Wednesday, August 31, 2011

VICTORY: Dan Choi Update-- Amid Technical Difficulties

While I would love to give you the news today, I'm having connectivity problems and can't, I'm very sorry to say.  However, I've been able to find this on Facebook from Dan Choi's lawyer, Robert Feldman:

Near as I can tell, the judge has acknowledged that the government is unfairly prosecuting Dan Choi and targeting him for his activism.  Thank God that Judge Facciola has a sense of fairness, even if the government does not.

Yesterday, Choi was on the stand for three hours, as reported by MetroWeekly:
On the stand, Choi said the First Amendment provides for the right of people to petition the government for a redress of grievances, which also, he said, is a moral responsibility of patriotic Americans. Choi responded under questioning by Feldman that he believed his actions were a form of speech, and that the government did not have a right to censor them by arresting him.

At times, Choi raised his voice and spoke in such a tone that he almost seemed close to shouting, especially when asked about his arrest. Under cross-examination by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George, he compared the various protests against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the 1960 sit-in by students in Greensboro, N.C., at a Woolworth’s department store and said he was “insulted” by his prosecution on federal charges. 
“The November 15th arrest is surprising in my mind,” Choi said, comparing the tactics used by police officers to remove him from the fence and transport him to the police wagon to procedures taught to soldiers in war. Choi said his left arm had been twisted and he could not feel his index finger for two weeks afterward, statements he said were reinforced by videos showing his arrest.
 I'm not a legal expert, but when I looked up "writ of mandamus" I found the following definition:
Mandamus is a judicial remedy which is in the form of an order from a superior court to any government subordinate court,corporation or public authority to do or forbear from doing some specific act which that body is obliged under law to do or refrain from doing, as the case may be, and which is in the nature of public duty and in certain cases of a statutory duty.[2] It cannot be issued to compel an authority to do something against statutory provision.
I'm not entirely certain what this means as pertains to the case but I'll take Robert Feldman's word for it:  Congrats to Dan Choi on this legal victory.

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