My Recent Adventures In Legal Land

Legal land is never fun.

The costumed men, habitual threats levied, ridiculous formal rituals, and attempts to force me to respect a system I abhor is enough to drive me crazy.  It doesn’t because I don’t allow it to, because if it does they are winning and we all know I don’t want that!  However, I must admit it is taking up a certain amount of my time and, worse, my energy.  Legal land sucks.  It truly is the worst part of civil disobedience.  Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and I choose to live free with the knowledge that, in one way or another, I will pay the price.

My recent legal adventures to which I’m referring are related to my trespass arrest on February 27th, when I was arrested for “trespassing” at Cheshire County “superior” court with Ian and Derrick J.  Our court date, originally scheduled for April 17th, was continued due to motions filed by both Derrick and David Lauren, the individual representing “the state” in our persecution…er, I mean, prosecution.  Anyways, the state was intending to try us all at once, but Derrick is in the process of plea negotiations for his victimless crime spree and most likely will not be tried with Ian and I.  Additionally, David Lauren claimed to want to continue the trial because he supposedly has some new video evidence (likely our own videos) having to do with the fact that we were served with some paperwork, which is just silly as no one from either side is disputing that fact.  Yawn.

So here’s the bottomline: The prosecutor’s office has also filed a motion to have our charges dropped from class A misdemeanors to class B misdemeanors.  The charges against me are criminal trespass and breach of bail.  Charged as class A, in combination they are punishable by up to two years in the cage, as class B they are punishable by up to a $2400 fine (again, combined), which translates to 48 days in the cage at $50 a day since I will sit in a cage rather than pay to support this system of violence imposed upon me.   Charged as class A, I am eligible for jury trial.  As class B, my case will be held in front of Burke, who I’ve been actively campaigning to impeach.

I could potentially win in front of a jury.  Burke will almost certainly find me guilty.

David Lauren claimed that he filed the motion to have the charges reduced from class A to class B because he felt it was more appropriate to the facts of the case, and expects us to feel grateful as it carries a much lower potential sentence.  However, Ian is not at all grateful and actually filed a counter motion to have his charge tried as a class A in front of a jury.  Nor do I feel particularly grateful for thrown crumbs, and a big part of me wants to do the same.  Act on principle, stand behind my actions and let the cards fall as they may.  Roll the dice.  The inherent personal risk is serious, but it’s the right thing to do….or is it?  How much risk am I willing to take for my principles?

To complicate matters further, the persecutor then offered a deal where he would drop the criminal trespass to a simple violation and drop the breach of bail charge entirely, in exchange for my plea of guilty.  My punishment would consist of a $500 fine, equal to ten days in jail.  I would be completely finished with this case and could move on to whatever the future might hold.  I could be free to do more civil disobedience.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I could freely sleep at night knowing that I bowed to Leviathan.

To be an effective activist, one must be consistent, and it has been proven time and time again that the longevity of civil disobedience activists is directly related to their ability to avoid being completely crushed by the state.  If I were to lose at jury trial, I would most likely not only be caged for several months, but my activism afterwards would be bound by the overriding threat of an even longer suspended sentence if I were to be arrested again within whatever arbitrary period of time the court decided to impose.  Is it worth the risk?  Don’t I owe it to this movement to extend my longevity as an activist as far as possible?  Don’t I owe it to myself to stand for what is right?  Or is it the other way around?

I hate legal land.  I hate the constant attack on my principles, and I hate the fact that the threat of violence still makes even me question myself.

I have much to think about.

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19 Comments

  1. Kelly,

    Being fresh out of legal land where I was helping journalist Jason Talley, I would offer that although legal land is tedious, it is predictable.  Like when we were talking about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the other night, once you learn the rules…  you can make them work for you.

    Thank you for the blog about your current thoughts about what you’re trying to accomplish. 

  2. Kelly,

    Being fresh out of legal land where I was helping journalist Jason Talley, I would offer that although legal land is tedious, it is predictable.  Like when we were talking about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the other night, once you learn the rules…  you can make them work for you.

    I am always here for you if you have any questions about legal stuff. I think you really will be viewed as a worthy adversary in the judicial process if you put as much effort into the chess game of court as you do your activism.

    Thank you for the blog about your current thoughts about what you’re trying to accomplish.

    You know my phone number, call me if you have any questions.

  3. Civil disobedience is about openly breaking the laws to bring the hammer of the State down on your head, publicly.  If you have chosen effective civil disobedience the people will protect you.  This is why jury outreach is so important.  Everyone who is eligible for jury duty should understand the concept of jury nullification BEFORE they are called to jury duty.  I think jury outreach as activism is not respected for the level of importance it actually has.  Everyone in Keene knows what a Bearcat is.  Not everyone understands jury nullification. 

  4. drive you crazy? Sweetheart, If there was an award for being crazy, you would have won it hands down.

  5. Civil disobedience is about openly breaking the laws to bring the hammer of the State down on your head, publicly.  If you have chosen effective civil disobedience the people will protect you.  This is why jury outreach is so important.  Everyone who is eligible for jury duty should understand the concept of jury nullification BEFORE they are called to jury duty.  I think jury outreach as activism is not respected for the level of importance it actually has.  Everyone in Keene knows what a Bearcat is.  Not everyone understands jury nullification. 

  6. If you have chosen effective civil disobedience the people will protect you.

    I believe that is what happened with State v. Jason Talley.

    Well said PabloKOh. 

  7. If you have chosen effective civil disobedience the people will protect you.

    I believe that is what happened with State v. Jason Talley.

    Well said PabloKOh. 

  8. “will not be tried with Ian and I.”

    It should be “with Ian and me.” – use the objective “me” instead of the subjective “I”since it is an object of the preposition “with”

    Effective civil disobedience means that you are willing to face the consequences – plea deals water that principle down. As Brad says, you can fight and win in legal land – you just need to understand the rules.

  9. “will not be tried with Ian and I.”

    It should be “with Ian and me.” – use the objective “me” instead of the subjective “I”since it is an object of the preposition “with”

    Effective civil disobedience means that you are willing to face the consequences – plea deals water that principle down. As Brad says, you can fight and win in legal land – you just need to understand the rules.

  10. I disagree with your grammar, agree regarding legal land

  11. I disagree with your grammar, agree regarding legal land

  12. Kelly, you’re wrong about “Ian and I.”  Richard is right about “Ian and me.”

    Personally, I’d plead to all charges and ask for the maximum sentence.  That’s what Socrates would do in your shoes.

  13. Kelly, you’re wrong about “Ian and I.”  Richard is right about “Ian and me.”

    Personally, I’d plead to all charges and ask for the maximum sentence.  That’s what Socrates would do in your shoes.

  14. You are a flesh and blood man in the Private venue, subject exclusively to Statutes at Large. If they have no charge against you relative to infraction of a Statute At Large, they have NO case.

  15. You are a flesh and blood man in the Private venue, subject exclusively to Statutes at Large. If they have no charge against you relative to infraction of a Statute At Large, they have NO case.

  16.  @facebook-100002107766208:disqus
    – “I disagree with your grammar”

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/i-or-me

    Use the pronoun me, along with other objective pronouns such as us, him, her, you, and them, when the pronoun is the object of a preposition:

    Rose spent the day with Jake and me.

     
    Me, together with Jake, forms the object of the preposition with, so you need to use the pronoun me rather than the pronoun I.

  17.  @facebook-100002107766208:disqus
    – “I disagree with your grammar”

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/i-or-me

    Use the pronoun me, along with other objective pronouns such as us, him, her, you, and them, when the pronoun is the object of a preposition:

    Rose spent the day with Jake and me.

     
    Me, together with Jake, forms the object of the preposition with, so you need to use the pronoun me rather than the pronoun I.

  18. Kelly, take heart, many many civil rights activists have been down this road and many more to come as you  know.  As someone who has been through it, I want you to know that I support you and you are  welcome to contact me personally and know you are not alone.

  19. Thanks, Maxine 🙂

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