Greenfield Justice Needs More Time…

This morning Ademo Freeman and I had court in Greenfield, MA.

As we approached the courthouse, our bud William said to our group “Hurry up guys. Time for justice!” trying to get us through the doors. A bailiff, stationed outside, responded laughed and said, “You’ve came to the wrong place.”

He was right. Below is an overview.

Ian Freeman was cool enough to film using Qik (he informed the court of his intention when he arrived this morning). Links to the first three are linked in the text and his fourth is embedded below.

First video (~1min)
We shuffled into a small courtroom. Standing by the door, I overhead one exiting court employee tell an entering court employee to “be careful” because “there’s a mob in there.” That “mob” were all the awesome individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to join us – we counted 24 total from NH, MA and NY.

We were supposed to start at 8:45am. That came and went.

I took a couple of pictures of my friends. I was told that was forbidden. I asked if we were in a public building. I was told I was. You can guess where the convo went.

At 9:10 I approached the court employees and asked when we were getting started, noting that a lot of people took time out of their schedules to be present. I was told that we “may have to wait all day.” Friendly.

Soon after the judge ordered everyone save for Ademo and myself (and our buddies) to leave the court. (Later, when walking down the hall a friendly but discrete lawyer pulled me aside and noted that that action – telling some people to leave – may have violated the Constitution – not that that’s where I look for my rights but in case he’s correct per that text for those of you who do).

Second video (~3min)
Ademo was told that his case would be continued to February 18th since his lawyer wasn’t present (we were told that he hurt his hand on Saturday). Ademo noted that he had never made an agreement with the lawyer (randomly assigned at his arraignment on July 2nd) and that he wanted to proceed on his own.

I reiterated that I would not sign their paperwork and tried to communicate just how unaccountable Greenfield bureaucrats have been in providing me any information about our case specifically and about court and agency procedural practices generally.

Third video (~1min)
Apparently they didn’t like our responses. We were told to go wait in the hall so they could hear 15 other cases. Michele Seven asked if we had enough time to eat. She was told by a snarky bailiff: “Sorry, but I don’t have my crystal ball.”

The fourth video (~10min)
We were called back into the court. I inquired why our cases were at different points (Ademo had trial, I had pre-trial). Ademo restated that he wanted to proceed and that he’d not made any agreements with any lawyer. I was told I could not represent myself and they could not continue with my case until I signed their waiver. Ademo requested access to his property (camera, phone) still in their possession. Then the judge said “I’m gonna get off the bench” and we were told “February 18th” by multiple people and they tried to usher us out. We sought accountability and got none.

Thanks again to Ian for filming (check out just a few of his endeavors: Liberty Radio Network, Free Keene, Free Talk Live, Keene Activist Center).

All in all, they didn’t drop our charges, return our property or even provide us copies of the footage captured during our arrest. Instead, they ordered us to return on February 18th.

For more, see our short post-court Qik update, listen to the Jan. 10th episode of Free Talk Live hosted by Ian Freeman, Mark Edge and Michele Seven and watch RidleyReport’s “Judge Bans Laughter” and previous related posts Greenfield, MA PD Arrest & Intimidate Activists For Filming and My Name is Pete Eyre – My Docket Number Is 10.41.CR.11.41.

EPN

Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability.

Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation.

In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.

  • Justin

    Now that is the good ole “Justice” sytem that we have all come to love. If the police and the court can’t be held accountable how can real justice be served. No Victim, No Crime.

  • I would caution those involved in this case that the kind of behavior witnessed at the courthouse is common and often not of the judge’s making.

    The best way I can explain it is this: any system (medical, legal, corporate) has an established procedure. In the case of the law, the procedure is legal: meaning that a judge must follow that procedure or find themselves in danger of legal action.

    I assure you that everything that occurred was not to deny you your day in court, but rather to follow established procedure that keeps the judge behind the bench and out of trouble with the law.

    Further, because we have so many laws, they are broken by almost all of us every day. I guarantee that anyone reading this has broken a law today, without even knowing it. That’s the problem with government: it’s constantly passing laws you don’t know about.

    In a majority of cases, the law isn’t enforced unless a cop feels like they need to charge you with SOMETHING — so they pull out one of the many laws of which you’re ignorant.

    This places an enormous workload on the courts, which requires enormous paperwork for judges, thereby making it impossible for them to actually hold court.

    Even in court, the judge is constrained by law. In this case, there were probably several that required the judge to do what was done.

    What has unfortunately occurred is that law, once intended to bring justice, has now become a minefield. If you attempt to navigate it without an attorney — a person with a map of the minefield — you WILL be blown up.

    I would strongly advise the defendants to seek legal representation or face more continuances and/or an ultimate guilty verdict.

    It gives me no joy to say that, but having been around several courts over the years, I’ve found that the only way to have some success is by having an attorney to navigate the minefield for you. They have the map of the field: you don’t.

    The best (and most realistic) way to approach it is from the perspective of a procedure. Getting justice isn’t only about proving you’re right, it’s also about plugging into the established procedure. Being in the right isn’t enough if you’re not also following established procedure.

    You don’t know the established procedure. An attorney does. Get an attorney and you will be plugged into the established procedure. Only then will being right get you any verdict other than “guilty.”

  • Ogre

    Sadly, this experience just goes to continue to illustrate that no matter what you do, you’re going to be determined to be guilty. I won’t be surprised when, at some future court date, this judges gets annoyed at you two and throws you in jail because she wants to. Of course, I hope that doesn’t happen, but it won’t surprised me in the least. After a few days in jail, she’ll release you and sentence you to “time served,” and they’ll all be happy.

    Justice cannot be found in the legal system of America.

    Good try, thought, I have to admit. Hopefully someone watching will see the travesty that is the legal system.

  • charley hardman

    william stone, you’ve left enough psychological projection nibblets here for the discerning to get your angle: you suck as a pro se.

    some of us do not, and have a hard record to prove it. i find your groveling in the form of caution ridiculous. i’ve been “charged” twice with “criminal violations” threatening “fines” and “prison terms”. both handled entirely pro se, both a white flag from the state as a result. in my cases your admonition that an “attorney” (BTW, i was the attorney) is the only thing preventing a backfire was more opposed to truth than true. each case and combination of parasitic sociopaths has a different dynamic. your blanket “advice” is a joke, and potentially very harmful.

  • Catinthewall

    The case can’t continue until you sign a waiver?

    Let me get this straight, they’re going to continue to violate your rights until you ‘voluntarily’ give up those rights. What. The. Fuck.

  • captainelectroncaptainelect

    The comments of William Stone certainly illustrate why the USA is on its downhill slide. There are too many laws and regulations and programs and people on the government teat for freedom to be possible within the system any more. Stick a fork in it — it’s done.

  • I had a case six years ago here in Arkansas where I got a speeding ticket in 2003, paid part of it, forgot about it and then got pulled over over a year later. The cops almost arrested me but didn’t because the county where I got the ticket wouldn’t extradite me, but I was given a court date to appear at. I refused to sign the same kind of Waiver Of Right To Counsel that you two are “required” to sign. So the judge arbitrarily changed my plea from guilty to not guilty and set a trial for a month and a half later. Then he said “Now get out of my face or I’ll put you in jail !” I didn’t come back or give them another penny and so that county or court probably still has a warrant out for me. I saw online that judge died soon after that and was buried at a place called Devil’s Den, ironically.

    A lot of judges are just lawyers sitting on a throne and wearing a robe that imbues them with a super-ego and God complex. More than more court clerk has told me that the judge can do anything he wants!

  • Dan krals

    I wished the black guy smooched you all

  • Guy Fawkes

    I would say William Stone’s advice depends on the attorney. A bad/lazy attorney can do more harm than good. From what I’ve heard, most appointed attorneys have a large case load and are only interested in making plea bargains. An attorney like that is of zero use to Ademo or Pete, as they are not guilty of any crime and aren’t going to plea to bullshit charges. As for a really good attorney, that’s a whole ‘nother i$$ue.

  • Jenn

    I didn’t gather from Mr. Stone’s post that he was saying this type of system is ok, or that it is justified. He was merely making an observation based on his experience. I agree with a lot of it – the law is indeed designed to be (or because of lack of any design) like a minefield for the unsuspecting, and is a quagmire of incomprehensible mess. Even lawyers don’t have a grasp on all the laws. A civil litigation attorney who found himself criminally charged probably would only be slightly better off than someone with no legal experience. This is precisely the problem with the government constantly passing laws no one really knows about. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is, and unfortunately, many times getting an attorney is very helpful – although, obviously, like Guy says, it could also do more harm than good. The system isn’t set up to make things easy for the pro ses, so if one is not willing to devote a lot of time and effort into researching and defending themselves, it is not “groveling” to advise someone to seek an attorney. Why would a government ever make things that easy for its people? No matter how much you wish this is the case, it simply isn’t.

    Everyone is already forced to submit to this ridiculousness. We are already all forced to grovel. If someone doesn’t feel competent to represent themselves, retaining an attorney is not any more humiliating than what we are already subjected to anyways.

  • Jenn

    Sigh. Sometimes it really seems the system is a bad, bad joke.

  • I guess I should have been more clear:

    I do not support the current system of justice, nor the massive number of unnecessary laws that now encumber it.

    I simply acknowledge that it EXISTS. It is the system to which we are all bound, whether we like it or not.

    To attempt to obtain justice without engaging in that system is to virtually guarantee that it will steamroll right over you.

    Hence my urgent suggestion that the defendants retain legal council ASAP. I don’t LIKE it, but if they want to see justice prevail, they must have representation that understands how the system works and how to get justice from it. Simply walking into a courtroom and expecting justice is no longer enough.

  • Dawn

    Take your hat off when you’re inside…it’s using manners and a way of showing respect…maybe if you show respect, you’ll get respect.

  • charley hardman

    blanket advice to get a “lawyer” is wrong. assuming that regular people can’t figure out “the system” is wrong. blanket advice to not get a lawyer is wrong. wrote this on the subject years ago, and little’s changed except i’ve done more pro se, including the two “criminal” cases mentioned above. take tons of work and prep and wading through drivel, but far less than going to “law” school and participating in that racket. if low on cash and high on time, pro se should at least be considered. intelligently.

  • @Dawn – A court cop asked me to remove my hat. At that time I asked him if it were a law to do so, he said it wasn’t that it was only a matter or respect for the court/judge. I said in that case I’d rather leave it on. He then said, “have it your way, see where that gets you” and left.

    Had he waited for me to finish I would have stated that this court hasn’t shown me any respect therefore, I choose to leave my hat on.

    I mean seriously this is 2011, does someone wearing a hat to your house offend you? Please.

  • @Dawn As if having one’s “cap in hand” and court attendees honoring a dress code and etiquette is all that’s wrong with the American (in)justice system. Most court personnel, deputies, judges, police, other law enforcers, lawyers and magistrates only deserve the same respect due any other dangers, enemies, forces of nature, etc., which is mainly an acknowledgment and avoidance of formidability and negative power.

  • Dawn

    Ya know, I say this because it always seems like there’s an excuse for not getting respect on this website. But from my point of view, it’s like you’re LOOKING to get little respect. The way you come across and present yourselves seems to lack respect for others, so what do you expect? I mean, seriously. Get real. In order to receive respect, you have to contribute some respect as well. That’s all I’m saying.

  • Ogre

    Dawn — do you understand the background for this court appearance? Do you realize that these men are only in that court room because they know that if they didn’t show up there that the state would send men with guns to force them to appear? Do you realize that these two men were doing nothing wrong, minding their own business, not harming anyone, when they were approached by representatives of the people in that room who then used force on them?

    I cannot imagine that you think that these two men should respect anyone involved with taking them at gunpoint and whose every action is backed by the threat of being beaten, shot, or jailed.

    I could respect a courtroom that I entered voluntarily. I could respect one that I entered because someone was harmed. But why would you suggest anyone should respect a system that is entirely based on force and harming peaceful people?

  • Robert John

    “Justice is the process… not the result.” At one time or another one has suffered from authorities who take their authority too seriously. When threatened with a ‘J-walking’ ticket in Beverly Hills (!) I was asked ‘Are there no J-walking Laws in Minnesota?’ I responded, ‘Our police have better things to do with their time.’ I cherished that ticket, never payed it, returned to Minnesota and received threatening letters from the authorities for 3 years. Never the less, I do believe a system with order, morality, and structure is important. You just have to remind those in charge of the system of these facts from time to time. That and rip up J Walking tickets when leaving California. ;-)

  • Oliver

    keep it up … hope to join you on the February 18th

  • Just a word of advise. Once you realize that you are in the power position things will go well. An arrest is presumed unlawful . What you should be doing is suing for false imprisonment. You have to realize that a conviction on any offense immunizes them from liability. The entire point of the process is to get a piece of paper that can protect their ass. Police in MA are bonded for 5K. Make a claim against their bond as well.

    I need to get offensive. When you play the “wait and see game” they know you you don’t know anything about how the system really works.

    It’s real simple. There was an incident. Someone was in the wrong. You have to act and behave and do all the things that prove they are in the wrong. Forget about reasonable doubt. That is for the sheep. Forget about remaining silent. That is for the sheep. You need FACTS ON THE RECORD THAT AFFIRMATIVELY SHOW YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO ACT. That is what they do. You need to do the same thing.

  • Pingback: Cali Activists – Protect Your Phones | Cop Block()

  • Pingback: The “State of MA” aka Todd M Dodge vs. Ademo & Pete Eyre | Cop Block()

  • Pingback: Greenfield, MA Documents | Cop Block()

  • Pingback: NSP – Jan 29, 2011 – Co-host: JT & Guest: Pete Eyre | MarcStevens.net()