DanceWater — Jonas Phillips was arrested on August 15, 2007 for holding a sign on a sidewalk in Asheville, NC. The sign said “Impeach Bush & Cheney”. His story is here.
Finally today, his case came to trail at the Buncombe County Courthouse. The District Attorney had offered to dismiss the charges for the court costs ($120) last year, but Jonas Phillips declined. It has been continued at least once since then. I was unable to attend his prior court dates, but today I took a vacation day so I could be an eyewitness to this MOCKERY OF DEMOCRACY.
The lawyer for Jonas started by asking for the charges to be dismissed. This was denied, after a long time that the judge spent reading some papers. District Attorney Pressley said that Jonas was obstructing the sidewalk and obstructing the view on I-240, and she also claimed that about 10 to 15 other people had been charged with this offense over the years. Jonas’s attorney said that Jonas was being prosecuted for political speech.
The DA and the police officers who were involved in the case seemed to get off topic quite often. Jonas was charged with obstructing the sidewalk, and they talked about how he was distracting drivers and running across the road. They also claimed that Jonas was doing all this for attention, and that he was “shaking” his sign over the freeway, which I thought was a fabrication, since Jonas would want people to read his sign and shaking it would make it hard to read. Both officers admitted that they had to do some research to figure out what to charge Jonas with.
Jonas stated that he wanted “eyes” to see his point of view and to counter the mainstream media. He testified that one pedestrian did pass him while he was doing the freeway blogging, and while one officer was sitting in his patrol car at the time (with his blue lights on and the roadway blocked), he did not see the pedestrian. There was never any evidence that people could not pass on the five foot wide sidewalk while Jonas was out there.
Jonas’ attorney kept making motions to dismiss, and they were denied. We were thinking that we would be going on to an appeal process, up until the minute Judge Hill started talking. The judge said that he was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Jonas had blocked the sidewalk or obstructed traffic, and Jonas was found NOT GUILTY.
There were about 30 local activists in the courtroom, and we cheered. Jonas spent $750 on lawyer fees over the last seven months that this trial dragged on.
I know there are people on Daily Kos and other bloggers who helped Jonas out ““ let me say THANK YOU from the Asheville activist community for all your support. Next time I see the local DA, I am going to ask them why they are arresting people who are holding signs and why they think that is a good use of my tax dollars.
This will be cross posted on Daily Kos blog and Blue NC blog. Picture is of Jonas after the trial.
OperationImpeachment.org — Twenty some people protested Dick Cheney when he came to the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce to give a speech on January 31. Protesters called for Cheney to be impeached & arrested for war crimes, spying, lying us into wars, torture, war profiteering & other crimes against the people.
Grassroots Impeachment Movement (GRIM) brought a criminal complaint against Dick Cheney & gathered signatures on it.
People from Charlotte, Salisbury, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Winston-Salem, Pinnacle, & Pittsboro took part in the protest.
Groups organizing for the protest included Action Center For Justice, CODEPINK-Charlotte, Grassroots Impeachment Movement (GRIM), and NC World Can’t Wait.
The Charlotte Observer, Channel 3 & 9, and maybe other TV news filmed and/or talked to protesters. AP took a photo which is posted on Yahoo News Photos. WFAE radio also spoke to a protester.
A full report, film, pictures, etc will be sent out later today or tomorrow and posted at www.CharlotteAction.org.
Impeach Dick Cheney for War Crimes & Crimes Against The People!
Bring The Troops Home Now!
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008
Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
330 S. Tryon St
Charlotte, NC 28202
Vice President Dick Cheney will be in Charlotte tomorrow to give a speech at the Charlotte Chamber Of Commerce. We will be there to demand Dick Cheney be impeached & held accountable for his lies, crimes, and war profiteering.
Bring signs, posters, puppets, friends, family, etc. Spread the word.
On August 20, 2007 a group of concerned citizens met with Rep. David Price (D) NC-4 to ask him to take a leadership role in pushing for impeachment hearings to investigate the numerous crimes committed by the Bush/Cheney regime. We argued that our country was in a Constitutional crisis. Rep. Price disagreed.
The following are excerpts of the meeting split up into sections. You can find out more about supporting impeachment efforts at www.coalitionfortheconstitution.com
In the tradition of the Lincoln/Douglas Debates, Coalition for the Constitution hosted a Debate on Impeachment between Republican Bruce Fein (pro-impeachment) and Democrat Michael Tomasky (anti-impeachment).
The Debate was held on January 15, 2008 at 7pm, at the Carrboro Century Center and was be moderated by UNC Professor of Leadership and Public Policy, W. Hodding Carter III, and hosted by Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey. The full debate can be seen here:
Impeachment is mentioned six times in the United States Constitution, including most clearly in Article II, section 3 which reads:
“The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Recently, privileged resolution HR 799 (HR 333 re-introduced), Articles of Impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney, was introduced on the floor of the House. Former presidential candidate Joe Biden has also raised the impeachment issue on the campaign trail in connection with a possible war with Iran. Robert Wexler is also pushing for hearings at www.wexlerwantshearings.com
To help the public better understand the pros and cons of impeachment, the organizers have lined up two well-known political pundits to debate and answer those questions.
Bruce Fein is a lawyer, specializing in constitutional and international law, who served as an associate deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan. He has recently been a strong advocate for the impeachment of current U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney and President George W Bush. Fein graduated from Harvard Law School in 1972. In March 2007, he founded the American Freedom Agenda with Bob Barr, David Keene and Richard Viguerie. Fein is counsel to Ron Paul’s campaign for the 2008 Presidential nomination. One of his most scathing indictments of Dick Cheney appeared in his article for Slate.com entitled, “Impeach Cheney, The Vice President has run utterly amok and must be stopped.” http://www.slate.com/id/2169292/
Michael Tomasky, is a progressive journalist who has recently written an article about impeachment, entitled, “The Dumbest Move the Dems Could Make”, which has been cited by the Democratic Leadership, and 4th District North Carolina Congressman, David Price, as the reasoning behind their refusal to support impeachment. Tomasky has served as the executive editor of The American Prospect and is the author of Left for Dead: The Life, Death, and Possible Resurrection of Progressive Politics in America (1996), a study of the intellectual collapse of the American left. “Here is a link to his article “The Dumbest Move the Dems could Make”: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/02/AR2007080201767.html