Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Last Girl Scout
Yesterday marked an invigorating shift for me.
I've been beset by the common malady among Occupiers, wherein the sheer weight of the task at hand and the sly, evasive Jung Fu practiced by the adherents of the Darkness has been a bit stifling. Given the way the City Court in Colorado springs has been summarily dismissing cases arising from the local Occupation, i genuinely feared they would simply drop my camping ticket as a way to sweep the whole business under their now incredibly lumpy rug. After all, when Nic G. was arrested for setting up an occupation at City Hall, his case was summarily dismissed for "lack of evidence." Nic, Michael, and Kristie then drove to the police station to retrieve the three carloads of evidence those agents of authority had confiscated and were storing there. It seems likely that the real reason the case was dropped was the lack of any legitimate crime. Nic has reported that none of the cops on the scene for his incident had any clue what they were doing. In fact they are recorded by their own equipment responding with befuddlement when asked for what he was being arrested. No shit. "What am I being arrested for; what are the charges?" "We don't know." Apparently even our city's lawyers aren't stupid enough to take that one, though it may well have been simply a harassment strategy. If so, its effectiveness is as yet undetermined. No one has set up any tables or anything at City Hall since, but we've been busy, many of us simply finding ways to avoid freezing to death. The idea is hardly off the table though, one might say.
Some weeks back we contacted the National Lawyers' Guild office in Denver and Chuck Nadler from that office sent out a mass email, blah, blah, blah, and i was put in touch with local attorney Patty Perello. Perello had presented difficulty to connect, and in the weeks leading to the rescheduled pre-trial conference yesterday, i developed a sense that she may be of a mind to steer the procedure toward the simplest solution and try to get the charges dropped on technicalities or to persuade me to take one of the cheesy deals the city attorney offered. I was pleasantly disabused of my unwarranted impression when we finally met, 10 minutes past the scheduled moment for the conference to start.
We spoke hurriedly for a few minutes about more or less unrelated topics before they called my name and Perello motioned for me to wait while she conferred in the inner sanctum of banal constitutional deconstruction to be found at any courtroom. I held my previous view at this point, that Perello was likely not so different from other overworked and over-avaricious solicitors with whom i'd had previous experience. When she reappeared with not one but two potential lame-ass deals posited by the city, i knew the moment was at hand. "So," i say, bracing for the worst, "just how deep into this pond do you want to wade." "I want to do what you want to do," Perello says. "I want to take this on as a Constitutional and human rights thing," sez me. Perello then launches into an enthusiastic rant, peppered with my favorite sort of coarse language, touching on subject matter like appeals, constitutional motions, and hustling for one of our Occupy Colorado Springs T-shirts. Before we were called again, she's Patty, and one of us.
Patty also agreed to take on Jack's cases, and Amber's, too, i think, although our conversation continued to proceed in a fashion too scattered for me to be sure. I still suffer under a preconception about lawyers deep enough to cause lingering doubt, but Patty's demeanor is so out of place it's kind of disorienting. After spending an hour and a half or so at the courthouse handling cases for which she actually pulled money from her own pocket for discovery, she offered to give me a ride home in the snow, 12 miles away. During the drive we continued to cement simpatico perceptions of one another. Any other lawyer i've ever interacted with would send me a bill for $1500 and then sue me for all my coveted nothing when i couldn't pay. Patty's ready to fight the genuine base issues, "All the way to the Pope's office."
We'll keep you posted!