Never Take A Plea - No victim. No crime.

Who We Are

Nevertakeaplea.org is a resource for those charged with victimless crimes and activists wanting to support them. Our focus is our court calendar. If you are charged with a victimless crime, you can fill out a form with your court information so activists in your area can attend court in support.

What We Do

Educational/information documents are available in our resources section for download and printing for outreach. Coming soon, we will have a document information center providing documents and templates you might need for court and information on typical court procedures.

How To Participate

In order to contribute to the court calendar, you will need a user name & password. You can use your facebook login to connect, or create your own. The way you choose is up to you.

None Of Us Are Free

Just realized I never posted this on the website, just on the Facebook page. Music montage of victimless crime arrests of activists with the song by Solomon Burke, “One Of Us Is  Chained.”

Wes B Free is still caged; Ademo Freeman is still threatened with multiple years in jail for holding government officials accountable in New Hampshire.

IF YOU DON’T SAY IT’S WRONG, THEN THAT SAYS IT’S RIGHT!

 

Man accepted a plea deal that destroyed his life!

Written by Katie McCall

In the summer of 2002, Brian Banks was finishing up high school in Long Beach, CA. He had high hopes of attending USC or UCLA on a football scholarship. His family was proud of his achievements. During one day of summer school classes he asked his teacher to be excused to make a phone call. What transpired would change the course of his life forever.

Wanetta Gibson and he fooled around while he was excused and their stories about how it happened differed. Gibson said that Banks dragged her into an elevator, took her down to the basement and raped her. Banks said the sexual activity was consensual. Gibson’s story prompted her parents to sue the school district for not keeping a closer watch on students. And they won. 1.5 million dollars.

The lawsuit resulted in Banks’ arrest. Being charged with rape was nowhere in his future plans and his mother believed his story. She sold everything she had to hire an attorney so that her son would have the best chance at a solid defense.

But in the end the attorney told Banks that he could either take the case to court and “risk losing everything” by being sentenced to 41 years to life in prison, OR…

… he could take the plea deal the prosecution was offering.

Terrified and overwhelmed, Banks made the decision to not risk his entire life on a “he said, she said” story. He plead no contest to rape and spent six years in prison.

After his release he was registered as a sex offender and forced to wear a tracking device. He was a felon. Gone were his hopes and dreams. Instead he was reduced to a second class citizen and unable to find work.

And then it happened. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he received a facebook friend request from Gibson. She wanted to meet with him and apologize. Unknown to her, the friend that Banks had accompany him was a private investigator who recorded the conversation.

“He never raped me,” she told the friend while Banks sat, soaking it all in. She apparently wanted to make amends and hadn’t come clean before because she was afraid her family would have to return the money.

Attorneys from The Innocence Project took Banks’ case– the only one they’ve ever taken post release– and represented him in court.

Yesterday morning, May 24, 2012, Banks appeared before a judge for a hearing that lasted less than a minute. The judge dismissed the case and overturned his conviction.

Banks broke down in tears. A friend handed him a black hoodie with the word “Innocent” in bold, white letters on the front. He told the media, “It’s been a struggle, it’s been a nightmare. It’s more than I can describe, the things that I’ve been through.”

The state says it will not be pursuing Gibson. They say that such a case would be “difficult to prove.”

One thing is for certain… the system is set up to get the innocent to plead before trial. If Banks’ attorney truly believed in his client he would have never asked him to plea before the evidence was fully presented.

 

 

 

 

Additional links on this story:

http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/25/justice/california-rape-exoneration/

YouTube Video Report on Brian Banks

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/24/sports/la-sp-brian-banks-20120524

 

 

Midwife Katie McCall Didn’t Take A Plea

On August 17th, 2011 I was convicted of practicing medicine without a license for a 2007 birth I assisted while enrolled in midwifery school. I was arrested, charged, tried and convicted while holding the midwifery license in good standing that I subsequently had been granted and while having no complaints issued against me as a licensed professional. I have never lost a baby or harmed anyone while serving birthing families and have no prior criminal record.

The charge arose from a home birth I attended where my supervising midwife could not arrive because she was at another birth… two babies sometimes arrive at once. Instead of leaving the family to birth unassisted, I stayed because they wished me to.  I suggested that the family transfer to the hospital since the supervising midwife was unavailable and the family refused to go.  At no time did I ever misrepresent myself as anything but a student midwife who required a supervising midwife to attend the birth so I could have my clinical hours properly signed off for school. The complaint filed against me wasn’t even submitted to the CA Medical Board by the family who chose to birth at home, but by an acupuncturist who was there to provide pain relief who had never even attended a birth other than her own.

When the mother began to push, the baby got stuck in a condition called shoulder dystocia– a serious and often fatal complication.  Using my training as a student, I performed the Gaskin maneuver to free the baby.  The maneuver was successful, however–like lightening striking twice–the mother began to hemorrhage due to a partially retained placenta.  Again, using my training, I was able to stop the bleeding and protect the mother from harm.  At trial, I argued through counsel that my practicing medicine was justified due to the emergency situations that had ensued.

After my arrest (which was three and a half years after the birth and also after the Medical Board had granted me my license), I was offered a plea of either misdemeanor theft (for being paid $200 by the family to be available for their birthing month) or misdemeanor battery for performing the procedures that saved the baby and mother’s lives. I took neither and requested a fair trial.

Despite testimony from the Assistant Director of one of the largest Emergency Departments in Los Angeles and a renowned OB/GYN that my actions potentially saved two lives, a jury convicted me of one felony count of practicing medicine without a license at trial. Hundreds of letters were written in my defense and the judge remarked that he had never seen so many people show support to a convicted criminal in his court room.

On September 16, 2011 the judge sentenced me to 3 years formal probation (where I must check in routinely and cannot leave the county of Los Angeles) and told me I cannot work as a midwife during that time. I was ordered to perform 280 hours of community service and pay $10,000 in restitution to the CA Medical Board (my only “victim”), which was down from the nearly $45,000 they were asking for to cover their investigative costs. It appears they thought they had uncovered an unlicensed medical practice and spent thousands of dollars looking for it… but in the end, they only found me and this one individual birth.

I am currently eight months into my probation and completed all of my community service hours by the end of the second month. The judge has stated he will likely remove some of my restrictions in January 2013 if I can come up with the restitution.

An appeal was filed on my behalf this week. I am anxiously awaiting it’s result, but know that appeals take a LONG time.

In the meantime, the Medical Board is trying me a second time on June 6, 2012, in an Administrative Court to help them decide if they will revoke my medical license… something the Attorney General’s office says is their ultimate goal. For more information you can follow my story here: www.supportmidwifekatiemccall.wordpress.com

-Katie McCall

Derrick J. Freeman isn’t taking a plea!

By Derrick J. Freeman

I am defending my self against aggression by agents of the state. On April 9, I will be standing in a courtroom with the men who kidnapped and pepper sprayed me. Virtually everyone participating in the trial except for me receives paychecks from the same organization: “the State of New Hampshire.” The charges against me are “Obstructing Government Administration” (up to 1 year in a cage and $1000 fine), “Resisting Arrest” (up to 1 year in a cage and $1000 fine), and “Refusing to Process” (up to $1,200 in fines).

Sun-Tzu says in The Art of War that the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. I have prepared myself for this trial over these last months, and I intend to win by speaking the truth. The agents of the state who kidnapped me have boxed themselves into a corner by allowing themselves to resort to violence and force rather than words and persuasion. In that sense, I have already won.

But in order to get the job done, I am asking for your support. If you value individual liberty, help me to throw myself into one major cog in the machine: the courts. $200 will cover my food and rent while I spend my days before court organizing papers, videos, and practicing speeches, witness questioning, and contingency plans. Thanks you to those of you who have supported me up to this point, and thanks in advance to those of you who are just beginning. Without you, achieving this victory would not be possible.

Editor’s note: to donate visit http://www.gofundme.com/hyi9k

 

Defensive or Offensive? That is the Question… by Ademo Freeman of COPBLOCK.org

Recently I was found guilty in my Chalking 8 trial, while highlighting those bogus charges we (Pete and I) met Frank and Mike, who took this video of Manchester Police Officer Murphy. The video went viral and received attention from several news outlets. Instead of taking a serious look at the actions caught on tape the city went into defense mode.

The Police, school and local government officials sought to criminalize Frank, Mike and myself. They expelled Frank from school, charged Mike as an adult (over a teenage fight) and charged me with three counts of wiretapping. Crimes the state says justifies caging me, at your expense, for 21 years.

I’ve been through this before in Greenfield, MA and am confident I can present my case, logically. The problem I face in Manchester that I didn’t have in Greenfield is the personal vendetta those in Manchester seem to have for me. After all, I was given the max sentence (with 10 months of it stayed for 2 years good behavior) for ‘resisting’ my arrest.

Recently I was found guilty in my Chalking 8 trial, while highlighting those bogus charges we (Pete and I) met Frank and Mike, who took this video of Manchester Police Officer Murphy. The video went viral and received attention from several news outlets. Instead of taking a serious look at the actions caught on tape the city went into defense mode.

The Police, school and local government officials sought to criminalize Frank, Mike and myself. They expelled Frank from school, charged Mike as an adult (over a teenage fight) and charged me with three counts of wiretapping. Crimes the state says justifies caging me, at your expense, for 21 years.

I’ve been through this before in Greenfield, MA and am confident I can present my case, logically. The problem I face in Manchester that I didn’t have in Greenfield is the personal vendetta those in Manchester seem to have for me. After all, I was given the max sentence (with 10 months of it stayed for 2 years good behavior) for ‘resisting’ my arrest.

With that in mind I’ve thought long and hard about how I’d like to tackle this case. I’ve done all the homework, reading up on New Hampshire’s wiretapping law, talking with lawyers, brainstorming ideas with fellow activist and more and it’s come down to one thing, funding. Which is why I made this video asking for your help.

As stated in the video, I think a lawyer would be beneficial to ensure I have fair pre-trial hearings and ‘proper’ (in their eyes) procedure during trial. Considering this will be an expectation of privacy trial – and that public officials have none – it will be more difficult that my Greenfield trial. Yet, a win here could do wonders for activists in the “Shire” attempting to change coercive government actions.

That being said, I also know, and appreciate, the offensive tactic as well and when done properly, is mightier than the current justice system. In terms of risk, I end up taking more with this tactic, as these actions will be done outside the court room. The best part of this strategy is that the actions the government is trying to distract you from – excessive force, deletion of evidence and criminalization of those who question government – will be front and center. As this issue goes further back than just one phone call, the Manchester police have gotten away with murder (literally) for a while now.

Regardless of how this fund raiser goes, I’ll be in court, speaking the truth and defending my position on filming, recording and monitoring public officials. I would greatly appreciate you donating to either cause as it would help me (and other activists) further the message of police accountability. You can also buy CopBlock.org swag, which help funds our CopBlock activities, or contact me for video intro/outro’s and power post. For those unable to donate, sharing CopBlock.org content and social networks is just as good as FRN’s and I need/appreciate your support as well.

Thanks in advance.

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Ademo’s First Hearing (video) – CopBlock.org
CopBlock Founder faces 20 years – Photography Is NOT a Crime
Ademo Responds to Charges by CopBlock
Manchester’s Chalking 8 by Cop Block
High School Student Catches Excessive Force on Video by Cop Block
Video shows West High student’s arrest by Mark Hayward in the Union Leader
West High student arrest video goes viral by Kathryn Marchocki in the Union Leader
Teen on school arrest: ‘I was goofing around’ by Mark Hayward in the Union Leader
Manchester students say videotape of arrest was not planned by Shawne Wickham in the Union

An Open Conversation about Plea Deals

Interviews with Ademo Freeman & Pete Eyre of Cop Block

along with Free Talk Live’s Ian Freeman at Cheshire County House of Corrections

The purpose of nevertakeaplea.org is to encourage defendants in victimless crime cases to consider exercising their constitutional right to a trial. If more victimless crime defendants took this approach, the system would overload which, hopefully, would cause prosecutors to focus on crimes with victims.

With this mission statement, nevertakeaplea has drawn criticism even within the liberty community. Recently, an activist posted on Facebook: “I’m going to be blunt. Never take a plea is bad advice. Trying to exhaust the court is a high risk, low reward strategy. It’s like throwing people into a wood chipper.”

When it comes to plea deals, our stance at nevertakeaplea is that it’s a deeply personal decision and each person should decide voluntarily what is best for his/her unique situation. There should be no pressure from activists to reject a plea deal nor coercion from the state to accept one.

Recently, on a visit to The Shire, I sat down with Ademo Freeman and Pete Eyre of Cop Block (www.copblock.org), to discuss their views on plea deals.

While in The Shire attending National Chalk the Police Day in Manchester (www.copblock.org/chalk), I drove over to Keene to visit with Free Talk Live’s Ian Freeman, nearing the end of a sentence at the Cheshire County House of Corrections for an act of civil disobedience (http://freekeene.com/2010/07/19/raw-video-of-mass-arrests/). Ian explained his position on never take a plea. (Apologies in advance for the audio. There are some freeze frames as well where the jail video phone froze.)

Clyde Voluntaryist

Re-Cap of Cop Block’s National Chalk the Police Day

Written by Ademo Freeman

This years Chalk the Police Day has come and gone. Don’t worry, we’ll do it again next year. Below you’ll find some links to the “chalking 8? as well as some other materials for Chalk the Police Day 2011. This was the video produced with some of the footage and pictures taken from around the country.

Chalk the Police is a nation wide campaign to raise public awareness about policing issues. Folks from all over the country will be heading out to their local police station(s) or parks (anywhere that’s public property) to advocate, in solidarity, police accountability.

The idea is to bring signs, fliers and (of course) chalk to their demonstration. While there ask folks passing by if they have something they’d like to say to the police. If they do, hand them some chalk – note, you should check the laws in your area about chalking public property (even though chalk doesn’t damage, some cops get angry over this).

This idea came to me, Ademo, after 8 people were arrested for demonstrating outside the police station in Manchester, NH. Seems some police officers have forgotten what their jobs were intended for, keeping people safe. Not to target those who peacefully assemble after officers were cleared of beating a man.

The Manchester Chalking 8: Round 2 – Charges against Kate Ager

Kate Ager

Report written by Kate Ager, one of the Manchester Chalking 8.

“On September 12, 2011 the Court held a trial on the above captioned matter. At the conclusion of the evidence and parties’ arguments, the Court took the matters under advisement sans one charge that was dismissed at the conclusion of the Prosecution’s case. There was some delay on the resolution of this case while the Court obtained the proper technology to access the C.D.’s submitted as Defendant’s A and B.

The Prosecution had filed the complaint alleging a class A misdemeanor of disorderly conduct (RSA 644:2). The defedant argues that she did not violate a “lawful order”. The NH

Legislature has defined “lawful order” as:

(1) A command issued to any person for the purpose of preventing said person from committing any offense set forth in this section, or in any section of Title LXII or Title XXI, when

the officer has reasonable grounds to believe said person is about to commit such an offense, or when said person is engaged in a course of conduct which makes his commission of

such an offense imminent.-(2) A command issued to any person to stop him from continuing to commit any offense set forth in this section, or in any section of Title LXII or Title XXI, when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that said person is presently engaged  in conduct which constitutes any such offense; or-(3) A command not to enter or a command to leave an area closed pursuant to paragraph IV, provided that a person may not lawfully be ordered to leave his or her own home or business.-Sergeant Patti of the Manchester Police Department testified that after the police had arrested several people for criminal mischief, he directed that two police detectives photograph and memorialize certain marks near the front of the police station. In the video of the encounter, the Sergeant describes this area in front of the police station as a crime scene. Defendant’s exhibit A. It is beyond peradventure that an uncontaminated crime scene is important to the criminal defendant, society and to the justice system as pristine and untainted crime scene properly documented will assist in the truth-seeking process at trial. Therefore, it is little wonder that the Legislature made it an offense to interfere with criminal investigation in a public place. See RSA 644:2 II (d). Hence, when the Sergeant asked the defendant to move from the area of the sidewalk in front of the Police Station, he would have reasonable grounds to believe that a person was about to violate the above cited provision within Title LXII, by her continued presence within the undocumented crime scene. -Initially, there seems to be a challenge as to whether the first directive was either an order or polite request. Defendant’s A captures the precise words of Sergeant Patti. “Excuse me, would you get off the chalk please.” A command is “direct authoritatively” Webster’s Seventh Collegiate Dictionary, p. 164 (1970). Those words of Sergeant Patti constitute an authoritative directive and qualify as a lawful order to move. To the extent that the polite and courteous nature of the direction was ambiguous, the dialogue that follows extinguishes that claim. Defendant verbally challenges the police authority to direct her movement by saying, “Get off the chalk? I am on the sidewalk.” In response Sergeant Patti replies, “I know it is evidence in a crime.” When defendant verbally challenges the designation as a crime, the Sergeant says, “I am giving you a lawful order because we have to take pictures of that. If you are not going to move, you are going to be arrested”. In light of this exchange, which the police were not obligated by the terms of the statute to make, there is no doubt that a lawful order was issued and by standing still this individual violated the law.For conduct to create criminal liability, the defendant’s action must be “…based on conduct that includes a voluntary act…” See RSA 626:1 (I). While there was certainly sufficient time for the defendant to comply with the first lawful command, Sergeant Patti announced the defendant was under arrest within two seconds of the second lawful order. Because of the scant passage of time, the Court cannot find beyond a reasonable douct that the offense was transformed from a violation level offense to a misdemeanor, as the individual must have failed to desist after a request was made; the passage of a second or two does not meet the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. See RSA 644:2 VI. The court finds the defendant guilty of a violation offense.-Defendant’s exhibit A shows that Sergeant Patti tells the Defendant that she is under arrest as he steps towards her with hands outstretched at about waist level. When a uniformed law enforcement officers tells an individual that he is placing that person under arrest, no reasonable person could have a scintilla of doubt that she was being arrested i.e. being taken into custody to be forthcoming to answer to a criminal charge. See RSA 594:1 I. The defendant responded, “Get your hands off me!” sergeant Patti can be heard directing the defendant to put her hands behind her back. The video came to an abrupt end with the camera apparently being jostled in the effort to arrest the defendant. The police officer testified that what ensued was a physical struggle to have the defendant’s arms brought behind her back and then handcuffed. Since 1942 the NH Legislature has clearly set forth the obligation of a person who is being arrested “…it is his duty to submit to arrest and refrain from using force or any weapon in resisting it regardless of whether there is a legal basis for the arrest.” RSA 594:5. The Court finds the defendant did physically resist arrest by struggling with the police as they attempted to arrest her. Therefore, the court finds the defendant guilty of that offense.-The remaining offense is a violation of RSA 641:4. The offense has an element that the defendant acted with the specific intent to “induce a police officer to believe that another had committed a crime”. In this instance there is no doubt that the defendant provided false information concerning her date of birth. There appears to be no evidence in the record to support the specific intent element. The failure of proof by the prosecution results in the Court finds defendant not guilty as to this offense.-The court will hold a sentencing hearing on October 20, 2011 at 8:15 AM in Courtroom 301.”

The State vs Garret Ean: Round One – The “Chalking 8”

“As an advocate against taking plea deals from the prosecution, I suppose it was assumed that we would be going “Not Guilty” and forcing a trial. About 95% of cases are pled out before there’s an opportunity for trial, which speaks poorly of the justice system. It means more people are cutting deals to lessen their charges than actually allowing their supposed crime to be reviewed by the system, judged and sentenced. Often those not even guilty of any wrongdoing will still find the plea deal an attractive offer since it eliminates the need to expend time and resources in defending oneself in court.” Garret Ean (www.freeconcord.org).

The State of NH vs Garret Ean: Round one

For more information on Garret’s case and court dates:

http://freeconcord.wordpress.com/

http://www.copblock.org/7411/chalk/

Adam vs. The Man: Lemonade Liberation Segment

Here is the link to the full show. The Lemonade Liberation segment starts at about 6:45.