Contents: Lawsuit introduction <> briefs filed already <> Philosophy published before the lawsuit <> Cable access TV precedents, all in one file, with highlights and comments
Lawsuit! Introduction: Dave Leach Sued Mediacom (the cable TV company in Des Moines) for Censoring, from his 7-year-old Public Access TV show, Photos showing what abortion does to Babies, and photos of abortionists' customers. Mediacom counter-sued, asking the Federal Court to overturn the Federal Law that authorizes not only all Public Access channels across America, which carry thousands of church services and some city council meetings, but also all Educational Access channels, carrying school board meetings and classes for sick students, and all Government Access channels, which carry City Council meetings!
Leach sued because Mediacom's censorship violates 47 U.S.C. 531, which permits cable companies to censor Public Access producers only for "nudity" and "obscenity" both of which are defined by all courts as relating to sexual material. (Another section of the U.S. Code permits cable companies to ban "commercial advertising" on Public Access channels, and a 1996 Supreme Court decision suggested that censorship may be justified for any "extraordinary problem", a new standard yet to be defined.)
Mediacom's hope is that the Court will forget about all that precedent linking "obscenity" to sexual material and accept its "common sense" definition of my anti-abortion photos as "obscene". At least, Mediacom hopes, the Court will see that the photos of slain babies constitute "nudity". (Actually, the original photo that triggered the censorship was a single decapitated head.)
But if that doesn't work, Mediacom wants the Court to acknowledge that my past articles on the "use of force" (to prevent abortion) debate create reasonable expectations among abortionists' customers, whom I film, that I am threatening to physically harm them, just by filiming them; which is a "threat" that is not "constitutionally protected", and for which they are likely to sue me and Mediacom. Mediacom does not explain how, even if all these things were so, (I explain that none of them are), that would create legal grounds for Mediacom to censor me.
But if that doesn't work, Mediacom's next hope is that the Court will simply overturn the Federal law authorizing all these "free" channels and give Mediacom total authority to censor anyone it likes for any reason, because they are a "private business" which should have as much right to control the information it makes available as a shoe store. Mediacom reaches out in hope for Supreme Court vindication of this theory because in that 1996 decision, three of the nine justices took exactly that position. It is interesting that the three were the most conservative. The liberal justices adamantly opposed any more censorship authority for cable companies. The subject was obscenity. The three conservatives wanted to give cable companies more authority to censor sexual filth. The six liberals sternly rebuked any such move. Perhaps Mediacom hopes that if the subject is anti-abortion photography, the numbers will reverse; the liberals will clamor for cable companies to be free to censor it, and maybe the conservatives will be consistent, and give Mediacom a 9-0 victory.
My briefs defend my photos as "political" and "religious" speech. (At one point I even cite the Scriptures explaining what features make speech "holy", and showing how my photos have those features; and how, consequently, censorship of them, to the point of calling them repulsive enough to justify violating federal law, constitutes a special type of "blasphemy".) I explain why no lawsuit against me, for filming abortionists' customers, has a reasonable likelihood of success. I don't just stand on "my legal rights", but thoroughly explain why my photos are not just legal, but good and right. Here is one brief example of my justification:
Abortionists admit a primary reason many mothers kill (6th Commandment) is so their friends, family, and loved ones won't know they were promiscuous (7th Commandment). So when our cameras threaten to expose both sins, they take away that reason to kill. Without that way to conceal their shame, some will be discouraged from either sin. It would not matter if 98% of abortionist business was selling Bibles: as long as 2% of it is murdering babies, all who go there ought to be ashamed of associating with such a business! But I do not stand here as one who judges others for worse sins than I have committed, but as one crying out for all of us, together, to return to God who offers to heal us!
Here are the briefs filed in the case so far, and related information:
Read my original "complaint", filed 10/15/02 The only issues remaining before the Court are photos of murdered babies, and photos of murderers' patrons. Originally there were seven issues. One was Mediacom's refusal to air my interview with popular Des Moines credit counselor Tom Coates about the impact of gambling on personal debt, bankrupticies, family destruction, and suicide. The interview related these questions to the November 5 ballot question, whether to re-authorize Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino for another 8 years. (The casino won by over 2-1.) But before the first hearing, Mediacom had already caved and allowed the show to be aired. All seven issues are explained, featuring strong precedents for allowing the political interview, and photos of abortionists' customers.
Here is Mediacom's response, filed 10/30/02, the morning of the first scheduled hearing. I received my copy as I walked into the courtroom. Mediacom calls the photos of abortionists' customers "obscene". I'm not joking. They say the case should be dismissed because they have already aired the political interview, and the photography hasn't yet been censored quite formally enough to suit them.
The Judge "continued" (postponed, or rescheduled) the hearing until November 20. Meanwhile the Judge ordered me and Mediacom to meet together to "stipulate" (formally acknowledge) as many facts as we could that the other party needed proved, to save the Court's time sitting through long, complicated "proofs" of facts that should be obvious. The document here is our mutual Stipulations, filed on 11/18/02.
Read next my formal Trial Brief, which I filed to save the Court's time in listening to me give my arguments orally. My Brief addresses the arguments raised in Mediacom's 10/30 Response. I wasn't able to file the brief until the day before the Nobember 20 hearing, 11/19/02. Actually an attorney suggested I just bring it in with me to the trial; but I didn't want to surprise Mediacom that badly, and I wanted the judge to see it ahead of time, too. Actually I had been giving Mediacom many of my arguments since before I filed suit. Features analysis, sometimes humorous, of Mediacom's characterization of my photos as "obscene". Analyzes the 1996 Denver decision. Establishes my "speech" as "religious" and "political".
Mediacom filed their brief the same day, the 19th, with the Court; but they didn't bother giving me a copy until I walked into the courtroom on 11/20/02. This angered the judge, especially since it included a 10 page affidavit by Mediacom's regional Vice President, who was present, and whom I had a right to cross examine; it also had an appendix of about 100 pages, mostly from my website. The judge recessed for about half an hour to give me time to read the affidavit. Later the judge gave me permission to write a response brief, later, to Mediacom's brief, since I had no opportunity to read it and rebut it at trial. This brief relies on much repetition of incriminating accusations like "intimidate", "stalk", "harass", with very little argument or precedent, and what there is scattered like nails thrown at a construction site as opposed to being hammered carefully where they are needed. Not even the relevance of most of the accusations is made clear. Many of the points are similar to the sound bites provided by abortionists to happily obliging news reporters. Its most important argument may be its theory that my photos of abortionists' patrons are "threats" for which I and Mediacom may be sued. It asks the Court to order me to post a $50,000 bond to protect Mediacom from loss when that happens.
Because I can't afford to pay a court reporter for a transcript of the trial, and because tape recorders are forbidden in the court room, I asked friends to take notes at the hearing. My wife, Dorothy, took the most thorough notes, but notes from a couple of others were helpful in clarifying a few points. Here are the combined 11/20/02Trial Notes. Features Mediacom's bitter cross examination of me about my website articles relating to the "use of force" debate, the insufficiency of my "disclaimer" explaining that I am not necessarily accusing the people in my photos of abortionists' customers of having had abortions (especially the men), and my decision to use Mediacom for a forum for slain baby photos when I ought rather to post them at my business.
Here is my final brief, filed 11/30/02. I attempt to plug the gaps in Mediacom's train of thought in order to assemble a consistent legal theory capable of refutation. It's a colossal Sound Bite Battle.
Coming later: Mediacom's final 5-page brief, and a file containing all the Articles & Cases I studied in researching my brief.
The Censorship Chronicles Should video of men and women entering and leaving Planned Parenthood be censored from a cable access TV show? This is a brief timeline of media coverage of Dave Leach, host of the Uncle Ed. Show, and Jonathan O'Toole, campaign manager for Dave Leach, who filmed Planned Barrenhood customers, from August 21-September 1, 2002 AD.
Da Gangstas At Da House of Moida Script of a Play produced for the Uncle Ed. Show and www.Saltshaker.US. Uncle Ed. "Lips" Cappricio and Johnny "Kid" Toolow get a call from an abortionist with a "big problem".
Da Gangstas At Da House of Moida Da Movie! (Not yet posted)
Below: Ephesians 5:11, authorizing public exposure of those doing wrong
Felonies of Abortionists, not "patient privacy", May Prompt Their Protest
Our Message Makes our Cameras "Intimidating"
TV News Polls Fraud
"Pushing the Free Speech Envelope may Lead to Restrictions on All of Us"
We Have Not Failed
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. ("Reprove" is defined a couple of verses later as shining a light.) 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (In other words, they are ashamed of the things they do where they hope no one will see them.) 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (In other words, God is defining His terms: He is saying "light" represents the exposing of evil.) 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Here God makes a connection between shining a light, and waking people up. He compares rising from the dead, into life, with being awakened by the morning sun.)
TV news reporters will NEVER allow a Bible verse on its news broadcast! Christians, you have to understand, this is where the real battle lines are drawn. Satan has persuaded news reporters to never allow the Bible to be quoted pertaining to a point of public policy, because the Bible must be regarded as irrelevant to public policy. Were the Bible once again quoted in America, Satan's moral standard would be seen for the wretched shadow it is. Nor must those "graphic images" that show the next generation what abortion does to human babies be clearly shown, for then consciences would be pricked, and sleepy hearts awakened. Nor must the question ever be addressed, as if it were relevant, whether the lives being snuffed out really are human beings, which would make their killing, without convicting them in a court of law, legally, "murder". No! When Christians express concern for murder, they should simply be ignored as "not getting it". Don't they understand? They have a right to believe what they want and so do we. Abortion is not a sin, if you don't feel it is. The only real sin in this world is to strongly believe something. The only real crime is having convictions.
This is where the real battle is. It's not whether to kill babies. It's whether to acknowledge God's jurisdiction over our lives.
Perhaps you are thinking, "What does the Bible have to do with anything? I don't even BELIEVE the Bible." If so, my messages are not targetted for you. If you won't even believe God, how should I expect you to believe a mere man? You are destined to believe whoever tickles your feelings, believing nothing, falling for everything.
But if you are a Christian, perhaps you are thinking, "I believe the Bible, but everybody else doesn't, so when Dave Leach quotes the Bible he just makes people think he's an extremist and brings shame upon the name of Jesus." Christians, it's time to take the Bible seriously. It's time to take life itself seriously.
It's time to stop judging the effectiveness of Christian witness by how well the devil publicly admires it.
Jonathan O,Toole was the one called a "hate
monger" when he was filming an abortion clinic! We knew the insult
was meant for us all. A "hate monger" means "dealer of hate".
Well, I guess it is fairly accurate. A messenger deals messages. All kinds
of messages. Am I right? We are messengers, and our message is that we hate
abortion. God calls us to hate sin, and murder is sin. "Let love be without dissimulation [phoniness]. Abhor that
which is evil; cleave [cling] to that which is good." Romans 12:9. But this person is saying we are evil and wrong.
"Let not then your good be evil
spoken of." Romans 14:16. I ask
you, how can a person be wrong, if that person wants to fulfill God's Word?
Do you let your children, or other people, walk all over you? No, you rebuke
them, so they will love you. "He
that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth
with the tongue." Proverbs 28:23 --- Statement of Harry Rader, who carried a picture showing what
abortion does to babies, while Jonathan O,Toole filmed Planned Parenthood
customers, Thursday, August 22, 2002 AD
Felonies of Abortionists, not "patient privacy", May Prompt Their Protest
"Planned Parenthood's (PP) professed concern for the `right to privacy of patients' might possibly be fear that photos of patients could be used to document PP's ongoing criminal activity. Life Dynamics, of Denton, Texas, has already caught PP red-handed in the process of covering up evidence of statutory rape among minors. (A girl under 14 who has sex is, under Iowa law, a victim of "statutory rape". The law requires PP to report such a girl, coming to PP for "confidential services", so the proper authorities may investigate. But PP counselors were caught conspiring with such girls to conceal the true identity or the true ages of offenders.) For more information see www.childpredators.com. All 50 states require medical reporters and teachers to report evidence of sexual activity among minors (such as birth control services or pregnancy tests) to state authorities so they may investigate the possibility of incest, or of statutory rape. There is reason to be concerned that Planned Parenthood does not comply with these laws. The photojournalistic efforts of Dave Leach and Jonathan O'Toole to document the activities occurring at Planned Parenthood are in cooperation with this ongoing investigation. These images will be made available upon request to law enforcement and/or civil litigants as evidence of discrepancies between Planned Parenthood's official reports and the actual volume and identity of clients." ---Jim Phillips, Life Dynamics, Denton, Texas
It's Planned Parenthood's Jill June, not me, who faces jail for her commitment to a legally unsound definition of "patient privacy". But TV news reporters didn't mention this context when they quoted her accusing ME of being the lawbreaker by "invading patient privacy". She has, since July, also accused, of invading patient's privacy, Buena Vista County Attorney Phil Havens and District Judge Frank Nelson, for ordering PP to turn over patient names during a certain time period which might help solve a gruesome murder -- putting a newborn baby in a shredder. The prosecutor said the pregnancy records they need aren't "medical records", because they were given by people without medical training. The judge agreed, finding no evidence of any law protecting the privacy of the records.
It's Our Message Making our Cameras "Intimidating" (Statement in campaign newspaper)
If you believed the news articles about me August 23-25 in the Des Moines Register, the Associated Press, TV8, and TV13, you thought people were upset with me because we were filming customers of Planned Parenthood without permission, "invading their privacy". That's not the story. I want to challenge news reporters, and the Christians whom they intimidate, to take life, and their own liberty, seriously .
This isn't about pictures. If Planned Parenthood took the same pictures, or a crowd scene at their annual Iowa book sale, for an ad promotion, no one would be outraged. Reporters film crowds all the time without getting signed consent forms for every face shown. They show accused people trying to avoid cameras, and no one suggests it is the news crews who are lawless, for invading the PRIVACY of the accused.
It's not the pictures. It's our message WITH our pictures.
Our message is that these pictures show people doing business with baby killers, whom NO ONE should patronize for any reason.
Our message is that God's Word clearly recognizes the babies killed there as innocent human beings, and God's Word has more relevance to public policy
debate than a Supreme Court which says "we don't KNOW if the babies we want killed are human beings".
When we add these pictures to our message, it's like the difference between hearing a general sermon about a sin you commit, and the preacher pointing at
YOU during his sermon! But it's the message, that makes the pointing frightening. So frightening that Americans are ready to give up their Freedom of
Speech. It's already being given up on our college campuses, and in Canada, where preaching what God says about homosexuality is a hate crime.
You say "but YOUR speech is OFFENSIVE." But offensive criticism is the purpose for the First Amendment. Pleasant speech never needed any protection.
NO criticism is comfortable, but if we lose our right to criticize the status quo, the loss of all our other rights will soon follow.
We're judged for judging. But our message exposes evil, urges repentance, in the hope that the people of the land we love will escape God's judgment. Jesus
died so we don't have to. He poured out His blood to give us the power to leave our sins behind and dwell in His love.
My challenge: Life and liberty are the Gift of God. Take
TV News Polls Fraud
TV 13 had a poll (I think TV 8 had one too) asking viewers if they thought I should be allowed to film PP customers! Talk about a slanted framing of the polling question, following a slanted news story! But that's not the fraud. The fraud is that people can "vote" as often as they like! To check this out, I voted twice myself. Just curious whether TV 13 has any protection against people voting hundreds of times. They don't. By my rough calculations, three Planned Parenthood employees could cast about 500 votes in an hour. Within a few hours of this story, the poll was 28% in favor of my right to show who's patronizing Planned parenthood. By the next day it had dropped to 20%. I really do appreciate those who voted for me, but I would like to vote for a log-on system like Newsmax.com uses, that stops cheating.
"Pushing the Free Speech Envelope may Lead to Restrictions on All of Us"
This was the concern expressed on TV 8 by a Drake journalism professor.
I share his concern. But he's part of the push to overturn Freedom of Speech, not me. Freedom of Speech was created in the first place, not to protect pleasant speech, which never needed protection, but critical speech that criticizes government, or that criticizes public wrongdoing. America's Founding Fathers, who GAVE us freedom of speech, considered criticism that hit home indispensible to America's health, even though criticism that hits home is SELDOM received warmly. They didn't worry about criticism that doesn't hit home, that isn't really accurate, because they understood inaccurate criticism is easily criticized, resulting in more public amusement than offense.
But this journalism professor is striking up the drumbeat for people to rise up against speech that hits home, it being regarded as irrelevant whether it is true.
This is the kind of thinking that is putting pastors in jail in Canada for preaching what God's Word says about sodomy. It's the kind of thinking that already suppresses free speech, by calling criticism of a sinful lifestyle a "hate crime", on college campuses, like, um, for example, at Drake.
Of course, the pictures alone aren't our message, but the words that go with them: the words that say abortion is murder. If we were photojournalists hired by Planned Parenthood to get promotional shots for their book sale, that is, if we supported murdering babies, no one would bother us.
In other words, he is saying, just because it's legal, doesn't make it right. Just because you follow the law, doesn't make you a good neighbor. Which of course is true. The problem is that he apparently thinks you are a bad neighbor if you stand against murdering babies, but a good neighbor if you stand up for the rights of the Des Moines Register to take disgusting "personal" ads honoring kinky sex and sodomite "unions". Or for the rights of dirty book stores to remain in business. Of interest to us is that the truth we wish to proclaim is perfectly legal. And this is a journalism professor saying this. So, because he would like to accuse us of acting illegally but he can't, the next best opportunity is for him to accuse us of satisfying his twisted criteria of a good neighbor.
We Have Not Failed
The news articles Thursday, which made it sound like what we proposed is against the law, would have been more fair if they had reminded people that the day before, the same Mediacom spokesman had said we were perfectly within our legal rights.
That would have helped Des Moines understand my expectations were not foolish, having lined up with the expectations of Mediacom itself. Without explaining that, someone reading the print article who has seen none of the other coverage will surely ask himself, "I wonder why this Dave Leach character didn't check with Mediacom first before making his announcement?"
It would also have been more fair had the articles mentioned that we will still use the pictures for the website, and that as a result of the media coverage over this event which never should have been newsworthy, thousands more will know about www.abortioncams.com. This perspective would have portrayed me more as someone willing to march straight towards a goal, rather than as someone who makes a big public bellyflop and goes nowhere.
Then of course there is the very good prospect of resolving this censorship since the law does NOT appear to be on Mediacom's side in this matter. We're still studying the law and "counting the cost".
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