Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Tuesday's News: Update -- Greenwich First Amendment Case

Jess Eisen, one of two Rainforest Action Network employees (Althea Erickson was the other) arrested in Greenwich earlier in the month for expressing themselves in public, tells me they have decided to work with the ACLU to fight the charges based on First Amendment grounds, rather than use a criminal lawyer. Presumably this means they'll be arguing that no crime was committed because they were exercising their free speech rights.

Having once been charged with a misdemeanor for breaking Connecticut's environmental protection laws (a good story for another time), I can attest that fighting the criminal charge probably would mean hiring a lawyer to convince the prosecutor that you're basically a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record and that therefore the charge should be reduced to the equivalent of a traffic ticket, and that a small fine (in my case, $35) should be considered your debt to society.

For activists who are trying to make a point rather than simply stay out of trouble, the First Amendment route has the obvious advantage of possibly earning more attention for their cause.

Update: By way of clarification, Jess Eisen tells me that they'll have a lawyer for their criminal defense too. I assumed that if they had a civil liberties lawyer, they wouldn't also have a criminal lawyer.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, arresting those folks has to be the dumbest mistake that CEO fella could have made! What's worse, Greenwich is drawing more attention to itself as THE elitist enclave of the east coast passing local laws to prohibit free speech! Why would thesee folks get arrested and for what reason would they be detained?

6:35 PM  
Anonymous jess eisen said...

Hey, as one of the "greenwich three," i just wanted to introduce myself and let y'all know that you should feel free to email me (jeisen@ran.org) if you have any questions about our campaign. Right now, JPMorgan Chase is funding environmental destruction and human rights abuses around the world and we, as activists, have the power to put a stop to it. We need to show the CEO and his buddies that we won't be intimmidated into silence by this kind of thing.

11:57 AM  
Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said...

I found this post by putting 'Erickson Connecticut' in a search engine.

I test the 1st Amendment in Connecticut and was thrown in prison and out of the state.

Try putting "Steven G. Erickson" in a search engine.

5:26 PM  

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