Thursday, March 17, 2011

Chico man acquitted in connection with national forest flier flap

A Chico man who unlawfully posted a flier in Lassen National Forest last winter offering services was acquitted by a federal magistrate March 9 on a charge of interfering with the ranger who confronted him about it. On Feb. 4, 2010, U.S. Forest Service officer Paul Zohovetz showed up, allegedly unannounced, at the Chico home of Jeffrey M. Newman, 54. Zohovetz was in full uniform and reportedly asked Newman for his identification. Newman said he recalled that Zohovetz had called him the day before about a flier posted on a Forest Service bulletin board offering cross-country ski tune-ups, but didn't identify himself. Newman testified during a one-day trial in January that he was offended by the deception. He reportedly told the officer he was trespassing, ordered him to leave his property, and slammed the door in his face. Newman's Redding attorney, Adam Ryan, said the decision in the case upholds his client's privilege to order the officer off his property under the circumstances. In the decision, U.S. District Court Magistrate Craig M. Kellison stated that at the time of the initial encounter, Zohovetz "had no right to remain on Newman's property once he was ordered to leave." In rendering his decision in the case, Kellison also cited a Supreme Court precedent that states "freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state."...more

In my post Forest Service officer drives miles to issue warning about bulletin board ad  last year I wrote:

A FS employee in his government-issued costume shows up at your private residence without a warrant and demands you exit the residence. If you refuse you are breaking the law? Someone please show me the federal statute he has violated.

I'm also curious if there is a "Don't Slam The Door" statute.

All this over violating a bulletin board policy? Please remember this the next time you read a story about the FS not having enough personnel to protect the federal lands.

Apparently there is no "Don't Slam The Door" statute. Thank you Judge Kellison. You have defended the Constitution and hopefully given Congress a good place to cut spending.

And who is the US Attorney who filed this case? Did David Iglesias move to California? (The Kit Laney case).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Had a run in with ranger rick over the weekend. He's a fine piece of work. Has a small man's complex- perfect for hiding behind a badge. This twerp gives real LE's a bad name.