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Eric Brandt and the horrible, very bad judge.


WESTMINSTER, COLORADO- Eric Brandt was so sure he was going to jail he got a tattoo. The one-man-band of protest movements had court on August 3rd before Westminster Associate Judge Paul D. Basso, who’d declined on a technicality to give Brandt a jury trial. Eric calls him “Judge Fatso” and lampoons Basso on the courthouse steps and so didn’t expect more than a brisk push into jail. Knowing they’d take his “Fuck Cops” t-shirt, Eric got a hasty tattoo. “It hurt. A LOT” said Eric, who did not intend to cease his protest behind bars. It’s the identical logo, placed just below the sleeve-length of a jail smock, faced forward on the arm he extends to shake hands. Eric’s lawyer, the formidable David Lane, joked that he was stung by Eric’s lack of faith in his attorney.

But Eric Brandt has suffered for two years battling alone against the whims of Westminster injustice. He’s served jail time, been beaten, threatened, tasered so many times the seizures it induces no longer make him pee. And when Judge Basso took the bench the courtroom audience got to see the kangaroo court prepared for Westminster’s public enemy number one. Even David Lane’s sober motions and objections bounced off the stubborn hanging judge.

Ultimately Judge Basso was smart enough to know he had to grant a continuance because discovery was only granted ten minutes before the session started. Discovery included internal affairs investigations of Sergeant Buckner, Eric’s repeat accuser and frequent assailant. Judge Basso asked the sergeant if he’d signed off on their release. “Objection! You’re not his lawyer!” Judge Basso ordered that the documents be surrendered to the court until he’d ruled on their relevance. “Objection!” The audience echoed “WTF!”

David Lane’s motions to dismiss, and for a special prosecutor, and for the judge to recuse himself for interposing himself as advocate for the city, were ignored. Each time the civil liberties expert cited legal precedence, Judge Basso would answer “it’s been a while since I’ve read that one, but I remember its meaning differently.” The city attorney and judge made clumsy attempts to feed each other cues.

Eric Brandt was forced to wave speedy trial in exchange for his continuance, to give his attorney time to peruse the discovery evidence. David Lane objected that “my client has to choose which constitutional right to sacrifice.”

Westminster had hoped to jail Eric Brandt this week to prevent him from getting on this year’s ballot for the city council election. They had to let him walk. A powerful attorney and a roomful of spectators got in the way of someone’s Judge Roy Bean act.

Eric was in tears as he thanked his supporters. His next case is Thursday, August 6, same accusers, same arresting officer. Same crime, telling cops to go fuck themselves. Eric will need the same court support. Trust me it’s entertaining. Between Brandt and Lane, there is no end to the laughter, but I had no idea municipal court would be so suspenseful. The best lawyer around meets his match against Tweedle Dumb.

Eric Brandt has dozens of cases pending in Westminster. The hope is that the provincial berg will figure out it has treed the wrong bear. They’re up against the First Amendment and two tireless defenders.

UPDATE: Eric’s August 6th court date has been continued, it’s now TBA. His next scheduled jury trial is August 13 although word is it will be postponed as well. A motions hearing now set for Wednesday August 12 will probably decide the fate of all of Eric Brandt’s cases. I’m thinking, when a city gives less than a day’s notice to cancel a jury trial, they’re probably doing some heavy thinking. Congratulations Eric!

2 thoughts on “Eric Brandt and the horrible, very bad judge.

  1. To say I loved every single word and every single moment while trading this artical would be a gross understatement but not as gross as Westminster Court btw

  2. Thank god someone is speaking for us. Thank you Eric. I have been suffering abuse from police and park rangers for years here.

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