DeWitt, NY – Peace activist Eve Tetaz, representing herself pro se, relied on the First Amendment to win dismissal of trespass charges against her at a bench trial on September 15.
Tetaz, along with 30 others, was arrested on April 28, 2013 at an anti-drone demonstration outside the gates of Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY. It was “an important victory for the First Amendment,” advising attorney Mark Goldstone declared, “she argued she had a right to be there to present her evidence, to present her grievances” regarding drones.
DeWitt town judge David Gideon has overseen the trials of scores of protesters who have converged on the air base over the past several years. During that time, his response to the protests has ranged from strong support for their First Amendment rights, to imposing draconian “orders of protection” to keep them away from the air base or face a year in jail.
During the trial, prosecutors showed a video of the protest and arrest of Tetaz in which she is seen reading aloud the Preamble to the UN Charter and the First Amendment of the Constitution on the edge of the driveway leading into the airbase. When officers order her to stop, she continues reading until the arresting officer grabbed the documents from her hands, tossing them aside. Ms. Tetaz’ trial is one of the ongoing series of trials of those arrested on April 28, 2013 scheduled through spring of 2015. Many will be jury trials, with possible 1 year sentences, due to the misdemeanor charge of obstruction of government administration.