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Creative Philosophy and Sociology of the Law of Peace:
Legal HipStory for Religious Use Defense under Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Part 3)
II. Hipstorical Gleanings
"LegalLiaision," for those who need to understand. Before 1988, being "legal liaison" was just like shitter digging, parking cars, shanti Sena, and all the other voluntary responsibilities of Gatherers; an informal group of individuals who took up the task of "legal affairs" of the Gatherings...to try and facilitate communications between Our People and Government. We negotiated in good faith, however, we brought all our information back to the Tribe, back to the Council, exchanged information and received the Council's blessings.
LegalLiasion never had any formal recognition/definition before 1988; it existed informally and those of us who met with the Forest Service, or other officials, would always say something like this; "Howdy, I am an individual from the Rainbow Family. We are here to act as facilitators for communication with the Family," not much more, and that "we are informal Legalliaision." No actual legalliaison "position" at the Gatherings has ever existed, any more than other positions existed, such as "shitter digger" or "kitchen crew," or "parking crew," or "front gate crew,"or "welcome home," or "firewatch," etc. All of these are voluntary contributions of individuals, giving of their abilities and time, in intrinsic service to the well-being of the People and the Gathering, doing what needs to be done. All such voluntary service has "intrinsic value;" this is part of the essence (and/or ritual) of our Gatherings. Little or no necessity has existed for Council to, decree or designate legalLaiason; the exception was in Texas, 1988 [see notes on Justice Justice's Opinion in 1988].
Everyone who gathers is LegalLiaison. This is nothing more than another volunteer group of folks who by chance, accident, design, or calling, wind up gathering legal information and sharing it with the rest of the Rainbow gathered in Council Circle or elsewhere. For many years We LegalLiaison volunteers would communicate the Constitutional position of the First Amendment right to gather in Peaceable Assembly on Public Lands for purposes of Expression. During our meetings with the Forest Service, and in letters we submitted, we often use the phrase "peaceable assemblies on public lands for purposes of expression."
LegalLiaision volunteers had a loose agreement of working together, we were merely interested individuals, interested in gathering and sharing information to the family about our legal positions. For years we would gather around a coffeepot in some tipi, much like a workshop on massage or something else, and commence to do a work/play workshop on where we stood legally. At times over the years, those of us who approached the Forest Service alone, usually would wind up making foolish agreements; ones we didn't mean or want when we met them. Attorney's didn't seem to help either; no judicial relief was in sight until Arizona and Texas.
Rainbow Family Tribal Council met on July 5, 1988, at the Texas Gathering, and Consensed in Silence, in the Full Light of Day, to formalize legalliaison so that only certain volunteers who had come before Council, and been recognized by Council as such, could co-facilitate communications for/with the Family. These persons had to agree to work in cooperation with one another in peaceable ways, and they had to agree that "The Rainbow Family Tribal Council speaks only for itself, July 1 through 7, on the Land, in the Full Light of Day."
Formal LegalLiaison was dissolved July 5, 1994, by Council Consensus; the agreement that "RFTC speaks only for itself..." still stands as Consensus.
U.S. v. Rainbow Family
(also U.S. v. Barry Adams, pro se; and U.S. v. Joseph Knecht, pro se)
As noted above, I was pro se defendant in this case. Justice Justice wrote the Opinion. Some highlights and key points are included here.
Justice Justice called Rainbow Family an "Unincorporated Association." This is inaccurate. We are, at Best, a Tribe of Individuals in a Spiritual Kinship/Association, and we have no membership rolls, etc..Many of the points the Government was using to try me on , were that I was a person solely or collectively responsible for the entire Rainbow Family. I objected and stated there is no leaders, no followers etc..
Justice Justice stated in his opinion that "any persons representative of this class, or group, can sign as representative for this class," which means that anyone could sign for everyone [see 1987, North Carolina]. This is incorrect. of Day." In other words, only the Council could legally represent the Rainbow Family. Rainbow Family Tribal Council met on July 5, 1988, at the Texas Gathering, and Consensed in Silence, in the Full Light of Day to formalize legalliaison so that only certain volunteers who had come before Council, and been recognized by Council as such, could co-facilitate communications for/with the Family. These persons had to agree to work in cooperation with one another in peaceable ways, and they had to agree that "The Rainbow Family Tribal Council speaks only for itself, July 1 through 7, on the Land, in the Full Light.
Attorney Larry Daves, was hired by the Rainbow Family Tribal Council, on July 5th, 1988, in the Full Light of Day, in Silent Consensus; was reimbursed for his legal fees by the Court. By this action of reimbursement, the Court legally recognized that the Rainbow Family Tribal Council, with all its processes, was the only legitimate body, capable of hiring an Attorney. (He was originally hired, by individuals, to represent persons who did not wish to appear as defendants). He is to be acknowledged for his contributions to the Family in risking his personal reputation and personal moneys to contribute to the defense. Attorney Daves was hired by the Council and granted the opportunity, by Council, to be paid for his legal expenses. He subsequently filed for legal compensation in Justice Justice' Court and was paid. Afterwards, Attorney Daves resigned in Council and thanked the Family for their help with his expenses. All of this was done by Rainbow Family Tribal Council to strengthen its legal position of being the only Body capable of Speaking for the Rainbow People Gathered at that time [note: Formal legalliaison was dissolved July 5, 1994, by Council Consensus; the agreement that "RFTC speaks only for itself..." still stands as Consensus.].
In my case (heard before a U.S. Magistrate, later all evidence was given to Justice Justice to render opinion, also later appearances , during "blockade" of the Gathering were held before Justice Justice.)The U.S. Attorney tried to introduce as evidence a "consent agreement" signed by three Rainbow People with the State of North Carolina in 1987. I knew that this had been signed under protest and therefore was not valid. I indicated this to the Judge and the "agreement" was withdrawn as evidence against me. [This "agreement" is also referred to in the current Group Use Regulation as indicating that individuals can sign permits on behalf of the Rainbow Family; "representatives of the Rainbow Family signed a consent agreement with the State of North Carolina in 1987."]
What actually happened, was three people of the Family, over the objections of many,many people, in first light of day when everyone else was asleep, decided to sign this agreement, which would be considered legally binding on all of the Rainbow Family. Two people then took the agreement in, to Judge Dave Santelle's District Court, over the objections of many persons in the Family. At the last moment, as they were handing the agreement to the Judge, one of the three wrote on the face of the document "Signed under duress."The day after the "Agreement" was handed in to the Judge, the Rainbow Council Circle met and gave their Consensus, Under Protest, to live up to the stipulations of the Agreement, as far as health and safety standards for our People were concerned (we were doing it anyway); and we agreed in Consensus not to condemn the three naive people who had acted without Consensus.
We then Agreed that No one can sign for the Rainbow Family without sure Silent Consensus of the Rainbow Family Tribal Council in the Full Light of Day, July 1-7, on the Land, in any year The "consent agreement" itself was/is invalid; only our word is good [note: see Clean-up letter 1995, New Mexico].
Likewise, any such Agreement, made in council with the government, is similar to the Treaties signed by other Tribes. In the present 36 CFR 251, when the government stipulates that "one person can sign for the others involved, and not be held responsible," it is not unlike the creation of "Treaty Chiefs." For example, in the Fort Laramie Treaty, Individuals, People of the Sioux, signed for what the U.S. Government said, "Was a Treaty for all the Tribes and Warriors and People of the Sioux, signed by these Great Chiefs." However, there were many Individuals, Warriors and other People, of the various Bands/tribes of the Sioux, who disagreed, and who felt and expressed that no one could sign for them. Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, among others, were some of these "wild" people. Treaty Chiefs were created by the U.S. Government. People who signed Treaties have always done so under duress. Similarly, Any Individual or Rainbow Council that signs a permit for a Gathering, does so under duress. This will always be the case, until the government Agrees to the Right to Peaceably Assemble for Our People -- in Our Style, Our Way of Gathering -- with an Operations Plan Agreement, or something similar, in place to protect the Land and People.
Rainbow Family, by whatever name, exists only in the Imagination; therefore it cannot be a defendant in a civil or criminal case. All the named and unnamed persons in Texas 1988, except for me, refused to be defendants in U.S. vs. Rainbow Family. I was the only individual defendant, who appeared, pro se, like U.S. Vs. Gideon Israel (Az 1986), and Joseph Knecht, pro se, who filed papers in the matter. Individuals associated with the Gathering, did testify and give information to the Court concerning various aspects of Rainbow Gathering i.e. C.A.L.M. volunteers, others, however, these persons/individuals were not defendants and did not "represent the Council in court". These Individuals were there to give "experience and information" to the Court for the Court's better understanding. On July 5, 1988, Rainbow Family did hire Attorney Daves, for his help in defending defendants rights not to be defendants and to act as LegalLiaision for Family (under blockade and crisis), up until July 5, 1995 and then he resigned before Council, in the Full Light of Day, in Silent Consensus, July 5th, 1995.
Justice Justice did say that the Forest Service could regulate us if they do it without affecting our right to Free Exercise of our Constitutional Right to Peaceably Assemble. However, a Set of Standards for Gathering were imposed on Rainbow Family,by Justice Justice's Order, with State and Federal Health Inspectors, including an Admiral from the Surgeon General's Office of the United States, and the Rainbow Family and Gathered folks passed with flying colors, all health and safety inspections: Federal, State, County, and Rainbow (C.A.L.M.)
The prosecutor introduced, as evidence against me, an article on "The Rainbow Family of Living Light" from the Encyclopedia of American Religions (Melton, 1978). In current context, this provides basis for "Religious Use" with regard to our practice of Gathering, and marijuana as sacrament [see below for excerpt].
In several ways, the decision in this case regarding "least restrictive means," "compelling governmental interest," and "ample alternative means of communication" comes down to what the Forest Service has proceeded to instate at 36 CFR 251 and 261; the current Regulations.
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