F O R I M M E D I A T E R E L E A S E
WHAT: Public Rally/Protest Against Secret Courts in Scott County
WHERE: Scott County Courthouse, 4th Street, Downtown Davenport
WHEN: Saturday, June 26th, 2010 - 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
WHO: SuperLiberty, A Local Liberty Alliance
Contact: Michael Elliott - (563) 570-5395
Persons living in Scott county, increasingly concerned with the over reach of the People's government, will be demonstrating in front of the Scott County Courthouse this Saturday morning from 10 a.m to 12 p.m.
The protest is an effort to bring awareness to the recent Administrative Order by Bobbi M. Alpers, Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial District Court of Iowa, that states:
"THE POSSESSION AND/OR USE OF ELECTRONIC AND/OR DIGITAL COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES WITHIN THE SCOTT COUNTY COURTHOUSE IS PROHIBITED."
The order is considered unlawful by the organizers, and is considered to be in violation of the United States and Iowa constitutions. Further, the organizers hope to bring awareness to the hypocrisy of the restrictions on everyday average people, due to the several exceptions in the order, including: "Attorneys admitted to the Bar in the State of Iowa or Illinois."
Event organizer Michael Elliott stated in a letter sent to all Iowa legislators, "The courts are a public place for citizens to handle disputes and infringements of their Life, Liberties and Property, not a private venue of the State. Secret government operations open the door to corruption and malfeasance which we cannot allow. It is also a violation of the people's rights to liberty of speech and the press as per Article I section 7."
The full text of that letter is copied below, along with the text of the Order, issued on April 15, 2010. Elliot writes that, "This is not a partisan issue, but a human rights issue."
Super Liberty is a local liberty alliance that hosts public meetings the first and third Saturdays of each month at the Downtown Davenport Public Library (Basement Film Room) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
More information available at www.SuperLiberty.com
June 18, 2010
Dear Iowa House and State Senate Members,
I am shocked that I have to write a letter to my House Of Representatives and Senators because of a gross violation of our sacred Iowa State Constitution and the people's rights.
I have attached the Administrative Order written by Bobbi M. Alpers, Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial District Court of Iowa for your review.
This is rather new and may be occurring in other District Courts as well, so this may be the first time you have heard of this. But I am asking you to review this and help put an end to this type of actions.
First and foremost, this Administrative order acts as if it is written law and places restrictions on the private citizens who enter their own courthouses without following due process of law. Judges have no power vested in them by the Iowa State Constitution to write this type of law. In fact the legislative authority of this State is vested in the General Assembly of both the House and the Senate as per Article III Legislative Department Section 1 of the Iowa State Constitution *.
Secondly, this Administrative Order presumes that private citizens entering their Public Courthouses have malicious intent and assumes guilt before any trial and conviction of each individual citizen, thus violating every single private citizen's rights to Due Process of the law as per Article I Sections 9 and 10 *.
Thirdly, The ban law(order)is not uniform in nature as required by Article I section 6 *. This Administrative Order seeks to create a protected class of citizens who are exempt from this ban because they either work for the courts, practice law or are contracted with the courts, leaving the restriction only upon the private citizens, for which the courts are supposed to be working. The courts have become self serving rather than public servants as this order shows us.
Fourthly, the courts are a public place for citizens to handle disputes and infringements of their Life, Liberties and Property, not a private venue of the State. Secret government operations open the door to corruption and malfeasance which we cannot allow. It is also a violation of the people's rights to liberty of speech and the press as per Article I section 7 *. The ability of private citizens to record the proceedings of the courts and actions and behaviors of their public servants in any branch serves as a great deterrent to gross abuse of powers within our government system. This right and political power is expressed in Article I section 2 * which specifically states that all political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people, and they have the right, at all times, to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it. I see no good in creating
secret courts and procedures.
Finally, any private citizen who is a defendant in any case within this secret courthouse has no way to protect their right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury and hold the courts accountable to any court rules or procedures for that matter because it would simply be his/her word against the judge without any other recorded evidence. The defendant's rights to a public trial are in place to keep the judicial system honest and open as a measure to protect the private citizens from overzealous government. Modern technology has given rise to more transparency and accountability in government and we should be embracing not banning such advancements.
I hope that this will be addressed and you will remind the judicial branch of their restrictions under the law. If any Judge wishes to violate the State Constitution and the citizen's protected rights, it is not only a power, but the duty of the General Assembly to enact Impeachment procedures as per Article III section 19 and 20 of the Iowa State Constitution *. My hopes is that this can be resolved without impeachment through open communication between the legislative and judicial branch of our State government. Plus, this order leaves court employees open for legal action initiated by private citizens. We can avoid this trouble by simply removing the Administrative Order and no longer trespassing on the very rights our government is supposed to be protecting.
Thank you for your service to your fellow Iowans.
Michael D. Elliott
P.S. I am holding a Public Rally against this Administrative Order in front of the Scott County Courthouse at 10am on June 26th to bring about awareness to the public about the potential for secret courts in Iowa. You are welcome to come and participate if you wish to address the concerned citizens of Iowa regarding this issue. Let me know if you will be coming and I will make sure you have an opportunity to speak. This is not a partisan issue, but a human rights issue.
For more details follow this link. http://www.meetup.com/
IOWA STATE CONSTITUTION
Political power. SEC. 2. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people, and they have the right, at all times, to alter or reform the same, whenever the public good may require it.
Laws uniform. SEC. 6. All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation; the general assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.
Liberty of speech and press. SEC. 7. Every person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right. No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech, or of the press. In all prosecutions or indictments for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it appears to the jury that the matter charged as libelous was true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted.
Right of trial by jury - due process of law. SEC. 9. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate; but the general assembly may authorize trial by a jury of a less number than twelve men in inferior courts; but no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.
See also R.Cr.P. 2.17, 2.21(2), 2.67; R.C.P. 1.902, 1.903, 1.1108
Rights of persons accused. SEC. 10. In all criminal prosecutions, and in cases involving the life, or liberty of an individual the accused shall have a right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury; to be informed of the accusation against him, to have a copy of the same when demanded; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for his witnesses; and, to have the assistance of counsel.
See §602.1601 of the Code
General assembly. SECTION 1. The legislative authority of this state shall be vested in a general assembly, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives: and the style of every law shall be. "Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa."
Impeachment. SEC. 19. The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment, and all impeachments shall be tried by the senate. When sitting for that purpose, the senators shall be upon oath or affirmation; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.
Referred to in codified Iowa Constitution, Art. V, §19
Officers subject to impeachment - judgment. SEC. 20. The governor, judges of the supreme and district courts, and other state officers, shall be liable to impeachment for any misdemeanor or malfeasance in office; but judgment in such cases shall extend only to removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit, under this state; but the party convicted or acquitted shall nevertheless be liable to indictment, trial, and punishment, according to law. All other civil officers shall be tried for misdemeanors and malfeasance in office, in such manner as the general assembly may provide. Referred to in codified Iowa Constitution, Art. V, §19
### END LETTER ###
### BEGIN COPY OF ORDER ###
IN THE IOWA DISTRICT COURT FOR SCOTT COUNTY
IN THE MATTER OF )
THE POSSESSION OR USE OF ) ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER
ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICES )
In the interest of safety and security for all who enter the Scott County Courthouse, persons who enter the building are advised of the following:
THE POSSESSION AND/OR USE OF ELECTRONIC AND/OR DIGITAL
COMMUNICATIONS DEVICES WITHIN THE SCOTT COUNTY COURTHOUSE IS
Electronic or digital communications devices include, but are not limited to, any device that can be used for voice communication, text communication, e-mail, internet access, sound recording or the taking of any photographic or video images.
General examples of such devices include cameras, video recorders, audio recorders, cellular and digital phones, computers, and all similar electronic, cable, digital, computerized or other forms and methods of recording, transmitting, or communicating.
Any person who is in possession of such digital or electronic communications device shall return that device to his/her vehicle or the device must be secured in a locker, if available, at the security entry of the Scott County Courthouse.
1. Employees and elected officials of the State of Iowa or Scott County, subject
to any approved work rules or policies limiting the use of such devices by employees
during work hours.
2. Attorneys admitted to the Bar in the State of Iowa or Illinois, including
attorneys admitted pro hac vice. However, such equipment shall not be used at any
time in a courtroom unless permitted by the presiding judge, and will not be allowed if
the attorney is present for jury service.
3. Iowa law enforcement personnel present for court business.
4. Members of the media present to attend a court proceeding for which an
Expanded Media Coverage order has been entered.
5. Persons who are present only for the purpose of attending a ceremonial
proceeding such as an adoption, wedding, or judicial investiture.
6. Persons providing services to the Judicial Branch on a scheduled basis,
such as mediators, domestic violence advocates, Family Drug Court coordinator, or
other specifically authorized persons who may work for a community agency or not-for-
7. Persons who are present in the Courthouse in connection with facility
repair, upkeep or expansion, and which may include architects, contractors, bidders or
prospective bidders, who are authorized or accompanied by Scott County employees.
This Order is effective as of the 24th day of May, 2010, and shall be applied
equally and fairly to all persons who enter the Scott County Courthouse.
All of the above is SO ORDERED on this 15th day of April, 2010.
Bobbi M. Alpers
Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial
District Court of Iowa