drbonebrake writes "
COLORADO SPRINGS – On 13 Jul 2012, Joseph Martone (50) received a sentence of $400.00 for trespassing in front of Planned Parenthood. Martone elected to defend himself and proceeded to trial without a lawyer.
During the proceedings, Martone discovered that he would not be allowed to present his morality and religious beliefs as part of his defense. Martone related that after the prosecution submitted a motion which would essentially set the rules as to what Martone could present in defense, Colorado Springs Municipal Judge Carol Chambers ruled in favor of the prosecution and instructed Martone that he could not mention God, religion, abortion or freedom of speech. Martone related that he was even cautioned when he was sworn in and added the phrase, “So help me God,” after his affirmation that he would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Matrone observed that the prosecution was allowed to question the jury how they would feel if someone came onto their property. The prosecution objected, however, when Martone attempted to ask how the jurors would feel if someone entered their property to save a life. The objection, which was sustained, was based upon the premise that Martone's presence was not related to any eminent danger.
From Martone's perspective, there is a very eminent danger to the children who enter Planned Parenthood while still in the womb of their mother. According to statistics published by Planned Parenthood in 2009, approximately 98% of children who are carried into Planned Parenthood within their mother's womb will fall victim to abortion as opposed to being given prenatal services. Martone believes that if he is able to speak with the mothers of such children, he has a chance to save innocent lives. Martone does not obstruct anyone, he simply attempts to engage mothers and fathers to help them understand they have options which do not require that they take the life of their child.
Martone's attempted presentation is commonly known as a defense of necessity. As outlined in a brief related to United States of America v. Gump et al, “The necessity defense requires the defendant show that he (1) was faced with a choice of evils and chose the lesser evil, (2) acted to prevent imminent harm, (3) reasonably anticipated a direct causal relationship between his acts and the imminent harm to be averted, and (4) had no legal alternative but to violate the law.”
As discussed in the same brief, case law has given courts the ability to preclude defendants from presenting matters which are deemed irrelevant to the charge under trial. In matters of trespassing, this includes preventing defendants from presenting evidence based upon necessity; international law; free exercise of religion; moral, political, or religious compulsion.
In relation to one of the counts, Martone offered a witness who testified that Martone was invited by her mother to visit her while she resided in the rehab facility behind Planned Parenthood. Both facilities use the same access road, but pro-life advocates who stand, pray, and offer counseling services from the sidewalk of Centennial Blvd are warned that they are not allowed on any of the access roads or private property surrounding Planned Parenthood. Martone is a regular participant in the pro-life activities on Centennial Blvd, and; therefore, is recognized by Planned Parenthood staff as a pro-life advocate. Given the trial outcome, Martone's status as an invited visitor to a person residing in the rehab center was not sufficient to allow him to transit the access road because he is also viewed as a pro-life advocate who is prohibited from entering the property surrounding Planned Parenthood. Apparently, the status as an invited visitor to one of the properties does not over-ride the uninvited status of pro-life advocates to Planned Parenthood. ;; The prohibition is apparently only related to pro-life advocates in that Planned Parenthood does not pursue trespassing complaints against joggers or others who transit the access road but do not have a pro-life reputation.
Martone related that he was also prohibited from bringing into the courtroom the “Stop Abortion Now” sign that he carries on his walker everywhere he goes. Martone started carrying the sign approximately six years ago after he suffered paralysis as a result of a medical procedure. Martone comments that if he has to use a walker, the sign was a way to put it to good use.
Martone talks about how the sign has brought words of encouragement from some and insults from others. He mentioned that the sign has been torn from his walker 15 different times by those who took offense with his pro-life message. He relates how he has been confronted and congratulated in restaurants and on the street. Despite the adversity, Martone remains committed to his efforts to save the lives of children who he believes should not have to die.
Gazette (13 Jul 2012)
Gazette (12 Jul 2012)
United States of America v. Gump et al [Brief] (3 Sep 2010)
United States of America v. Gump et al [Ruling] (3 Sep 2010)
Guardian Angel Store (4 Jun 2011)