US marshal Enrique Trevino, with the compliance of US attorney Seth Weber and federal judge Henry Perkin, frames a peaceful photographer. Photography is not a crime. This video shows the brutality of US marshals in Allentown, the ability of state agents to frame peaceful people and how the libertarian community can overcome the tyranny of a powerful central state.
UPDATE: Here are primary sources – audio, video and documents – for this video.
On Tuesday May 11 of this year around 11:54AM, James Babb and I joined Julian Heicklen on the sidewalk in front of the Edward N. Cahn Federal Building and United States Courthouse at 504 W. Hamilton St in Allentown, Pennsylvania. For several months now, Julian has been handing out jury rights pamphlets in front of federal courthouses. Previous to this, he had done so in New York City, Fort Lauderdale (Florida), Philadelphia, Reading (Pennsylvania), and Trenton (New Jersey). Jim and I joined him for several of these events. I almost always took the role of photographer/journalist/videographer. I document the events to protect Julian and publish coverage online on my website and on YouTube as I am an amateur journalist (more citizen media or just a blogger I guess you could say).
Jim and I approached Julian after parking the car that May 11 in Allentown, PA. Julian handed me a pamphlet asking if I wanted jury information, I accepted it and gave it back. After exchanging greetings I stepped to one side and began filming with my small Canon video camera. I pointed the camera at the name of the federal building, which is right above the front doors at this particular courthouse, as I do in all my videos, so I can show viewers exactly where we are.
Almost immediately, at least two court court security officers (CSO) (at least one male and one female) came out and asked me why I was filming. I said “for personal entertainment purposes.” The female’s name is Claire Burns. This exchange occurred twice. It perhaps sounds flippant but a gentleman was threatened with arrest and was facing federal charges in Manhattan for claiming to represent a news organization while also filming Julian’s pamphleteering so I don’t know what really the best answer to this question is, as I don’t want to give them any cause, however spurious, for proceeding further against me. Neither do I want to be entirely silent here, as that may cause the CSOs to escalate their response.
Julian engaged Claire Burns in discussion, adamantly requesting her identification. The male CSO came up next to me to look at my video camera, it seemed almost in a friendly or curious fashion but when I turned the camera on him he attacked me, as you can see in the video. I held on to my camera, closed the side LCD screen and when the CSO let go, I grabbed it in both hands and put both hands between my knees. A gang of federal agents took me down and took the camera. The rest you can see in the video. It’s not pleasant.
According to the (conflicting) sworn statements of one deputy marshal Enrique Trevino, I touched him and struck CSO Claire Burns with a closed fist during this attack, yet they stood me up and left me standing there. I was not detained. Kind of wierd, huh?
A male in a sweatshirt was standing next to me and I’m pretty sure he participated in the attack. He may even be the one who caused me to fall. I asked him who he was, as he seemed to be a passerby and I noticed no indication of law enforcement status. I asked him if he was a sworn peace officer. He refused to answer if I remember correctly. I asked for my camera back and I believe he said they could take it. I asked under what lawful authority and he said not to worry about it.
I took out the Department of Homeland Security’s special security bulletin on dealing with photography of federal buildings. I read to them the pertinent parts. They didn’t care. But I noticed downtown Allentown in the area around the federal building paused for a moment and listened. It was a shocking sight to see everyone for a block around looking at me. It was like something out of a Jim Carrey movie.
Then I took out my small Flip video camera and began filming again. According to their rules, it’s my right. But that day Enrique Trevino and other state functionaries proved to me (again) that this is rule of men, not rule of law. Trevino engaged me, repeating that it was illegal and I asked why. He was lulling me into a relaxed state. Suddenly he grabbed the front of my camera and his eyes got big. I initially did not let go of the camera. I simply held on to it. After a few seconds, I let go and then tried to retrieve it briefly but there was no violence. Not even the liar Enrique Trevino alleges that.
Not too long after that Trevino said: “Cuff him. He laid hands on a marshal.”
I immediately fell to the pavement. I was entirely free of restraint so this action did not involve physical contact with anyone and was not in violation of any orders I had been given. I don’t think I was even given any orders until the sweatshirt man told me to put my hands behind my head. I cooperated fully, was placed in restraints and lifted up. I cooperated with my transport into the jail. I was placed into a cell.
Here’s Jim Babb’s account of what happened:
“I had passed out a single pamphlet when a federal costumed woman approached Julian. Julian chose to argue with her in a belligerent fashion. Within seconds, about 10 or 12 federal goons arrived. These people were extremely aggressive and appeared to be on steroids. The female assaulted Julian. He commanded her to back off. George attempted to video what was happening. Seconds later, they assaulted George and wrestled his video camera away. Thugs piled on George. One even put his knee on George’s face. I called 911 to report an assault and robbery in progress. Things were very chaotic, stressful and happening very fast. We all had goons in our face, but George was targeted for extreme violence to get his camera. A minute or 2 later, more goons arrived and kidnapped George. They threatened Julian and me as well. I believe George was charged with assault, although all the evidence will clearly show who the aggressor was.
A few minutes later, Julian and I went into the courthouse and asked to speak to the magistrate. (These were the same thugs that had just assaulted, robbed and kidnapped George.) They told us that complaints must be made at the clerks office, but we were not allowed to go to the clerks office. They ordered us out of the building and said someone would come out to let us know George’s status. About an hour later, we were told that George could not see a magistrate today, but would have access to a phone tonight.”
I was put in a cage. My property was cataloged. I was left alone and shortly thereafter, perhaps 10-40 minutes later I heard what sounded like a taser discharge. I was worried they tried to damage my camera.
I heard them laughing and carrying on and I believe they found and consulted my website (if they weren’t already aware of it) as they laughed about the fact that I had said cheese when other marshals took my picture in Philadelphia on April 8, 2010. Also, as I was being transported to Lehigh County Prison a few hours later I was told by sweatshirt man that I wouldn’t be able to make the pamphleting event Julian had scheduled in Johnstown, Pennsylvania the following day. It was said in a condescending tone.
Julian Heicklen comments on what happened after I was taken into the federal building:
“About 6 city police officers appeared after George was already in the courthouse. [Jim called them.] They said that they had no jurisdiction on federal property and left. Jim and I tried to enter the courthouse at 12:35 pm to assist our friend, but we were refused entry by the federal marshals. We were told to wait outside, and that someone would come out and tell us George’s status. I waited outside while Jim went to the sheriff’s office across the street in the county courthouse. The sheriff’s office refused to intervene, even though a sheriff does have jurisdiction anywhere in the county.”
I did not fully comply with the marshals’ attempt to interview me about my life history. After some time in the cell, I was read the Miranda rights and a marshal asked me to sign something giving them permission to search my electronic devices. I refused stating that I did not consent to any searches whatsoever. When they took my picture I said “Cheese!” but I couldn’t muster a decent smile.
That night in the Lehigh County Prison was bearable. The fellow prisoners were mostly decent people and it wasn’t terribly cold. I was given enough blankets to keep myself warm. I tried to make phone calls but the PIN they gave me didn’t work. I couldn’t actually talk to anyone. Even in order to make collect calls, the receiver of the phone call had to sign up for some kind of special account online. It was very frustrating. When asked why I was in there I said, “For photographing a federal building.” This fazed the medical person and the other prisoners. It was the truth.
The next morning, the sweatshirt marshal and another man transported me in a van to the Philadelphia federal building. He stopped at a gas station and insisted on offering me a soda to drink, saying it would be a long ride. He made it sound like he was doing me a favor but it came off as demented, since a soda would cause me to have to go to the bathroom in short order. The ride was around 2 hours long, as they took back roads.
Shortly after arrival at the marshal detention area in the Philadelphia federal building, jailers discovered that I had been involved in the April 8 pamphleting event and took note of it. Apparently it had been big news among them. I was left in leg irons for an extended amount of time. One of the jailers asked the marshal in the sweatshirt twice why I was still in leg irons and was told not to worry about it.
Another jailer saw I was still in leg irons and said “Are you still fighting?!”. Once the marshal in the sweatshirt disappeared, I was released from the leg irons. I suspect the Allentown sweatshirt marshal was prejudicing the Philadelphia marshals against me by claiming I was violent. I think sweatshirt marshal’s name is Chris Headabig but I probably have the spelling wrong.
I refused to process again, with the exception that I gave them what I thought they needed in order to release me. That is, my name, address, date of my birth, fingerprints, photo and other basic info (but not the social security number assigned to me). One of the jailers made a great effort to get me to answer all his questions but I insisted I was only protecting my privacy and certainly meant no disrespect. This is jail, he said, you don’t have any privacy.
Later I was taken into an interview room to be interviewed by someone who also identified himself as a marshal. I thought it was a ruse to get me to answer all their questions. He said he saw no reason why I couldn’t be out on bail that day. It turns out he was with pre-trial services and they evaluate whether I can be released or not. But he was a marshal and I didn’t trust them.
In court, I spoke for myself as best I could. I almost fainted. Henry Perkin, the judge, assigned public defender Mark Wilson, a solid guy, to be co-counsel. This had the effect of weakening my resolve and self-confidence. In order to have him appointed as my lawyer I would have had to fill out a financial disclosure form and I refused to do that. Mark spoke for me quite a bit.
The courtroom audience was entirely made up of marshals and court security officers. I recognized a lot of faces from the April 8 and 29th outreach events. One marshal had a copy of Julian’s leaflet about the judge lying. Another complained that I hadn’t given them the pages of information they were used to getting about their prisoners.
I was sent back to the pre-trial services marshal, I answered almost all of his questions, then went back before Perkin. Now they wanted my passport and firearms before releasing me. I had to spend the night in federal prison while Jim Babb and Darren Wolfe scrambled to hand my property over to the same marshals in Allentown who had framed me. Thank the universe for good friends like these.
At the federal detention center in Philadelphia on May 12 I was singled out for special treatment. I was the last to process out of the cold holding tanks that night, around 11:30PM (they had a lot of prisoners to process), I had to change to an orange jumpsuit and orange shoes and I was taken to the SHU (solitary confinement, sort of) of the facility and placed in a cell with a prisoner who had been in a fight the day before. However, I must add that he seemed to be in there for the victimless crime of selling verboten substances. The feds got his friends to turn on him. He was facing 20 years. He is from a neighborhood that I am familiar with. I grew up nearby. He struck me as holding firm to the kind of street morals I grew up with for a time in Philadelphia. From what little he told me, it didn’t seem that he should be in prison.
The next morning, some of the gentlemen whose acquaintance I had made the day before (fellow prisoners) expressed surprise that I had been placed in the SHU and told me the marshals commented about it gleefully in their presence and told fellow marshals they “had to see this.” One marshal reportedly commented that he would like to put his foot up my behind. I was also told that marshals were saying I could be the next Timothy McVeigh. Has the war on terror been so promoted on such scant cause that these guys are just chomping at the bit to find a real terrorist? Are they so desperate to justify their own terrorism that they had to paint me as one?
At 5AM I was taken from my cell and marched in leg irons with my hands bound and the cuffs attached to a chain at my waist together with other people who had court that day. My court time was 2 PM. My fellow prisoners and I waited almost 9 hours in a dirty marshal jail inside the federal building for court. We were fed incredibly poorly. One poor guy who came in right after lunch was served, got nothing. Lunch was a paper bag with a crappy sandwich, overly sugared cookies, a tiny amount of milk and a shriveled apple. Breakfast and dinner were the same btw.
On the way to court at 5AM one marshal asked another in my presence if their package had arrived yet. No, the other answered, but if it doesn’t come in today, ours doesn’t go out. They were talking about the receipt of my firearms and passport. As far as I can tell, I was the only prisoner they talked about. I found it really strange. Libertarians across the country were calling them about me. Maybe this is why.
This time I spoke more for myself in court. The release conditions were beyond belief. $50,000 bail? House arrest with an ankle monitor? This was outrageous but I took it in stride so I could get out. Behind me the whole time is a marshal-jailer closing and opening a pair of handcuffs, over and over again while I try to defend myself in court. The whole court was a marshal operation from top to bottom. What a sham. Jim Babb and Bill Faust were there and it reassured me a bit. I was scared to death I wouldn’t be able to get out that day. But I did get out and I had to sign a ton of paperwork to do it. I was deathly afraid it was a catch-22. I might sign something that put me in violation of something else I signed and tomorrow I’d be right back here.
Jim Babb, Darren Wolfe and Bill Faust were there for me when I finally got out.
Two weeks later the original charges were dropped but due to Henry Perkin’s inability to care and/or Paul Hetznecker’s (the attorney I hired) busy case schedule, I remained on house arrest for 4 more weeks. It really sucked. It especially placed a lot of stress on my wife.
A week later I got a letter from the county sheriff saying he had revoked my PA license to carry a firearm. The marshals went and talked to him. Never mind that he claimed it was because of the dropped charges. If I didn’t turn the piece of plastic in to these people within 5 days, it was a summary offense. And when I did turn it in, they refused to give me a receipt. All I could get was the last name of one of the sherriff’s deputies: Petriga. They could have easily claimed I failed to turn in the piece of plastic – or lost it and forgotten – and I would have been defenseless before the summary charge. Had I been convicted it would have been a violation of my release conditions and minimum one year in federal prison. Nice catch-22. Thanks Montgomery county sheriff.
I complied with everything they put on me, so the pre-trial services officer Donald Fitzwater recommended a reduction in my release conditions. On June 22nd it was the initial appearance for the new charges. Bail was reduced to $10,000. Home arrest was nixed. I was allowed to travel the continental US. I no longer had to drive 40 minutes into downtown Philadelphia for weekly piss tests, never mind that there was never any indication of drug use. It was just in time for me to attend the Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, NH. We really needed that. PorcFest is like Burning Man for libertarians. It is held every June – don’t miss it next year.
Although Henry Perkin asked US attorney Seth Weber for a quick trial on these now “petty charges” (Perkin’s words), he was busy until 2 months later. Then when August 26th rolled around, Weber decided to take that day off. The hearing was rescheduled for September 1st. This presented a significant problem for me that I won’t go into. Suffice to say I dodged it.
At the trial, I was so stressed over the fact that anything could happen and that I was powerless, I could barely speak. My son was experiencing a severe medical condition. That added to the stress. I had agreed to a plea deal. The assault and one of the CFR charges were dropped. In return I pleaded guilty to the CFR charge of disobeying a lawful order of the marshals. It was complete bullshit. I was innocent of all charges. But I was in a rush to be done with the process for financial reasons and I didn’t trust Henry Perkin to be impartial. He signed Trevino’s dishonest statements about what happened that day. He imposed the ridiculous release conditions. He worked with those marshals every day and I’d already seen that his court was a marshal operation.
Perhaps the most revolting part of the hearing was when I was coerced into saying I had not been coerced into the plea deal. Well, yes, I had been coerced, and by Henry Perkin himself. I never agreed to be bound by his decisions. He and his marshals forced that on me. He has me under threat of all kinds of punishments if I don’t take this plea deal.
After the plea hearing, I got all my stuff back but the marshals, or someone whom they allowed access to my stuff, had erased the audio on my voice recorder and the video on my two video cameras. I haven’t tested my firearms yet but they claim they haven’t tampered with them. Inside the courtroom, Jim Babb confronted Trevino and Burns about their lies. Trevino threatened him with arrest. They all took the elevator down together, the marshal, the rent-a-marshal and 6 liberty activists who attended my plea hearing. Burns gave Jim a raspberry for pointing out her culpability. Is this just a game for these people?
Here are Julian Heicklen’s comments after the trial:
Shortly after 2:00 pm, we entered the courthouse for the trial of George Donnelly. Identification documents were requested from all of us, and everyone else, for entry. I do not carry identification and was denied entry. I made a fuss and reminded the guards that Amendment VI of the U.S. Constitution requires a public trial. It makes no mention that the attendees must identify themselves. Another deprivation of rights.
After I was denied entry, I went to my car and retrieved my driver’s license, so that I could attend. When I entered the courtroom prosecuting attorney Weber and Officer Trevino, who participated in the arrest, were telling the untrue version of events.
After they were done, George’s lawyer (whose name I do not have) spoke and said that George pleads guilty, but was at the scene to express his First Amendment rights, so the judge should be lenient in sentencing. Then the inquisition started. Judge Perkins asked George if he plead guilty to each of the accusations, and George said yes.
Judge Perkins then sentenced George to time served, which was two days in jail and two weeks of house arrest. He also said that it was customary to impose a large fine, but he had intended to impose only the small fine of $1000.00. However he learned that George had a child at home that required special expenses, so he lowered the fine to $500.00. The trial ended at about 3:00 pm.
George was released, recovered all of his confiscated property, and went home. I made it a point to carry George’s guns for him out of the courthouse and to his car, even though I do not have a carry permit. It was 5:00 pm, so the rest of us, as well as Richie Schwarz, who attended the trial, went to dinner at some local pub.
This trial was another show trial, where the defendant is required to plead guilty and be subjected to public humiliation in exchange for a light sentence and no additional legal expenses. Hitler and Stalin would approve of the trial. I do not.
I’ll have more analysis of this adventure soon.
52 replies on “How US Marshals Framed a Photographer”
This is an absolute fucking travesty. All this over a camera? Next time some stupid shit American soldier claims to be fighting for our freedoms show him this post. This Russia 1.0 under the guise of totalitarian thugs called U.S. marshals. Revolting!
Thank you for sharing this story, I cant believe this is happening in our country. We need to start standing up to these tyrants before we loose all the rights that we have
What a powerful video George, very well done. Dam near brought tears to my eyes… freaking thugs. You do realize you most likely made it possible for other activists to film outside of federal courts, I’m sure a memo went out to all the other thugs after this.
You, Julian, James and the whole crew are an inspiration to me. I couldn’t agree more with your closing statement of why us activists to what we do… I don’t want to look the generation(s) after me in the eye and tell them I did nothing.
We won’t give up.
Thanks for sharing your story and the video of the incident – you’ve been nothing but transparent. Too bad (but not unsurprising) the same can’t be said for those with badges or those who claim to have the authority to judge the “facts” of the case.
Sorry for the stress this has caused you and your fam. We’re with you bud.
Great job putting together an exhaustive overview of your incident.
Hopefully I’ll have some good news regarding my case soon.
I was so sorry to read that you were mistreated by badge-wearing public servants. These sorts of incidents, where police arrest people for using cameras, are getting all too common.
Thank you for taking the time to write about this incident.
I can’t speak to your experiences, though you have my sympathy. I just spent 30 hours in Solitary Confinement with out even knowing what charges were leveled at me. I stupidly thought that was illegal in America, holding persons indefinitely with no charges.
Great video, and thanks again for your sacrifice and everything you’re doing, George.
Our pals at OpEdNews.com like your video too. It even got a very favorable comment from the editor-in-chief. Sorry to disappoint you, George, but no headline this time. ;-)
I take my last comment back. OpEdNews.com has since promoted the video to headline: http://www.opednews.com/articles/United-States-of-America-v-by-Darren-Wolfe-100922-443.html
Thank you, George. And thank you to your family as well. You fought for MY freedom more than I ever have. Thank you.
Anyone remember the slogan “NO JUSTICE NO PEACE”!
George–been thinking of you often during this ordeal. I admire you for enduring what must have been a terrible burden on your family, career, and finances, to say nothing of your peace of mind! Your positive attitude is a guiding example to many of us in the liberty movement.
Thanks everyone. :)
You crey and crey about how you had to turn off all emotion for a nights incarceration of 23 hrs. I was In jail for 23 hours a day on lock down for 1 and a half months. It sucked, and am not going to lie and will never be going back, but quit your bitching. I went borderline nuts in there. Im sure your ok, *cough cough bitch cough*
M, so sorry to hear about that. I can’t imagine what that must have been like. You are correct, you suffered more than I did, considerably more. I wish you the best in your recovery.
It’s your own fault, you don’t go toe to toe with criminal thugs without getting taught a lesson. 9/11 was a gift to all the fascists at all levels in the government who want to remake America into a totalitarian regime where the people with the power lord it over the little people. Either you’re with The Party, or you’re under their thumb.
The idea that George’s legal problems were his own fault is way off base. The responsibility is on the aggressor’s shoulders. It would be one thing to criticize George’s actions trying to see how such situations could be handled better, similar to taking precautions when in a bad neighborhood. It is quite another thing to try to blame the victim as you’re doing.
Whose Justice Department and Federal Court?
I believe that for many years we have surrendered our “rights” little by little. Since before the “War On Drugs”, but THAT was a major bite outta them. Law Enforcement and The Judiciary at all levels have managed to become “different” then the rest of the citizenry, have they not! Just as we have trusted our elected officials to serve our interests we have trusted the “legal” officials to serve our interests. So what happened?
We were complacent, lazy. Instead of participating in Government, communicating to our elected Reps or needs or wants, approval or encouragement to “do better”, we trusted them to do as they vaguely spoke of while campaigning. We trusted them to be true to their word without being watched! We have only ourselves to blame for abandoning our duty to be the “Government of the People”.
Enjoy the fruits of your labors, fellow citizens, what you now got is what you (didn’t) work to achieve! Go ahead, bitch about “the Government” which should have been YOU all along. Go ahead, bitch about “the Government” and continue to do as you have, consuming the “narcotics of the masses”, that damnable Television.
Do not even try, at this late date, to unite with your neighbors to seek solutions. You have lost the thinking abilities, the interpersonal skills to co-operatively explore, discuss, plan, execute, and adjust-as-needed any solutions. Just be complacent and comfortable as long as you can. The real bad times will not be in your lifetime, but that of your offspring. get yours while you may!
People who choose to protest and confront government abuse should first learn how to defend “themselves” in court should they be arrested.
The first mistake you made was hiring an attorney. An attorney will not look out for your interests. Most attorneys are interested in only two things: 1) billable hours; 2) making a deal – as your attorney did in this instance.
The fact that you chose to plead guilty to their trumped-up charges tells me you are not truly seeking liberty. You instead put another notch on the barrel of the gun held to your head.
As long as people continue to cave to totalitarian actions by government agencies, your child will not know what liberty is.
FREEDOM, n. 1. A state of exemption from the power or control of another; liberty; exemption from slavery, servitude or confinement. Freedom is personal, civil, political, and religious. [See Liberty.]
LIBERTY, n. [L. libertas, from liber, free.] 1. Freedom from restraint, in a general sense, and applicable to the body, or to the will or mind. The body is at liberty, when not confined; the will or mind is at liberty, when not checked or controlled. A man enjoys liberty, when no physical force operates to restrain his actions or volitions.
American Dictionary of the English Language (1828)
Hey Jonathan, lead by example. And don’t tell me about the parking tickets you beat. It’s not nearly the same thing.
Your comment implies that George should have anticipated what they did to him. How was he supposed to know how things were going to go down that day? If they had busted him on some piddling trespass charge or something like that you’d have a point. He was facing felony assault in the beginning. There’s a big difference.
I am sorry if I come off sounding harsh folks. But when you have a website with a banner that proclaims, “Arm your Mind for Liberty,” it might actually behoove one to do exactly that.
I don’t know what George paid in attorney fees, but a $250 course (Jurisdictionary® – http://www.jurisdictionary.com) in how to defend yourself in court would have been a better investment.
Before someone jumps on my case, I am not affiliated with Dr Graves’ website. I just think you folks should arm yourself with some basic knowledge before you engage the enemy. (The enemy includes attorneys, as they will do anything to avoid pissing off a judge – including selling you down the river.)
Re. Jonathan’s comments:
I heard Ernest Hancock use a phrase in his show (http://libertynewsradio.com/shows/podcast/dyi) recently that stuck like a splinter in my mind: “voluntaryist lawyer”. I had always assumed that I either had to defend myself in court and rely on my own research and skills, or get an establishment lawyer that would play by the court’s rules. But there might be enough of a niche now that a professional lawyer, schooled in the ideology of voluntaryism, could be available. Marc Victor (http://www.attorneyforfreedom.com), for example, studied with Butler Shaffer (http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer-arch.html) and practices criminal law in Arizona.
Has anyone compiled a list of criminal attorneys for different jurisdictions that understand arguments against the inherent criminal activity of the state? Every time I read Will Grigg (http://www.freedominourtime.blogspot.com/) or visit copblock.org, I worry that one day I will be locked in a cage at the mercy of the state and wish that I knew who to contact with my one phone call…
(1) I can not stand weasly apologies. “I am sorry if I come off sounding”. Either you did come off your didn’t. Either you were or you weren’t. Take responsibility for your words.
(2) Here I arm my mind for liberty by learning what it is, how to live my life in alignment with the principles of liberty and how to recognize violations of said principles. Federal kangaroo court has nothing to do with it.
(3) Have you ever faced 8 years in a federal cage? When you do, let me know if you opt for jurisdictionary. On a side note, jurisdictionary and a heck of a lot of other legal resources available online, are very nice and I have learned a lot from many of them. But when you’re looking up at a judge your first time in court and you’re facing 8 years, it doesn’t cut it.
(4) Instead of going judgmental, you might start a business educating people about the very knowledge you recommend they acquire.
Re/ Marc Victor, I had a strange encounter with him. He emailed me offering to help me out with this very case but when I called his office for an initial consultation he wanted $105 before even talking to me.
Any lawyer in order to feed himself has to bow to the court and work within its rules. It doesn’t matter if they agree that the government is illegitimate.
You cannot live your life in “alignment with the principles of liberty” and at the same time kiss a judge’s ass because you’re not prepared to defend your liberty.
If “when you’re looking up at a judge your first time in court and you’re facing 8 years” you take a plea bargain, pay a fine, and fail to defend your right to liberty you are definitely not in “alignment with the principles of liberty.”
You need to stop playing at being a libertarian and spend the time (you are wasting on your blog) with your wife and child.
State court is not about defending one’s rights. State court is a sham. A fair and transparent hearing is highly unlikely, if not impossible. If you had a clue what you were talking about, you would know that.
Do you also think it’s a violation of one’s principles to hand over one’s wallet when a thief has a gun to your head? Once you get into their supervised release system, they can put you away for years for almost anything they want to cook up. It’s stupid and self-destructive to spend any more time there than necessary.
Pyrrhic victories are just that. Pyrrhic.
When you’re in the same situation, look me up and let me know how you handled it. Until then, you’re just another monday morning hater and your condescending tone is not welcome here. Any more personal attacks or absolutist judgments will be classified as spam.
Considering the definition of freedom that Jonathan posted clearly doesn’t apply to people on the *inside* of prison bars, I would say George’s actions are much more in alignment with the principles of liberty than his other options may have been.
After reading your account of what happened, I must conclude that you found the wrong lawyer to defend you.
1) “According to the (conflicting) sworn statements of one deputy marshal Enrique Trevino…”
Did your lawyer depose Trevino and the other Marshals in an attempt to ascertain the facts? Did he depose any of the numerous witnesses to the event in question? Were your friends willing to testify in your defense?
2) “Two weeks later the original charges were dropped but due to Henry Perkin’s inability to care and/or Paul Hetznecker’s (the attorney I hired) busy case schedule, I remained on house arrest for 4 more weeks.”
I would file a Bar grievance against your attorney for failing to properly act on your behalf in a timely manner.
3) “A week later I got a letter from the county sheriff saying he had revoked my PA license to carry a firearm.”
Am I correct in assuming this was a concealed carry permit? I ask because I thought Pennsylvania is an open carry state.
4) “And when I did turn it in, they refused to give me a receipt.”
Did you have a witness with you? Did you make a recording of the transaction? You should always have a recorder running when dealing with government officials. While it may not be usable as evidence in court, it certainly allows you to file an accurate affidavit of facts – should you need to do so.
5) “Although Henry Perkin asked US attorney Seth Weber for a quick trial on these now ‘petty charges’ (Perkin’s words)…”
The judge just told you the persecutor’s case was weak. Your attorney should have asked for a dismissal of charges at that point in time.
6) “Then when August 26th rolled around, Weber decided to take that day off.”
Again, your attorney should have asked for a dismissal of all charges.
7) “I had agreed to a plea deal. The assault and one of the CFR charges were dropped. In return I pleaded guilty to the CFR charge of disobeying a lawful order of the marshals.”
It is obvious to me that your attorney was part of a scam to get you to enter a plea. The longer the lawyers and persecutors can postpone going to court the more likely it is that you will agree to a plea bargain.
8) “…I didn’t trust Henry Perkin to be impartial. He signed Trevino’s dishonest statements about what happened that day.He imposed the ridiculous release conditions. He worked with those marshals every day and I’d already seen that his court was a marshal operation.” If your attorney does not give the judge other options, the judge will do what is asked of him by the persecutors.
9) “After the plea hearing, I got all my stuff back but the marshals, or someone whom they allowed access to my stuff, had erased the audio on my voice recorder and the video on my two video cameras.” Are you telling us that your attorney never asked for copies of these recordings as part of discovery?
He was highly recommended and has represented others in similar cases but I was ambivalent about his representation. On the surface it seemed like he had done an acceptable job but I have some lingering doubts.
No, he didn’t depose anyone.
Yes it was a concealed carry permit. PA is a solid open carry state on the books but in practice, people pay a price for it in the Philadelphia burbs area.
IIRC there are signs in the sherriff’s area specifically prohibiting recording devices. I didn’t even think to take a witness with me. D’oh.
The thought has crossed my mind that he wasn’t really working for me.
Yes he asked for the recordings from my devices in discovery but they would only allow us to see them in their presence and on their TV screens. The offer was to go into either the marshals office or the FBI office. The plea deal offer came in at the same time, so I went with the plea deal.
Did your lawyer have a written statement from the marshals and/or FBI saying you could only go to the marshal’s office or the FBI office to see the videos? Or, did he just tell you that to get you to plea?
You should have been provided certified copies of the videos under discovery. Failure on the part of whoever had the originals would have been grounds for dismissal.
You should also have been able to get copies of any video recordings made by cameras mounted outside the Federal building.
If there was a written statement, I don’t remember seeing it.
I’m not sure the “petty charges” thing meant the case was weak. How would he really know at that point?
The lawyer said he was prepared to go to trial.
I have copies of the federal building surveillance videos but the lawyer says he got them via connections, not via discovery, and I’m waiting for him to keep his promise to petition the judge to release them to the public.
On reflection, when the judge called the charges petty he may not have thought the case was weak, but he was certainly telling the persecutor to either get a deal signed or drop the charges and not waste the court’s time.
That’s interesting. At the time it seemed like a positive sign but I didn’t know what concrete steps to take as a result of it.
EDIT: How do you know this?
George, you lost, and we will all lose as a result. The government risks nearly nothing to make more criminals out of as many as they can and create a culture of subservience. The reason you were put in such a severe situation today is because someone before said “I can’t handle what’s been put in front of me for whatever reason” and so said the person before him. And here you are, bearing the burden of the weak before you. To pile onto that loss in the criminal court realm is that your chances for a 1983 action may be slashed significantly because you accepted guilt arising from the incident (see, e.g., Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994)) and the ‘favorable termination’ requirement shaped by future cases).
If you don’t think you can get a fair shake in the criminal justice system, there’s only one way to approach criminals who care nothing for their oaths, isn’t there? What else can you do, when a government once (thought to be, anyway) backed by rule of law has become nothing more than warlordism? And what will you do?
Thanks for your comment O. But I won. I avoided further jail time. I got a trivial fine and I exposed those bastards for who they really are. Although it probably cost me (and my donors) around $20,000, so far 20,000 people have watched the minimentary. At $1 per eyeball for exposing people to unvarnished state corruption, that’s not a bad price!
All I can do is keep on keepin-on and learn something from my encounters with cops. Still working on that part. What about you?
you all forgot to say, the following, you will not win against these aholes because you gave them implied consent.
“I am a Sovereign man/woman, I do not consent, I give you no
Authority over me or my children, I/we deny the benefits, if you impede
my/our natural right to travel or violate any of my/our rights, I’ll sue you and
your department head, personally and in your capacity. My fee is $100 per
minute if you contract with me by detaining me, am I free to be on my/our
I have no faith in the United States justice system. It’s not about what is right or wrong. It’s not about what is legal or illegal. It’s about who is in charge. It’s about who has the good lawyer. It’s a catch 22. Either you – the accused – spend tons of money, which will be more money in the system leaving you broke, or you don’t spend the money and you are screwed in countless ways. It almost never has to do with whether you are actually innocent or guilty. Did the damn judge or officers ever read a statue in court proving the videographer to be violating a law. Of course not – because no such law exists. They all were playing a game, but making it look like they were following the rules to cover themselves up. There should be massive protests at the courthouse and police station where the damn, Nazi cops are from, until everything is reversed for this guy, and then he can sue them for illegal arrest and incarceration, and for everything else he suffered as a result of this. Thank God, I don’t live in this Nazi run country anymore!