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45 Days in Jail for Free Speech?

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posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 08:45 AM

Activist sent to Adams jail for refusing to remove shirt

A community activist was jailed Wednesday for 45 days by an Adams County judge for wearing a T-shirt in court with a photograph of executed killer Stanley "Tookie" Williams and the word "redemption."

Shareef Aleem, 37, was found in contempt March 1 for wearing the shirt during his trial on charges he assaulted a police officer.

Aleem apparently refused Judge Katherine Delgado's order to remove the shirt, citing his First Amendment rights.


I'm assuming the judge felt the T-shirt would be prejudicial to the jury.

Regardless, this goes WAY too far....

Did you catch the bit about "History 101"?

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 08:50 AM
Until judge Degado makes a statement and explains her actions, I will withold comments on this.
With just what was stated in the article, the judge did indeed exceed her authority and has opened the door to some hefty lawsuits!

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 08:58 AM
Wearing t-shirts advocativng the court to act in one direction or another, especially in front of a jury, is NOT protected free speech, but an attempt to deprive either the defendant or the government of its own right to a fair trial.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:07 AM
So, in other words, if the defendant had a political message tattooed on his forehead, you would make him wear a hood?

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:08 AM
He's out on appeal now, so we shall see if the judge's charge holds.

Shareef Aleem

Tookie image wearer to be freed during appeal
The activist jailed for refusing a judge's request to remove a T-shirt bearing the image of executed Crips street gang founder Stanley Tookie Williams will be freed until the appeal of his 45-day sentence is heard.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Shareef Aleem should be released pending his appeal.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

T-shirt brouhaha is downright baffling
But he refused to remove the Tookie shirt on First Amendment grounds. Maybe the judge, who is not talking, just didn't like the sass.

Forty-five days.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

On the surface, looks like County District judge Katherine Delgado had a bad hair day and was in the wrong.

45 days in das kooler for you und no struedel!

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:23 AM
Judge And Jury

Judges are responsible for keeping courtrooms from turning into circuses. They are given broad powers to do so, and defying a judge in court (e.g., "contempt of court") can and usually does result in stiff penalties.

And unless those penalities are truly out of line, they are almost always upheld.

The purpose of criminal trials is to ascertain guilt or innocence in the commission of a crime, not give suspects a political soapbox.

No, you may not say anything you want to in court. You may not stand up and lecture the jury. You may not do anything to disrupt or taint the proceedings.

These sorts of shenanigans are used to undermine the judicial process. If the judge had allowed the shirt, you can bet his lawyers would mention that in their appeal as prejudicing the jury against him if he were convicted.

I think many of the people who criticize these sorts of actions would also criticize what would result if judges didn't maintain order in the courtroom.

A little perspective goes a long way.

In this case, I'm not sure a 45-day sentence was warranted, but if Mr. Aleem wishes to publicly demonstrate contempt for the law and the courts upon which its integrity depends, then he deserves what he gets.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:42 AM
People have been held in contempt of court for wearing inappropriate clothing before, no?

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:53 AM
Yes they have been but this is the first time that I have heard of someone being held in contempt for an article of clothing that was making a political statement. which is what makes this story unusual

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 09:54 AM
Here is an interesting decision on the issue:


HTML Version

[edit on 24-3-2006 by loam]

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 10:31 AM
But we don't actually know that the judge said 'your statement is why you are in contempt', it was because it was a t-shirt. Also, courtrooms aren't the place for protests, no? We regulate where protests occur, and require permits for use of public space. A courtroom isn't a place where it woudl be permited, and any protest within the courtroom would be something that a person could be held in contempt for, no?

Likesay, if people walk into a courtroom and start a regular protest, carrying signs, etc, that wouldnt' be permited. Heck, if people are simply loud or obnoxious they can get kicked out of the court room.

posted on Mar, 24 2006 @ 11:00 AM
Reads to me like the judge had/has an attitude problem with respect to this witness. She could have told him to change, or at least have advised him his clothing was inappropriate, yet she did not. There is no contention that he exhibited behavior contemptuous or disruptive, or that his wearing of the shirt was likely to unduly influence the jury. In short, it appears the man did exactly as he was told and was then held in contempt. The appeals court should find for the defendant in this case unless there are significant events left unreported in this article.

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