Federal Court in North Dakota, Bismarck to be exact
Today we were arraigned in Federal Court. I cannot say too many specific details about the arrest and our defense but I can say that we all plead not guilty and requested both a jury trial and a public defender.
Because we are charged with the lowest misdemeanor possible Class C, (only infractions are lower) and the feds are not seeking jail time for us if we're found guilty - just a fine that they've already cut in half - we are not entitled to a public defender nor to a jury trial. Tearz...
We all wanted the chance to raise the consciousness of a jury of our peers. The judge compared our ticket to that of a traffic ticket and I'm sure he and the federal attorney was hoping - naively - that we would jump at the reduced fine, pay it, and leave North Dakota over $600 each richer - that's $3600!!! FAT CHANCE!
The judge, an older white smiling Santa Clausie type of fellow, seemed decent enough and even friendly as he took a lot of time to explain our rights to us and really make sure we didn't do any missteps that could harm our case.
He was a huge difference from the Municipal judge who arraigned us while we were still in custody last month.
The judge accepted our pleas and set our trial date - in front of him - for April 11th & 12th!
Back to fuckin North Dakota in the spring - but then we'll be able to help with camp clean-up and support.