The Irony of Free Speech in California

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence Rafferty(rafflaw)-Guest Blogger

The term is one that is familiar to all of us.  The First Amendment gives all citizens the right of Freedom of Speech and the right to assemble.  Simple enough, right?  Evidently it is not so simple in the State of California.  Recently, members of Occupy Los Angeles were arrested while making full use of their First Amendment rights and after posting a $5,000 bond to get out of jail, were offered a deal to avoid a trial.  The Free Speech defendants were told that if they took a class offered by a private company for the mere cost of $355.00, they would not have to go to court for a trial.

At first glance that offer sounds reasonable.  Just what is the “class” all about? “For $355, protesters can pay a private company for lessons in free speech. American Justice Associates offers the educational program taught by an attorney – Neil G. Anderson – a former police officer and Supervising Deputy District Attorney for Sacramento County, and his partner attorney Deborah Bryce McKinley of Atlanta, GA.”  Crooks and Liars  This story is amazing to me on a couple of levels.  First of all, what can attorneys teach protestors who were arrested while exercising their First Amendment rights?  Are they going to tell them how many ways the government can try to control and limit those rights?  Are the teachers going to give the “students” lessons on how to maximize their First Amendment rights?  Is the class just a bad dodge by the State to avoid further bad publicity by eliminating the need for trials where the protestors can exclaim to the world that they were arrested because they had the temerity to actually use their First Amendment rights of Free Speech?

This attempt by the City of Los Angeles to make it more difficult on people who protest is an affront to the very Free Speech ideas that they claim will be taught in this class.  If anyone should take the class on Free Speech, it should be the City police and the City Attorney who is pushing this nonsense. The protestors and their counsel are not taking this class offer lightly, but they are fully aware of the irony caused by the offer.  “But a civil rights attorney who has worked closely with the protesters called the class “patronizing,” and said the demonstrators who were arrested are the last people needing free-speech training.  “There they were exercising their 1st Amendment, their lawful right to protest nonviolently,” said attorney Cynthia Anderson-Barker.  Several Occupy protesters, many of whom are fueled by anger at what they perceive as corporate greed and the increased privatization of public services, have noted the irony of being asked to pay a private contractor for the program. The tuition will go to the company, not the city, officials say.”  LA Times

It amazes me that our society has not reacted more forcefully against these arrests and post arrest tactics as well as the many militant arrests made throughout the country against Occupy Wall Street protestors. Maybe the class offered in Los Angeles will be able to explain just what happened to the Free Speech that our Founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the First Amendment.

I wonder if the “teacher” of this class will assign a homework protest.  Maybe the company pocketing the $355.00 will hire Prof. Turley to be a visiting professor so he can explain what true Free Speech is!  Maybe not.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

60 thoughts on “The Irony of Free Speech in California”

  1. OS,

    Bill did not have to dig deep…when you live in the hood…you know who’s on your side and who ain’t….some call it the top of pond water while others in the same boat call it scum….

  2. Bill, if any of the lawyers here ever got you on cross examination, you have proven you would make an excellent stationary target.

    Isn’t it true Officer Bill, you have no idea, within a reasonable certainty, that the person making relief was a protester?

    And just how do you know, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was a protester and not either an agent provocateur and an a actual protester?

    What proof are you prepared to present today, other than your own opinion or that of your local Fox News reporter, that the person was an actual protester and not a provocateur?

    Assuming, it MIGHT have been a protester, you are aware, are you not, Officer Bill, that the City refused to allow PortaPotties or other sanitary facilities anywhere near the OWS sites?

    Officer Bill, were you one of the arresting officers who thew protesters, who were exercising their legal right under the First Amendment to peaceably assemble and protest grievances, into vans and hold them there for hours without allowing them to use a bathroom despite repeated pleas of physical distress?

    Officer Bill, you are aware of course, that the OWS General Assemblies had a policy of keep the areas clean, but it was the police and city workers who trashed the sites, not giving adequate notice, or allowing protesters to remove personal belongings before taking them from protesters and throwing them into the trash?

    Officer Bill, you are aware, are you not, that there were repeated instances in which people leaving the scene after being ordered out, were chased down by police in full riot gear and arrested, some of them being beaten?

    And you are also aware, are you not, that some of those arrested, beaten and had their cameras and computers seized and destroyed were accredited reporters from major news outlets?

    Out of the hundreds of videos of police beating and pepper spraying protesters, how long did it take you to find a single video of something you thought was inappropriate?

  3. And when the libs concede, they minimize it…like all their another failings…or blame Bush.

    “Politics Maxine Waters on Deaths and Crimes at Occupy Protests: ‘That’s Life and It Happens’

    Posted on November 16, 2011 at 11:33pm by Tiffany Gabbay Tiffany

    For Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the string of deaths and crimes that have occurred across the Occupy movement nationwide is nothing more than “life” and “it happens.” She also said the incidents are merely a “distraction” from the Occupiers’ ultimate goal.”

    Rape and death reports are mere right wing distractions.

  4. OS,
    You are correct that the Right is working very hard to find something evil about Americans exercising their Free Speech and Right to Assemble. The Police are so expensive because it costs alot of money to assault peaceful protesters.

  5. HenMan,

    I hear Os is opening up Rev Jim Jones Style Kool Aide Stand is a hood near them….

  6. AY-

    The Donald threw a party and no one came.

    The Donald will get even.

    The Donald plans to hold his breath until his Mommy gives him a cookie and reads him a story.

  7. HenMan,

    You’re probably right….and I was going to initially add….that that is the mantra for the Tea Party…..but after reconsidering it….I think that “paranoia, bigotry, and rage” pretty much explains both main stream Republicans and Democrats….

    I wonder after this last week in Washington if the UN could investigate Congress for possible Human Rights Violations….

    Did you see the one where Trump has dissociated himself from the Republican Party….

    Trump drops Republican Party registration in NY

    A spokesman for Trump says the businessman and television host changed his affiliation to preserve his option to seek the presidency in 2012.

  8. Otterray Scribe….

    If tootie is back we will all learn a lesson in something….I am not sure…what exactly….but…something…

  9. For all of you outraged and what seems to be the too close connection between the courts and these teachers, please realize this sort of handwashing bullshit and corruption occurs thousands of times every day in family court, which has largely cowardly, ignorant, and lazy judges outsourcing every decision to incompetent, lying, cowardly assholes that claim expertise in family matters though they have suffered through their own divorces many times over, and are part of the court-psycho-industrial complex.

    In this case, OWS LA is “Lucky” at only having to pay $400 for the privilege.

    I do think OWS needs some teaching in free speech and civil disobedience, and in fact, I wish they would reteach America in what free speech and civil disobedience is all about.

    “Waldo, the question is what are you doing out there?”

    I think OWS would have a bit more traction if on various holidays, a significant number would peaceably occupy City Hall and occupy the bank buildings, not the parks.

  10. Tootie, the Constitution applies to everyone. What applies to one, applies to everybody. The First Amendment applies to both Federal and State governments, right down to the smallest town council.

    Tootie: Often wrong, never uncertain.

    Merry Christmas, Tootie, hope you have a nice day with family and friends. Just don’t overdo the wassail.

  11. After reading Bill’s fantastical claims, I am going to contact the Kool Aid company to see if I can get the distributorship in his area. I should make a fortune.

    First of all, those claims come from where? I recall there was a claim by Scott Walker, soon to be former governor Walker, that the protesters caused over $100,000 worth of damage to the Wisconsin state capitol building. There were claims the tape they used damaged the marble which would have been repaired. Local newspapers and TV stations learned they protesters had only used blue painter’s tape which leaves no residue; they had cleaned up after themselves and there was literally nothing the janitorial staff of the capitol building had to do other than routine cleaning.

    Then there was that police incident mentioned previously where the police investigation stated the officer who ran the light and killed the guy was only doing about 40 miles per hour. Later, it came out, probably over the objections of the police and politicians, the officer was doing 78 miles per hour in a residential area. They are still engaging in public relations gymnastics to make it the fault of the dead guy.

    Poor Bill. Believes everything he reads.

  12. Look up “incorporation” of rights at:

    “The doctrine of selective incorporation, or simply the incorporation doctrine, makes the first ten amendments to the Constitution—known as the Bill of Rights—binding on the states. Through incorporation, state governments largely are held to the SAME standards as the federal government with regard to many constitutional rights, including the FIRST Amendment freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly, and the separation of church and state; the Fourth Amendment freedoms from unwarranted arrest and unreasonable searches and seizures; the fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination; and the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy, fair, and public trial. Some provisions of the Bill of Rights—including the requirement of indictment by a Grand Jury (Sixth Amendment) and the right to a jury trial in civil cases (Seventh Amendment)—have not been applied to the states through the incorporation doctrine.”

  13. martingugino:

    I’m going to report anything…I just told what was. For exmaple…2.3 million to clean up the filth left behind by the protestors.

    From the Feminist Wire:

    The Occupy movement has a growing challenge that needs immediate attention: in-house rape. As of today, there are at least 4 reported rapes in Baltimore, Cleveland, Glasgow and Dallas, the latter of which includes a14-year-old runaway girl and a convicted sex offender. I imagine there are several others, most of which have likely gone unreported—for various reasons. First, many of the police officers working Occupy movements haven’t necessarily proven themselves to be “officer friendly.” Second, not all women experience the privilege of being seen as a victim, particularly where sexual violence is involved. Third, there is inside pressure not to report rape outside of the camps for fear of bad publicity (does this sound familiar?).

  14. As I understand it, the First Amendment makes demands on the Federal government, not the states. T. Jefferson said that the framers understood at the time the Constitution was written that the states had the right to forbid or infringe on certain speech (like libel, lies, etc.). The federal government cannot infringe in anyway on speech, though it can indirectly punish fraudulent claims in a federal case.

    Again, I say, there should be an Impeachment Watch organization. It should be a clearing house that focuses on the most abusive judges in America. It could have state chapters and citizens could visit this website, find the abusive judges who are making their lives miserable, and remove them from office through impeachment or elections (where appropriate). These people have gone too far. And far too many no longer deserve the word “honor”.

    1. An abusive judge is anyone who rules against my position. An activist judge is anyone who rules against what I say the framers of the constitution intended it to mean. A great judge is anyone who says they believe in stare decisis to get appointed to the bench and then ignore precedent once they are on the bench.

  15. Apparently defecating on police cars and in the streets,throwing Molotov cocktails, rape, creating health hazards and intimidating business customers is not what the Founders had in mind about peaceful assembly to address grievances.

    Frankly, the idiots in LA were a public nuisance and a health hazard.

    LOS ANGELES, Calif. ( KTLA ) — Cleaning up after the Occupiers is going to cost the City of Los Angeles a pretty penny – $2.3 million – and the city attorney is considering taking protesters to court to get it.

    William Carter, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich’s chief deputy told the L.A. Times Saturday that the city is considering a lawsuit, among other options, to reimburse the city for damage.

    “The city is contemplating any and all of its options,” Carter said.

    Sign up for KTLA 5 Breaking News Email Alerts

    According to a preliminary report released Friday, the city was drained of about $2.3 million in operating and staffing costs for allowing protesters to camp in front of City Hall for two months.

    When us violent, racist, and dangerous Tea Partiers were demonstrating we cleaned up after ourselves, and there wasn’t a single case of rape, drug trafficking, or public defecation. And we didn’t cost taxpayer’s millions to clean up after us…and we didn’t need riot police to get us to disperse. we left peacefully.

    Imagine that.

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