2002 Legal Update -
- Badjer's Statements -
From the Ironwood Daily Globe Published Wednesday, June 26, 2002:
"Not all members of the Rainbow Family are
bad people," said Forest Service Incident Commander Malcolm Jowers.
saga of so many Federal citations issued at
Rainbow Gathering '02 in the Ottawa National Forest,
a lot of people have been systematically hammered.
According to the
USFS Incident Team's "Daily Update" on July 5, the 'Unified
Command Statistics' showed these numbers: 1 felony arrest, 75 misdemeanor
arrests, 341 citations, 390 warnings, 259 reports... for a total of 1066
This is the last such report, and it is known that the Feds kept hassling
and citing gatherers well into cleanup. Moreover it apparently does not
include enforcement actions by Michigan State Police and Ontonagon County
Sheriffs, so the final interagency totals are significantly higher.
There were plenty of traffic
tickets and some weed busts from 'gauntlet' tactics and roadblocks, and
various other charges from routine harassment, whatever they could think
up. But they main setup was to make enforceable offenses of just being
there, so most folks got either of two kinds of citations (some both)
-- a 'Group Use Permit' violation (36 CFR §261.10(k), "use/occupancy
of NF lands without special use permit"), or a 'Special Closure'
violation (36 CFR §261.53(c), "entering a closed area").
Most hapless defendants
from distant places were simply unable to show up for repeat appearances
and defend the charges (however bogus), so they threw up their hands and
paid off the 'collateral fines'. Folks who walked away without responding
are in deeper trouble, where the Court has issued an unknown number of
Federal Warrants for failure to appear.
We have observed the impacts
of USFS 'Mass Citation' tactics since they were cranked up in Ocala National
Forest (FL) in Feb.'01: Several thousand gatherers have been targeted
& cited (some jailed), and then fleeced by fines or turned into fugitives
in this way. Everyone around has been subjected to heavy police presence,
impeded in creative & expressive activities, and affected by the fear
that these tactics are designed to inflict on the exercise of peaceable
It's a dirty setup and
the obstacles to fair defense are well-known, but a few noble souls are
digging in their heals and putting up a fight. These things to report,
with links to documents in the court record, as available so far:
* US v Winslow / Case No. 2:202-M-15
'Group Use' citation, 23 June '02__:
LEO's blockaded the Bus
Village Gate on Choate Rd. on 6/22-23, making a deliberate show of force
and a conspicuous show of citing Charles Winslow (aka 'Badjer') for the
lack of a signed 'Group Use' permit. It was the first time anyone has
been ticketed and jailed immediately on this misdemeanor charge.
In his usual upright manner, Badjer stipulated to the fact that he was
there, affirmed his "right of peaceful assembly and religious freedom...",
stated that "I have done no wrong thing...", and asserted that
he could not sign a permit on behalf of unknown others because to do so
is to "commit fraud".
The evidentiary part of the Winslow trial took place on August 21, post-trial
briefs have been filed by both sides, and the Magistrate's ruling is awaited.
* US v Wirtshafter / Case No. (to be assigned)
'Closure' citation, 4 July '02:
Don Wirtshafter was cited
for being in a 'closed area' on July 4th -- the holy day, when gatherers
were explicitly allowed to cross the river, join in the meadow west of
Sucker Creek, and pray for peace & healing.
He wanted to defend this, but lives in southern Ohio, and would suffer
the extreme burdens of repeated appearances in a distant court. Rather
than give in to huge hassles, wasted days, and steep personal costs for
a 5-minute proceeding, he launched his case on a new tactic to obviate
the first court date: File a written Plea of Not Guilty and Waiver of
By entering a formal plea and stipulating to the standard points of notice,
the purposes of this proceeding are met according to court rules, and
the case should be docketed for trial. Affirming the hardships imposed
-- and the obvious intent of USFS-LEO's to use citations against gatherers
in this way -- Don has made a record on this issue, as a matter of due
The package was mailed for filing on August 25, and its arrival confirmed
by the Clerk on Sept. 6. As yet the Court has not responded or set a trial
* September 5 Court Docket_/ 4 New Defenses and a Warrant:
A number of known & unknown defendants were set for appearances at
the Federal Court in Marquette on September 5, and 'pcu_/FAP' was there
to observe and assist.
Of those who showed up, 3 gentlemen will stand up and fight 1 permit and
2 closure charges among them, represented by the Federal Defender -- whom
we have briefed on the issues. In addition, a woman from Utah did not
appear, but reportedly has entered a Not Guilty plea on a permit ticket
and will be represented by a private attorney:
-- Philip Crookshank, Dearborn
Closure Citation (7/4/02), # F2643846; trial Nov. 12, 2002.
-- Joshua Ecklund, Madison,
Closure Citation (7/2/02), # F2664251; trial Nov. 8, 2002.
-- Wade Egdish, Pontiac,
Permit Citation (6/28/02), # F2884382; trial Nov. 8, 2002.
-- Cheryl Gardner, Salt
Lake City, UT:
Permit Citation (7/10/02), # F2680168; trial (date TBD)
(These cases are just getting started; filings will be posted as available.)
In addition, on that day
the Court issued an arrest warrant on a defendant from the 'Montana Mudd'
arrests of June 26, for 'Failure to Appear' (FTA) on the charges:
Jacob Philbrick of Arizona was reportedly jumped by 3-4 LEO's and charged
with assault on officers.(!!) That makes it a felony warrant, more serious
than those on others who did not respond to misdemeanor citations, but
they are all heinous. He and others in this predicament should be advised
that they are vulnerable to arrest, and encouraged to seek legal counsel,
try to clean these matters up, and be careful.
- S. Addison
of you know by now, I spent some time this past year in Federal Court
in Boise, Idaho. I was given a "must appear" ticket at the Idaho
Gathering that read for "use and occupancy of National Forest Service
lands without a Special Use Permit." I went to trial on March 28th,
stipulated to facts that I had done what they accused me of and further
stated I was guilty of no wrong in this matter. With the help of my lawyer
I was able to read a statement I had written to the court, under oath.
Statement #1 is that statement.
Afterwards, I was in the witness stand for approximately 20 minutes. My
lawyer then cited cases such as Susan B Anthony, Lenny Bruce, Scopes and
others. The judge then said he would take my case "under advisement."
In late April my lawyer informed me that the judge had ordered me to pay
$150 but had issued no formal judgment. Statement #2 is my reply to the
Please don't sign our
right to gather away.
I have walked the forests
of this country since I was a child, even before I was a Boy Scout and
later an Explorer Scout. I have endeavored to teach people the proper
use of our nations forests throughout the years and have found the gatherings
an excellent place to do this. I have attended the Rainbow Family of Living
light World Peace and Healing Gatherings since 1972 and have found them
to be the finest example of a peaceful, spiritual assembly on this continent.
As to the matter of religious freedom; our circle on the Fourth of July
is the one public prayer I participate in per year. I cannot give this
up and be right with my Creator. The right of peaceful assembly and religious
freedom were still guaranteed on the Constitution of this country the
last time I checked.
While attending these gatherings I hope to help bring about the health
and safety of the encampment as well as increase awareness of environmental
concerns. Some years, such as this last one, I stay until clean up is
I have in the past worked in a spirit of cooperation with the Resource
Personnel of the Forest Service. Even at year's gathering I served as
escort for the District Ranger, Walter Rogers. We toured the gathering
as Ranger Rogers and the Fish Biologist inspected our kitchens and their
locations. I was especially glad to do this as it brought about a stop
to much of the unnecessary ticketing of people trying to prepare for the
next day. He told me I could not do this since I had received a ticket
a couple of days before and my escorting him might be detrimental to the
governments case against me. I did not see how he could issue a permit
given the pressure he felt because of the "so called" National
How can I be accused of wrong doing when refusing to commit fraud? No
person can sign a Special Use Permit for the Rainbow Family of Living
Light. There is no governing body, individuals can represent only themselves.
A representative would go entirely against our shared belief in individual
freedom. What we are is an ever changing group of individual that come
together each year for a celebration of Peace and Prayer in the Cathedral
of Nature. What better place to do this than in the National Forests that
belong to all the citizens of this country? Indeed where else could this
I am before you in hope that justice will prevail.
- Charles L. Winslow
(Badjer of the Rainbow Family of Living Light)
I simply cannot do it. I could'nt"t possibly pay one red cent to
the Federal Government for abrogating my rights, as a free being of this
planet and a citizen of these United States, to freely assemble, practice
my belief in my own individual way and to gather with my chosen people
in the expressive association of our choice.
That you could take my stipulated facts as evidence of wrong doing is
beyond my limited mental span. I have searched my heart, mind and soul
and can find no wrong in my actions in this matter.
It would be utterly impossible for me to comply with this punishment.
Once again, I have done no wrong thing. It would be unconscionable for
me to pay for my own freedom to be taken from my grasp.
You will do what you must, as will I.
-Charles L. Winslow
(Badjer of the Rainbow Family of Living Light)