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View Diary: Police Violence: Another Big Difference Between The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street (205 comments)

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  •  "Unlawfully assembled" (8+ / 0-)

    What the King's Governor considered "unlawful assembly" in 1774, and what we now carefully protect: assembling for peaceable discussion, no matter the topic.

    Salem, Massachusetts - August 20, 1774

    Cage then summoned the leaders of the Salem Committee to meet with them, at 9:00, the same time as the committee meeting.  They thought that, absent leadership, the committee meeting would be to no avail.

    The patriots out smarted General Gage, and, though the leaders attended the meeting with Gage, the Committee went about its business and selected six representatives to the county convention.

    General Gage retaliated by ordering Judge Peter Frye to issue warrants for the Committee members who had called the meeting, charging them with "seditiously and unlawfully causing the town to be assembled by those notifications, without leave from the governor, in open contempt of the laws, against the peace, and the late statute."

    What the law still forbids: massing in preparation for a riot, or even to present the threat of a riot (e.g. gun nuts a debate, or tea partiers intimidating voters):


    Early Massachusetts cases referring to unlawful assembly usually involved indictments for riot and not unlawful assembly per se, but referred to unlawful assembly because it was a necessary component of the crime of riot. ...

     For example, in Commonwealth v. Gibney, 2 Allen 150 , 151 (1861), the Supreme Judicial Court observed: "The distinction in criminal treatises, in the definitions of riots, routs and unlawful assemblies, assumes that there must be an assembling together, and an unlawful assembly; although the assembly may not have been unlawful on the first coming together of the parties, but becomes so by their engaging in a common cause, to be accomplished with violence and in a tumultuous manner." In Commonwealth v. Frishman, supra, a case involving a riot, the Supreme Judicial Court stated that the trial judge had "accurately instructed the jury upon the issues of law presented," id. at 455, where the judge "in substance instructed the jury that riot could be described generally as a tumultuous disturbance by a sufficient number of persons . . . assembled with intent to commit or assist in the execution of an unlawful act by force and violence; that the essential element was that there must be violence and the intent to commit an act of violence; . . . that the purpose might be formed suddenly; that, although the assembly might not have been unlawful on the first coming together of the parties, it might become so by their engaging in a common cause to be accomplished through force and violence; . . . that mere presence was not enough; that there must be the intent to accomplish unlawfully the purpose by force and violence . . ." (emphases supplied). Id. at 451.

    Peaceful assembly, which still respects the rights of others to conduct their business in safety, is still protected.

    Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

    by chimpy on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 11:26:00 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

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