Yesterday, as we’ve reported, Phil Mocek and his attorney were ready for trial, but the prosecution asked for a delay to allow them more time to review the video evidence of the events at the TSA checkpoint — despite defense counsel’s statement to the judge that the prosecution had already been aware of this evidence. and that it only depicts facts that should have been known to the prosecution.
The trial was originally expected to take two to three days. Judge Kevin Fitzwater continued the start of the trial until Thursday, but also said that he is doing military reserve duty next week and the following week. So a trial that started this Thursday would have had to go to the jury by the end of the day Friday, or be interrupted for two weeks in mid-trial, with unpredictable effects on jurors’ memories of testimony. It’s also possible that whatever issues the prosecution has with the defense video evidence will lengthen the time the prosecution will take to present their case or question defense witnesses.
Not surprisingly in light of all this, we’ve been told by Mr. Mocek that the trial is being postponed to a date to be determined later (probably in January or February), and there will be no further court hearing or appearance by Mr. Mocek on Thursday or any other day this week.
We’ll post the new trial date as soon as we have more information, but that may not be for several weeks. [Update: The trial has been re-scheduled to start Thursday, January 20, 2011.]
This trial remains important, and Mr. Mocek continues to need our support. These delays and repeated trips from his home in Seattle to court appearances in Albuquerque will only increase his legal and other expenses of defending himself against this frame-up. He’s hired private counsel, and you can contribute to his legal defense. (Note that the Paypal donation receipt will read, “Canabis Defense Coalition”, as this is the group that volunteered to collect donations for Mr. Mocek’s defense. But all funds donated will go to Mr. Mocek’s defense. Contributions by cash, check, or money order can be sent directly to Mr. Mocek’s lawyers: Phil Mocek legal defense, Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Ives & Duncan PA, 20 FIRST PLAZA CTR NW STE 700, ALBUQUERQUE NM 87102-5802.)
At this point, it’s hard to tell whether the continuing prosecution is motivated more by the desire of the TSA to intimidate travelers into silent submission, the desire of the police to retroactively justify having made themselves the TSA’s enforcers in spite of the absence of any crime on Mr. Mocek’s part, or by some other animus. But faced with additional exculpatory video evidence showing that Mr. Mocek didn’t do what he is accused of, the prosecution is continuing to press these false charges, rather than dropping them.
Standing up to the TSA is not a crime. Phil Mocek is not a criminal.