[act-ma] DEC 5: Rumsfeld Protester Dr. Shaun Joseph ON TRIAL!

Shaun Joseph snjoseph at gmail.com
Mon Nov 12 21:12:10 PST 2012


Friends and comrades--

I apologize for not updating you on the progress of my case for some
time; but in fact, as I've discovered, in our legal system most of the
time no progress is being made. I have written a longish update below,
but if you are already familiar with the case, here are the details of
the trial date and location:

(Green/Orange Line T to Haymarket)

All supporters are welcome. On arrival, gather outside Courtroom 10;
we will then be assigned to a trial courtroom on another floor. The
trial may last as long as three days, but do not feel obliged to
attend the whole thing. Please maintain good order in court. Keep in
mind that anything bearing a political message may be confiscated.

For more information, contact defendshaun at bostonsocialism.org.


As many of you know, on September 26, 2011--yes, over a year ago--I
was arrested at a protest outside a talk by former Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who was in Boston promoting a memoir of his
achievements, whatever they may be. While attempting to begin a
rational discussion with a police officer who was forcibly pulling a
bullhorn from a comrade's hand, I was seized without warning from
behind by a police officer, thrown into the street, handcuffed, and
taken to jail. Like most people who are assaulted by the police, I was
charged with "assault and battery on a police officer" and "resisting
arrest," both of which are felonies. You are welcome to judge for
yourself whether these allegations are true, as the entire arrest was
captured on video by VanzettiTV:

Arrest at Donald Rumsfeld Book Signing Boston

For extra credit, attempt to identify the "karate chop like manaveur
[sic]" that Sgt. David L. O'Connor alleges that I used on him. If you
can see it, you may have a future in the Boston Police Department--or
even the Office of the District Attorney.

All jokes aside, I hope it is clear that I am totally innocent of the
charges, and that this arrest and prosecution are entirely political
in nature. If convicted on either charge, I could be imprisoned for up
to 2.5 years. If imprisoned, I would be permanently disenfranchised in
Massachusetts. A felony conviction could prevent me from ever
obtaining employment as a computer scientist, even though I have a
doctoral degree in this field.

As anyone can tell from the video evidence, bringing this case to
trial is almost comical example of prosecutorial slavishness towards
the police. Several thousand dollars of taxpayer money have been (and
will be) wasted in an increasingly ridiculous attempt to not
"officially" admit that Sgt. O'Connor is a liar. The Assistant
District Attorney prosecuting the case has tried to avoid going to
trial by offering me some so-called "good deals." Her final offer,
made in August, was three-month probation retroactive to the date of
the arrest; that is, my probation would have been over literally
before it began! Truly, the law is a powerful force.

However, I refuse to be put "on probation," even in the most vacuous
sense, for crimes I did not commit. I turned down this "deal," and
instead of doing the logical thing and dismissing the case, the ADA
lurches ever-forward into a trial.

Why? Am I dangerous? Do I deserve to be punished? The prosecution was
perfectly happy to let me walk free and without material penalty--but
only by playing their game, escaping only by a route that would allow
them to claim that their system worked. The trial, rather than a
process that determines the truth of the charges, becomes itself a
form of punishment for the "crime" of not making a deal.

While I understand completely why people--even innocent people--make
deals with prosecutors, I strongly agree with Michelle Alexander that
refusing to do so can be a form of resistance. If even a modest
percentage of the accused did so, the legal system would grind to a
halt (not that it proceeds much quicker than a halt at present).

I hope you will be able to join me for at least the opening day of my
trial on Wednesday, December 5 at the Boston Municipal Court. Whatever
strength to carry on that I've found during this long ordeal has been
due to the moral support of social justice activists, and the hard and
crystal principles of our our community.

Shaun Joseph

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