On December 8th and 9th I was in Fresno trying to help Barry Halajian, a man who believes that he has the right to travel, (what audacity) and therefore, does not believe in asking the government for permission to do so. He even quotes laws, court precedents and other principles as to why he does not need a permission slip from “big brother” to drive his own car on roads paid for by his taxes. (Halajian is one of those types who does not believe that the police in America have the right or authority to conduct road blocks or to check the papers of citizens who simply wish to go over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.) So, he sent his license back to the state of California with an explanation as to why he did not need or want their license or permit. (Just for the record, I have a license and recommend that you have one, too. However, I am not in the position to tell others that their research on the subject of drivers’ licenses is incorrect or flawed. Barry is honest and sincere and I support what he was trying to do. In a free country, I would imagine that Halajian would be correct. But alas, we do not live in a free country, just ask the judge in Halajian’s case.
I was absolutely amazed by this Judge as the trial against Halajian proceeded. For many years now I have heard several “patriots, constitutionalists, freedom lovers, right wing kooks,” whatever they are called these days, say that they have taken certain traffic citations to court and that the judge warned them that “the constitution would not apply in his courtroom.” I have to be totally frank here, I did notalways believe such claims. Don’t get me wrong, I am not siding with the judges, I just could not believe that a judge would say such a thing, even if it was how he really felt, I can’t believe he would actually admit such for the record. Well, I believe it now! Judge Petrocelli sure made a believer out of me. He said it at least a dozen times. He was very patient and even nice as he explained to Barry repeatedly that this court was not the proper forum to address constitutional issues. The judge said he would not allow me to testify about the Constitution or what’s wrong with our government and society. Halajian had asked me to testify as an expert witness on the constitutionality of traffic laws in general. (Most traffic laws violate the Eighth Amendment.) However, the Judge said the rules of evidence would be adhered to and that his court would only deal with the facts of the incident at hand; did the defendant drive a vehicle while his driving “privileges” had been suspended? Well, good for you Judge Petrocelli! You don’t have to worry about your oath of office, of course, why would you? No one else does either, so just go along with the flow and follow the mainstream. It makes your job so much simpler when you don’t have to worry about all those annoying freedom issues. The cops don’t have to be concerned with them, certainly the DA does not, and isn’t it great, especially for the accused citizen, that the judges in our country do not have to be concerned with the supreme law of the land?
So, let us put this dearth of constitutional propriety in historical perspective. The Founders should have just shut up and gone along as best they could. Certainly, they could have been more loyal and trusting of the King’s judges and governors. And give me a break; Patrick Henry was just another “right wing kook.” Oh sure, “give me liberty or give me death,” I’ll bet he never actually said it, and if he did, it sure doesn’t apply to us today. Our sophisticated society has moved beyond such frivolity! And what about Rosa Parks? She should have just gotten to the back of the bus like a good little girl. Then, after she got arrested for committing such a crime, she should have just paid her fine, done her time and
apologize for the trouble she caused. (What a trouble maker she was! Another right wing radical!)….
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