Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Security Government The Courts Transportation Idle

Man Who Protested TSA By Stripping Is Acquitted By Judge 246

Posted by samzenpus
from the pants-are-optional dept.
AbrasiveCat writes "In an update to an earlier Slashdot story, the Portland Oregon man who was arrested after stripping naked at a TSA checkpoint at Portland Airport was acquitted of indecent exposure charges. He successfully argued that he was protesting TSA actions, and his actions were protected speech under the Oregon Constitution."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Man Who Protested TSA By Stripping Is Acquitted By Judge

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:29PM (#40705037)

    not going to touch that

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      ...with a 6" pole
    • by kubernet3s (1954672) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:52PM (#40705273)
      that's what they said
    • by HermMunster (972336) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:45PM (#40705865)

      What bothers me isn't that he was acquitted, but that he asked for a jury trial, a trial by his peers, and was denied. Generally a judge rules when there's a matter of law rather than a matter of fact that has to be determined. In this case he charged with a criminal offense and he therefore required a jury trial.

      • by Immerman (2627577) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @08:04PM (#40706031)

        Well, if he freely admits to the action then there's no question of facts for a jury to decide, is there? The question is entirely whether or not the action was legal based on the applicable laws, which as you point out is generally accepted to be the judge's domain.

        • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @08:44PM (#40706357) Homepage

          But not always, jury's have the right to ignore law and pass whatever sentence they wish, within reason.

        • by Fjandr (66656) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @08:55PM (#40706441) Homepage Journal

          While I'm generally in agreement with what you wrote (in regard to actual practice, if not theory), two things are of note. The first is in regard to the typical application of the judge as the finder of law, while the second is in regard to the practice of entering summary judgment when there is complete agreement on both sides as to the facts of the case.

          Oregon if one of the four* US States where the State Constitution specifically protects the right of a jury to find in both matters of fact and in matters of law, though this is systematically ignored and jurors informed of the opposite in jury proceedings. Specifically: In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law, and the facts under the direction of the Court as to the law, and the right of new trial, as in civil cases.
          You would never know that being in jury selection though, as the state jury informational pamphlet states the exact opposite. By the Constitution the judge is only allowed to instruct the jury as to how the facts they find fit within the context of the law they determine to be controlling the criminal charges, if they determine such a controlling law to exist at all.

          As to the decision by the judge to enter a summary judgment via a bench trial without the agreement of the defendant, the Oregon Constitution provides but a single, crystal-clear exception to the right to a jury trial in cases where it is protected: that written application be made by the defendant and be approved by the trial judge. In capital criminal cases, this exception is specifically disclaimed; no capital crime may be subject to a bench trial under any circumstance.

          *The others being Maryland, Georgia, and Indiana.

          • by Immerman (2627577)

            Ah, I wasn't aware of that, I'm glad to hear such places exist, even if the bureaucracy predictably tries to deny it. In that case I suppose the judge's refusal would give him solid grounds for an appeal, if for some reason he wished do so. Considering the verdict though it seems quite possible that the judge had already decided the verdict was clear-cut and that seating a jury would simply waste a lot of people's time without any possible benefit.

      • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:54PM (#40706801)
        He should have protested the lack of available jury trial by stripping naked in court. Then they'd have to hand him new charges for the same thing and deny him a jury trial for that. Just think, it would cause an endless loop that would cause the court system to blue screen lol.
      • by brentrad (1013501) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @10:59PM (#40707215)
        It's not that he was denied a jury trial. "Brennan didn't have the option of letting a jury decide the case because the prosecution dropped its pursuit of a conviction for misdemeanor public indecency. The prosecution is now seeking a conviction for a violation, which is similar to a speeding ticket." Violations don't have the option for a jury trial in Oregon.

        This article gives more information:

        http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/07/post_247.html [oregonlive.com]
        • by fatphil (181876)
          I'm curious about the chronological order - did they drop the misdemeanor charge only after he indicated that he expressed his right for a jury trial? If so, that's heading in a direction dangerously close to double jeopardy - the prosecution defaulted on the original charge, IMHO. They shouldn't be able to just have a second attempt at a conviction for the same action.
  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarthBling (1733038) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:29PM (#40705039)
    This news makes me happy to live in Oregon!

    And kudos to the judge for being sensible.
    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Hatta (162192) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:31PM (#40705059) Journal

      I wish I lived in Oregon. Any Oregon folk want to organize a naked day at the TSA?

    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slacka (713188) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:51PM (#40705261)
      As an expat living in repressed China, this news makes me happy to be a free American. " He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither." -Benjamin Franklin How many people do you know that have died from Terrorists? For me, NONE. But Cancer, Stupidity, Obesity, MANY. As an expat, the real threat I see to our freedom is the ignorant throwing away our freedom that our founding fathers died for, because they are scared of the terrorist buggy-man! Stop living in fear and start thinking!
      • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:35PM (#40705773)

        How many people do you know that have died from Terrorists?

        So what you're saying is that the counter-terrorism measures are working.

      • I'm not sure ol' Ben was referring to protesting by showing the world your dick, but hey, I get the sentiment!

        • by Fjandr (66656)

          As an avowed nudist (in the fashion of the times, anyway), he probably would have approved.

        • by cffrost (885375)

          I'm not sure ol' Ben was referring to protesting by showing the world your dick, but hey, I get the sentiment!

          I'd bet Franklin would agree with me — the most distressing instances of publicly showcased dicks here are the blue-shirted ones DHS/TSA stick in peoples' faces.

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sixtyeight (844265) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:34PM (#40705079)

    Now that he's established that it's protected speech, everyone can do it.

    We can also protest the I.R.S. by throwing our Federal Reserve Notes into a big heap and setting fire to them, but I suspect we won't.

    • by Githaron (2462596)
      Except you have to live in Oregon.
      • Why do people keep saying that? The court in Oregon where he did it ruled that it was protected speech.

        That doesn't mean it can only be protected speech in Oregon. Do it in other states, and other states' courts will rule on it too.

        • Re:Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Githaron (2462596) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:01PM (#40705383)
          You are almost guaranteed to be legally safe in Oregon. You are not in other states.
        • Re:Irony (Score:5, Informative)

          by makisupa (118663) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:08PM (#40705453) Homepage

          It's not so simple - Oregon's constitution grants more speech protection than our federal constitution. The fact that the finding specifically cites the Oregon rather than federal constitution seems telling to me.

          • No, free speech rights are just better protected in Oregon. You don't get any better than "no law" as unconditionally spelled out in the constitution. The problem is a supreme court that won't enforce it.

            • by Smallpond (221300)

              No, free speech rights are just better protected in Oregon. You don't get any better than "no law" as unconditionally spelled out in the constitution. The problem is a supreme court that won't enforce it.

              Good thing that everyone agrees on the meaning and interpretation of every word in the Constitution. I wonder why we even bother having a Supreme Court?

        • Re:Irony (Score:5, Informative)

          by DarthBling (1733038) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:11PM (#40705487)
          I can't comment about other states, but Oregon generally doesn't have a problem if you are naked.

          ORS 163.465. Public indecency

          (1) A person commits the crime of public indecency if while in, or in view of, a public place the person performs:
          (a) An act of sexual intercourse;
          (b) An act of deviate sexual intercourse; or
          (c) An act of exposing the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person.

          Combined this with section 8 from the Oregon constitution:

          Section 8. Freedom of speech and press. No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right.

          And you have a pretty strong case why John Brennan's naked TSA protest was not be violating the public indecency statue.

          I could be mistaken, but other states may have a problem if you're naked for any reason. This might be why many people say, "Except you have to live in Oregon".
          • Re:Irony (Score:4, Insightful)

            by LurkerXXX (667952) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @08:45PM (#40706369)

            I could be mistaken, but other states may have a problem if you're naked for any reason.

            You are not mistaken. Many states will label you as a sex offender if you take a leak in the corner of a parking lot after a late night partying.

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              if you take a leak in the corner of a parking lot after a late night partying

              Don't worry LurkerXXX, we believe you.

        • Re:Irony (Score:5, Interesting)

          by pclminion (145572) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @08:22PM (#40706191)

          Why do people keep saying that? The court in Oregon where he did it ruled that it was protected speech. That doesn't mean it can only be protected speech in Oregon. Do it in other states, and other states' courts will rule on it too.

          Oregon is a bit, er, different. The Supreme Court of Oregon has explicitly ruled that erotic/sexual displays are a form of protected speech. That ruling has led to Oregon's status as the strip club capital of the USA, with more strip clubs per capita than anywhere else, including Las Vegas (though most of them are in the Portland area). Portland has an annual Naked Bike Ride event. The police who follow the riders are there to protect them, not arrest them.

          That's not to say some other state couldn't take the same view of things, but this decision is very typically an Oregonian decision. There is a clear distinction between lewdness and nudity, and Oregonians for the most part know how to make this distinction.

          • The Supreme Court of Oregon has explicitly ruled that erotic/sexual displays are a form of protected speech.

            Is this accurate? The sibling to the parent comment quotes the law in question which specifically states that public indecency is among other things,

            An act of exposing the genitals of the person with the intent of arousing the sexual desire of the person or another person.

            So it appears to me that the reason he was not convicted is precisely because his intent was not to be erotic or sexual, only nude. And that makes perfect sense given the context of the protest--he was making explicit* the fact that the scanners essentially nudify everyone, at least from the vantage point of the Viewing Room, and that the TSA is quite invasiv

          • Re:Irony (Score:5, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 19, 2012 @09:26PM (#40706615)

            Portland has an annual Naked Bike Ride event

            Note to self: Don't buy a used bike in Portland.

          • Re:Irony (Score:5, Funny)

            by brentrad (1013501) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @11:10PM (#40707285)
            Portland Oregon actually has a higher per capita number of strip clubs than churches. Yes, I'm very proud of this fact. :)
          • by godrik (1287354)

            "Portland has an annual Naked Bike Ride event. The police who follow the riders are there to protect them, not arrest them."

            No, the police just go to have the best spot! That's why everybody call them 'pigs'!

    • by SlashDev (627697)
      In theory your fed reserve note comment makes sense, in reality it would be impossible to implement now, not only the mass population uses those notes, the rest of the world does as well.
    • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @07:18PM (#40705567) Journal

      I just finished listening to an interview with this guy on "As It Happens" [www.cbc.ca] (Thursday, July 19, 2012 Episode, which today... Thursday... will still be at the top). You can look for a podcast of it on CBC Radio or I believe on PRI or NPR (but they may just point to CBC). Or listen online.

      The fellow said that he was cleared of the indecency charge in Oregon since that charge was under their jurisdiction. However he still has to go through some Federal tribunal or legal process to address his disruption to the TSA people. And if he decides to dispute this, it goes to a secret tribunal and neither he nor his lawyer will be allowed to discuss the matter. So it's not all over for him.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        So it's not all over for him.

        The TSA and secret tribunals ... you're far more optimistic than I.

      • by AbrasiveCat (999190) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @10:41PM (#40707119)
        From what I have heard http://www.kgw.com/news/Naked-fliers-attorneys-ask-for-acquittal-162908166.html, Mr Brennan maybe fined up to $11,000 and be put on the no-fly list for interfered with the screening process. I don't know if this is a legal issue for the courts or if he can just be administratively found guilty, but I hope TSA knows when to walk away. It seems to me that he was helping the screening process by ensuring no contraband was on his person. I suspect that if I were on a jury I would find him innocent.
  • Guess that's better than temporary insanity...
  • the story here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @06:39PM (#40705123)
    I think the real story here is that the federal government has become so corrupt and has debased our rights under the US Constitution that we're now having to use state constitutions to defend our freedoms. Many convictions have been upheld by the US Supreme Court for expressing discontent with the US government. It appears the last bastion of hope now lies with the states. I wonder how long before the first state withdraws from the Union, and a new civil war begins.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by einstein4pres (226130)

      Welcome to Cascadia [wikipedia.org]!

      • by KhabaLox (1906148)

        I have my Free Cascadia bumper sticker [zapatopi.net] and my Bureau of Sasquatch Affairs t-shirt. [zapatopi.net]

      • Just be careful that it doesn't end up a Northwest American Republic [northwestfront.org], or somesuch.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          Just be careful that it doesn't end up a Northwest American Republic, or somesuch.

          1 in 4 British Columbians are "non-white", and the minorities aren't all illegal migrant farm workers or impoverished either. They're fairly well integrated into society, represented in government, etc. I don't know about the rest of "Cascadia" but racial supremacy isn't likely to get a strong foothold there.

          • If you read that website, they actually do have some hand waving around this. They don't really consider BC, and as far as American Northwest goes, they claim that most "aliens" reside in relatively compact urban conglomerations along the I-5 corridor, while east of Cascades is an all-whitey land. It's primarily the latter that they target initially, which is why their "migration guide" speaks of moving preferentially to Eastern Washington and Oregon.

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              If anyone thinks Eastern Cascadia is "all-whitey" land, they've never been here or they lump Hispanics in as "all-white." Maybe Hispanics are now "white enough" for the race-baiters.

              Unfortunately, there is still a small Aryan contingent alive and well in North Idaho, so perhaps they are under the mistaken impression they can grow that into what it once was. That site sounds like an attempt to make their movement more palatable to people who would otherwise, at best, ignore them.

              As for me, I'd love to see th

    • I think the real story here is that the federal government has become so corrupt and has debased our rights under the US Constitution that we're now having to use state constitutions to defend our freedoms.

      (a) It is not the defendent's decision to be charged with a federal or state crime.
      (b) A not guilty verdict on a state charge doesn't in any way protect one from a subsequent guilty verdict on a federal charge.

      So, in summary (a) there is no turning to state courts and (b) even if there was, it wouldn't protect against a federal court ruling.

    • I think the real story here is that the federal government has become so corrupt and has debased our rights under the US Constitution that we're now having to use state constitutions to defend our freedoms.

      Historically, the Bill of Rights did not apply to state governments at all (that's why they all have constitutions, and why those constitutions have articles protecting freedom of speech etc). Incorporation of the Bill of Rights [wikipedia.org] only began with the 14th, and even then it was only interpreted to mean that 30 years after it came in force.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      The Constitution and Bill of Rights never gave you free reign to do whatever you want. You still (generally) have to obey the law. In this case the judge agreed that his right to express his views overrode the public decency law. It's always a trade-off. But if your actions take away other peoples' rights (by trespassing, blocking streets, etc.) your rights will probably come in second place to those of the people you have wronged. Don't hold your breath expecting a secession.
  • Live Free and Fly!

    Seriously, though, it would be a good idea to walk thru one of the backscatter x-ray machines with lead foil that spelled out "Fvck The TSA!" ... under your shirt.

    • by v1 (525388)

      I doubt that would have any effect. They are just the wheels in the machine. It's the system that's broken, and they can't really change anything even if they were motivated to try and do so.

      And in most cases they're just loosely following the rules, or in a few cases, strictly enforcing them. Think carefully about which way you'd prefer them to work on the average. (hint: the latter are the cases that tend to make the headlines)

    • ...Or, you could sue the bejeezus out of the TSA and the other organizations involved and shut them down.

      You know. Not to sound weird or anything.

    • Live Free and Fly!

      My (limited) experience with the TSA has me believing: Live Free or Fly!

  • I think we would see an entirely different outcome. Pick any other Bible Belt state if you like.

  • ...we all know what to do, right? If we can't get them to stop with the security theater, at least we can make it as unpleasant for them as possible.

    • Big "if", though. Huge.

      Use the courts.

      • by pipedwho (1174327)

        Use the courts.

        That's a bit like telling a homeless guy to move in to a New York City penthouse, since you'd heard the owners were having trouble finding a tenant.

  • Does Canada have anything remotely similar to the TSA? I live somewhat near the border and the thought of watching a high school dropout paw my four year old makes me somewhat livid. And the idea of self-imposed radiation treatment is also quite unpalatable. I think I'd rather drive eight hours to Canadian airport than use the one the down the street. Is this doable?
  • So anyone with a point can strip naked as long as it's related? Anti-sheep wool use as clothing? Nude time! Completely ridiculous.
    • Re:ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

      by chrismcb (983081) on Friday July 20, 2012 @02:28AM (#40708309) Homepage

      So anyone with a point can strip naked as long as it's related? Anti-sheep wool use as clothing? Nude time! Completely ridiculous.

      Why do you consider it ridiculous? It is a form of protest, and has been used through out time, remember Lady Godiva? PETA does this from time to time. Free Speech means more than just spoken or written words.
      Not to mention the fact, it is NOT illegal to be naked in public in Oregon (or many states for that matter)

  • by dbIII (701233) on Friday July 20, 2012 @05:09AM (#40709025)
    So is he free to travel or was he blackballed by the TSA?

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray

Working...