Occupy Des Moines protesters ask for jury trial

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 6:03 pm | More from The Iowa Independent

Two dozen Occupy Des Moines protesters are seeking a jury trial for charges of trespassing at the State Capitol grounds on Oct. 10, their lawyer says, while five have pleaded guilty.

Wednesday about a dozen of the demonstrators appeared before a judge in Polk County District Court. Most pleaded not guilty, but a handful opted to plead guilty and pay a fine of $317 for the simple misdemeanor.

Sally Frank, a law professor at Drake University and member of the National Lawyers Guild, is providing legal support to the demonstrators. She has submitted jury demands and expects the demonstrators to represent themselves with assistance at trial.

Frank said a total of 37 people were arrested on Oct. 10, as well as two juveniles. A date has not yet been set for the jury trial.

“If the state chooses to violate people’s First Amendment rights by making unlawful arrests it will have to prove it’s case against people who will exercise all of their rights within the system,” said Frank.

Megan Felt opted not to plead guilty on Wednesday, saying “our brutal arrest epitomizes the profound inequality and injustice of our governing system.”

“When average citizens get thrown in jail for participating in democracy and exercising our First Amendment rights, while big banks like Wells Fargo can crash the economy, kick people out of their homes and walk away with record profits and get a get out of jail free card, that’s not right,” she said.

Joe Fagan of Des Moines was one of those that pleaded guilty, although he was not apologetic for his actions. He said he was “there for a reason,” and blamed the country’s economic woes on financial institutions that “lied to people.”

“I plead guilty to trespassing, to being on the wrong side of some dotted line someplace, but I know in my heart what I did was the right thing to do,” Fagan said.


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Karen S.
Comment posted August 1, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

You got most of this right but it is somewhat misleading.  A half filled church sounds like a small number but the church here is about the size of 6 average size churches put together.  The ice cream analogy and the defination of choice are talking about the same.  They are referring to the fact that  late term abortion of Carharts office offers only abortion while  the pregnancy help centers offer help in a variety of ways therefore offering more choices.  I was there and the only mention of Carhart leaving town was that he would have a change of heart but that it would be even better if that change of heart lead to him helping the women in a different way.  The group organizing the summer of mercey is being prayer led.  The last point I would like to clear up is Carhart can say anything he wants about Keisha and so can the pro life movement but after hearing her video the night you are writing about I don’t think the video was polished enough for this to be a plant.  A plant would have been much more organized and thought out in advance. This demonstration is mre about letting people know what is happening here in Germantown.  That late term abortions,  that is after the time the fetus would survive if born as a baby is happening in our town, our count, our state, and our country.

Leslie Palma-Simoncek
Comment posted August 1, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

Father Pavone (my boss) didn’t actually compare Carhart’s clinic to a Nazi death camp (although others did refer to Tiller’s Wichita abortion clinic as a “mini-Auscwitz” because it had its own incinerator). What Father Pavone did say was the comments from Nazi guards charged with killing Jews are similar to comments made by people who work in abortion clinics, in that some people in both groups recognized the humanity of their victims and were horrified by their own actions.

And it’s true that Father Pavone asked for prayers for Carhart, that his heart might be converted the way other abortionists’ have. Bernard Nathanson might be the most famous but he is not the only one. Father Pavone works with many former abortionists who are part of the Society of Centurions. Check it out:  http://www.priestsforlife.org/columns/453-abortionists-converted

Otherwise your story is good, and I wish I had known you were there. Email me any time at leslie@priestsforlife.org.

Comment posted August 2, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

“ In the lobby of Covenant Life Church, supporters were handed blank Maryland Board of Physicians Department of Health and Mental Hygiene complaint forms to fill out against Carhart. ”
Harassment through government agencies is one tactic common to those who wish to shut down LEGAL and SAFE procedures that are needed by women. If there was not a great need, his clinic would not exist. How dare these people decide what a woman’s choices are in her particular situation. Late term abortion is rare, and IS needed. These folks need to educate themselves rather than falling victim to emotion and rhetoric. 
SHAME on summer of mercy. 

Comment posted August 2, 2011 @ 2:49 pm

And next these people will be telling me I can’t drive, can’t work, whatever…just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean that I can’t decide for myself what is right. 

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

kittybrat, you are right that more education is needed.  Please watch the video on this page:


…and then tell me that abortion is safe for the child.  Some choices are wrong, including murder.  Abortion kills an innocent living human.  That is not just my opinion, it’s a scientific, biological, and medical fact.

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

What if you decide robbing a bank is right?  Should that choice be protected too?  Some choices are wrong.  Killing an innocent living human is wrong.  Watch this video of the choice you are defending:


It is an indefensible choice.

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

So why aren’t there any Muslim or Jewish anti-abortion organizations that join along with you?  Because people like Frank Pavone associate themselves with groups like Operation Save America who’s activities involves burning the Qur’an.  Save the children, but let other people’s cultures and beliefs burn.  They really take the whole “no false prophets before me” a bit too seriously.

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

Typical. You can’t argue with facts, so you attack the messenger.  Supporting one action by an organization is not the same as supporting the organization itself and all of its actions.  Guilt by association is a pretty flimsy accusation, especially when we’re talking about the brutal murder of innocent children.

Yes, it’s wrong to burn another culture’s sacred book in a blatant act of provocation, but is that really anywhere near the same level as killing innocent humans?

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

“Supporting one action by an organization is not the same as supporting the organization itself and all of its actions.” – That is 100% bs for a Pro-Lifer to say. 

If anyone is involved with anything abortion, whether it be going to a planned parenthood clinic or donating to one, they as guilty as someone who chose to have an abortion.  Can thank blood guilt for that one.

Here’s a fact, the money the government was giving to planned parenthood came with a stipulation that exactly $0.00 would be allowed to be used towards abortion.  So there was already no money going towards abortion, just to planned parenthood. Many people like myself may not support planned parernthoods views on abortion, but I agree with the help they give women, ie. breast cancer screening. 
That whole arguement would be as if  a Catholic did not want to put money in the offering plate because they’re money could potentially go to the defense attorneys of GUILTY pedophile priests.

So it’s bad to help kill a baby, but it’s ok to help pay for the protection of a priest who felt little bobby was giving him the eyes.

Another fact is that the Susan B. Kommen foundation gave money to planned parenthood for the same reasons as the government.  They know lots of women are going to planned parenthood and the fact that abortions do raise the risk of breast cancer in women, the SBK foundation wants to raise that awareness to women who choose to have an abortion.  Getting mad at SBK foundation is getting as ridiculous as getting mad at the American Lung and Heart association for giving money to tobacco companies to raise awareness that smoking can cause cancer.

Like you said just because you support one action of a group, doesn’t mean you support the group as a whole. But that’s what a lot of pro-lifers and everyone else does.  Sadly a lot of us are programmed taht way.

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

That’s because making a business of killing 3,500 innocent humans per day is quite different from burning one book, once.  Agreed?

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

If the abortion aspect is privately funded, which it is and we live in a Free Market economy, then technically yes, you should be able to create a business and profit from death.  As sad as it is.  But that’s America.  There is no moral decency and there are few who are able to uphold it.

Just the fact that we as a country can not even come to a decision to make a National age of consent law.  Every state has their own and sadly some states go as low as 14.  Which is better than Mexico, which is 12. 

Plus our number one export in America is GUNS GUNS GUNS.  We as Amercians profit from death on a daily basis since this country was founded, whether we like it or not.  And if I’m as guilty for letting an abortion happen, then I’m as guilty for allowing the American government to provide weapons for Mexican Drug Cartels, only to have them used against border patrol agents, who were only trying to do their job.  Does that mean we should stop funding the war on drugs?

Comment posted August 4, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

What you are talking about is anarchy, and I’m sorry, but we live in a Democratic Republic.  No, you can’t just do anything you want in this country.  There are laws that are enforced by agents of the government, and they apply to businesses too.  Many of those laws ban murder, and unfortunately, the US Supreme Court in 1973 felt that pre-born humans didn’t fall under the protection of those laws.

That is wrong; just as the USSC decision to uphold slavery was wrong.  We as a people have a duty to defend justice and fight injustice; your apathetic outlook not-withstanding.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said it really well: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Comment posted August 5, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

What an incredibly biased story! You quote a ton of anti-abortion nutjobs and barely any pro-choicers – way to be “independent”! The title is also VERY misleading – Carhart’s clinic will not be shut down by these extremists, bullies and terrorists.

Comment posted August 5, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

What an incredibly biased story! You quote a ton of anti-abortion nutjobs and barely any pro-choicers – way to be “independent”! The title is also VERY misleading – Carhart’s clinic will not be shut down by these extremists, bullies and terrorists.

Comment posted August 5, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

Your definition of terrorism is trying to put a killing center out of business?

Comment posted August 7, 2011 @ 10:46 am

Priests for Life is an organization that sucks the life out of women who believe in free will, agency and their own right to live as they believe is right. 

Comment posted August 8, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

Should the killing of innocent humans be protected under “free will” in this (or any) country?

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