Utah vs. Freedom
On June 12th 2010 in Springville Utah, I protested for the reform of marijuana laws by holding a sign at Art City Days parade that says “legalize it”.
I was peaceful, and within my constitutional rights. But the police arrested me, put me in jail, and apparently broke my $1200 camera.
I hired the senior member of the ACLU Andrew McCollough to represent me. On July 20th 2010 a little more than a month after I got arrested for “use of streets” (without a permit).
The law in Springville that required protesters to obtain a permit, authorized by the City Council was abolished in Springville.
The police arrested in relationship to this code 8-4-108.
“It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to congregate about or upon any street, sidewalk, stairway, doorway, window or in front of any business or dwelling house, theater, lecture room, church, or elsewhere and by so doing obstruct or interfere with the free passage of persons traveling upon street or sidewalk or entering, leaving or occupying any such building or premises; or by their language, conversation, or conduct, to annoy, insult, or disturb persons passing along any street or alley or occupying, residing, or doing business in any house of place within the City. It shall be unlawful for any person to hold, conduct or address any assemblage, meeting or gathering of persons or to make or deliver any public speech, sermon, lecture or discussion, or to conduct or take part in any public debate or discussion, in or upon any public street within the City unless such person shall have first obtained a permit in writing so to do from the City Council.)
1968 Code 4-1-7; amended in codification 1979; 1979 Code 8-3-8; renumbered by Ord. No. 25-92; Ord No. 03-2009, 03/17/2009)
My lawyer reported that the dropped the “use of streets without a permit” charge.
When I wrote Tom Fitzgerald to ask to obtain one of these “Freedom of Speech” permits, this was the response: I planned on protesting at my pre-trial meeting on August 31st, and I planned on going to trial, until I got this which is everything I wanted.
Mr. Thompson,After reviewing your application, it does not appear that you need a formal permit for this activity. On July 20, 2010, the Springville City Council removed the requirement for a permit issued by the City Council from its ordinance on congregating on streets and sidewalks. The event you are proposing does not appear to trigger our special events permit process. Thus, you can proceed with your event as described without the need for a permit from Springville City at this time.If you plan a larger event in the future, please keep us appraised. For example, if you wanted to close a sidewalk or road, there are special event permit and insurance requirements.Troy K. FitzgeraldCity Administrator
At least now, no one in Springville Utah will ever get a fine or a criminal charge of “use of streets” for protesting. That law that has been on the books for over 9 years in its current format, and since 1968 in a previous version and it was abolished directly due to my tenacity to fight for our freedom and to fight for the strength and sovereignty of our constitution.
I had a lot of trouble getting a hold of my lawyer, and the court had a lot of trouble getting a hold of my lawyer. So now I have to hire a new lawyer.
I was told by my lawyer that they offered me a plea deal, but that he thought I would rather fight it. So he arranged for a pre-trial meeting on August 31st 2010. But I releived him of his services. He is running for governor this year, and has of August 6th is on vacation. So I have to find someone with more time to help me out.
The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.
Originally, the First Amendment only applied to the Congress. However, starting with Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652 (1925), the Supreme Court held that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the First Amendment to each state, including any local government.
Don’t let the Goliath’s of the world hold you down. They may seem big and powerful, and able to do so much more than you. But this county is made of “we the people, for the people and by the people”. Government works for us, not the other way around!
If any government wants to interfere with or restrict free speech of mine, I am not afraid to hire an attorney and fight this, and sue if possible.
I dont want the money, if I sue the proceeds (after legal fees) will go to charity, most likely NORML or to a legal defense funds for 1st Amendment Rights, depending on the circumstance.
Please see my video playlist of how this event unfolded.