Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Um... NO Thank You, Jesus?

A Honolulu man was thrown in jail for contempt of court after his acquittal last month.

Junior Stowers, was acquitted by a jury of a misdemeanor count of abusing his son. The boy, 15, was apparently angry with his father, and claimed that his dad struck him with a broomstick. He later recanted, once the rest of the family testified that the boy's brother had accidentally slammed the car door on him.

Let's ignore the absurdity of this sort of thing even going to court in the first place, and the unmitigated gall of the government attempting to tell a father how to raise his own children. I could go on and on about that topic alone, and I'd rather not get into it at this point.

The most incredible thing about this story is the contempt charge. What did Stowers do to deserve it?

He raised his hands after the verdict was pronounced, and exclaimed, "Thank you, Jesus!"
'Judge' Patrick Border quickly held Stowers in contempt in a jail cell for six hours before granting him another hearing, and then dismissed the misdemeanor charge and released


Stowers couldn't be reached for comment. But his attorney in the contempt case, Deputy Public Defender Susan Arnett, said he wasn't treated fairly. "I don't think there's anything about saying 'Thank you, Jesus' that rises to the level of contemptuous behavior in this case," she told The Honolulu Advertiser. Stowers is a devoutly religious man active in his church who spontaneously expressed his thanks to the higher power in which he believed, she said. Family members and Stowers' pastor at Assembly of God Church, Iakopo Sale, who watched from the gallery were "very upset that those words could land somebody in jail," Arnett said. Border declined to comment but indicated the court minutes reflected his actions. The minutes showed he found Stowers' "nonverbal gestures and outbursts to be disruptive and improper regardless of content." Court minutes said Border later dropped the charge because he realized Stowers' trial lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Carmel Kwock, did not have time to tell Stowers the judge had ordered both sides not to show emotion when the verdict was announced.

Uh-huh. I'm not buying it.

Darn that pesky little First Amendment, huh, 'Judge' Border? And so much for that whole "unlawful imprisonment" thing too: It only took Border six hours of his dear sweet time to release Stowers. Sounds a little like discrimination and baseless punishment to me.

Don't worry, though. I'm sure the ACLU is preparing a lawsuit against the Honolulu courts as we speak.

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