Tag Archives: Justice

Wife of US spy Jonathan Sacoolas on the lam after world record hit and run

The US Air Force flew one of its intelligence workers’ wives out of the UK after she committed vehicular homicide, then claimed diplomatic immunity. The British press reports that the whereabouts of Anne Sacoolas are being concealed from journalists and investigators. The US media is conspiring to keep all personal details being made public. Freedom the the Press does not protect your freedom to know.

Anne Sacoolas, 42, wife of US “diplomat” Jonathan Sacoolas (reportedly an intelligence officer with the NSA), fled the UK after killing Harry Dunn, 19, when her Volvo collided with his motorbike while she was driving on wrong side of road. Sacoolas had just exited the RAF Croughton base in Northamptonshire, which is leased to the US and called the Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre (JIAC). Sacoolas’ eldest of three children was in the car at the time of the accident. Usually diplomatic immunity only covers diplomats in London, but a special deal signed as early at 1994 includes this particular base. US media is reporting the story, without mentioning her name, or that her “diplomatic immunity” is a cover for intelligence work.

Curious things, these media moratoriums.

Sovereign constitutional oath activist Stephen Nalty sentenced to 36 years!


DENVER, COLORADO- Judge Michael Spear came down hard on judicial reform activists Stephen Nalty and Steve Byfield, who prosecutor Robert Shapiro insisted “can’t be rehabilitated.” The quiet Byfield received 22 YEARS, and this afternoon, so-called ringleader Nalty was given a sentence of 36 YEARS. For insisting that holders of public office file oaths secured by bonds as required by the US and Colorado constitutions. Their victims, judges and officials who were exposed for having sworn no oaths, testified about now having nightmares about the public coming to get them with torches and pitchforks. Which is of course what ought to happen, now that the bastards have retaliated against critics who were only trying to bring them into compliance.

The most severe remedy proposed by WE THE PEOPLE, the sovereign citizens organized to confront fraudulent office holders, was in fact resignation, or if necessary, banishment. Even so, the reformers were targeted by the FBI and its Colorado affiliates. A join anti-terrorism task force was deployed to infiltrate and entrap the “paper terrorists” who were then charged with criminal enterprise and racketeering, then held on quarter million dollar bonds. Now the two were given prison terms to exceed their lifetimes, ensuring both will die in jail. Because our system will not abide free men.

Why should you attend the Denver Nalty-Byfield ENTERPRISE TRIAL?

Why support the “We The People” public-oath sticklers who the state is prosecuting like a criminal enterprise? A few reasons: Solidarity. Because as hardheaded as they might be, defendants Stephen Nalty and Steve Byfield are still JUDICIAL REFORM ACTIVISTS. Sense of fair play. Half the courtroom gallery is filled with Colorado Attorney General staffers and FBI special agents chumming it up with jurors and briefing their THREE FBI UNDERCOVER WITNESSES while the defendant pariah side of the audience is warned by the judge that even a whisper will result in ejection. Thrills. Where else are you going to see this many federal agents pushing their weight around, barking at you in the hallways, swaggering gleefully about how much smarter they are than the defendants? Pathos. Come watch the Assistant Fucking Colorado Attorney General, Robert Shapiro himself, lead a team of prosecutors against the unrepresented defendants, watch Shapiro belittle them, lecture them, trivialize their difficulties defending themselves in jail, and pretend they can review “tens of thousands” of pages of evidence and “hours and hours” of undercover surveillance tapes in a single day. Because you can make a difference. Come push the FBI-guys’ buttons. Come witness and document the abuses of the overbearing prosecution team. Come lend public pressure on the judge, whose conscience is already bothering him about how unfair this sham trial has become.

Liens
You don’t have to agree with how Nalty and Byfield went about trying to reform the judicial system, but aren’t they mostly right? Judges ARE corrupt. Local officials ARE NOT accountable to the people. Law enforcement WON’T pursue charges of their own corruption and the media certainly won’t side with the reformers. When Nalty, Byfield and Co, served commercial liens valued at billions and trillions of dollar against officials who hadn’t filed oaths of office, it was an effort of last resort to get someone’s attention. No one was thinking, hey, maybe this eleven-figure dollar demand will slip through the cracks and the billions will be ours!

Each lien was calculated to represent the sum defrauded from and owed to the American People. Prosecutors can tap these defendants for conspiring and racketeering and extorting and attempting to influence public officials, but they can’t say the defendants aimed to obscond with one single penny. Throwing three undercover infiltrators at a twenty member judicial reform group, putting thousands of manpower hours into locking these defendants away, is gross abuse of authority and it’s hubris.

Authentic transgressions
As the sham trial goes on, the pieces are coming together on the cases of Nalty and crew. It turns out federal investigators labeled them “sovereigns” because they’ve held themselves not responsible for paying traffic tickets, property taxes, and the like. In the end I’ll grant you Nalty’s group may be guilty of those. I say “may” because such citations may have been retaliatory for their political beliefs.

As to the punishment, I believe adjudicators should take into account that the defendants acted not to enrich themselves, nor to flaunt the law per se, but to assert political rights about which they may have been misguided. Again I say may because the defendants are being tried, after all, according to a set of laws, which enforce a social contract, the terms of which the parties do not agree.

I use the word misguided as a nod to those who think the Nalty gang have acted like idiots. That’s easy to say, and easy to laugh, but no one’s yet figured out how to emancipate labor from the yoke of capital. You may regard interest and rent as your inherent debts. These sovereigns don’t and they’re trying to say so.

Economic slavery
Ours is a system of peonage to which this crew feels they never indentured themselves. The ersatz writs and liens they spammed to every official they encountered were the legal loopholes they thought could break the bank and liberate everyone from financial tyranny. While Nalty’s scheme intended insurrection, it wasn’t against democracy or the republic, it was against taxation without representation, the same beast Americans pretend to have overthrown with the Declaration of Independance.

Instead of tea into Boston Harbor, this crew dumped a bunch of junk paper unto the reception counters of Colorado public offices. Charge Nalty’s crew with littering maybe, at most, vandalism, though it’s hard to say these vandals caused even a scratch. Every public official who testified as a victim said they didn’t take the ersatz documents seriously.

The writs and liens looked officious, but weren’t attributed to known government or banking institutions. Likewise signatures were signed in red. Red was chosen to represent the signer’s blood, even though red is a color which automated banking systems reject as unreadable, therefore invalid.

Not one witness expressed confusion about the validity of the papers. They mentioned too the rambling diatribes in the text block.

To call the defendants “paper terrorists” wildly overstates the effect they achieved. They didn’t terrorize anyone. Governments like to accuse rebellious insurgents of “terrorism”, but that’s another paralegal threshold with which most common citizens, and certainly these “sovereigns”, disagree.

Real funny money
These guys did the equivalent of feed Monopoly Money into ATMs. No bank balances were changed and no real money came out. Counterfeit currency is one thing, but denominations of your own handywork pretending to be only that does not qualify as funny money in the illegal sense. I’m guessing forms submitted in a language foreign to bank clerks would be rejected out of hand. How are these any different? Irregular submissions, as one witness called them, need not generate calls to the FBI or the Colorado Joint Terrorism Task Force. I’ll bet that ATMs know to reject Monopoly Money. If they don’t, whose problem is that?

The trial of defendants Stephen Nalty and Steve Byfield is due to wrap up Friday. The prosecution will have taken seven days to present its case and Assistant Attorney General Robert Shapiro intends to object if the defense rebuttal takes more than a half day, maybe a whole. This trial is meant to intimidate the other defendants to convince them to take pleas.

Next in the pipeline is Bruce Doucette whose trial starts October 16. Defendants Harlan Smith and Dave Coffelt have hearings on October 18. If they do not take deals, Shapiro intends to enjoin their cases, to save time and money. He’s already convinced defendant Brian Baylog to take a deal and turn state’s evidence. Baylog is scheduled to testify against Nalty and Byfield shortly.

By now the condemnation of Nalty’s commercial lien scheme will have cost Colorado millions in man hours and legal expenses. You can fine a graffiti artist for having to restore an edifice to its original lustre, but you can’t expect him to bear the full cost if you chose a cleanup crew that wears Gucci loafers, most of whose jobs is to pat the other on the back.

Colorado’s overkill with federal agents and counter-terrorism experts is a problem of its own making.

 
The Nalty-Byfield trial continues through this week 8:30am – 5pm, at Denver’s Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse, in Division 2H, ironically, “Juvenile Court”.

Not The People v. Stephen Nalty and Steven Byfield. Right to an Unfair Trial.

Paper Terrorists Tried in Juvenile CourtDENVER, COLORADO– The trial of accused “Paper Terrorists” Stephen Nalty and Steve Byfield began Monday in courtroom 2H of Denver district court. The two face 28 odd charges, from conspiracy, criminal enterprise, to racketeering, brought by the Colorado Attorney General and the FBI.
 
And they’re defending themselves. In handcuffs.
 
Don’t worry, they’re holding their own. But already it’s day one and authorities are piling on every disadvantage. On Monday the defendants were cheated of being able to prevent the state from stacking the jury (and the defendants don’t even know it because they weren’t in the courtroom to see it done).

Watching the court clerks and lawyers prepare for the trial, you cannot but admire their civil spirit. In every hearing Nalty and Byfield have declined advisements and refused to recognize the authority of their adjudicators. The two sound like broken records about “oaths” and sovereign stuff, yet the judicial mechanism inches forward. It should of course, because the defendants have been jailed since MARCH.

For six months Nalty and Byfield have been held on $350,000 bonds. Neither of them can afford even the interest on those sums. Of course their indictment and prosecution is a travesty and a misappropriation of public resources, but how else could the state stop their criminal enterprise except to admit wrongdoing itself?

Nalty and Byfield are being railroaded and they’re sure a jury will conclude the same.

The People’s Grand Jury
For the last few years, among a team of eight “sovereign citizen” types, Nalty and Byfield have been serving judges and other public officials with legal papers and liens which achieved no response. Until Colorado’s attorney general enlisted the FBI to squash the “criminal enterprise.” The sovereigns face 28 charges of all the racketeering and conspiracy lingo, essentially for questioning why their local magistrates and officials had no oaths or bonds on file. When the sovereigns got no response, they formed a “People’s Grand Jury” to indict the violators with their ad hoc public courts. Then they’d file commercial liens against those accused for defrauding the public in violation of Article 6 of the US constitution.

When confronted from podiums, judges and lawmen dismiss the oath requirement out of hand, but it’s interesting that none spell out exactly what law supersedes the US Constitution. News articles about the Paper Terrorists list the litany of criminal charges the defendants face, but have yet to mention the asserted law-breaking which is the Paper Terrorists’ only complaint.

It is hard to get a handle on what the “People’s Grand Jury” really wants. In their dreams, they assert that the lack of filing of oaths should mean that all affected legal judgements should be overturned, and that all salaries drawn by government employees who did not file oaths or bonds should be returned to taxpayers, with interest. They calculate the total sum owed to the American people is in the multi trillions. So there’s that.

Some of the public officials targeted by the People’s Grand Jury began to suffer strikes against their credit records when they didn’t contest liens filed against them. You’d think the credit monitoring algorythms would flag multi billion dollar liens. You’d think someone could suggest a method to filter such paralegal filings.

Instead the state chose to hit back hard. Last March, the eight troublemakers were indicted for two dozen paper crimes. The state imposed bonds averaging a quarter million each. It hasn’t stopped the crew, as their wives and friends keep serving more notices and liens. So now the state intends to make them examples and imprison them for life.

Jury Selection, Only For the Prosecution
Here’s what happened Monday during jury selection, when both sides are meant to parse a jury pool to pick an impartial jury. You know, a defendant’s right to a jury of their peers?

Nalty and Byfield still don’t know what hit them. The prosecution was given the jurors’ details, the defendants learned none. They blindly accepted jurors whom the prosecutors had already carefully weeded. The defendants never knew it and the court was not “on the record” when this happened because it was before the judge entered the courtroom. But audience members saw the whole thing.

Actually, once he was presiding over the entrance of the jury pool, the judge was in a position to observe the prosecution desk already progressing well through the jury questionnaires while the defendants sat idle. Perhaps the judge didn’t know his court clerk had provided no instruction to the defendants. Ultimately whose responsibility would that be?

Monday for jury selection, the court decided it needed a jury pool of SIXTY from which to choose twelve jurors plus two alternates. To save time, the court had prospective jurors fill out 4-page questionnaires instead of having them deliver the customary recitation of their biographical details. The court assigned four digit non-sequential numbers to each candidate. Copies of these forms were made for all parties, stacked according to the seating order of the jury pool. They were put on the desks before sheriffs had brought in the defendants. The team of four prosecutors began pouring over the questionnaires and were warned by the court clerk not to get them out of order as it corresponded to how the jury pool would be admitted.

Team leader, Assistant AG Shapiro noticed that the forms bore the jurors’ signatures, which he instructed should be blacked out from the copies provided to the defendants. Two clerks set themselves to redacting the stacks for defendants Nalty and Byfield. Meanwhile the prosecution studied the forms, made their notes, and drew each other’s attention to details. This information included the applicants’ names and signatures. Trial lawyers do not discount surnames and autographs as irrelevant to evaluating a juror.

When the clerks finished their redactions there were still other courtroom delays and by the time the defendants were finally brought back from their holding cell, the prosecution had a full half hour head start studying the questionnaires, and of course twice the pairs of eyes.

The defendants were not told what the stacks were, nor that they were in any order. The defendants had barely been seated before the judge made his entrance and the jury pool was paraded into the courtroom. The defendants thus got no time to examine the questionnaires. They looked at the stacks dumbly, not knowing what they were supposed to do with them, or how, with their wrists in handcuffs. Defendant Byfield tried to shuffle through some of forms while the judge advised the jury pool. With shackles on he couldn’t manage the stack, much less keep it in order, even if he knew that would matter. Forget managing pen and paper, in addition to taking notes.

You’d hope that jurors will wonder why these “paper terrorists” are kept shackled. Who has ever asserted they pose a threat of violence to anyone?

On the other hand, if you doubt that the failure to file a public oath should earn a prosecutor the accusation of fraud, if you doubt it means they’re untrustworthy, the unfairness they eagerly exploited on the first day of trial would give you pause. They behaved every bit as corrupt and mendatious as Nalty and Byfield have been saying. How unfortunate the jury didn’t see it.

Denver judge rules BEING HOMELESS IS IRRELEVANT to defendants charged with violating city’s urban camping ban

DHOL defendants with attorney Jason Flores-Williams
DENVER, COLORADO- A hearing was held today to review motions submitted before the criminal trial of three homeless activists arrested last November for violating Denver’s Urban Camping Ban. Terese Howard, Jerry Burton, and Randy Russel featured in the infamous 2016 video that showed Denver police officers confiscating their sleeping bags and blankets on the snowy steps of city hall. Through attorney Jason Flores-Williams, fellow Denver Homeless Out Loud (DHOL) activists have filed a civil lawsuit to halt the city’s homeless sweeps. In municipal court DHOL hopes to challenge the ordinance being used to harass, displace and imprison the downtown homeless. Already the city’s case appears to be derailing based on developments at the motions hearing. Denver municipal court judge Kerri Lombardi approved all the city’s motions and none for the defense. Lombardi approved the use of 404B evidence for the city, but simultaneously restricted Res Gestae evidence for the defense. In particular, she refused to qualify two experts on homelessness, precluding the accused from arguing a “necessity defense”. Judge Lombardi stated that being homeless was irrelevant to whether they were violating the urban camping ban. When asked to recuse herself, the judge declined, so attorney Flores-Williams declared his intent to file an interlocutory appeal to bump the case to district court. Meanwhile speedy trial was waived and a new court date was set for April 5th.

DHOL’s 2/17 press release:

Yesterday there was a dispositive motions hearing in the Camping Ban criminal cases where homeless and poor people are being charged with crimes for sleeping on the streets with blankets and shelter in Winter. The hearing was noteworthy for the bias and prejudice shown toward Defendants by the Court.

1) At the start of the hearing, prior to any argument, the Judge looked at Defense counsel and said: “The one thing I don’t want is any drama from you, Mr. Flores-Williams.” Defense counsel had never practiced in this court.

2) Without allowing any substantive legal argument, the Court ruled that it was permissible for theProsecution to file a 34-person witness list eight days after the court’s deadline and only two weeks prior to trial.

3) The Court then Excluded all of Defense’s expert witnesses without hearing or testimony, saying that “Homelessness has nothing to do with this case.”

4) The Court then ordered Defense counsel to limit all arguments so that no argument or line of questioning could be construed at trial as an attempt to persuade the jury that the Camping Ban ordinance is itself unjust.

5) At this juncture, defense counsel cited to Fed R. 37(c)and its CO equivalent concerning the prejudice resulting from late disclosure of witnesses. No court response. Defense counsel then quoted from sections from Chambers v. Mississippi, a landmark 1973 civil rights case concerned with due process in which the overall prejudice to defendants becomes so cumulative and egregious that defendants fair trial rights are eviscerated. No response.

6) The Court then took up a Motion from the prosecution that does not exist. A “Res Gestae/404(b) Motion” that wrongfully conflates two different types of evidentiary concepts and underlying analyses. Res Gestae is concerned with the natural narrative of a case. Example: someone robs a liquor store, the fact that they stopped at two bars and to pick up their weapon on the way to the robbery. 404(b)has to do with a very specific set of factors that a defendant leaves at various crime scenes as identifiers. Not to be rude, but the classic example is when serial killer leaves identifiers at numerous crime scenes showing his m.o. The court conflated these two very different legal concepts and construed the “Res Gestae/404b” motion as allowing the prosecution to offer proof of Defendants’ mental states, but not the fact that defendants were homeless. (If this seems like 2+2=5, Wintston, they are….)(The court also disregarded that the motion was filed late and that it was amended without leave of court.)

7) Defense counsel then objected to the fact that the court had asked the prosecution for their jury instructions without asking defense for their jury instructions, and now was reverse injuring the court’s ruling from the prosecutions jury instructions. Objection overruled.

8) Defense counsel made oral motion for the judge to recuse, i.e. that he Judge take herself off the case for bias against defendants. Denied.

9) Defense counsel cited to several cases concerning due process rights, wrongful exclusion of defense witnesses, and the right to fairly address criminal accusations. No response.

10) Defense requested findings of law and fact – none given.

11) Defense counsel asked for a stay of the proceeding to file an interlocutory appeal regarding the court’s rulings.

12) Court stated that interlocutory orders cannot be appealed from municipal court so that none of the court’s decisions are reviewable.

13) Court ruled that the prosecution’s disclosure of 95 police body cameras three days prior to the hearing was permissible, then scolded defense for not reviewing the 95 videos prior to hearing. Defense counsel, concerned that the court would issue sanctions if he responded, had no comment.

We are now seeking an interlocutory appeal of the Court’s rulings.

The trial is scheduled for April 5th, 2017. Mark your calendar.

DIY legal strategies for defendants to give their lawyers a running start

If you’ve been arrested at a protest action you’ve got more legal options than paying the fine or taking a plea deal. Whether or not your act was constitutionally protected, or should be, or whether it was civil disobedience and was meant not to be, there are a couple good reasons to fight your charges in court. First, to draw further attention to your issue, and second, to give your prosecutors more incentive to offer a better plea deal. They might even drop your charges altogether.

Let’s assume you have the time to attend multiple court dates and that your low income means you qualify for a public defender.

Don’t have the time?
If you don’t have the time, make it. Every court appearance is a chance for a press release. Example: City Prosecutes Activists Instead of Indicting Killer Cops. Not only are you forfeiting the opportunity for more publicity, you are resigning yourself to a stiffer plea offer. Probation, or deferred judgement, or deferred prosecution for a probationary period, will take a larger chunk of your time from activism than a few court dates.

If you are eventually planing to hire a private lawyer, the same initial strategy applies. Your inconvenience is nothing compared to the wrench you’re throwing into the city’s injustice machine, by merely fighting your case.

Let’s assume also that you have bonded out of jail. Your first court appearance will be a BOND RETURN DATE. If you did not bond out and remain in custody, your first court appearance will usually be the morning after your booking and will be called an ARRAIGNMENT. Both are supervised by a magistrate before whom you will be expected to plead guilty or not guilty.

You are going to do neither.

That said, if you are still in custody, your first objective would be to hasten your release, hopefully on a PR bond. In such case, the following steps need not be uncompromising.

City Attorneys
If your event is a bond return date, you will first be called out of the courtroom by a city attorney to discuss a plea deal. Here’s where most people think they can candidly argue their case in hope that the prosecutors will decide to drop the charges. Those defendants are only giving the city more cards to deal against them. Your first move will be to DECLINE TO SPEAK TO CITY ATTORNEYS. You can ask what deal they are offering, but you say nothing about your case and admit to nothing. You are better off not even sitting down. Tell them from the hall that you have nothing to discuss, have them please bring your case before the magistrate.

The Magistrate
When the magistrate calls you up, tell him or her that you DO NOT CONSENT TO A MAGISTRATE adjudicating your case, you want the judge to which you are entitled. The magistrate will have to reschedule your court date before a judge, in the division to which your case was assigned. This might be one or two weeks later.

Bond Return Date, Round Two
Your second date, this time titled an “Arraignment” will be another chance for the city attorneys to pretend they have a right to interview you. Again you brush them off. When you’re finally called before the judge, he or she will ask you what you plead. Say that you CANNOT PLEAD BEFORE CONSULTING AN ATTORNEY. Asked if you have an attorney, say no, you require a public defender.

The judge will tell you a public defender will only be assigned after you’ve entered a not-guilty plea. Stand your ground, ask how are you supposed to make a legal decision without the advice of the public defender? The judge will decide to enter a not-guilty plea on your behalf, to which you will OBJECT.

A plea made over your objection will be a potential element of a future appeal. Likewise was the attempt by city attorneys to pretend they had authority to discuss your case without your having an attorney present. These will be two factors that will give you leverage in negotiating a better plea offer.

The judge will ask if you want a jury trial, to which you will answer YES. You’ll be assigned a pretrial conference date, or reset date, and a trial date. Your next task will be to apply for a public defender.

Representation
If you make too much money to qualify for a public defender, you might want to hire a lawyer, or find one who is sympathetic to your cause who can represent you Pro Bono. If you are smart enough on your feet, you can represent yourself PRO SE.

One possible advantage to proceeding Pro Se is that the city might eventually drop the charges, calculating that if you couldn’t find an attorney to defend your criminal case, you are unlikely to find one to bring a civil suit against the city for false arrest. They risk little to drop your case instead of spending an awkward day in court trouncing a DIY defendant in front of a sympathetic jury of his peers.

If your application for a public defender is accepted, they’ll also waive the $25 jury fee. If you can’t apply for the public defender within 30 days of your forced not-guilty plea, you should file the jury trial request yourself and pay for it.

No not under any circumstance elect a trial by judge. Denfense lawyers call that a “slow motion guilty plea.” You’ll soon learn that judges work for the same side as the prosecutors. So do the public defenders, but they can serve your purpose for the time being.

In a future article I’ll discuss what to do with public defenders.

UPDATE: Deaf blind judge gives Shadoe Garner 75 DAYS JAIL for possession of Wicca ritual athame and for littering.


DENVER, COLORADO- Shadoe Garner was found guilty today by a judge who didn’t blink at the public defender having no time to prepare, at discovery evidence not being provided to defense, at prosecutors withholding half their witnesses and videos (depriving the defense of knowing what might have be exculpable evidence), at being forwarned that a 35C Appeal was virtually guaranteed, and despite two police videos making very clear that Shadoe’s rights were violated, if only the judge had ears and eyes to see it.

The courtroom staff should have seen trouble brewing earlier in the morning when an attorney announced “the court will call Emanuel Wilson” and the old judge replied “I’m sorry, did you say Javier Lopez?” Uh, no.

Judge Frederick Rogers is a dead ringer for filmmaker John Huston, with none of the latter’s sense of humor. He tried a case before Shadoe’s, a young black vet with PTSD who was awarded a large settlement for a traumatic brain injury and who went off on his lawyers for witholding the award in a conservatorship. The judge found him guilty of making threats, however exaggerated, giving no allowances for his mental disability.

In Shadow’s case, Judge Rogers denied all motions to wave speedy trial, and declared he wouldn’t suppress the prosecution’s evidence based on the defense not having seen it. The judge wanted to see it presented first so he could assess its worth to the charges before considering suppression. Essentially, motion quashed.

The evidence wound up supporting Shadoe’s claims, that he identified himself, that he had served papers on Commander Tony Lopez, not littered, and that the “weapon” he carried was a religious talisman, if also a knife.

“My name is Shadoe Garner”
Three times on the video Shadoe Garner told officers his name when asked, both first name and last. He even provided his date of birth. From that the officers could have run a check on his identity without having to take him into custody for not having an ID. The officers even testified that they heard Shadoe say all that. But the judge only heard the defendant say “Shadows” and so felt the defendant was being evasive. Officers can even be heard on the video using Shadoe’s name as they talked to him!

Instead of cross-checking his info in their system, the officers took Shadoe from the crowd and that operation required a pat down. Before doing that, Officer Montathong asked Shadoe, “do you have a weapon or anything that could poke me?”

Weapon vs. Athame
“Yes” Shadoe replied, I have an Athame” and he gestured to his left thigh. The officers retrieved what they alerted each other was a knife. Shadow countered “It’s not a knife, it’s an athame, a ceremonial object.” He repeated that explanation several times on the video.

It might be relevant to point out that Shadoe was wearing his robe, a distinct purple garment which officers would recognize over and over on the 16th Street Mall or at Stoner Hill, where the Dirty Kids live.

Shadow thinks of himself as a Wiccan druid, and the ceremonial dagger he refers to as an athame is as ritualistic as his robe. Shadoe told me he had ground-scored the robe weeks before. It’s a hooded cape that can only be described as a theatrical vestment.

The “knife” too was theatrical. The prosecutor constantly pointed out that its length was longer twelve inches, much too long for a pocket knife. It’s length was more like a kitchen knife or, more obviously, a SWORD.

The weapon pulled from a sheath strapped to Shadoe’s leg was a 12″ bowie knife manufactured by “Force Recon”. Sargent Martinez recognized it from his Marine days as a military combat weapon.

The First Amendment isn’t a pass to COSPLAY in urban environments, but a homeless person doesn’t have much choice about what possessions they can leave at home and which they have to carry.

Both Sargent Martinez and Officer Montathong said Shadoe was wearing a trench coat, even though the videos depicted the robe clearly. What trench coat has a hood? The officers stuck to their story because it’s regulation they say to suspect protesters wearing trench coats. Officer Montathong said protesters “always hide pee containers under their trench coats to throw at police.”

I’ll note here the officers removed Shadoe from the protest because they felt unsafe in the crowd. Sargent Martinez was calling the shots that day and testified the crowd numbered “five to six” peaceful, seated, protesters. Though the police numbered twenty, Martinez didn’t feel safe. For backup Commander Lopez called in Metro SWAT too.

“I am a process server”
Shadow repeated multiple times that he was a “process server”. No one questioned the officers whether it was customary to charge process servers with littering.

Shadow was arrested for littering because he served Commander Tony Lopez with an 11-page notice of a federal lawsuit. Lopez refused to take the document so Shadoe thrust it at his chest and it bounced to the sidewalk. “Cite him for littering” barked Lopez. Officers gave Shadoe a chance to pick up his “trash” or be ticketed for littering. Shadoe replied that he couldn’t retreive the papers, they now belonged to Lopez. Lopez had been officially served, documented by a witness video. If Shadoe took back the papers the transaction would be undone. As he explained this, Shadoe cast aside a cigarette butt. “Pick that up” ordered the officers, “or you’ll be cited for littering.” Shadoe dutifully bent and retrieved the cigarette butt. He wasn’t about to be given a ticket for littering.

He didn’t have an ID. Like many homeless, he’d lost it in a previous interaction with DPD. The police confiscate IDs from Denver homeless, probably as a deterrant to further contact. But Shadoe gave his name when asked, even though the police inquiry was unwarranted.

Appeal
The next step will be for Shadoe to appeal, but he’s got to do it from jail. The public defender’s office has to meet with Shadoe before the deadline expires and that’s not a likely priority for them. His next hearing is August 22 in District Court, division 5G. Shadoe is charged with felony weapons possession on account of a second offense, his persisting in carrying a ceremonial athame.

Shadoe’s single request to Judge Rogers, as the judge considered his sentencing, was to ask that the weapon not be destroyed, as called for by Denver ordinance. The city objected but the judge ruled that the evidence was required for Shadoe’s appeal. By his plea, Shadoe demonstrated that the evidence means more to him than a mere knife.

Shadoe has a very good case. The DPD abused his Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search and seizure. There’s the First Amendment right to his religion practices. And there’s the right to effective counsel which Shadoe was denied.

Judge Rogers has made a lot of work for the courts above him. Who knows how many other defendants are going to be jailed before judicial superiors figure out that Rogers has got to go.

HOW TO GET OUT OF JURY DUTY

[Disclaimer: Jury duty is a service we owe our fellow citizens. It is a critical community responsibility. That said. If you really absolutely can’t. This instructional allows you to make an alternative civic contribution.]
 
Here’s how to get out of jury duty. GUARANTEED to work. I just did it and you can too, without getting into trouble, without feeling like you’re not being a responsible member of society, and while providing a laudable service to other prospective jurors in the courtroom, not least of all to the defendant.

Please note: This doesn’t work for civil trials. To get yourself out of adjudicating a civil dispute you need a pressing previous engagement. For criminal cases, this single spoken line will make defense attorneys love you but more to the point, city prosecutors will immediately wipe you from the list and hope you never show up to pee in their jury pool again.

I’m talking about being an apostle for “jury nullification”. That’s two words, and they’re fully legal. But please, please, do explain them or you really will be copping out. You have a constitutionally guaranteed right to talk about jury nullification. And where better than in front of prospective jurors about to take responsibility for a defendant’s fate?

Here’s how it works. Every jury selection involves “voir dire”, where attorneys question potential jurors to weed out difficult ones. During every voir dire the prosecution will ask “Is there anyone here who cannot follow what the judge instructs you to do?”

Take a deep breath, raise your hand, that’s your cue.

The prosecutor will likely elaborate, to pretend you may have misheard. “Does anyone think they don’t have to reach a verdict based on the judge’s expert instructions?”

The prosecutor may have already explained that jurors are often surprised to find their own interpretation of the law at odds with that of the judge. Regardless of personal feelings, the prosecutor will insist, jurors must weigh the evidence according to the law AS INSTRUCTED.

Your hand is still raised. You answer:

“Not really. The legal principle of jury nullification holds that it’s a citizen’s responsibility to consider their conscience in whether or not a law is applied or how it is applied.”

A foolish prosecutor will ask you to explain, and you can.

“Jury Nullification is the only way that people have changed repressive laws in this country. The decision to discard unfair or abusive laws is made by juries who refuse to enforce them. Jurors, for example, who came to feel that maybe it shouldn’t be illegal for slaves to run away from slave owners.”

At this point you are essentially contaminating the jury with a very subversive idea. Though you’ll be eliminated, the concept will hang in the back of the other jurors’ heads. If the prosecutor wants to hear more, or wants to debate, let them have it.

“The constitution guarantees us all the right to a trial by a jury of our peers. Not a jury composed of judges. Of peers. That’s us. Common citizens, like the defendant. A jury of peers are meant to provide parity against an abusive justice system or government.”

Very likely the jury orientation video or presentation in the jury assembly room will have mentioned that Thomas Jefferson considered the right to be a juror more valuable than the right to vote. You can invoke their own propaganda.

“If Thomas Jefferson valued the individual power of a juror over the power to vote in elections, you can bet he was talking about more than just walking into a jury box, doing what the judge told you, and walking out.”

At this point a prosecuting attorney might try to ostracize you by asking “does anyone else agree with this person?” Most will submissively shake their heads and frown, but quick thinking prospects will raise their hands too. If they do, and if they have grasped what you are saying, they too will be excused. You have essentially offered everyone the chance to escape this jury if they want to.

At worse, the slower thinkers will revisit your words as they spend the next hours and days getting to know the defendant. Very likely the prosecutor will be up at the bench, motioning for a fresh pool of jurors.

There is of course more you can say. You need only respond to what is asked, so as not to look like you’re being deliberate. Relax, the defense team will have their turn and they are CERTAIN to revisit the subject you’ve raised. The judge might prevent them from letting you ramble on, but make the most of it until that happens.

“Pot laws had to be relaxed when juries stopped convicting smokers of what they considered to be victimless crimes. Judges didn’t do that. Juries did.”

“And think about it: should poor people really be prosecuted if they have to shoplift food to feed themselves? Shouldn’t that be for a jury of poor people to decide?”

“And what if you realize that our prisons and jails are too full, and certainly too full of a disproportionate number of people of color? If police and judges are going to keep targeting certain people for convictions, how will we ever empty the jails? Thoughtful jurors can do it!”

“And the joy if it is, it only takes one juror on the jury to stand up for the defendant. Guilty verdicts require a unanimous vote. Just one juror can deprive the state of a conviction. That one juror who saves the defendant’s neck can be YOU!”

Don’t feel bad if the defense attorney doesn’t exploit you as much as you’d like. Keep in mind the defense attorney is incurring the wrath of the judge the longer you go on.

All US lawyers are forbidden to talk about jury nullification unless the subject comes up. Of course a defense attorney cannot ask a jury to disregard the law, but once you’ve brought up the legal concept, it’s their golden opportunity to kick the idea around.

Was Stanford rapist’s punishment lax or are standard sentences too punitive?

I’m not sure the length of prison sentences is a measure of society’s repudiation of rape culture. If severity of punishment was a gage of our social objectives, property crimes would carry the greatest stigma. I have no sypathy, not even empathy, for rapists, nor frat boys, nor white macho crap. I think convicted rapist Brock Turner is a glaring example of white male privilege. He may also be the embodiment of its most casual excesses, and his six month sentence is an embarassment to a justice system that throws away the key for less white perpetrators. However I do loath how easily the public is made to cheer for greater punishment in lieu of a more humane perspective. Apprehending a live criminal, as opposed to killing him like so many others, should not prompt calls for equal mistreatment. Rapists should be chemically castrated, fine. There’s no evidence that longer prison terms helps reduce sexual assaults, so why automatically call for more harsh punishment?

Judges need to see we are watching

Today 5/9/16, a small defense attorney, Katayoun Donnelly, with a powerful voice, stood up for Mark Iannicelli, an activist. She faced off against Judge Theresa Spahn in courtroom 3F of Denver’s municipal court.

Many of us have been crushed by the power and weight of the State when we become a defendant in their Kangaroo Kourts, and often we have faced that power with a attorney who we at times thought was working for the other side.

Today was much different, as I sat watching this little woman with a booming voice defend Mark. She was forceful and courageous with a strong spirit for justice. She was not intimidated. And I don’t believe the words “Back down” is in her vocabulary.

When May 31, 2016 at 10:00 AM rolls around, I’ll be there in courtroom 3F.

As I sat there watching it unfold, I was reminded of a time when 43 people filled a courtroom on my behalf, and the difference it made in my case.

I believe that it is inherent of us who have sat there as a defendant, to give back to someone like Mark, who has given so much of his time on social issues, and support such a worthy attorney that is rare and hard to find.

It is my hope that you will be there with us as this small woman with the powerful voice for justice cries out on Mark’s behalf. It would be wonderful to fill every seat in that courtroom and send a message to this judge “We Are Watching.”

There will be fireworks, you don’t want to miss it.

Human rights for even Anders Breivik

In retrospect, awarding the newly elected Barack Obama a Nobel Peace Prize was about as smartly ambitious as it gets. Everyone knows humanitarians don’t do it for the reward. A Nobel Prize is wasted if there’s not some eligible sociopath who might be influenced with the pressure to behave themselves. President Obama’s Nobel medal was an experiment in paying it forward. Who knows how much more bloodthirsty Obama might have gotten with his drones had not the Nobel committee tried to extort him with its higher expectations? The Nobel award givers took a lot of ribbing for their foolishness from those of us who weren’t idealist enough. AND SO IT COMES AS NO SURPRISE when Norway’s mass murdering overachiever Anders Breivik sued his jailers for abusing his human rights because he wasn’t getting sufficient visitors in his cushy prison suite, that the Norwegian supreme court would rule Breivik was right.

Of course they did. If you’re not going to give a death sentence to a crazed bigot who guns down 76 children, if you’re not going to throw him in a hole but instead give him a spacious accommodation, if instead of a life sentence you let him pursue university studies and limit his incarceration to twenty some years, then you don’t want to isolate your prisoner from human contact if it might appear even as a semblance of solitary confinement. Because lesser cultures do that.

Lesser capitalist flagship states isolate, execute and torture. I so appreciate that Norway wants to set a high bar, but I despair that the land of Guantanamo and waterboarding and indefinite detention and ILLEGAL detention and rendition and extrajudicial assassination and no habeus corpus can’t even see this bar to reach it.

Denver jury convicts homeless man of trespassing on their yuppy lifestyle. DJ Razee’s tiny house idea was too big.

Delbert J. Razee
DENVER, COLORADO- In the witness stand Delbert “DJ” Razee spoke eloquently about the Tiny House movement and Resurrection Village, a local experiment sponsored by advocates Denver Homeless Out Loud to suggest one remedy for the house-less of Colorado. Razee’s lawyer Frank Ingham made fools of the Denver Housing Authority stooge and four police officers who testified against the chronically homeless English Lit grad. Razee was charged with trespass on public land, on an empty city block which was supposed to have been used for affordable housing. Razee was among ten homeless activists arrested one night in November for refusing to vacate several very small structures they’d erected on property which the DHA was converting from a community garden to gentrified condos. After two days of trial, a jury of well-housed peers found Razee guilty, lest others of his untouchable caste darken their doorsteps or the vacant lots near them. On Thursday March 3rd at 8:30am DJ Razee reports to Judge Beth Faragher for sentencing.

It was an amazing trial. While his compatriots sought continuances or plea deals, DJ held his ground and never waived speedy trial. DJ was impatient to put the Denver Housing Authority on the stand. Their representative Ryan Tobin blew off a February 3rd subpoena, but when DJ’s lawyer Frank Ingham cross-examined Tobin on the 22nd, Tobin incriminated himself more than Razee. Ryan Tobin was the DHA goon who pressed charges against the activists for trespassing on the public lot opposite his $650K home. Tobin also sought a protection order against one of the activists, which restrained that person from approaching not just Tobin but the entire public lot. Can one do that? The protection order didn’t come up at DJ’s trial.

DHA
The DHA is a quasi-municipal entity which handles city property meant to accomodate lower income residents. The DHA is Denver’s second largest property owner. The city blocks at 26th and Lawrence used to be low income housing but have been razed for years. More recently a portion was used for a community garden but the DHA was evicting the urban farmers to sell the block to a high rise developer.

The logic offered was that DHA could use the proceeds of land speculation to build more affordable housing elsewhere. That strategy might impress business people but it’s clearly absurd. Instead of being a counterbalance to gentrification, this housing authority thinks its role is to be a tool for displacement.

Tobin’s testimony will benefit all the Tiny House defendants, depending on their juries. DJ is only the first of the arrestees to be brought to trial. Tobin admitted he had never clearly expressed who had the authority to issue a trespass order. Tobin also couldn’t say who precisely was present when he made his initial announcement to the group, although he claimed it was “everyone”. This was a chief contention of the city attorneys.

How about an sidebar for activists, as a sort of debrief:

On Tobin’s first visit, someone among the activists called EVERYONE together to listen to his announcement, austensibly to have a dialog. As a matter of practice this was regretable. First, because the action was already underway and there was no expectation that dialog could or should redirect the action. Second, it presented exactly what an authority issuing a formal notice needed: everyone in one place to BE GIVEN NOTICE.

Two, the city prosecutors used a video recording of the event, made by the activists themselves, to prove that the trespassers had received notice. While the taped discussion was not so clear, and the many subsequent announcements over police bullhorns were garbled, it didn’t help that the videographer offered narration to make what was being said explicit to viewers and bystanders. Offering, for example: “so basically we’ve been given notice that if we don’t leave the cops will come to arrest us.” Which alas is the confirmation prosecutors need that lawful orders were understood.

Although the city sought to incriminate Razee with the video, the footage provided wonderful context for the larger issue, the paradox faced by the homeless, had the jury been receptive. It also captured Ryan Tobin’s cavalier attitude about housing inequities. When he was asked by the group “Move along to where?” Tobin made this thoughtless suggestion: “Where did you come from?” Boos from his audience at the scene were echoed by the viewers in the courtroom.

Ryan Tobin couldn’t identify DJ at all, neither that he’d given DJ notice to leave, nor that he’d ever seen DJ before in his life. DJ described Tobin’s failure to recognize him in a FB post:

For six weeks, from October 23rd until December 9th, I shoveled the walks, carted away the trash, and resided at Resurrection Village at the same location as Sustainability Park, and Ryan Tobin who lives directly across the street from the property, testified that he has never seen my face. Of course, he hadn’t- I am one of the invisible people who is a criminal in the eyes of the housed, and the law.

DPD
The testimony of four DPD officers was also self-damning. Neither commander, nor lieutenants, nor arresting officer could fully justify why they deployed in combat gear. Even the jurors were set back by the militarized atmosphere, the helicopter overhead, and the overabundance of cops for a TRESPASS INFRACTION. About the helicopter, a lieutenant claimed she called in a mere “fly-by” but police video proved it hovered for nearly an hour.

One amusing aspect for many of us in the audience, was how the DPD witnesses would always refer to the offending activists as “Occupiers”. Denver Homeless Out Loud, in its need to gain cooperation with civic and law enforcement entities, takes great pains to distance itself from its roots in Occupy Denver. At any demonstration in Denver, an “Occupy” presence, usually merely the familiar OD faces, always means an escalated police escort and unseen armored-up reserves. While it may have been inaccurate to label the Tiny House trespassers as occupiers, it’s true that when protesters are holding their ground in Denver, refusing police orders, they are occupying. Like the Black Bloc, it’s not a who, it’s a tactic.

Attending the trials of activists is worth it if only to hear the testimony of the police. You learn what they’re trained to do, what their objectives are, and what they think you’re doing. Most officers, even commanders, think we need a permit to demonstrate. HA!

The first four witnesses could not place DJ at the scene, but the arresting officer finally fingered the accused. Asked if he could identify DJ, he pointed to the defendant’s table and described DJ’s courtroom attire for the record. You have to wonder if police witnesses look to the defendant’s chair by default, without regard to what they remember. How could they remember so many arrestees, months after the incident? I’m guessing that anyone sitting in DJ’s seat would have been ID’d as DJ.

I pose this question because of how DJ’s arresting officer was allowed to identify DJ on the crime scene video. Instead of letting the video play through and asking the officer if DJ appeared on the video and where, DJ’s prosecutors froze the video when the camera lingered on DJ and then asked the officer to ID him. The defense counsel objected vehemently and when overruled he motioned for a mistrial. So the judge reconsidered and granted Ingham’s motion. She then asked the jury to disregard the officer’s response and she made the prosecutor play the video again without prompting the officer, even though of course now he knew at which frame DJ appeared.

The jury
The entire trial was so farcical and so mercenary considering the inconsequence of the charge, that audience members were certain the jury was empathic to DJ and the victimization of Denver’s homeless. Nope. We knew from Voir Dire that the jury included an entrepreneur, a trader, and an inheritance consultant. All but one of the NPR listeners had been eliminated but we hoped she’d be a holdout. It was not to be. When the jury emerged with its verdict, the foreman carrying the written decision was the fratboy day trader.

Fratboy had been the juror submitting written questions to supplement what neither attorney had asked. We knew from the bent of his inquiries that he was playing a role that defense attorneys fear, a self-deputized investigator for the prosecutor, filling in the gaps of the testimony, seeking, if even unconsciously, to eliminate the “reasonable doubt” which is supposed to remain as a reason to aquit. That’s why defense attorneys generally object to Colorado’s rule allowing jurors to interject with their own questions to witnesses. On the plus side, such questions do offer both sides a hint of where those jurors are leaning.

As Denver gentrifies, it should be no surprise that juries will represent the affluent more than the demographics being displaced. DJ’s jury had absolutely zero concern for punishing a homeless man for his elegant protest gesture or for his unresolved circumstance. They laughed and made no eye contact with the audience as they turned their backs to return to their homes and leave a homeless man in greater jeopardy with the penal system.

DJ was not tried by a jury of his peers. Can the homeless get justice in the US court system? American juries are racist and classist, but you’re unlikely to find someone more untouchable to jurors than someone who is dispossessed.

As activists, we’ve got to do something about these Denver juries. Advocating for jury nullification is not enough. Denver’s urban social climbers need a welcome-to-the-community brochure, or swift kicks in the ass until they acknowledge there’s a brotherhood of man.

David, Goliath, and Eric Brandt


I must confess, I’m no fan of the Bible, I’ve never understood how a man’s lips are moving and it is called the word of god. The same is true with the written word, the pen is in the hand of the human. But there are stories in the bible with a powerful message. One such story is of a small shepherd boy who goes down into the valley armed with a slingshot and a few small stones. The story of Eric Brandt.

Eric Brant went down into the valley of the 16th street mall and waited there for the giant to come to him. Eric had baited his trap with a donut, he knew of the giant’s hunger for donuts.

The giant lard ass cop came into the valley astride his motorcycle, he meant to dispatch Eric to the nearest jail. This lard ass cop had with him the power of the prosecutor, the court and a kangaroo judge.

Eric had only the truth, a small sling shot and one small smooth stone, attorney David Lane who was with the gift of words.

The giant raised his mighty sword to slay Eric. With one smooth motion Eric brought forth his smooth stone (David Lane) and sent the giant to the ground in a matter of moments.

The Moral of this story: When you come into Eric’s valley, you better bring more than the power of the state or he will send your donut munching ass back to yo mom-ma, minus yo head and ego.

Occupy Denver’s Caryn Sodaro was rail-roaded again by Denver courts


DENVER, COLORADO- Weld County had twice declined to remit jailed Occupy Denver activist Caryn Sodaro to the Denver County courts for outstanding cases, but this week authorities conspired to bus Caryn to court without giving public notice. Instead of being greeted by a room full of supporters who had twice turned up to cheer for her as she faced contrived and punitive charges, Caryn was whisked before Judges Rodarte in 3F and Farrenger in 3H. Alone and no doubt demoralized, Caryn plead guilty to both obstruction and making threats, accepting concurrent sentences of 150 days. We haven’t yet uncovered the paper trail for her off-leash citation. but the Lindsey Flanigan Star Chamber probably threw that at her too.

Caryn’s cases had been continued to the week of December 7, but the criminal justice complex broke the rules, Caryn, and us too. Caryn Sorado had been unreachable for a week at the jail in Greeley. No one had been able to reach her. Inquiries had just been made to her case manager.

Caryn could not have know that last week Monk beat the obstruction charge.

And Caryn never made the threat of which she was accused, in fact it was the reverse. The addict who made the complaint had been evicted from our protest encampment by Caryn. The accuser hoped to get a protection order to keep Caryn away from the protest while she, the accuser, moved back in. Caryn had intended to repudiate the charge. Actually we were all certain the addict would not turn up in court.

Instead Caryn followed some court employee’s advice and doubled her jail stay-cation. Friends are planning a road trip to Greeley for a visitation and maybe cacophonous serenade, not to mention, desperate apologies for having been conned by the justice system.

Tragically a number of us were flyering outside the courthouse on Wednesday precisely when Caryn was being railroaded inside. We only learned of her appearance when checking on another schedule anomaly that afternoon, a scheduling ambush actually.

We’re coming to understand that the Denver Sheriffs play underhanded shell-games with detainees to maximize the inconvenience for inmates and loved ones alike.

The good news is that today we filed two complaints with the Office of the Independent Monitor directed at Denver Sheriff malfeasance. Both are cases of warrantless detention. Dead-nuts, incarceration without the authority to do it. More filings are in the works addressing bond-setting abuses and arbitrary release delays. Now we’ll throw Caryn’s habeas violation in for good measure. Occupy Denver may be going without Caryn’s loud angry voice, but we’re still hitting the Blue Meanies hard, and we’re as unpopular as ever.

All in a day’s work

Sept arrest on Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse plaza
10TH US CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS, DENVER, COLORADO- By 9:00 this morning I had been arrested by federal police for asserting a person’s right to enter a federal courthouse and observe an open court proceeding where the federal government denies any person without a valid state or federal ID.

Not only is there no requirement to carry ID or papers in this free country, but any person, regardless of who they may be or where they may have been born, has the right to observe open court.

If an ID is required to observe court, then vast numbers of people are being barred from a public part of government by the people.

This is unacceptable and is nothing short of justice by the elite, for the elite, and on the backs of the second class people.

David Lane was of course nearby and I was promptly unarrested and we got what we needed to bring this issue to the courts to test. I was uncuffed and released without new charges but I was still not allowed to attend court.

I finished with my planned arrest by 9:30.

Denver jury finds camp protester NOT GUILTY of tent erection (obstruction).


DENVER, COLORADO- Andrian “Monk” Brown was observed on HALO camera “erecting a tent” on the spot he’d been arrested two days before inside a similar tent. He was arrested escaping the scene of the crime and or walking his dog around the block. This week Monk was tried for obstruction, the deputy city attorney prosecuted the case herself but was unable to overcome the jury’s inclinations that the charges were “silly”. Monk’s defense attorney rested her case without presenting a thing. Essentially the closing argument was this: did a three-man tent obstruct anyone in a large public plaza? NOT GUILTY.

The jury had many questions of their own for the prosecution’s witness, District Two Commander Anthony Lopez. The judge allowed none of them. One of the questions asked “what was written on the tent?” In fact the tent was decorated with many slogans and constitued part of the political protest in front of Denver’s municipal courthouse.

The protest had been going for three days, twentyfour-seven. The protesters had won a federal injunction preventing the city from arresting them for the pretext of “jury tampering”. The protest was pushing up against the “urban camping ban” ordinance although the city refused to cite that infraction, instead confiscating the “encumbrances” of activists and charging them with obstruction.

Many “evictions” later, several activists are now burdened with cases of “obstruction” and Monk’s verdict offers hope that Denver juries will see through the city’s pretext.

An important lesson learned during Monk’s trial was the opportunity offered by the police arrest video. While issues of “jury nullification” or the camping ban or the right to assemble or the police state would be impossible to sneak past a city attorney’s objections, talking about them calmly over a megaphone during the police raid will give the jury a full uninterrupted twenty minutes of background context with which to reveal what “encumbrance” the city is really worried about.

Denver Detention Center a user’s guide

eric verlo denver detention center sheriff county jail
The Denver Detention Center came under scrutiny after the county had to pay out over $6 million to the family of street preacher Marvin Booker who was killed by sheriff’s deputies while in custody. Reforms may or may not have been implemented; the deputies were neither charged nor dismissed; and the facilities remain defiant about disrespecting your rights. I had the opportunity to visit the DDC recently and I can report the experience was miserable. While the public often thinks that inmates deserve the worse the better, a county jail houses suspects not convicts, protected by the 14th Amendment from punishment before a fair trial.

As a detainee not an offender, you are not supposed to suffer handcuffs tightened like tourniquets, left fastened for hours as you wait in isolation cells. Those innocent until proven guilty should not be made to endure sleep deprivation in the booking area as you wait between EIGHT OR TWELVE hours for your fingerprints to “clear”, waiting supposedly for Interpol in another time zone to pop a new roll of thermal paper into their fax machine.

Although a bond may be listed next to your charges on your public file viewable through the Sheriff’s online inmate search, your do not become bondable until your fingerprints clear.

If you become bondable, but someone hasn’t reached the bonding desk one hour before your scheduled court appearance, you must wait not just until court, but until after the entire docket has cleared and the paperwork is put into the system.

Once your bond is posted, the release procedure can last up to eight hours. If the magistrate checked a box on your documents requiring “pretrial services” your release will be delayed until the next morning. County workers explain that these delays are not unlawful detention but are due to regular computer inefficiencies.

I haven’t even started on the jail experience.

Subverting the justice system with Jury Nullification: too radical for radicals?

Here’s our spiel for those burned out on the reformist treadmill. Jury Nullification is not about reforming the justice system or asking power to temper its abuse. This is about convincing ordinary people that as jurors they can upset the whole racist classist for-profit applecart.

Ordinary citizens serving their jury duty can refuse to be par† of the system which funds municipal coffers and supplies the prison system. They can listen to the jury instruction and the legalese box outside of which they are restrained from thinking, and they can say no.

When jurors refuse to convict, prosecutors can’t press charges and cops can’t make arrests.

Jury Nullification doesn’t reform law so much as explode it from within. Not via the legislator, nor civil servant, but through ordinary conscientious people.

Jury Nullification has the potential for radical change. When more people figure this out, these juries will be the pitchforks and torches that riot police can’t stop.

You want to make Black Lives Matter, put them in the hands of subversive jurors.

You want to defeat Denver DA Mitch Morrissey? Load his juries with people who don’t support him.

Undermine the cases authorities bring against people, don’t become preoccupied with prosecuting cops. That’s just reinforcing the power of the prosecutor.

Take away the authority of the police state by denying them guilty verdicts. Acquit arrestees so they can sue for false arrest. Acquit accused people of color on principle. Defeat the racial incarceration problem by halting the conviction of minorities.

End the war on drugs. The war is over if you want it. Just say no to one more mandatory sentence. Tell the judge and prosecutors and your fellow people that the war is over.

Judge rules Denver Police harassment was not in contempt of injunction, but he doesn’t know the four fifths of it.


DENVER, COLORADO- US District Court Judge William Martinez found action taken by the Denver Police Department against an Occupy Denver protest to be NOT IN CONTEMPT of his federal injunction to halt arrests of Jury Nullification pamphleteers, although the judge based his ruling on only the first DPD raid, not the four next raids that happened in the interim. Obviously justice system reform needs JUDGE NULLIFICATION literature for jurists whose purview is hindered by purposefully limited scope. Judge Martinez heard only about the DPD confiscating a canopy, he wasn’t allowed to consider the eviction of our tents which included four arrests, the second seizure of our canopy, the loss of another tent with two more arrests, and the raid on three more tents, pictured above. The police based their actions on the activists lacking a permit from the Denver Manager of Public Works although no such permit exists beside which that manager’s authority doesn’t extend to the Lindsey Flanigan Plaza. Judge Martinez wasn’t informed of any of that.

BOMBSHELL: Denver courthouse anticipates black folks will be upset when Dexter Lewis gets the death penalty unlike white James Holmes.

DENVER, COLORADO- In federal court on Friday the chief of security of the Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse testified that recent restrictions on protest activity around the building were enacted in anticipation of black community unrest at the likely death sentence for accused murderer Dexter Lewis, who is African American. In view of the fact that James Holmes, the Aurora theater shooter, is white and did not received the death penalty. This story was more likely contrived to cover for the courthouse’s ongoing effort to curtail the distribution of jury nullification pamphlets. But since they brought it up… I should think the Denver community would not want to disappoint authorities with respect to public indignation at our usual broken racist justice system.

BREAKING: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey to be subpoenaed in jury tampering case of Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt!


DENVER, COLORADO- Denver Judge Johnny C. Barajas wouldn’t produce Eric Brandt, who’s still being held in county jail without bond, he wouldn’t commit to joining Brandt’s case with that of Mark Iannicelli, he wouldn’t commit to granting a preliminary hearing, but he has allowed Attorneys David Lane and Lonn Heymann to subpoena all complainants, including Denver District Attorney Mitchell R. Morrissey!
 
The target of a recent recall effort, the Denver DA won’t indict killer cops or sheriff’s deputies, but Morrissey and his cronies in the DPD will have to show up August 31 at 8:30am to account for the abridged First Amendment rights of Messrs Brandt and Ianicelli.

Denver’s 2015 Punch and Judy Show

Come One, Come All!
Admission: FREE FREE FREE!
Where: Denver Municipal Court
When: Tues, Aug 11, 2015, 1PM.
Featuring MARK IANNICELLI in his premiere performance and David Lane as his big stick.
 
As the drama unfolds, Mark will be charge with seven felony counts of jury tampering for passing free information to the citizen of Denver. David Lane, a seasoned defender of human rights, will protect Mark from the Judge and District Attorney, played by two Kangaroos. You won’t want to miss the final outcome of this grand performance by the city of Denver.

Clarence Darrow and Jury Nullification

Clarence Darrow’s closing arguments in Leopold & Loeb resonates today in the Denver Urban Camping Ban and Jury Nullification Trials.
 
“You can trace it all down through the history of man. You can trace the burnings, the boilings, the drawings and quarterings, the hangings of people in England at the crossroads, carving them up and hanging them, as examples for all to see.”

Darrow continued:

“We can come down to the last century when nearly two hundred crimes were punishable by death, and by death in every form; not only hanging that was too humane, but burning, boiling, cutting into pieces, torturing in all conceivable forms.

I know that every step in the progress of humanity has been met and opposed by prosecutors, and many times by courts. I know that when poaching and petty larceny was punishable by death in England, juries refused to convict. They were too humane to obey the law; and judges refused to sentence. I know that when the delusion of witchcraft was spreading over Europe, claiming its victims by the millions, many a judge so shaped his cases that no crime of witchcraft could be punished in his court. I know that these trials were stopped in America because juries would no longer convict.

Gradually the laws have been changed and modified, and men look back with horror at the hangings and the killings of the past. What did they find in England? That as they got rid of these barbarous statutes, crimes decreased instead of increased; as the criminal law was modified and humanized, there was less crime instead of more. I will undertake to say, Your Honor, that you can scarcely find a single book written by a student, and I will include all the works on criminology of the past, that has not made the statement over and over again that as the penal code was made less terrible, crimes grew less frequent”.

Now in the year 2015, in Denver, Colorado we arrest a man for doing nothing more than informing the citizen of their rights, committing the crime of passing out a pamphlet explaining their rights as a juror. Mark Lanicelli was arrested and jailed for this crime.

The police arrest a man, woman or child, that have already suffered the humiliation of being homeless for the crime of falling asleep in public, something that every human must do. They call this law the “Camping Ban”. Along with being homeless, they are thrown into jail and given a criminal record.

The above two examples are crimes committed by the city of Denver against the citizens.

These crimes will end only when the people of Denver find their voice and say no to the prosecutors with Jury Nullification.

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!

The Death Penalty

In May of 1960, I was place in the “Hole” for ten days, at that time they would feed you a bowl of spinach once a day. The “Hole” was in cell house three, which also housed death row. When the guard came to my cell, I refused the spinach. He told me that he bet I’d be eating it by the end of ten days. Directly on the tier above me was death row. One of the prisoners on death row (David F. Early) over-heard my conversation with the guard.

At meal time, David would share his meals with me; he had a string made from his mattress and would lower part of his meal down to me.

On Aug. 12th 1961, David was gassed in the gas chamber.

For those who would cry out, that the death penalty is a deterrent, I would say: we’ve had a few hundred years of this “deterrent” and it doesn’t seem to be working.

My opposition to the death penalty does not come from the kindness or compassion that David showed to me, but rather from the fact that I believed we as a society were more cruel to put a person in a small concrete room and then day after day tell them we were going to kill them.

It seemed to me then as it does now that our crime is far greater than theirs.

It was also a lesson for me about kindness and compassion; it’s possible to find even on death row.