Elliott Adams Closing Arguments for the Hancock 17 Trial

February 04, 2014

elliottadams.jpegJanuary 31, 2014 Closing Arguments

Your Honor, I want to thank you for your patience and deliberateness throughout the trial. The professionalism you have shown throughout all our trials has been in sharp contrast with what seems to be the norm in our courts, especially town courts.

I have not had the benefit of comparing notes with the other people making closing arguments, I apologize for any redundancy, but there are some glaring deficiencies in the case as presented by the Prosecution which I must to call the court's attention to.

1) It should be eminently clear to the court that the defendants, to an individual, did not have any criminal intent either general for trespassing or specific for disturbing the peace. As for any intent that can be inferred by the facts of 25 October, Chief Master Sergeant Ramsey testified that the base was at no time threatened by the presence of the defendants. Further neither the base nor the police were in any apparent rush to remove the defendants; confirming the idea that the defendants were not causing alarm, disturbance or annoyance. The Prosecution presented no evidence that there was any annoyed public.

2) Additionally the town legislature could have included blocking traffic within the definition of disorderly conduct, but it chose not to. So the defendants should not be found guilty based on blocking any traffic; if in fact the court believes they blocked traffic.

3) It has been postulated that the defendants were trying to get media attention; which is true. But the defendants pursued media attention through press releases, press conferences, the internet and other constitutionally protected means - getting media attention is not a crime and specifically it is not so under disorderly conduct or trespassing.

4) Chief Master Sergeant Ramsey and Colonel Evans, official representatives of the base and the ones who are responsible for maintenance and security of the base property, while testifying, gave different descriptions of the base property. On the Townline Road side of the base their descriptions differed by about 750 feet. While their testimony about the main gate fortunately did not differ so wildly it varied significantly. The Chief, testified that the right of way was 25 ft from the edge of the road and then identified edge of the right-of-way on the video as being in a place that was about 8 feet from the edge of the road. In addition, they testified that the base Commander took affirmative action to direct his personnel to not mark even where they think the edge of the public right-of-way might be. The arresting offices taken collectively described the edge of the right of way everywhere from just outside the gate to the edge of the road. And the Prosecutor, unable to clarify where the public right-of-way ends and private property begins, resorted to claiming the boundary was where a reasonable person would reasonably believe it was - kind of a shocking standard for defining property boundaries.

5) And to add to the confusion, even if the defendants or the court knew where the boundary was, the arresting officers in most cases had, at best, a very vague idea about where the person they arrested was at the time of the arrest. The videos showed people in a variety of places, but did not add significant evidence of who was where relative to the right-of-way when they were arrested.

6) Testimony of the arresting officers, who were standing right next to the citizens petitioning for redress, was contradicting and confusing about whether all the defendants were verbally warned that, in the opinion of the arresting officer, they were violating a law if they didn't move. Some said they didn't hear any warning at all and some said they heard a general advisory. If the arresting officers, presumably highly attuned to the details of a legal arrest and to the actions of their commanders, are in doubt about any warnings of arrest; it sheds serious doubt as to whether the defendants or which defendants were told they were violating a law and subject to arrest.

7) The case was made repeatedly, maybe ad infinitum, that the operations from within this base are unjust, wrong, immoral, even inhuman and constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and perhaps crimes against peace. This case could have been much clearer for the court if the Prosecution had not denied us the evidence on this very matter we asked for in discovery. Additionally, the "Memorandum in support of the in liminie motion" describes the court cases and laws supporting the fact of crimes and why international law applies to this case in greater detail than was presented verbally in court.

8) The point was made that the mechanism, which keeps our republic a nation of laws, is broken. The administrative branch of the government from the President down to Hancock Air Field is violating the law and tries to stifle petitions for redress. Meanwhile the judiciary branch from the Supreme Court down to town courts, like this court, have abdicated their responsibility to rein in the administrative branch, bringing it back within the law. As law abiding citizens we have been drafted or called on to take these violations of the law to both the administration and to the courts. The base, which is part of the administrative branch of government, made no effort, even thought the defendants were present for approximately 2 hours, to discover if the defendants might be petitioning their government for redress, let alone what the grieves were that they might be petitioning about. Worse than that, the base gave orders to its gate personnel that they were not allowed to so much as receive anything from citizens. Now we present this court the opportunity to take its small piece of the judiciary responsibility to restore the balance of powers - to restore a government by laws.

9) Further more, there was testimony that the base is the one appropriate and constitutionally protected place for petitioning the government for redress for war crimes.

10) The evidence presented showed that, unlike domestic law, in international law educated authorities, publicists, are taken as the same level of legal authority as case law. This puts great importance on the statements by Ramsey Clark (corroborated by Francis Boyle), both of whom are recognized as authorities by many courts, that international law should be applied in all town courts and that citizens have a so called "Nuremberg privilege."

11) We are not asking for nullification, as suggested in this courts earlier ruling, we are asking for enforcement of the law. We have again presented much evidence establishing that there are war crimes, crimes against peace and crimes against humanity being committed from Hancock Field Air Base. In addition, we have presented more citations confirming that international law is part of the law this court should base judgments on. And cites demonstrating that we have a privilege to obstruct the commission of these war crimes as well as to petition our government for redress for those crimes.

12) The judge in my trail in Quantico, VA put the problem in words when she said "I find you guilty of aggravated blocking the traffic and as for those lofty ideas of international law they have no place in my court." I sat there and in my mind I could hear a judge down south in the 1940s saying "I find you guilty of violating the Jim Crow laws and as for those lofty ideas like lynching they have no place in my court." We offer this court the opportunity to fulfill its responsibility and find us innocent through international law; helping to establish the rule of law and reestablish the balance of powers.

13) Citations were presented that show that the Nuremberg Principles, while never ratified by the US, are indeed accepted by the world as an indisputable description of the norms of customary international law and are therefore part of US law.

14) When people talk about Nazi Germany they often talk about the so called "Good German", a name used for those people who could not see the holocaust even as it happened before their eyes, who stood quietly by as their government shifted from a democratic government to a dictatorship, from a progressive liberal country to a demonic empire. One day people may talk about the "Good Americans" who stood by when the balance of power remained broken and found various excuses for not using the portion of power they had to fix it.

For all these reasons the court must find the defendants innocent.

Now I am going to speak at a very personal level. I need to be clear that at this point I am speaking for myself and only myself. This is a simple case. Either I was up holding the law (US domestic, US Constitutional and the concomitant international law) or I am guilty. I will stipulate (just for me, for no one else in the case) everything or anything to make the court's judgment a clear case based on international law - innocent under international law or guilty. I have been on the battle field in numerous countries and I have come to believe that we will not experience civilized society until our society inculcates the simple but deep wisdom of multiple civilizations and times as expressed through international law (both International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law). Since our society views international law as some distant and strange thing separated from our lives we citizens do not learn about it, do not process it, or incorporate it into our thinking. As a result we often fail to apply it to the first few situations we are confronted with, but we can learn to do better. When I was first tested I gave into the pressures around me to complying with laws such as the orders of my command, rules of engagement and peer pressure, and in so doing ignored the important laws - the norms of all humanity as expressed by international law. This court now faces the same choices that I faced in war. I made the wrong choices the first few times but at Hancock I am finally making the right choices. And I want to present this court with as simple and stark an international law case as possible; an opportunity to find me innocent under international law or I must found guilty to the fullest degree.