Sunday, March 18, 2007

Day 4: Pinkney's Re-Trial

Today's aggravation was that the court removed the
seating just outside the courtroom and threatened the
audience with repercussions, claiming that one of us
was seen arguing loudly with a witness outside the
courtroom. They would evict that person responsible
and/or disallow the witness from testifying. Otherwise
it was a good day. Witnesses squirmed as they
tried to avoid answering the questions and rambled on
with extraneous information of their opinions. Judge
Butzbaugh continued to fail the enforcement of court
procedures and rules. The topping on the cake today
was the "whipping" received by witness Detective
Sergeant Dannefeldt. His testimony showed that he
simply followed an agenda of let's develop evidence to
convict me rather than find the truth. (separate report at end)

* * * *

Also, a group of supporters of justice will be sending Judge
Butzbaugh the following short letter as a result of the courtroom
being locked:

Honorable Judge Butzbaugh,

The citizens are requesting permission to enter the courtroom. The absence of written notification rationalizing the denial of courtroom observance by the public is representative of the secretive and unconstitutional nature of the court's proceedings, as described below.

1. Denial of the public's observance in relation to the aforementioned constitutional violation.
2. Unwarranted and irrational lockdown of courtroom proceedings; no public explanation posted or verbalized.

* * * *

In order not to be locked out, you must be in the courtroom by 8:30. There are breaks during the day, also, when you are allowed to enter. But I've never heard of any judge anywhere
ordering this lockdown. It can only mean they are attempting to let in the fewest number of people possible to see how they operate.
Thank you for considering attending next week, Mon. through Fri. (3/19 -3/23)
Berrien County Courthouse, 811 Port St., St. Joseph
Rev. Edward Pinkney, 269-925-0001
Legal fee donations to:
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022

* * * *

The following is an excellent report of Day 2 (Wed.) of the Re-Trial.
We welcome more reports from this writer.

The trial of Rev. Pinkney -- 3/14/07

The trial of Reverend Edward Pinkney began today, Wednesday, March 14,
2007, following Judge Butzbaugh's decision to proceed with an all white
jury, despite objections posed by defense attorney Elliot Hall, who
alleged racial bias in the county's jury selection process.

In his opening remarks, prosecuting attorney Gerald Viganski recounted
the government's story of what happened around the 2005 recall election
of Glenn Yarbrough. As this fractured fairy tale will be familiar to
most readers, I will forego the details here.

In an opening statement for the defense, Elliot Hall introduced Rev.
Pinkney to the jury as a political activist, a dissident who saw
injustice and felt compelled to struggle against it. Hall compared Rev.
Pinkney to the founders of this country, who were also dissidents
determined to fight against a system which they saw as unjust,
demanding "no taxation without representation." Hall also made specific
mention of some of the injustices against which Rev. Pinkney was
struggling, including the selling off of prime Benton Harbor land for
peanuts by City Council. Though his statement was interrupted several
times (including by Glenn Yarbrough, who attempted to enter the
courtroom during Hall's remarks), Elliot Hall made a powerful
presentation that was sure to make an impression on the jury.

Over the course of the day, the prosecution called three witnesses to
the stand – Kimberly Thompson, Lisa Rollings, and Louise Stine.
Thompson and Rollings, both employees of the city clerk's office,
detailed irregularities in the February 2005 recall election. They
testified that the clerk's office did not follow proper procedures
during this election, as a result of which charges were brought against
the city clerk's office and Thompson and Rollings's supervisor was
fired. (Rev. Pinkney's other attorney, Hugh Davis, highlighted during
cross examination the fact that Thompson and Rollings might also have
lost their jobs in this scandal – a fact which may have encouraged them
to cooperate with the prosecution in this case.) Most of the
prosecution's time with these witnesses was wasted detailing irrelevant
details such as postage stamps and address labels. After Viganski
covered the same ground with County Clerk Louise Stine, she confirmed
during cross examination that no wrongdoing whatsoever could be
inferred from the irregularities surrounding mailing labels, postage
stamps and absentee ballots, about which the prosecution spent most of
the first day making loud noises.

The first day ended with a bizarre theatrical display, as Viganski and
Police Sgt. Dannefeld re-enacted the direct examination of a witness
from the first trial, now deceased. Hugh Davis also participated,
reading the part of Tat Parrish, Reverend Pinkney's attorney from the
first trial. The deceased witness was an employee of the soup kitchen
who claimed that Brenda Fox had promised five dollars for votes, but
confirmed that, as far as he knew, Rev. Pinkney had nothing to do with
these promises.