No “permit process” for Worcester federal building
This is the text of a document submitted today to Judge Timothy S. Hillman by Ken Hannaford-Ricardi. Emphases added.
Dear Judge Hillman,
At our June 16, 2008 pre-trial conference, Assistant U.S. Attorney Karin M. Bell’s written reply to our motion for the right to present evidence in support of a defense of necessity stated that the defense should be excluded as a matter of law because: “the defendants in this case had a very specific legal alternative they could have pursued. They could have requested a permit to enter the courthouse to perform a short prayer in protest of the war in Iraq. Indeed, the defendants were provided with this information by the U.S. Marshall upon entering the courthouse to pray.”
As you know, Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy, in his oral argument before you admitted that this offer had been made, but questioned it’s [sic] genuineness given the fact that we notified the U.S. Marshalls in writing of our planned prayer 5 days earlier and the possibility of a permit had not been raised prior to the day of our prayer. During Attorney Bell’s oral argument she not only reiterated her written assertion, but also stated that permits had been granted to other groups for similar purposes.
On the instructions of my co-defendants, I investigated the possibility of obtaining such a permit to hold a future anti-war prayer in the U.S. Federal Building. On June 17, I asked the security officers at the main entrance about how to obtain a permit. They referred me to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. At that office, I spoke with a woman who directed me to the U.S. Marshall’s office. I returned to the first floor and asked Jeff Bohn, the chief U.S Marshals [sic] about obtaining a permit. He said that he didn’t know anything about such a permit, but that he would look into it if I gave him a couple of days. On June 19, I returned to Mr. Bohn’s office where he told me that he had checked with his superiors and that they were unaware of any permit process. He said that to the best of his knowledge only people with official business are allowed in the U.S. Federal Building.
We hope that you will allow this matter to be clarified during trial as part of our claim of necessity.
Most respectfully yours,