Tuesday January 23rd at 11:00am oral arguments were heard in District of Columbia Court of Appeals regarding the conviction of David Barrows, Peter Perry, and Midgelle Potts. The three were arrested while kneeling on the plaza of the US Supreme Court on February 9th, 2005 protesting the confirmation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his part in permitting torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and Guatanamo Bay. They were convicted in DC Superior Court June 30th 2005 for violating Title 40 sec. 6135 of US Code.
Mark Goldstone delivered oral arguments for Dave Barrows, while Pete Perry was represented by William.Becker, and Midge Potts was represented by William Dansie. In addition an amicus brief was submitted to the court by Czech Ambassador to the United Nations Martin Palous, who contrasted the observance of free speech by the European Union to the lower court’s decision in this case. The appellants’ arguments were focused on the lack of notice and the ambiguity of the statute.
“The statute is unconstitutional and should be thrown out,” said Goldstone.
The three activists view their case as an issue of First Amendment rights. At the time of arrest, Barrows and Potts were dressed as detainees wearing black hoods. Perry carried a sign which read “No taxes for war and torture."
The three judges, Stephen Glickman, Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, and Noel Kramer have up to six months to issue a decision.