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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-30-06 07:31 AM
Original message
Get this....
I think most of us here are aware of the Monday protests at 9 & Woodward. I belong to a Yahoo group whose members are regulars on Monday. I think the founder of this group is the one who was arrested for carrying the honk sign. Anyway, this was posted in the group.
Here is what apparently happened to one of the regulars:

"Most of you have met Monica. She's a cute, bossy blonde who comes down from Lewiston pretty regularly to stand on our little corner on Mondays. She did so again last week. Her picture was in the Freepress holding one end of the Dead Americans sign. The caption mentioned her name and that she was from Lewiston. They get the FreePress in Lewiston.

The story ran on Thursday (yesterday). Within hours, the police were at her door. She had overdue videos (VHS tapes of Police Academy and Nightmare Before Christmas). She was handcuffed, and taken to the station where she had a mugshot and her fingerprints taken. Bail was set at $2000 and her mother-in-law had to post a $200 bond to get her released. Her husband will be arrested next Tuesday for the same charge: failure to return rental property valued at under 200 dollars. The charge carries a 93-days in jail or a $500 fine penalty.

According to Monica, the police in Lewiston said they had never arrested anyone for an overdue video before. In fact, the police in Lewiston wouldn't do it. Police had to be imported from Grayling to do the dirty work. The prosecuter in Lewiston (Montmorency County) wouldn't sign the arrest warrant. 45 miles away, the prosecuter in Ostego County had fewer qualms. So he signed it. The cops from Grayling came, and Monica was arrested.

That's the story so far, and obviously it's still developing. I will update as things unfold. Last week, her husband, Don, was told by a cop that his bumpersticker was offensive. It was a picture of Dick Cheney with the caption 100% pure and extreme Dick. Maybe it was offensive, but well, failure to return rental property valued at under 200 dollars will definitely teach him some respect, eh?

Anyway, the point of this little tale is to urge everyone to pay your video rental fines or take them back early. Make sure your grass is cut, make sure there is no illegal plant life in your cupboards, don't jaywalk, keep your radio turned down, take back library books in a timely fashion, and make sure all your turn signals, headlights, backup lights, and seatbelt buckles work.

We have garnered a good deal of press. We have generated alot of public support. Many of us have had our pictures splattered in the paper and although that is good for our message, it may have repurcussions that we haven't considered..."

Here is the link to the article mentioned, and a few of the paragraphs.

Oakland County
DEMONSTRATION AT HOME: Antiwar protesters' battle shifts
As driver support grows, cops pose new problems

August 24, 2006



For nearly four years, Kim Bergier and dozens of other protesters have braved cold and heat, wind and rain, angry shouts -- and even, in one case, fists -- to deliver a simple message: They are opposed to war.

Every Monday evening, they've been gathering at the intersection of 9 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale to hold signs -- "Impeach Bush," "No War" and "2,611 U.S. killed in Iraq" -- and flash peace signs.

In the beginning, the demonstrators acknowledge, they got more middle fingers than thumbs-up.

But, now, the activists say, as the war in Iraq drags on, they're getting more support from passersby but are getting static from the police.

"The vigil empowers us to put our feet where our mouth is and take a stand," said Bergier, 55, of Madison Heights, who began protesting on Dec. 12, 2002, and has been returning to the same corner nearly every week since. "But as the death toll goes up, there is increased tension."

>more of article

The picture is posted in the article (I couldn't get it to post here), and under it, she is identified.

Monica Legg, 43, left, of Lewiston and Elaine Morse, 65, of Birmingham hold a sign Monday at the intersection of 9 Mile and Woodward listing the number of U.S. soldiers killed since the Iraq war began in 2003. Some were charged for urging drivers to honk horns to show support. (WILLIAM ARCHIE/Detroit Free Press)

If this is true, isn't there something we could/should do to bring attention to this, or to help she and her husband out? Any ideas?

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SharonRB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-30-06 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. This. Is. Insane.
I want my country back. NOW!!!
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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 06:12 AM
Response to Original message
2. Update 9/1
Here is a Free Press article:

From the PeaceVigil Yahoo group thread:

"Not mentioned in the story: the videos have been due since November of
2005... Numerous letters have been sent and ignored. Police came from
Otsego county because the video store is in Otsego county and that's
where the complaint was filed. I wonder if anyone can really make the
video thing into a police harassment issue... I think the video store
owners did the only thing they could do... What would you have done if
someone borrowed something and wouldn't return it or pay for it or even
respond to inquiries about it? I think the penalties may be out of
line, but the laws aren't made specifically for overdue video tapes,
they have to cover more ground than that. Considering the area of
Lewiston, the laws are probably geared more to cover someone borrowing
or renting a wagon or a chain saw or a pump... Please don't take this
further into the public eye.
I hope Monica and Don handle this as quietly, privately, and as painlessly as possible; and although I feel sorry for their legal problems, I don't think there are politics involved.
We are all a little paranoid - with very good reasons, but it
doesn't help to see a political agenda in every act of stupidity or just
the ridiculous situations people get into with the law. I'd also like
to apologize for getting people all worked up about this. I'm the first
to admit I'm more than a little paranoid. I'm expecting the sort of
harassment described by the events in Lewiston... I've seen it before --
so it doesn't hurt to keep our wits about us. We should all try to keep
a clean house and not let our personal lives interfere with our public
statements about the war or politics.
To maintain credibility, we need to be dedicated to the truth - and just because the world isn't fair doesn't mean that we aren't. So to be fair, in my opinion, the overdue video saga is not a political issue. Again, I'm sorry if I have led people to misguided conclusions, but I was only seeing part of the story.
humbled, victor"

And from Monica:
"I agree with Victor. I may just be reacting in a paranoid fashion.
And the story in the Free Press today may have made matters worse for my husband and myself. Now that this story has come out I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see them sentence both of us to 93 days in jail though.

I'll keep everyone informed about what happens next, But still it would behoove everyone to be vigilant about every tiny little detail of your lives. Afterall, if my mother in law had not been here when I was arrested my kids would have ended up in the system, and once in it's very difficult to get them out. That is the part that outrages me the most.

Hopefully we can get this whole thing settled with money, but as I said it wouldn't surprise me a bit if we ended up serving time for this. I haven't forgotten what the deputy in the jail told me and told my husband; this was the first time in the 7 years he had been at the jail that he had ever seen anyone arrested for a misdeamnor."

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JordanLFW Donating Member (142 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-01-06 02:53 PM
Response to Original message
3. not as extreme..
I got a $30 parking ticket for "Left Door Facing the Curb Violation".

I live in a subdivision. With both my parents cars in the driveway, it's easier for me to park in the road. I usually just park facing whichever way I came down the street, as everyone's a subdivision!

I guess my Granholm, Stabenow, Skinner bumper stickers must've pissed off some cop, because my neighbors were also parked left door facing the curb and didn't have tickets on their car (maybe they snagged theirs off their windshield before me....maybe).
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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
4. 9/2 update
I feel so badly for these two. Lewiston is such a small town. My family used to rent a cottage on Douglas Lake. Lewiston was the closest town. I hope they're getting some support from their neighbors.

From Monica:

"Don and I were both arraigned today, and we each plead not guilty and asked for a trial by jury. The judge didn't look at all happy about having to schedule a jury trial for failure to return rental propery valued at 20 dollars.

Some other updates; we've had a chance to speak with some of the people in town about this. People who have owned video stores told us they have many unreturned videos out, and when they called the police the police told them there was nothing they could do, it was a civil matter. As a matter of fact, the woman who owns a videostore in town here that just closed told us that she had 1,400 dollars in unreturned videos and the police said they couldn't do anything. And 1 other thing, the cop signed the warrants as the victim and the witness. Something is very bad here.

I'm scared. I'm alone except for my husband and kids and I feel like we have been targetted. The Gaylord paper called but I didn't pick up. The papers keep calling, but my lawyer doesn't want me to talk to them, even though I had talked to Frank at the Free Press. I called him back immediately after our talk, after I had contacted my lawyer and told him to hold off on the story, but he ran it anyway. Now I feel they are really going to go after us just for spite."

Same Yahoo link as above
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RhondaRoss Donating Member (10 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. What law are they charging you under?
I don't practice in this area and I don't know anything about criminal law so don't take this as legal advice, but I took a quick peek at Ferndale's ordinance and the only thing I could find that was close to disturbing hte peace was:

Sec. 12-63. Disturbing the peace.
It shall be unlawful for any person to disturb, tend to disturb, incite or aid in disturbing the public peace by loud, violent, tumultuous, offensive or obstreperous conduct, or to make or participate in making any unreasonable noise or disturbance riot or breach of the peace, or to engage in any illegal or unreasonable act, and no person shall knowingly permit any such conduct upon any premises owned or possessed by him or under his control.
(Ord. No. 899, Pt. V, 10-12-98)
State law references: Similar provisions, MSA 28.367.

It seems to me that a few honking horns would not reach the level of being "loud, violent, tumultuous, offensive or obstreperous conduct".

There is an old appellate case that talks about disturbing the peace through loud noises and it states that
. . .the ordinance refers to noise levels which would offend a reasonable person of common sensibilities and would disrupt the reasonable conduct of basic human activities.

It seems that if a reasonable person would have found the situation so loud, the police must have hundreds of complaints from citizens. FOIA their records to see if they got any complaints.

I never knew it was unlawful to encourage someone to honk their horn.

I looked up Michigan's code and it states:

Act 300 of 1949

257.706 Horn or other warning device; siren, whistle, air horn, or bell; theft alarm signal device.
Sec. 706.
(a) A motor vehicle, including a motorcycle or moped, when operated upon a highway shall be equipped with a horn in good working order and capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 200 feet but a horn or other warning device shall not emit an unreasonably loud or harsh sound or a whistle. The driver of a motor vehicle shall when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation give audible warning with his horn but shall not otherwise use the horn when upon a highway.

To me that says that if there were any violations, it was the drivers who honked who violated the law, not you! I don't see anything that says it is unlawful to encourage someone to honk their horn.

It seems that the police in Ferndale have some difficulty setting their priorities. Perhaps an appearance by you in front of the City Council would be useful.

I don't really understand the overdue video scenario. If they owe money, then they should pay. It seems more than a little extreme to charge them with a crime. Generally the video store would more likely turn the debt over to a debt collector.
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ajacobson Donating Member (828 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-02-06 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Welcome to DU!!
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livvy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-03-06 08:08 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. There have been a couple of people who have been charged...
in Ferndale for carrying signs that encouraged motorists to honk, although the sign actually said don't honk. There is one person that I know of who has been ticketed for honking. All the cases are pending in the courts now.
The protests at 9 and Woodward have been going on for quite a while, and the Ferndale police have, until recently been very tolerant. I have not attended any of the protests (I keep meaning to....), but I have a friend who has been very active, and is one of the people charged with the sign carrying "offense". The other person charged with the sign offense is one of the Raging Grannies.
Here are some links for background info: /

Welcome to DU and the Michigan forum! :hi:
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Lefty48197 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-03-06 10:02 AM
Response to Original message
8. Gaylord: BEAUTIFUL place, UGLY politicians
What a shame that such a beautiful area is governed by such jackasses.
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