** Come, Let Us Worship The Judge
J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California April 12, 2001
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(Arrested for failing to do obeisance to a judge.)
Testimony of Bill Randell:
I was in the courtroom of the Yadkin County Superior Court [North Carolina] on Friday March 30, 2001, watching a case being conducted .... [T]he judge called for a recess and stood up to leave. The bailiff called out, "all rise." I began to pick up my books while contemplating whether I would rise or not. It has bothered my conscience for a long time now as to the reasons for rising when a judge enters and leaves the courtroom. This act of rising is in fact a religious observance, and I had been studying this just the night before. I had read the contempt statutes as well in chapter 5A of the N.C.G.S. [North Carolina General Statutes?] and could find no requirement or punishment for not rising at such times, so, based on this and on the United States v. Snider case, which says plainly that I cannot be punished for the simple fact of not rising, and based upon my Right to religious freedom found in Amendment I of the United States Constitution, and Article I, Section 13, of the North Carolina Constitution, I decided that I would not stand.
The judge noticed my failure to stand and waved me forward. I came to the dividing bar and he asked me my name. I asked him why he wanted my name, and he immediately said that I was in custody. I asked what for? He said contempt of court. I asked, "Was it criminal contempt?" He said it was. I said I had no contempt for the court.
He again asked me my name and I told him. I asked, "Was this a formal charge he was bringing?" He said it was. I told him, "There was no law that required me to stand," and asked him under what statute he was charging me? .... He did not answer. I told him again that there was no law requiring me to stand and in addition, there was a case called United States v. Snider that said mere failure to stand is not criminal contempt and a person failing to stand cannot be punished for not doing so. I asked him again what law I had violated and again he did not answer. I told him that in addition to this, requiring me to stand when he enters or leaves is requiring me to do obeisance and is a matter of worship which I could not be compelled to do and was a violation of conscience protected under the 1st Amendment, and the 13 Section of Article I of the North Carolina Constitution.
I said that even if he did think that it was such a violation, that it did not matter because it is my conscience that was bothered and as such it was my conscience that mattered in this case. Upon hearing this, his face went into some weird contortions indicating his contempt for such an argument and said that I was in contempt and sentenced me to 30 days in jail. ....
On the following Monday he brought me out at the end of the day .... I once again stated there was no law requiring me to stand .... In addition, there was no willful "behavior," I simply didn’t stand up, and such an "act" did not directly impair any thing, and that I was relying in good faith upon the decision in United States v. Snider that says mere failure to stand did not obstruct justice, and I could not be punished for failure to stand. He asked to see the case as I waived it around while making my statements. I told him it was the only copy I had and would need it back. He briefly read the case and handed it back to me. I said it was a case from the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is our circuit, and although it was in the federal district court, the principles laid down were applicable to federal and state courts. ...I then read into the record the applicable parts of the Snider case.
After reading the pertinent parts of the case and adding a bit of oral argument as I went, upon finishing the judge said; I continue to find you in contempt of court and sentence you to time served. You are free to go. I left. ...
I am now and always will be a Son of Liberty,Bill RandellQuestions? Contact:Extensive Legal Research Tools on the following site:
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