admitted to UC Davis as a PhD candidate. In 1992 officer Jones again arrested Howard, this time for stalking. Jones claims that there was nothing personal or targeted about the arrest; Howard claims that the arrest was the result of Jones holding a vendetta and being an anti-semite. This charge as well was dropped when the victim did not appear in court. Howard also maintains that Jones arrest report does not meet the legal definition for the charges that were filled against him.
In 1993 he was arrested again, but acquitted in court. His defense attorney claimed that the police were not conscientious in the manner in which they handled the case. It does not appear that officer Jones was involved in this case.
Shortly prior to the time of this last arrest after having been a PhD candidate for 9 years Howard was dismissed for not filling an acceptable thesis by the deadline his committee had assigned.
Howard believes that the stalking arrest had prejudiced his department against him. Part of his feelings of persecution stem from having had a conduct hold placed on his academic record; one with an end date in the year 2099. Student Judicial Affairs says that this was a clerical error. Howard thinks that this contributed to his difficulty in landing a job.
Howard filed a lawsuit with the University in regards to his dismissal as a student. As of 2006, the details and status of this lawsuit are unknown. In 2005, the Academic Senate of UC Davis overwhelmingly ruled to re-admit Zochlinski as a student. Such a ruling by the Academic Senate is fairly unheard of, prompting University officials to question what would happen next. However Jeff Gibeling, Dean of Graduate Studies, ruled against readmitting Zochlinski on the basis that his predecessor had made the same ruling. As such, this case is still ongoing.