Guilty

My day in court was an uneventful one. As expected, a weary judge found me and four other defendants guilty of trespassing in the General Assembly last June at the Mega Moral Monday event. Having made up her mind hundreds of times before, Judge Hamilton made quick work of our cases. No, a blogger who fails to disperse when ordered does not have the same privileges as a "real" journalist who fails to disperse. Similarly, a former legislator who was arrested does not really have permanent floor privileges. We were guilty, case closed.

After what happened this week in Raleigh, it's more clear than ever that charges against Moral Monday protesters were entirely discretionary, trumped up by Phil Berger, Thom Tillis, in collusion with the Capitol Police. The legislature has rewritten the rules so they can more easily restrict citizens exercising their rights. They have free rein to turn their political opponents into criminals. And they have a judge in their side pocket who will help them do just that. Judge Hamilton says she's sympathetic to the plight of arrestees, but that sympathy doesn't extend to not-guilty verdicts.

We have come to a dangerous place in our state’s history. It is a place where those who rule have given themselves the right to arrest and detain political opponents, using whatever discretion they wish.

I do not agree that the Capitol General Assembly police acted lawfully to arrest and detain me. Theirs was an act of political oppression, pure and simple.

James

PS I offer my most heartfelt thanks to Mr. Gabe Talton, the tireless lawyer who stood with Jane and me through thick and thin, offering expert advice, creative ideas, and boundless enthusiasm for the cause. Gabe is one of many lawyers who are giving their time and energy to defend Moral Monday arrestees. Those of us who joined in the protest owe these attorneys a huge debt of gratitude. Thank you, Gabe. You're the best.

Comments

I'm not going to appeal the verdict

There are plenty of great cases being heard on appeal, but I won't be one of them. The strain of Moral Monday protests on our beleaguered court system is a significant burden, and there are many more deserving people who need legal support.

Guilty! Hell No You Ukraine Nazi Judge!!!!!!!!!!!

As expected, a weary judge found me and four other defendants guilty of trespassing in the General Assembly last June at the Mega Moral Monday event. * Enemy of the State James

Congrats! You are in excellent company now.. All revolutions start with a leader being jail or arrested and dragged before the Star Chamber of injustice...

ps.. I have started a recruitment center and we are looking for a " few good men and women" to served in East Ukraine to fight the Ukraine Nazi Facists,,However if that trip is too much We have a local unit that will fight the Corporate Fascists in a Krogers Parking lot with creampuffs..

Just curious

What are you going to do when the Russian Federation finally "annexes" the entire country of Ukraine, as opposed to just the Crimea? Here's a hint: they'd really like to take over Georgia again via South Ossetia.

Curious As My former Stupid Dead Cat

What are you going to do when the Russian Federation finally "annexes" the entire country of Ukraine, as opposed to just the Crimea? Here's a hint: they'd really like to take over Georgia again via South Ossetia.*S

Nothing! Because it is dream of the Neo-cons and your lack of research of the present History of the Obama State Department who would screw up a free lunch at a Homeless Shelter...As long you promote the myth " The Russians Are Coming" like the Corporate America Media you will become another fool endorsing Slavery without knowing it.. Or as Lenin put it a " Useful idiot"

Get up to speed Steve, The fascists are the enemy

I'm up to speed enough

I don't want Russia or the US manipulating events in the region, which I've been watching for several years now. Read the article I wrote, and then tell me I'm a useful idiot.

:)

I even have conversations with inanimate objects. Just the other day, I poured water in the coffee maker, ground the beans, put the coffee in the little filter basket, and then forgot to turn it on. After about ten minutes I went into the kitchen to get a cup, glared at the coffee maker and said, "So that's how it's gonna be, huh?"

It's a badge of honor.

I know that's a hackneyed phrase, but you really should be proud. Every guilty verdict that's rendered is a nail in the GOP's coffin, and one day in the (hopefully near) future common sense and compassion will once again be in the majority in Raleigh.

Thank you, Steve

I'm not sure about badge of honor, but it was truly an eye-opening experience. One cannot go through the criminal justice system and come away with any confidence whatsoever in the charade that happens day in and day out.

Race is a giant issue, with a steady stream of hopeless people being ground up by the courts day in and day out.

Equally troubling are the political undertones. Judge Hamilton seemed to have a good heart, but that heart didn't mean jack shit because she went along with oppression 99% of the time. It's a dark, dark day here in North Carolina. It could be we're at the place where there is nowhere to go but up ... yet then again, maybe we're not there yet.

Clarification

I can't imagine the stress of being on trial for what you believe in. Especially with a bench trial like you endured, your fate lies in the legal and factual whims of one judge. That is a tough position to be in.

With that said, I want to clarify one fine detail that keeps getting mixed up. The General Assembly Police is the police agency with primary jurisdiction over the General Assembly. It is an independent police agency of the General Assembly, managed via the Legislative Services Commission. The State Capitol Police have primary jurisdiction over almost all other state government property in Wake County.

For last year's Moral Monday protests, it was up to the General Assembly Police about who got arrested and usually Raleigh PD just assisted at the GA Police's direction.

To paraphrase Phil Berger

It is hard to fathom why a single judge and a small group of government despots would try to deny active, patriotic citizens of their constitutional rights.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Guilty/Snarky Judge/Appealing/Amazing lawyers

Yes, being found guilty sucks. Totally bogus. My guilty verdict came yesterday for the June 3 arrest. 2 in my group of 4 were found NOT guilty because Judge Hamilton couldn't see them in the video when Weaver gave his warnings even though she could clearly see all 4 of us being cuffed and escorted out. The judge is a snarky little whiner. Did she think it would be a picnic coming in from retirement to hear 945 cases for the same charges? She could have said no. No sympathy for her.

I am appealing the verdict - primarily because my attorney is passionate about the cause and keeps me fired up. I agree with all your reasons for NOT doing so. Add to those the fact that life for the next double-digit number of months will be shadowed by this thing and tied to the court calendar.

Nevertheless, I want to finish it. I'm too old to worry about my 'permenant record'. In fact this likely enhances it significantly - my granddaughter says 'You Rock, Gramma'.
Thank you for stepping up, James. Very much appreciate and am informed by your blog.

So glad you're appealing

I was sorely tempted too ... and am glad there are many others appealing. The dynamics should be dramatically different with a jury.

Regarding Hamilton, I appreciate your comments. It seemed to me she had already decided what her criteria are, and that she was going to play her role in the charade, no matter what. The issue of "who was on the first warning video" seemed like bullshit to me. If there's a video of someone being arrested, there's no reasonable doubt the person was there and knew what they were doing. This was a great example of technical crap taking precedent over justice and the bigger picture. That part of the trial was really frustrating and, frankly, stupid.

Hamilton could just as easily have found everyone not guilty on constitutional grounds. She didn't, which means she's part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Agree on 'Court as Theater'

As one attorney said outside the courtroom....this judge is a total ass. Yes she is complicit in this 'judicial farce'. We will all keep fighting in the ways that we can. 'Forward Together' still fires me up!

Injustice

Thank you James and Jane and all the others who took principles to the limit. We applaud you and join you in objecting to the injustice of being pronounced guilty of bogus, trumped-up charges that are intended to oppress people in a thoroughly un-American mockery of democracy.

We are optimistic that appeals, if taken far enough, will rectify the injustice. It would be so appropriate if all the cases were remanded back to Judge Hamhanded along with a higher court's finding that she erred. Although the defendants shouldn't have to go through this again, she should, but this time finding on the side of justice.

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

Jane's "receipt" from Superior Court

Husband and wife, both guilty.