ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINATING SPEECH
by Julian Heicklen
April 1, 2000
It is the purpose of a political party to elect candidates to public office. If you nominate me to be your candidate for attorney general, I cannot promise you that I will win the election. However I am confident that I have a better chance than "None of the Above."
For the Libertarian Party, there is a higher goal than electing candidates to public office, and that is to effect changes that increase personal freedom. I have a proven record that has accomplished this goal. These accomplishments are:
1. In 1997, I organized the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania. Since then, the number of registered Libertarians in Centre County has increased from 265 to 498. Many of our registered Libertarians are Penn State students, some of whom leave the area every year. Thus the actual increase in registrants is greater than indicated by these numbers.
2. In January 1998, I started the Marijuana Smoke Outs in downtown State College. We have held demonstrations every single Thursday (with two exceptions) since then. I was arrested six times for publicly smoking pot. The last such arrest was in July 1998. Since then I regularly smoke pot every week, and announce what I am doing on a bullhorn. The police no longer bother even to appear at these demonstrations. Eventually, defendants in marijuana trials will be acquitted because of selective enforcement.
3. My marijuana arrests were based on positive field tests for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). According to Pennsylvania state law, THC is not a component of illicit marijuana. THC is a legal pharmaceutical drug, sold under the trade name of Marinol at local drug stores. I have filed suits against the police for false arrest.
4. In four of my cases, I was found guilty based on THC evidence. We asked the judge to read the law to the jury, but he refused. Based on this refusal, I have appealed these convictions.
5. In two of my marijuana arrest, I was held in prison in lieu of $10,000 and $50,000 straight bail, respectively. The usual bail is $500. I have filed law suits against the district magistrates for excessive bail.
6. Diane Fornbacher and I were arrested in February 1999, for using a bullhorn at a Marijuana smoke Out. We filed a writ of habeas corpus. Judge Thomas Kistler declared the municipal bullhorn ordinance to be in violation of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution and dismissed the case against us.
7. Penn State University declared the Willard Building steps forbidden for public speech. The purpose was to drive away Gary Cattell, "The Willard Preacher," who had preached there for 17 years without incident. The University also prohibited demonstrations involving more than 9 people anywhere on campus without prior approval.
I placed an advertisement in the campus newspaper stating that I would debate Gary Cattell on the Willard Building steps and hold a parade in defiance of University regulations. On September 9, 1999, I did both of these things. About 150 people attended the debate, including campus police. The police did not interfere with the debate. Before and after the debate, about 15 of us marched around campus with placards protesting the drug war. Two campus police accompanied us, but did not interfere with the parade. Since then, I have held several more debates with Gary on the Willard Building steps without incident. Gary continues his daily preaching there.
8. I was arrested twice for campaigning in front of a Wal-Mart store. I filed a writ of habeas corpus. Judge Thomas Kistler declared that I had the right to campaign there, and dismissed the cases. I now have a case in the third U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in which I am asking for a permanent injunction against Wal-Mart to prevent it from interfering with my campaigning in front of its stores.
9. The Centre County Board of Elections refused to permit vote-count watchers at the unofficial vote count on election night. I filed two law suits against the Board of Elections and won both. In the first lawsuit, Judge Kistler ordered that political parties and candidates be allowed to watch the vote count. In the second lawsuit, Judge Kistler outlined the conditions for the vote-count watch.
10. One of our poll watchers was denied permission to watch the vote in the November 2, 1999, election. I filed suit against the Board of Elections for $5000, but the suit was dismissed, because there was no provision in law for restitution.
11. In the election of November 2, 1999, one of our candidates received more than 5% of the total votes cast in Centre County. According to state law, this entitles us to run a primary in the April 4, 2000, election. The Pennsylvania Board of Elections refused to allow a primary for us. I have sued the PA Board of Elections to force it to run a primary for the Libertarian Party. I lost this case in Commonwealth Court. I appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on March 17, 2000.
Several complaints have been raised against my candidacy for attorney general. Some of these are:
1. I am a single-issue candidate. It is true. I am a single-issue candidate, and that issue is Freedom. I do not care diddly about marijuana.
2. I am an aging, pot smoking, long haired hippie. None of this is true. I am not aging, I already have aged. I have never smoked pot, except in public at political demonstrations. I never have had long hair, and I never have been a hippie. I disapprove of the use of marijuana or any other illicit drug, except for medical reasons. In my home, no-one is allowed to smoke anything, including tobacco.
I am the stereotype stuffy old white male, as establishment as can be. I am a committed Jew and a pillar in my synagogue. When the Rabbi is unavailable, I perform the funerals for the Jewish community. I have the responsibility for the Jewish cemetery and am Head of the Burial Society, which prepares and dresses bodies for burial.
3. I am a publicity seeker. This is absolutely correct. I am seeking all of the publicity that I can generate. The price of justice is eternal publicity.
4. I do not have the necessary legal experience to be attorney general. Not so. I have considerable legal experience. In the last two years, I have been arrested 15 times and incarcerated five times. So far I have been involved in 28 court cases. Of these, 14 were criminal cases with me as the defendant. Another 14 of these were civil cases with me as the plaintiff. I have worked with six attorneys, who have tried or are trying thirteen of the cases. I have tried or am trying the other 15 cases myself. In some of these cases, I have used the lawyers as stand-by counsels or advisors. The cases have been, or are being, tried in Centre County magistrate's court (1), the Centre County Court of Common Pleas (14), Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court (1), Pennsylvania Superior Court (4), Pennsylvania Supreme Court (1), U.S. District Court (4), and U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals(3).
5. There is a constitutional issue with my candidacy, because I am not an attorney. Some candidate from another party will challenge me. There is no valid challenge. The law only requires that I sign an affidavit that I will meet all the requirements of office before I am inaugurated. I will sign such an affidavit. There is no requirement that I be an attorney, only a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court. If elected, I will apply for membership. I am confident that the Supreme Court will accept my membership. It is impertinent to think that the Supreme Court will violate the Constitution by rejecting my application.
Even if there is no constitutional issue with my candidacy for attorney general, there are those that argue that, for political correctness, the candidate must be an attorney. I wish to dispute this. It is my opinion that the candidate should not be an attorney, because the Libertarian and the legal profession understanding of the English language are in opposition to each other. Let me give you some examples:
1. The First Commandment says: "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to reasonably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Libertarians think that this means exactly what it saysno law! The Republicrats think that it means that Congress can make whatever laws it pleases. Attorneys think that it means Congress can make what attorneys think are reasonable laws.
2. The Second Commandment says: " the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed." Libertarians think that this means exactly what it saysno infringement! The Republicrats think that it means that Congress can make whatever infringements it pleases. Attorneys think that it means the Congress can make whatever infringements are in the interests of their clients.
3. The Third Commandment is not in controversy at this time.
4. The Fourth Commandment says: " no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized."
Libertarians think that this means that the police need a warrant to conduct a search or seizure. The Republicrats think that this means that the police can conduct any search or seizure without a warrant, as long as they think that it is warranted. Attorneys are split on this issue. Defense attorneys tend to agree with Libertarians. Prosecuting attorneys tend to agree with the Republicrats.
5. The Fifth Commandment says: "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or other infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, " Libertarians think that this means that a person must be indicted by a Grand Jury before he or she can be tried in court for a major crime. Republicrats, in general, have no idea what a Grand Jury is. Attorneys think that Grand Juries are not needed if state law does not require them. In Pennsylvania, there are no indictments by Grand Jury.
6. The Sixth Commandment says: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury ".
Speedy is a relative term. A defendant languishing in prison thinks that this means a few days or perhaps a few weeks. Libertarians tend to agree. Republicrats have no idea what this means. Attorneys think that speedy means fast compared to the time required to hold other trials (usually about two years or more). Thus they consider six months to be a speedy trial. In Pennsylvania the six month interpretation is state law.
Libertarians think that an impartial jury should be composed of a defendant's peers, i. e. people that bear some resemblance to the defendant. Republicrats think that an impartial jury can be composed of whoever is available. Attorneys think that an impartial jury consists of elderly, white, property owners.
7. The Seventh Commandment says: "In Suits of common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, " I am unaware of any trial that involved less than several hundred dollars even making it past the district magistrate's office.
8. The Eighth Commandment says: "Excessive bail shall not be required, " Again this a relative term. Libertarians think that the amount of bail should reflect the seriousness of the crime, and the likelihood that the defendant may flee. Republicrats have no idea of the purpose of bail. Attorneys think that reasonable bail is anything that pops into the district magistrate's head. I am not kidding. I am not a flight risk, but I have been held in prison in lieu of $75,000 straight bail for campaigning in front of Wal-Mart.
9. The Ninth Commandment says: "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." The most fundamental of all human rights is the right to control your own body as long as you do not harm others. Libertarians think that mentally competent adults have the right to engage in consensual acts. Lawyers and Republicrats do not think so.
10. The Tenth Commandment says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Libertarians think that this means that the federal government has no right to make laws or enter into the affairs of its citizens except where specifically delegated to do so. The Republicrats think that such an idea is ludicrous. Attorneys think that the Tenth Commandment means whatever they want it to mean.
How profitith a political party if it gains political correctness, but loses its soul? The nomination of an attorney is contrary to our goals. Let us come to grips with reality. In 2000, we are not fielding enough candidates to take over the government, even if all of our candidates win. However we can bring about significant changes that enhance our freedoms. I am the candidate with the proven record to do just that. I ask you for the opportunity to continue to do so.