Jo Scott's Conviction
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* Justice by Committee Fails Jo Scott: says Bob Enyart. After being convicted today on two charges of talking to someone, Jo Scott talks to the BEL audience. The committee that convicted Jo found her guilty of verbal harassment "in a manner likely to provide a violent or disorderly response." The jury determined this when the complaining witness described Jo's demeanor as "worried and calm." Worried that is, concerned, for the complainant, and "calm" in her communication. And below, please see Mike Martin's eye-witness report of the trial. And if you can help by donating toward the cost of Jo Scott's appeal, please make sure your gift is designated for Jo Scott at Life Legal Defense Foundation!
THE "INCIDENT" ALLEGEDLY OCCURRED WHEN THE CAR DRIVES BY: At the end of this official "evidence" video clip, when the complainant walks out of view, the alleged incident was over. It was claimed by the prosecutor and by the driver of the car (a Planned Parenthood employee) that the "crime" occurred and was witnessed by the driver at the moment that she passed by the two women. Also, the complainant, while on the witness stand, disagreed with the prosecutors opening statement accusation, that Jo Scott used vulgar language. As typical in cases against pro-lifers, the prosecutors had this video evidence (filmed by Planned Parenthood's stationary camera), but chose to not enter the video into evidence (but Jo's attorney did). So here's the "crime":
Sentencing Update: Jo Scott will be sentenced in a Denver courthouse on Thursday June 2, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. after her probation officer has recommended jail time to Judge Claudia Jordan.
* "The Killing Place" Already Upheld as Free Speech: From Celebrate Life, Sept/Oct 1993:
U.S. Appeals Court Judge Stephen Anderson recently reversed a 1991 federal district court decision when he ruled that the free-speech rights of two pro-life women had been violated by two Denver police officers who arrested the women during a January 1988 demonstration. The officers had asked Joan Cannon and Leila Jeanne Hill to cover their sign, which read: "The Killing Place." When the women refused, the officers arrested them on charges of disturbing the peace. Anderson ordered "the plaintiffs' cause remanded for further proceedings."
* In Honor of Jo Scott's Conviction, We'll Repeat These Few Glossary Terms: Ambrose Bierce, critical of American governance, wrote definitions for legal terms such as:
Accomplice, n. One associated with another in a crime, having guilty knowledge and complicity, such as an attorney who defends a criminal, knowing him guilty. This view of the attorney's position in the matter has not hitherto commanded the assent of attorneys, no one having offered them a fee for assenting.
Appeal, v.t. In law, to put the dice in the box for another throw.
Arrest, v.t. Formally, to detain one accused of unusualness.
Lawful, adj. Compatible with the will of a judge having jurisdiction.
Lawyer, n. One skilled in circumvention of the law.
Litigation, n. A machine which you go into as a pig, and come out of as a sausage.
Precedent, n. In Law, a previous decision, rule or practice which, in the absence of a definite statute, has whatever force and authority a Judge may choose to give it, thereby greatly simplifying his task of doing as he pleases...
Rope, n. An obsolescent appliance for reminding assassins that they too are mortal. It is put about the neck and remains in place one's whole life long.
Tree, n. A tall vegetable intended by nature to serve as a penal apparatus, though through a miscarriage of justice most trees bear only a negligible fruit, or none at all. When naturally fruited, the tree is a beneficent agency of civilization and an important factor in public morals.
Trial, n. A formal inquiry designed to prove and put upon record the blameless characters of judges, advocates and jurors. In order to effect this purpose it is necessary to supply a contrast in the person of one who is called the defendant...
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Provoking Responses: The Latest Crime
by Mike Martin ~ Greeley, Colorado
The most recent attempt by Planned Parenthood to stop pro-life sidewalk counselor Jo Scott from saving babies isn't just another in a long series of of attacks on Jo Scott. It is also a spurious assault on the First Amendment.
In an April 4 trial, Scott was accused of "hindering access" and "harassing" a woman who was attempting to enter a "healthcare facility." The complaining witness was going into the Denver Planned Parenthood during the time abortions are performed and Jo approached her to offer an alternative.
The trial took several strange turns as prosecuting attorneys attempted to convince the jury that Scott touched her accuser while trying to convince her not to enter Planned Parenthood. The attorneys then produced a video of the episode that clearly showed their claims were unfounded. Defense testimony by Leslie Hanks and Leo Mantei, both of whom were eyewitnesses to the incident, confirmed what was obvious on the video. They also refuted the complainant's claim that Jo Scott called her names.
To Jo Scott, being lied about and falsely accused is nothing new. But in this trial, prosecuting attorneys did something never before attempted in a courtroom this side of Moscow. Since the claims they were making about Jo Scott touching or calling the complainant names were obviously untrue, they focussed their closing argument on the contention that calling abortion murder is a distasteful affront and likely to "provoke a response." And that, they claim violates a Denver statute.
If the case against Jo Scott sticks, anyone carrying a sign that says, "abortion kills children" or displaying a poster showing the results of abortion could be accused of conveying a message likely to "provoke a response." Consequently, presenting the truth about abortion would essentially become illegal since any communication about the subject might "provoke a response."
Back in the good ol' days when lawmakers respected the First Amendment, if someone's words provoked a response, the response had better also be in words. If the responder resorted to violence, he was the one breaking the law. The implication of a law against using words that might provoke a response is that exercising free speech makes you somehow responsible for the other party's lack of self-control. Bad precedent. People are responsible for their own behavior, including how they react to free speech.
The abortion industry has long sought means to outlaw the efforts of anyone attempting to save babies -- to use the color of law to subdue their opposition. Of course, Jo Scott is their favorite target since, over the years, she has convinced at least 1000 mothers not to abort their babies. If the average fee for those abortions was $300, Jo has cost the abortion industry around $300,000. Small wonder she frequently finds herself falsely accused.
Has it occurred to the legislators who write such ridiculous laws that killing the unborn is distasteful and likely to provoke a response?
The jury will decide Jo's case April 5. Keep her in your prayers. While you're at it, keep our country in your prayers. God judges nations that sacrifice children. It provokes a response.