Editorial: Sentence against Ithaca drones protester is a farce and an outrage

Editor’s Note: This is an editorial by The Ithaca Voice. We are enabling the site’s comments section at the bottom of the story for those who wish to respond.

Ithaca, N.Y. — An Ithaca woman crossed the street and stood for a few minutes where she wasn’t supposed to stand. Then she crossed back to where it was OK to stand. Now she’s going to jail for a year.

(For background on the case, see yesterday’s story, “Criminal or martyr? Inside the political formation of Ithaca’s jailed grandmother.“)

There are plenty of reasons to deplore the excessive jail sentence that DeWitt Town Justice David S. Gideon handed down last week to Mary Anne Grady Flores, a 58-year-old grandmother of three.

Here are seven of them:

1 — Why the max? The judge won’t say

The probation department had recommended no jail time. Gideon instead threw the book at Grady Flores: a maximum sentence of one year in jail.

Why? The judge declined to be interviewed. But in his five-page ruling, he wrote, “It is the opinion of this Court that this defendant would simply thumb her nose at the law once again if the Court would sentence her to either a Conditional Discharge or Probation…”

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 2.33.31 AM

Mary Anne Grady Flores being led away in handcuffs last week.

OK, but that’s a case maybe for a week or a month in jail. Or maybe two. Wouldn’t that send a message? Why a year, which might disrupt any number of lives in untold ways? All for crossing the street for a few minutes.

2 — Platitudes, pieties and some just plain weird stuff

The judge’s ruling includes numerous odd phrasings and a few hyperbolic clauses like this: “Publicity at any cost, without any regard for the rules of society.”

Really? “At any cost”? “Without any regard”?

She went to photograph a peaceful protest. She was not even a demonstrator.

There’s simply no evidence to justify the claim that Grady Flores sought “publicity at any cost.”

A jail cell in the Onondaga County jail. (Courtesy of the sheriff's office)

A jail cell in the Onondaga County jail. (Courtesy of the sheriff’s office)

3 — An introduction to U.S. civics

The judge seems intrigued to learn that “it was disclosed that ‘planning’ sessions are held prior to the demonstrations whereat the risk of arrest is discussed and the participants are grouped according to who is willing to be arrested versus those who are not.”

Welcome to the world of civil disobedience, judge. It’s an American tradition that goes back at least to Henry David Thoreau in 1849. Actually, it could probably be argued that the Revolution itself was a major act of civil disobedience.

Thoreau spent only one night in jail for refusing to pay taxes to support slavery and a war he believed was unconscionable.

Grady Flores crossed the street for a few minutes, then crossed back. Now she’s going to jail for a year.

Thoreau wrote an essay you might want to check out, judge: http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil1.html.

It’s a glorious part of the fabric of our history.

4 — Yes. Violence is, in fact, worse than non-violence

The judge at one point actually writes, “Is a wilful (sic) violation of a valid Court Order any less serious because it does not involve violence?”

Well, actually, Your Honor, yes, it is. You slapped Grady Flores with second-degree criminal contempt for violating an order of protection. That’s a misdemeanor. If she had been accused of violent behavior, it would likely have been a first-degree criminal contempt charge, a felony. A felony is more serious than a misdemeanor. Is an armed robbery more serious than a burglary? The law seems to say so.

Judge David Gideon. (Courtesy of the NY State courts system)

Judge David Gideon. (Courtesy of the NY State courts system)

In this case, there was no violence. Would the judge really have found the case no more serious had Grady Flores used weapons to fire on the base? So an assault on the colonel would have been no more serious in the eyes of the law than standing in a driveway?

Yeah, we didn’t think that made sense, either.

5 — Trouble keeping time?

“She walked over to where the protesters were and stood there for minutes,” the prosecutor for Onondaga County said. “It wasn’t like a two-second thing: It was minutes and minutes and minutes of time where she stood with these people.”

Minutes and minutes and minutes. Sounds like a bad Rent parody.

Think about all the minutes Grady Flores is losing: 525,600. That, more than what the prosecutor says, can really be characterized as “minutes and minutes and minutes.”

6 — A perverse order of protection

Grady Flores was arrested because she violated an order of protection. An order that was absurd on its face. Why? Because it forbade her to approach the workplace or home of someone she hadn’t met, didn’t know, didn’t threaten and didn’t show any intention of harming in any way. And who was the commander of possibly the most powerful military force in New York.

Town of DeWitt justices issued the orders of protection against her and a number of other protesters at the request of base commanders to remove an inconvenient and pesky presence at the entrances to the Hancock Air Base outside of Syracuse.

Orders of protection usually pop up in the news in circumstance such as, “Woman stabbed man; he violated order of protection.”

Col. Earl A. Evans in 2011. Evans requested the order of protection that eventually lead to Grady Flores' jail sentence. (Courtesy of the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base)

Col. Earl A. Evans in 2011. Evans requested the order of protection that eventually lead to Grady Flores’ jail sentence. (Courtesy of the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base)

They’re intended to protect specific people from harm inflicted or threatened by specific people.

In this case, there was no threat, there was no “victim.” It was a generic political protest.

The order of protection was a gross misuse of a serious legal instrument.

Need further convincing?

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously that it was unconstitutional to place a buffer between abortion clinic entrances and protesters.

“A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce, but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in a majority opinion that was joined by the court’s four-member liberal wing, according to The New York Times.

An order of protection against drone protesters is just another way to paint that line on the sidewalk. And it is a subterfuge — because it’s basically dishonest.

The base commander’s name may be on the order of protection, but he hasn’t actually met or been threatened by any of the protestors. They’re just clogging his base entrances. Are they trespassing? Conducting themselves in a disorderly way? Those are different matters from the reasons for an order of protection. Yet that’s what Grady Flores had to answer to. For crossing the street for a few minutes, then crossing back.

7 — Penny wise, pound foolish

The judge levied a $1,000 fine on Grady Flores, plus a surcharge of a couple hundred dollars, plus the cost of a DNA test. He said he wanted to send a message.

So, he tossed her into the clink at Jamesville Correctional Facility for a year — at up to $40,000 in annual cost to taxpayers.

A good bargain? For someone who crossed the street for a few minutes, then crossed back?

Taxpayers could use an order of protection against justices like David Gideon.

Correction: Due to an editing error, the following caption incorrectly stated that Grady Flores will be spending 12 months at the justice center jail. In fact, she is there now, but has been sentenced to 12 months at the jail in Jamesville.

The Onondaga County Justice Center jail.

Mary Anne Grady Flores is being held in the Onondaga County Justice Center jail.

118 thoughts on “Editorial: Sentence against Ithaca drones protester is a farce and an outrage

  1. This is the most ridiculous and unfair ruling I have ever heard of. It seems like the judge is going out of his way to be punitive, to send a message to people to discourage first amendment rights.

    • There is no First Amendment right to disobey a court order. The order may have been ill-advised, but it must be respected.

      If the purpose of crossing the street was to take pictures, the proper camera lens should have made that possible without crossing the street.

      The sentence may be unnecessarily extreme, but when an individual chooses to disobey the government she runs the risk of suffering any penalty authorized by law.

        • Thomas Jefferson, was so right when he said those words,
          I am sick of hearing the phrase ( if you break the law you deserve to do the time) we see so many laws that have been made to serve a few power hungry individuals to keep just thinking citizens from doing what is right for the majority.
          to spend up to $40.000.00 to send a message is preposterous in the extreme

        • Jefferson never said that, but it’s a sentiment he would probably agree with. As for blind obedience to every government rule … if that’s how you expect Americans to act, this country never would have been founded.

          • He also is credited with “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…,” which is basically the same thing. Wise man.

          • Comments: This quotation has not been found in Thomas Jefferson’s papers. It has been suggested that it is a paraphrase of Jefferson’s statement in the Declaration of Independence, “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…,” although such a paraphrase would seem to be taking some radical liberties with the original version. The quotation bears a much closer resemblance to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s comment in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail: “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”[1]

          • Jefferson DID say those words, according to several websites and sources..

            Some judges get way too power hungry and lose all decent and logical perspective. Both in the judge that approved the “Order of Protection” when no threat was ever made, and the judge that sentenced Grady to a YEAR for something so inane as peacefully taking photos of a PEACEFUL protest. This is disgusting. A higher ranking judge or even the Governor of the state, needs to have the guts to overturn this ridiculous sentence.

          • The absence of the quotation from Jefferson’s papers doesn’t prove he didn’t say it, it merely proves he did not write it in any of the papers they happen to have (assuming the searchers have not missed it). There are any number of ways he might have said or written these words, even if they are not recorded there.

        • Who are we to determine which laws are just or unjust. That is for the judicial departments of our government. I do not agree with the judge’s excessive ruling, but she did break the law.

          • Who are we to judge you ask? We are the people who give the power to govern by the right of our consent. That’s how a Republic works. Furthermore there is this little thing called The Constitution that dictates what powers all branches of government have and do not have, that includes the judicial. So no it isn’t for the judicial departments to wield some existential power derived from its departments, its power is derived from the principles in said Constitution. Judicial departments of government are not the law, are not interpretors of the law, nor are they above it. The laws are clearly defined within the powers set forth in The Constitution which is THE law of the land.

          • She did not break a “law”, she violated a “statute”.
            Laws are based on constitutional construct. Statutes are based on prohibitions and revenue generation…

          • Who are we to determine if a law is just or unjust? We are the People! We are the descendants and the inheritors of the people who formed the greatest country in the world, who formed it by throwing off an unjust and oppressive government and who not only stood in non-violent protest but took up arms against the enforcers of that unjust and evil regime. Who suffered, bled and died that we could live in freedom. That is who we are. Perhaps you do not realize, but you are one of us too. If only you can find the courage to believe.

          • Are you a citizen? Yes? Then you have not only the right but the duty to determine which laws are just or unjust. Stop expecting others to handle your business. Grow up and participate in your community.

          • She did Not break any common law. Most code laws are arbitrary bullshit presented as a means to keep “citizens” safe and secure. Codified administration of so called laws is blatantly illegal except that corporations are above the law. Cities and counties are all corporations.. Truth be told, our judicial system is nothing but a sick joke and is basically designed to capture moneys to feed the administration of unnecessary projects that will benefit only a select few greedy rich people and perhaps their cronies.

          • Judy Fitzgerald you boggle my mind! Who are we to say what is just or unjust? We are the citizens of this country, in whose name the government, the courts, and even the military are supposedly employed. WE are not only empowered but required to speak, to judge, and when necessary to protest in order that this country should never fall into the hands of the kind of callous totalitarian elite that now are its de facto rulers. And we go into this state because for nearly three generations now, people have been taught to believe “who am I to judge?” Judge, dammit! Make decisions! Take a stand!

          • “Who are we to determine which laws are just or unjust. That is for the judicial departments of our government. I do not agree with the judge’s excessive ruling, but she did break the law.”—– What law did she break? She crossed a street, and if she wasn’t part of the protest, just a spectator, taking a picture, then the whole thing is B.S., and as for the above quote: common sense, done we vote and pass laws and bills etc? THAT is who WE are.

          • She appropriately gets a ticket for this. The judge wants us to know he won’t tolerate her being around where she was… the problem is he is outright stifling right to gather, protest, not to mention he has no right call to obtain this poorly fitted defense armor of this absurd Order of Protection.

        • That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

        • Our country was founded on principles of individual liberty. The Bill of Rights tells us not what the citizens can do, but what the government cannot do. If the judge issued an order, was it posted publicly? Was it in plain sight, so everyone there could see it? Was Ms. Flores told of the order so she could move?

          We are slowly losing all of our rights, and we must stand up for each other when there is a violation. The judge did a wrongdoing, and must be made to account for his actions. He must pay for the injury he has caused.

          Wearing a black robe does not make one a god to be feared and who wields his power over the people. He is a public servant, who is to protect our rights, as well as assure the safety of the public. He has done neither.

          • Well said! Hopefully, when this ruling is overturned (and it damned well better be!), Judge Gideon will view it as the reprimand it is. If he fails to recognize his mistake and makes no apology or attempt at redress, then he should be removed from the bench.

        • Maybe we would have a much different and more humane country and many fewer, unproductive billionaires nursing at the government teat. Maybe corporations would not flee this country for tax havens while getting financial aid at taxpayeres’ expense.

      • No doubt that’s the same attitude many Germans had prior to WW2. As long as the laws didn’t effect them, it was ok to enforce them on others. Complacency such as yours is our greatest threat to freedom.

      • Really wow , would u feel,the same way if it was your grandmother or. Daughter or son. Taking a picture of something the felt strongly over , I doubt u have never broken a single law in your life , so should u ep punished to the max for littering speeding. Or , any of the various petty crimes I’m. Bet u have committed during your life

      • Doug, I think that this judge is out of his mind and is reading into the problem more than needs to be read into period? This lady thought and I can only assume that somebody overstepped their bounds and was in protest? So that warrents a year in Jail? Are you serious? No wonder people are scared to protest to any action that the system incorporates into daily life, day in day out? If something is wrong, it is wrong? So to be peaceful, and simply walk accross the street warrents a year long jail sentence? Then how much time is obama responsible to serve and what judge is going to impose the sentence to a POTUS that has clearly broken the Law multiple times? And to even compare what this lady did to the gross negligence that our POTUS, that being obama, to compare the two is crazy but this dude is sentenced to how much time? And our POTUS, Not only no time but a free ticket to rub our Nations face in her butt crack or his to prove how stupid this is and seems on the surface?

        • It’s not about Obama. The entire federal system is corrupt and broken, we hate every president that gets elected because their respective parties aren’t putting up their best and brightest, they’re putting up who they find expendable and malleable to their collective will. Calling Obama a liar and a thief merely serves to prove that this twisted system is working on behalf of the federal government, it says that we buy their BS 100%. I’m not saying Obama is a paradigm of honesty, I’m saying he’s the product of a bent system, and we should stop being surprised when yet another career politician does something immoral for their own gain. Our sick and corrupt justice system is proof of this…shit rolls downhill.

          • Exactly, Colin. This goes to the heart of the issue, our current system has gone way off course from the representative republic that was intended. Voter apathy is at an all-time high, benefiting our federal government to continue more of the same, regardless of party affiliation. The real crime is allowing this incremental stripping of citizen rights in the U.S., without questioning, protesting and standing up for what’s right.

      • It’s the right and duty of our “elected” government to govern us fairly and justly. This sentence is specious and flat wrong. There are degrees of lawlessness, and taking a picture over the course of “minutes and minutes” is hardly threatening. At most she should have a fine and some court-mandated supervision…this woman is not a hardened criminal by anyone’s standards, and to even hint that she got what she deserved by snubbing the “law” is absurd. The laws are written in a way that’s supposed to protect us from blatant misuse of authority, such as in this case. No judge should have the right to override the prosecution and impose a stiffer sentence, especially the maximum of one year on a woman who is a grandmother and proactive about peace. Peace, for crying out loud. She didn’t jump on the hood of a police vehicle and grab her crotch at the chimpanzee driving it, in fact, she did next to NOTHING. There are child molesters receiving weak sentences for their heinous crime, but this woman needs to be made an example of? This is a farce, demeaning to the public at large, and belittling what little “justice” is left in a broken system.

      • The court order was unconstitutional, following the reasoning of the Supreme Court in the abortion buffer zone case.

        Of course, the anti-abortion movement is associated with actual bombings and murders. The peace movement is not.

      • P. Melanie is right!! I just looked it up!! See!

        FIRST AMENDMENT
        ———————–
        “Congress shall make no law [BUT THEY CAN MAKE A COURT ORDER BECAUSE THAT ISN'T LIKE REALLY A LAW ANYWAYS, ITS JUST AN ORDER.. BUT IT SHOULD STILL BE TREATED LIKE A LAW EVEN THOUGH IT ISN'T ACTUALLY A LAW]respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

      • So P. Melanie Vliet, next time you break the law by say, jay-walking or speeding, I take it you’ll be without complaint when some insane judge sentences you to a year in jail?

      • There is a fundamental problem with those who are attempting to justify this action!
        The initial order of protection was bogus, and wrongfully issued! There was no legal basis for its issuance, and therefore no basis for the arrest! This is an Un-Constitutional order, action, ruling, and punishment! I want to know where the NY Militias are! Why are you allowing this injustice to stand, because this is what the Militia was created for! Your job is to defend the rights of the citizenry against Un-Constitutional acts of aggression from ANY party! I know you boys in Rochester, can’t be willing to stand by and let this happen, can you? There are other militia across the country who will come and stand by your side, if you only ask for the help! Look at what we all did in Bunkerville, NV! We faced down Harry Reid’s personal army and goon squad; and sent them packing! You can do it, too!

      • When the govt is wrong it is SUPPOSED to be disobeyed. NOW this judge must be targeted for whatever level of protest is necessary to get him to see the error of his ways and reverse this OR make his life hell till he resigns as he is no longer qualified to sit on the bench

      • Well, you’ve drunk the kool-aid. You’re comfortable with people not daring to “disobey the government?” Do you understand what you said there? My God…

      • I am ashamed that this once great unit stoops to such a level. Orders of Protection are not designed for this purpose. They are designed to protect when there is a threat, not suppress freedom of speech. I do not care whether I loved or despised the intent of the protesters, I would certainly defend their right to speak and would not dangle a legal noose in front of them to block the First Amendment of the United States of America. Every member of that unit swore the very same oath that I did – to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies – both foreign and domestic. I am ashamed of what this unit has done.

      • Clueless you are! When the court acts in violation of the law it is not only a right but a responsibility to stand against it.

        When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

        We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

      • Wow. Are you serious? Any court order that is unconstitutional can and should be disobeyed. Wow, you are either completely mindless, or just so incredibly brainwashed you have no ability to think for yourself. If the government tells you to do something that hurts others, you would you just do it, right? Just like all the German soldiers who slaughtered Jewish children because they were told to. You would make a perfect Nazi soldier. Good little puppet. Obey the rules like all the good little puppets do.

      • If you think like that, that if one breaks such an arbitrary law then one should be prepared to serve any outlandish maximum sentence? Did you know if you cuss or use foul language in front of 2 or more persons in Mississippi then it can land you in jail for 30 days. Sucks for people who don’t know and can get locked up for it. I hope you know all your laws because there are some pretty petty ones still active today!

      • Civil disobedience goes back to Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson. The judge is no Gideon’s Trumpet! He does sound more like a “Kochroach”!

  2. Thank you! Clear, accurate – love the $40,000 taxpayer cost reference — for the Judge’s ego driven decision!! What a travesty!

    • Thanks for the great overview of
      a very absurd night, listening to a clearly
      prejudicial judge who, as you point out,
      appears to have no understanding of US
      history, and who allows his emotions to
      dictate the kinds of sentences he hands out
      in his courtroom. We should keep in mind
      that this kind of thing happens every day,
      every hour, in every town and city in the
      USA. Mary Anne is now among the 2
      million men, women, and children we
      keep behind bars, in the name of freedom
      and democracy and justice.

      • This is a judge, who is trying to write law via a ruling! Try that out here in AZ, you Libtard, ass-BITCH!
        Out here we would storm your courtroom, drag your sorry butt out in the street, and tar and feather your bitch-ass! I think this is going to be the only way we will be able to stop these douchebags from violating our rights!
        AZRanger,
        Sic Semper Tyrannus

        • You realize that this protester is likely a hard core “libtard” as you so charmingly put it, right? A filthy fucking hippie peacenik, clearly anti-war, probably anti-gun? And that the judge is trying to “protect” the Hancock Air Base against these unarmed peace protesters? Are you sure all you “brave” Arizonans are on the side of the “libtard” peace protesters?

  3. The judge needs to commit these words to memory, and incorporate them into his perspective of reality. ” That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

    The abuse of duly constituted authority with which this individual has been entrusted constitutes sufficient cause for his removal from the bench, in my humble opinion.

  4. Such travesties occur every day in courtrooms across the country. We just happened to hear about this one.

  5. I live in Russia. This is the way they do things there under Putin. My journalist spouse hears stories like this all the time. It’s called authoritarian government, folks. They’ve had it for over 800 years. They’re used to it and have theirs ways of dealing with it. Americans are going to need some lessons to cope with their new realities.

  6. Everything that happens now is to announce to us that we are already living under fascist tyranny. You know you’re living under fascism when things don’t make sense anymore. We are not free.

  7. How did this person who can neither reason no write coherently become a judge? The sentence is outrageous, and I believe it will be overturned.

  8. If the people of Ithaca fail to remove this overtly authoritarian judge from the bench they deserve to live in a totalitarian state. Our government is out of control on all levels and it’s up to us to start removing this cancer. We the people have the power but only if we get together and use it.

  9. Pingback: www.leftwinglibertarian.com – Grandmothers are a clear and present danger in NY

  10. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  11. Grady Flores is my new hero. She was not a protestor . . . she was a “sidewalk counselor for PEACE!”

    I hope she takes this ask the way to the Supreme Court!

  12. What a completely perfect example of power gone madd. This judge, as well as the Colonel, it seems to me have an almost conspiring if unstated agreement to do harm to this woman and of course to any of her family. Disgusting Abuse of Power! Release this woman!

  13. Is this judge elected or appointed? If elected, a sufficiently outraged public could take care of this guy next election. If appointed, they can make life difficult for whoever appointed him (or his successor).
    But the biggest problem is that most people, even those who claim to be outraged at these things have memories that only go back a week or so.

  14. The news of Mary Anne’s severe imprisonment has done more to spread the word that drone attacks are being directed from a tiny suburb of Syracuse NY than the original protests themselves did. (What? Don’t tell me the mainstream media ignored the years of walks, protests, rallies and actions?!) That is one consolation to her. A year in Mary Anne’s life is extreme but she wants us to remember that the lives of many innocent people have been horribly ended through this ‘video game’ war policy.

    PS: Mary Anne’s birthday is at the end of December so she is really 57. I’m sure she wants people to know she’s NOT 58 yet!

  15. Is it a common practice in the USA to keep judges that have had a brain lobotomy?

    Letting a judge practice with only part of his brain remaining is extremely dangerous!

    • Judges are (wrongly) perceived as being “fair”. ONE I met during my divorce process was – the judge from the Kathy Schaivo case, with the woman who was brain dead. A good man. Every other judge I have come in to contact with was basically a bullying fascist – they have lunch with the DA, and they too depend on CONVICTION and JAIL TIME to fund the system that employs them. That’s all they are. NEVER go to court without a lawyer – they will eat you alive,

      • Here’s a news flash, folks. In Tompkins County the municipal judges (really magistrates), do NOT have to be lawyers nor have any judicial experience what so ever. If they make a mistake or need some kind of judicial clarification, they ask the DA. More times than not, the so-called “judges” hand down the ruling the DA wants. As far as defense lawyers go, did you know that if they’re court-appointed they get $2,200 to “defend” a misdemeanor case and $4,400 for a felony case? And what do they do? “Screw the facts, accept the plea deal, and get me out of this as soon as possible.” Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who has spent time in that hell hole called Tompkins County Jail as a result of having a court-appointed defense attorney. If the people knew of the neglect and abuses of authority that goes on in there, Sheriff Lansing would be forced to resign and, as jail warden, Undersheriff Osborne would be an inmate along with over half of his corrections staff.

  16. Is the ACLU going to step in on this one? Seems this judge stepped all over her rights and discriminated against her. This article doesn’t make much sense except she stepped across the street while a protest was going on and she had been ordered to be so many feet or whatever away from it. Why? I don’t understand what the problem is if she wasn’t causing any trouble and was merely standing. This is really a bad example of justice in my opinion and the fines are too high and the jail sentence unwarranted. What a flagrant case of unjust prosecution and the judge needs a reprimand in my opinion.

  17. There should be a listing of charges made against the person who was convicted of an unknown crime while exercising her constitutional rights. There should be a leniency for those who are participating in an exercise in communication that is protected by the constitution. The whole exercise by the citizens should be defended by the higher goal and right to communicate.

  18. What a country! A grandmother is sentenced to a year in jail for essentially exercising her First Amendment right guaranteed by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution becuase she “defied” a court order? Yet people who are essentially lunatics can carry assault rifles and purchase multi round ammo clips with impunity! Go figure. Children can be screamed at and cursed by “protestors” who are actually in fact and law preventing a lawful function of the government again with impunity! Police can literally execute a person in the name of “reasonable belief” without any repercussions even though any sane person find such a claim ludicrous. The government will allow investment bankers and oil industry to rob the nation with impunity and actually permit a million dollars pat on the back but will deny people to the right a living wage! Again what a country! Little wonder with a judge like this chap and the prison industry that will welcome the grandmother I am sure to their facilities we have the highest prison population in the world! USA USA yeah right!

  19. She should have told the judge, “Get thee behind me, satan”, but then she would probably have been sentenced to life for defying the power that is behind all of this chaos.

  20. Peaceful protest is not a violation of any law, it’s a right covered under the free speech covered within the Bill Of Rights, which is a God Given Right. The order of protection was not warranted and did cause her right to a peaceful protest to be abridged and she was clearly violated. The one who took out the order of protection should be sued and the judge should pay a penalty and be reprimanded.

  21. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. This only involves what seems to be a woman who said to the judge that she would trespass again even if its against the law, so the judge wanted her to not do it again. Its a little much but it makes sense.

  22. Wow. What a strange judicial system you guys have that a simple civil misdemeanour can be conflated by a judge into a criminal matter. I hope that this particular ‘judge” is a low-level sort of judge, more like what we would call a magistrate and that his decisions can be appealed to a higher court in which a real judge would sit… and throw such nonsense out, with costs.

  23. This is the most disgusting abuse of power I have ever seen at this level. As is noted it flies in the face of the recent SCOTUS opinion that banned abortion buffer zones. The order of protection is obviously inappropriate as well. Is our military now made up of total pussies who need a court order to protect them from mean words stated by the public as they carry signs. During the Vietnam era I recall a great deal of protests. But the order of protection didn’t exist back then. One comment above states the court order must be respected. I disagree. The effect of the order was to nullify the First Amendment making it prima facie deficient. Of course the judge declined interview. Who in their right mind would attempt to justify this ruling. This is the type of thing that serves to warn all Americans. President Obama said, “There are voices that warn tyranny is just around the corner. You should reject those voices.” That’s correct. Tyranny is already here.

  24. Just out of curiosity, how much time does this righteous judge give rapists, murderers and child abusers??? Hopefully the excessive full max allowed by law. Judges are given a certain amount of leeway, that is why there is minimum and maximum sentence amounts. Maybe some aspiring news person can look into this for us.

  25. I have a rather odd question. Many times you see people out on bail while on appeal. Can’t she appeal this ruling as too harsh for the crime (that personally I don’t see as a crime)

    You know it’s one thing to protest peacefully. Chanting is perfectly acceptable. Holding up banners is perfectly acceptable. This all changes if someone turns physical. Like breaking windows or throwing fists. But that didn’t happen here.

    I see this judge as a bully. He was advised by others to drop this but sentenced this lady to the max. Why? He’s hiding behind his robe and his office door. This case needs to be looked at by the state Supreme Court. When they find this judge went way over the mark he should be disbarred and forced off the bench permanently.

  26. I am going to go over this by each point the author made.

    First point: Judge gave his answer in the court ruling. He is giving her the max because she has not paid court costs in previous rulings and this is either the second or third time she committed the same offense. He even goes so far as to list the reasons that prison time is vacated. It is not to save money or because some crimes don’t deserve it. It is because sometimes people make mistakes and as this is her third time doing this it is not a mistake.

    Second point: I guess if you pick that line out of the paragraph without viewing the preceding sentence you could view it as hyperbolic. But if you include the preceding sentence, “In the opinion of this court, the present case, as well as the prior cases, involve nothing more than a defendant willing to “break the law” to seek publicity for her cause.” Amazing what context an antecedent sentence can do.
    Third point: The context of his statement was showing why he was giving her the sentence he did. Her actions showed premeditation to commit a crime by her and by the demonstration itself. This premeditation calls for a stiffer sentence then say someone who walked by and just found the protest and agreed with it so started protesting with them.

    Fourth Point: The point he is making is court orders are NEVER to be taken lightly and she was not just taking it lightly she was ignoring the order. Just because violence is not a factor in a court order does not make it any less a serious matter to the court than a court order that does involve violence.

    Fifth point: So your complaint is that the punishment does not fit the crime on a minute by minute basis??? That is absurd to the point of being funny. By that logic a person who kidnaps and holds someone for a day should be treated lighter than someone who stalks someone for months.

    Sixth point: I actually agree that the protection order is most likely absurd. However it is still a court order. Just because you don’t agree with a law does not mean you can flaunt it or ignore it. The order should have been appealed and attempted to have it overturned not just ignored. Ignoring it put you liable for criminal charges.

    Seventh Point: Do you understand the reasons for fining people? It is not supposed to be a form of income. If it becomes that then the system is a problem. A fine is a way to punish people and try to get them to stop committing the actions they were doing. Your argument is based on the assumption that the government is trying to make money with its legal system. If it is then THAT ITSELF is a problem as mixing money with justice creates major conflicts of interest.

  27. Outrageous! The colonel’s application for an order of protection was clearly not based on any fear for his personal safety — it was a politically motivated, malicious abuse of process intended to quash political speech. I hope she sues him for it and gets a great big award of punitive damages .

  28. Well since the judge sees no difference between violence and non violence perhaps someone should shoot him in the spine so he can spend the rest of his days in a wheelchair figuring it out . Bet he changes his corrupt attitude pretty quick then .
    PS if the Colonels application isn’t based on any actual threat isn’t his affidavit perjury ?

  29. Did anyone go over to her and say “Excuse me Ma’am but you are in a restricted area and would you please move?” /Simple as that and nobody would be doing time for ANYTHING!!!

  30. I’m English…your government weaves it’s Web…my government swallows it and regurgitate’s it to me…!! Great isn’t it…
    Anyhow putting that to one side….
    I think you need to carefully consider the effects that judgement will have on American citizens… It will anger and outrage some…but those some were going to be outraged already… It will please some…they love a good whipping, don’t they….. But my point, however, is it will scare many….and force them,with the severity of sentence, into silence and fear of standing up for what is right….

  31. I’m still shaking my head that this happened in Ithaca, NY.! Our “justice” system, like our prison system, health system and a few other systems, is completely out of control.

  32. There seems to be general agreement here that this sentence is a travesty of justice. So the question is, what can we, in our civic responsibility, do to address this injustice?

  33. Land of the free, home of the brave……..and of pompous ‘judges.’ Is there any move to sack the fool? Or is this reflective of the quality of the US ‘justice system’? I guess the massive numbers in your corporate run jails holds the answer? Perhaps his ‘honor’ gets a kickback from the operator of the jail? Nothing else seems to make any sense.
    John from Australia

  34. This is very common with the New York Justice system. A person that I know had been charged with stealing 60,000 + in funds from a company in New York. This person had evidence that the individual had been running the company for this man – from payroll to ordering parts. He would – and I am a witness to this – Tell the individual to just pay the employees in cash (from the safe) or write a check and sign it to pay them cash. Purchase items on behalf of the company – again told to sign his name to the checks (because he was never around – and they would call him and he would say just sign it).

    The judge even made this person pay back – even the pay – that they earned for services rendered. The individual was threatened with 15 years in Jail – he even told the individual that if you challenge this ( the plea agreement) or violate your probation (by not paying restitution) – you will sit the 15 years.

    How the fuck is this justice He even said this is my court room – and I will do what ever I want.

  35. Can we all just stop attempting to quote Thomas Jefferson? He must be the most misquoted person in history behind Jesus being misquoted by Republicans.

  36. I was a criminal trial lawyer for many years. During that time I witnessed both good and bad Judges, the bad usually being City Court or Magistrate Court Judges, many of whom were clueless about the law. I saw some injustices that were so bad they would almost make me cry. One of the several reasons I finally stopped handling criminal cases. On the other hand, I saw some super Judges in Superior Courts, and very few bad ones.

  37. Looks like small town justice for irritating the wrong people, and stern orders from someone to the judge to scare the little people. Hopefully the judge, et al will eventually be irritated enough by the public to vacate grandma’s sentence.

  38. Americans, your country is scaring the shit out of us.
    Our media is being bombarded with stories of what the evil,dangerous and powerful among you are inflicting on your own and the rest of the world.
    Get your act together. Behave yourselves for a change.

  39. The article says she was sentenced to 12 months in a correctional facility. By any chance would that be operated by a private prison corporation? If so, I would be highly suspicious of a motive for such an unreasonable length of time. Like a hotel, they are only paid for a cell that is occupied . It’s a very large industry and must be profitable for the share holders.

  40. I honestly do not understand why some people continue to state that USA is a country of freedom. I honestly cannot consider a country of freedom a country where something that is acceptable in any civil country is punished in such a way. But maybe the real reason is the business of private jails in USA. A shame for that country.

  41. This is absolutely absurd!!! Some of the people who commented on this article are nothing but sheep. People like that are the reason why the government gets away with these types of things. Pathetic.

  42. espectfully, I read both articles and the e comments, and it seems to me that some of you have lost sight of something very important in all the argueing by letting it turn personal. This is about so much more than who is right about Thomas Jeffersons’ written words in which document or speech wherein they were found , its about.Our Freedoms as a nation. Tundetion. The best Nation

  43. How many times has this woman been arrested? I think if she has a criminal record I could see a year in jail. If this was her first arrest, then not so much. But I see plenty of people get arrested on several misdemeanor crimes and sooner or later they get sentenced to a year or two in jail.

  44. Well if she is getting a year for crossing the street to take a picture, WHAT MR Judge are you going to do with That Obama dude that is sitting in the White House, that is illegal, wasting time and money, ruining the country (that would be the USA, in case you don’t know, especially since Obama thinks we have 57 states) and selling us out to the Muslims?? I can’t wait to see your ruling on that one!!

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