For handing out pamphlets in front of the Orange county courthouse in Orlando, Florida, (judge) Belvin Perry has decided to put renowned 79-year-old liberty activist and former chemistry professor Julian Heicklen in a cage for 145 days. Julian has been convicted of “external criminal contempt of court.”
Readers of this blog will remember that Julian was arrested on August 23rd for violating Perry’s order banning “first amendment activities” near his
Julian is appealing his caging. Perry has granted him an audience on Monday, September 12, at which time Julian could be granted bail (pending the appeal). Mark Schmidter, who was caged 151 days on the same charge, wants to raise $10,000 to fund the appeal. No word yet on how to donate or whether Julian actually wants to hire a lawyer.
Please write to Julian at this address:
PO BOX 4970
Orlando, FL 32802-4970
Please call Belvin Perry at 407-836-2008 and politely but firmly let him know what he is doing wrong and what he should do to make amends.
While researching this news, I came across a couple of intriguing quotes that I’d like to comment on.
I hope Judge Perry passes peacefully in his sleep, so he will no longer be able to put peaceful people in cages.
If Belvin passes away, another man or woman will take his place and do the same thing. This is not a recipe for progress. Instead, we need to help Belvin understand which actions of his are wrong, why and how to make amends for his mistakes. We need to approach him from a position of empathy. We need to listen before speaking. And we need to be relentless.
What an absolutely heartless human being must someone be to throw an elderly man in a cage for exercising his freedom of speech.
*External* criminal contempt of court? Where does it stop: when we’re not able to speak against the robed ones on the public sidewalk, in a park, in our own homes? (Neal Conner)
What an insightful question. Where does this arbitrary and monarchical power of judges stop? What internal contortions are required for one man to cage another for something as harmless and admirable as educating the public about the historical independence of juries?
Please call Belvin at 407-836-2008. Let us know how it goes in the comments.
Update: Here are details on how to visit Julian. He apparently does wish to hire a lawyer for the appeal.