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My experience going before Magistrate Byrnside in Boone County WV on the Oct. 30th for the events described here. I have put off writing about this for a few days because I'm still gathering advice and attempting to understand what actually happened myself. It's fuckin' weird.
I thought I was going to appear before the magistrate and be offered a plea bargain of some kind which I did not intend to accept. At which point I wanted to push for a complete dismissal and/or set a date for trial. ... I don't want to go into great detail about this... but, the bottom line is that "I" did not get to see the Magistrate. My lawyer brought back word that they would accept a guilty plea to trespassing OR they Would be dismissing my charges, then RECHARGING Me And REARRESTING ME.
Plead guilty to this or we will arrest you again.
So that's the current situation, My Charges from 9-9-09 of 1) Trespassing, asked to leave, 2) conspiracy, 3) disobeying a lawful order... have been dismissed ... as I wished....
BUT I'm told that within a couple weeks I might receive a summons to turn myself in on .. new charges ... get processed, go to jail and need to be bailed out again ... etc.
Accepting the plea would have cost a max fine of 500 bucks and it would have been over with... sometimes I wish I could have plead guilty; I just knew I would not be able to live with myself if I had plead guilty to this.
Morgan Massey Dr. Julian, WV 6AM ish 9-9-09
I was filming a Chain & Tube Lock Down Blockade of the road which leads to Massey Energy Regional Headquarters as the first workers of the day arrived. I was wearing my Press Pass prominently around my neck. The road was an intersection off of a 4 lane road with a 65 mph speed limit and the blockade was about 30-40 yards from the intersection. The road appeared to continue for approximately a couple hundred yards. There is nothing at this intersection that marks it any differently than any other road intersecting this 4 lane roadway. This part of West Virginia often has severe fog problems, but not this morning. I interviewed the participants and waited for the cops to show up. The cops arrived quickly. I positioned myself about 30-40 feet from the lockdown and waited for the police interaction with the protesters. Deputy Eric Eversole appeared to be first on the scene. He briefly surveyed the situation at the lock down and then abruptly turned walking quickly toward me and said:
"Turn your camera off you're under arrest for trespassing."
I responded something to the effect that I was a Journalist and I was willing to leave and he responded that I could not, that I was under arrest. I'm not sure if I turned off the camera or not, I was experiencing a level of shock at the time.