[act-ma] WED (12/5) 9AM- Rumsfeld Protester Dr. Shaun Joseph ON TRIAL!

Shaun Joseph snjoseph at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 07:24:35 PST 2012


BOSTON MUNICIPAL COURT (gather outside Courtroom 10)
(Green/Orange Line T to Haymarket)
INFO: defendshaun at bostonsocialism.org

At the end of this announcements I've reproduced my last message to
supporters. IMPORTANT UPDATE/CORRECTION: both charges against me are
misdemeanors, NOT felonies. (I misinterpreted how state law defines a
felony.) However, the information about the possible jail terms are
correct. I sincerely apologize for any undue alarm I may have caused.

ALL SUPPORTERS WELCOME! If you do decide to attend, please keep the
following in mind:

* The trial will last at least two days and possibly three. You are
welcome to attend as much of it as you can--but if you can only come
once, I recommend the first day (when the jury is selected). It is
also OK if you can only attend for part of a day. Proceedings will go
from 9AM until about 5PM, although the judge has discretion to adjourn
earlier or later.

* We will gather at Courtroom 10 at 9AM on Wednesday to be assigned a
trial room on the sixth floor. If you cannot make this, you can head
up to the sixth floor and try to find us; we should be in one of the
three courtrooms on that floor.

* No cell phones or other electronic devices are permitted in the
courtroom itself, although you will be allowed to carry them into the
building. It is OK for you to step out of the courtroom to use your
phone, go to the restroom, etc--but please limit this, as the bailiff
may eject you if he decides you are causing a distraction.

* You may bring books or other paper-based reading/writing material.
(Indeed, you are encouraged to do so: court proceedings are extremely

* Please maintain good order in court. Anything with a political
message is subject to confiscation by the court.

If you have any other questions, please contact
defendshaun at bostonsocialism.org. Hope to see you on Wednesday!


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." You are welcome to judge for yourself whether these
allegations are true, as the entire arrest was captured on video by

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. A conviction could endanger my career 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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