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Senior Citizen Activist Jailed For Internet Rant
Newsbytes via Rense ^ | Michael Bartlett

Posted on 03/30/2002 11:15:01 AM PST by Sir Gawain

Senior Citizen Activist
Jailed For Internet Rant

By Michael Bartlett
Newsbytes
3-28-2

SEATTLE, Wa. - A man who posted on the Web details of what he asserts is an investigative report into alleged improprieties at a Seattle residence for senior citizens has been in jail for a month - with no end to his incarceration in sight, his attorney said today.
 
Paul Trummel, 69, was for approximately two years a resident of Council House, a residence in the Capitol Hill section of Seattle whose construction was funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
 
Trummel, a former professor of journalism at the University of Washington, had frequent run-ins with the administrators who managed the facility.
 
He detailed his complaints in a newsletter, which he published and distributed to residents of Council House.
 
According to Robert Siegel, Trummel's attorney, Trummel first appeared in court in April 2001, when he asked Superior Court Judge James Doerty to issue an injunction against the administrators of Council House, who were trying to halt the distribution of his newsletter.
 
"Judge Doerty took an immediate dislike to Paul," said Siegel. "Not only did he turn down his request for an injunction, he told the other side that if they asked him, he would issue an injunction against Paul."
 
Two weeks later, on April 19, 2001, Council House obtained a restraining order against Trummel. Siegel said the order not only told Trummel not to "harass" the administrators, it said he could not even go into the building - making it a de facto eviction.
 
"The judge said he can't have any contact with anyone at Council House. That means not just the people he had a problem with, but also the residents, many of whom were his friends and acquaintances."
 
Since April 2001, there have been four or five contempt orders based on the original anti-harassment order, said Siegel.
 
Some time last year, Trummel created a Web site he called ContraCabal.net. On this site, Trummel continued to bash the administrators of Council House, as well as Doerty. Council House's attorneys brought the site to Doerty's attention, asserting that it violated the judge's order that Trummel cease his "harassment."
 
"Most of what Paul was putting on the site was public information that is available at the Secretary of State's office," said Siegel.
 
Eventually, Trummel complied with the judge's order and edited many items from his site. However, Siegel said Trummel put up what he called a "shadow" Web site at ContraCabal.org that contained all of the non-complying information. Trummel asserted that since the second site was based in Holland, Doerty had no jurisdiction over it, said Siegel.
 
"On Feb. 27, Doerty ordered Paul placed in jail for contempt," Siegel said. "He ordered him held until he is in compliance with an Oct. 26, 2001, order to remove content from the Web site."
 
The problem is, Trummel has no Internet access in jail, and the judge's indefinite sentence rankles Siegel.
 
"I don't know how he is to comply from jail. That is the dilemma," he said. "The judge has not set a date for an arraignment, a hearing or anything. It is civil contempt, so he is not guaranteed the right to a speedy trial. Had he been arrested for murder, he would have had to be arraigned."
 
James Chadwick, an attorney not involved in this case who is an expert on free speech law, believes Trummel has a solid First Amendment defense.
 
"The judge's order to take down statements is classic prior restraint," Chadwick told Newsbytes.
 
Chadwick said he looked at Trummel's Web site and it seemed to him that some of Trummel's statements had been removed.
 
"Trummel makes several accusations on his site against the administrators of the building, but if those accusations are false, they are defamatory," he said. "You cannot enjoin speech because it is defamatory, at least until you have a conclusive judicial determination that it is defamatory - such as a trial or a summary judgment."
 
Chadwick said the judge in this case has enjoined speech "that appears to enjoy First Amendment protection."
 
"Speech can be enjoined, but only in very limited circumstances," he explained. "Examples would include a pattern of threats of physical violence, incitements to violence or child pornography."
 
"But even in categories of speech not protected, such as speech that is defamatory or obscene, you cannot enjoin the speech," he added.
 
Siegel said Trummel's legal troubles are exacerbated by his health issues. He said Trummel suffers from four types of arthritis and prostate problems, and is forbidden under jail rules to take the supplements he normally takes to treat those conditions.
 
This week, Trummel tested positive for tuberculosis, Siegel added.
 
Trummel's plight is attracting international attention. Because he is a British subject and permanent resident alien, the British government has written to the judge. In addition, organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) are trying to rally support.
 
"Paul has been an investigative reporter all his life, and he is a member of several journalism groups. SPJ said they were going to file an Amicus Curiae brief on his behalf."
 
Siegel said it is possible that Trummel could ask him to take down the Web site on Trummel's behalf, but "Paul wants to stand by his guns on principle."
 
"He says every thing he wrote is satire or the facts," said Siegel. "If Council House thinks they have damages, they can sue for defamation and try to prove it. They don't need the extraordinary protection of an anti-harassment order."
 
Trummel's Web site is at http://www.contracabal.net .
 
The "international version" is at http://www.contracabal.org .
 
Reported by Newsbytes.com, http://www.newsbytes.com .
 
Press contact:
Robert Siegel, defendant's attorney 206-624-9392


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government
KEYWORDS:
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To: TN Republican
mute = moot (!)
51 posted on 03/30/2002 10:55:03 PM PST by TN Republican
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To: Sir Gawain
Judges can be impeached, read the Constitution. Its something we need to remember.
52 posted on 03/30/2002 11:03:33 PM PST by GeronL
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To: brityank
Thanks for the link. It looks like it has a lot of good resources on it.

"UCLA has one of the premiere 2A supporters on it's Law faculty,",

I was real taken with the article I had read on there, but was real surprised when I saw that is was from the UCLA law school. Like I said earlier, UCLA is not thought to be a real bastion of conservatism. Guess there's hope for anyone.

53 posted on 03/31/2002 1:58:44 AM PST by Kerberos
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To: TN Republican
"It only takes five strict constructionists to render a previous decision mute."

That's true, which is why these court appointments become so important.

54 posted on 03/31/2002 2:00:20 AM PST by Kerberos
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To: Roscoe
Below is an example of the responsible journalistic principals that Trummel exhibits. Free speech is one thing but I will side with the judge on this guy, this is harassment. Totally unfounded accusations freely distributed to degrade individuals is harassment. We are not talking about being accused of dropping donuts on the floor and then serving them. He's accusing people of murder.

He claims to withhold evidence for ethical reasons, none ever surfaced.

Who killed Jackie Nations?

Did the Council House Administrator kill her?

Has the Activities Director killed her aunt?

Did the Social Services Director do it?

Did Council House Co-Presidents cause her death?

Has lack of oversight by HUD contributed to her death?

They all probably contributed to her death through abuse or indifference. That construes as gross negligence especially when some of them acted for financial gain. Both police and medical examiners ruled out homicide yet Mitchell has since accused at least two residents with premeditated culpability in her death. He has made those official statements without a smidgen of evidence to support his contentions.

Jackie Nations (50), a healthy and active woman for her size, evidently died a painful, lingering death. Nations fell or jumped out of a window and lay dying on a roof. She had no help and lay there for up to three hours according to medical reports. Witnesses later identified sounds that they heard during the night and came forward to say that she did not die immediately. Others gave detailed reports about abuse that Nations, a person of diminished mental capacity, experienced during the days before her death.

This reporter has a dual obligation, truthfully to report wrongdoing to his audience and a sometimes competing obligation to wrongdoers. He meets both obligations by alerting authorities about upcoming publication when circumstances suggest violence. When authorities do nothing, then a journalist's personal responsibility ends whatever the outcome.

The death of Jackie Nations involves violence and misappropriation. Therefore, this reporter will withhold details temporarily. That will give state and federal authorities an opportunity to gather documents and interview witnesses without interference by third parties. It will also protect sources from intimidation by an administrator who has a history of fabricating evidence and tampering with witnesses.

A basic journalism principle allows alleged wrongdoers to explain themselves before publishing details of their alleged crimes. Sometimes that results in publication of a rebuttal. By that, they have a chance to give their side of the story.

Stephen (aka Stefan) A. Mitchell, Administrator, Council House, has obtained a blanket injunction restraining this reporter from approaching hundreds of people. He has attempted to stop publication of reports about abuse and misappropriation at Council House. He has also attempted to have this web site taken down. Presumably, he thinks that he can stop publication of the truth about what has happened to several residents.

That restriction affects people mentioned in this exposé and prevents the reporter from contacting them. Individuals mentioned negatively in published material have a constitutional right to respond to what they read about themselves. Mitchell has denied them that right.

Naming alleged wrongdoers insures that the public will have no doubt to whom a report applies and helps hold harmless as many innocent people as possible. Precise identification avoids mistaken identity. Use of names and addresses to support exposé is a time-honored tradition and within legal constraints.

Using personal data to support a story warns the public of unlawful activity and has always been considered ethical journalism. Otherwise, criminals can hide behind a curtain of censorship and prior restraint. Mitchell cannot lawfully restrict publication of names as he has tried to do. Naming individuals remains the prerogative of the reporter or editor.

All information contained in the Nations essay derives from public and other documents verified and validated with sources. After publication, the alleged wrongdoers may write to the editor if they wish and state their point of view. They must support their contentions with documentation. This unusual opportunity may mitigate damage caused to them by Mitchell's unusual injunction.

Mitchell persists in his supremacist behavior, unchecked. HUD has still not moved to launch a full investigation although they have received adequate information for that purpose. Instead, they have chosen to collude with Mitchell and his predecessor Mark T. Mullen to cover up abuse and misappropriation of government funds. Must other residents die before HUD officials stop the out-of-control, Council House management team in their tracks?

55 posted on 03/31/2002 5:07:56 AM PST by RGSpincich
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To: Buckeroo; Roscoe
I guess it's OK with Roscoe as long as it's his guy doing it. He also conveniently forgets to mention that most Libertarians, including this one, do not support open borders and immigration unless and until all the socialist gimme programs are discontinued. Wouldn't make as good a sound bite.
56 posted on 03/31/2002 8:10:54 AM PST by MadameAxe
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To: MadameAxe
...most Libertarians, including this one, do not support open borders and immigration unless and until all the socialist gimme programs are discontinued.

False. Here in California, the Libertarian Party opposed Proposition 187, which would have discontinued most state benefits to illegal aliens.

How many Libertarians on this thread have expressed opposition to this British foreign national's attempt to coerce his way back into federally subsidized housing?

57 posted on 03/31/2002 11:36:13 AM PST by Roscoe
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To: one_particular_harbour
The State of Washington is ruled by judicial tyranny. Not even one superior court judge has ever been convicted of a felony in the state of Washington in 114 years; and it isn't because none has committed a felony.
58 posted on 03/31/2002 11:36:35 AM PST by connectthedots
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To: RGSpincich
He claims to withhold evidence for ethical reasons...

How convenient. And familiar.

59 posted on 03/31/2002 12:00:26 PM PST by Roscoe
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To: Kerberos
There will always be disputes over what it means, because it often serves someone's agenda that it mean something different. The Court should confirm the obvious instead of splitting hairs similar to Clinton's depending what "is" is, as is too often the case when they legislate from the Bench.
60 posted on 03/31/2002 3:29:18 PM PST by F.J. Mitchell
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To: F.J. Mitchell
“There will always be disputes over what it means, because it often serves someone's agenda that it mean something different.”

True, and that is the nature of law and courts. It is an adversarial process of two people with different opinions as to what a particular piece of law means, and one side convincing a third party that their interpretation is correct.

So the question becomes how did we get to the point where today the law says that there is a question as to weather a person has a right to own a firearm, and get back to the point where it is a given truism that an individual has a right to own a firearm? It certainly will take a lot more than reading a piece of text from the Constitution and proclaiming this is what it means.

The Court should confirm the obvious instead of splitting hairs similar to Clinton's depending what "is" is,”

Unfortunately, with language not being a real precise tool, what may seem obvious to one person, may not be so obvious to another. Or as some people like to employ, the “common sense” argument, which in essence means you have no argument.

And let’s not get too critically of Bill’s ability to parse words, and don’t get me wrong, I think the boy should be tried for treason against his country, but am resigned to the fact that it will never happen. But he had that skill very highly developed and made it work well for him. We could stand to get better at it ourselves to advance our objectives.

61 posted on 03/31/2002 4:05:49 PM PST by Kerberos
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To: Roscoe
Here in California, the Libertarian Party opposed Proposition 187, which would have discontinued most state benefits to illegal aliens.

I didn't say "all". And, since I don't know the particulars of the bill as I do not live in your state, I don't know why they opposed it, but I doubt if the explanation is as simple as you claim.

How many Libertarians on this thread have expressed opposition to this British foreign national's attempt to coerce his way back into federally subsidized housing?

I don't really know. I just came in on flags and haven't read the rest of the posts. I didn't notice anywhere in the article that said anything about the housing being federally subsidized. And, the guy sounds like a jerk. I don't see the point of throwing him in jail based on the details of this story though.

62 posted on 03/31/2002 5:39:27 PM PST by MadameAxe
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