SOLIDARITY WITH MARK ADAMS (message from Virginia Mary): On September 17, 2011, Occupy Wall Street took control of Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, to raise public consciousness about economic inequality, social injustice, and corporate influence in governments. Judge Matthew Sciarrino sent a message to the NY Wall Street Protesters by sentencing Mark Adams to 45 days in prison in connection with the Zuccotti Park arrests, 15 days more than the Prosecution asked for. The Judge’s other message is that Property Rights, even when symbolically breached, trump Freedom of Speech.
As an aside, while researching this, I also Googled Judge Matthew Sciarrino to try and learn something about him and found this. He was apparently sent to Manhattan as penance for friending lawyers on FB who came before his court: [nypost.com/p/news/local/staten_island/item_1TCZaxBoS2p5oOyES11jPN]
"Occupy Protesters Guilty Of Trespassing On Church Property, One Sentenced To 45 Days"
Eight Occupy Wall Street protesters charged with trespassing at Duarte Square on December 17, 2011 were found guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday, and one received a harsher sentence than recommended by the District Attorney. Judge Matthew Sciarrino handed the most severe sentence to Mark Adams, a protester who was additionally charged with criminal mischief and attempted possession of burglar's tools. Adams will spend 45 days in jail, 15 more than the prosecution recommended. The remaining protesters were ordered to complete four days of community service and pay a $200 fine. "I think it's a sad day," said defendant Bishop George Packard. "Trinity didn't have to go forward with this. It is a major disappointment that they sent a gentle soul like Mark Adams to jail." Several of the protesters' supporters in the gallery erupted in tears as the judge offered his verdicts.
The defense argued that conflicting signage at Duarte Square meant that the protesters could not be deemed trespassers, an idea that Episcopal Bishop Packard supported. "Never in 45 years as a religious leader, have I ever heard the phrase 'No Trespassing' having to do with Church property," Packard said. "'Radical hospitality'? Yes. 'Refuge'? Yes. But 'No Trespassing'? Never." Duarte Square is privately-owned public space currently leased to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and though that fact was noted by Judge Sciarrino he did not believe that "any rational person could believe that the square—surrounded by a chain link fence—was open to the public. They used siege equipment to storm a castle," he said. Defense attorney Gideon Oliver was "not shocked, but disappointed" by the verdicts.
Rector James Cooper, star witness for the prosecution and the head of Trinity Church, testified that the use of Duarte Square by OWS was never considered despite generous support from the billion-dollar church. "I informed Bishop Packard that was not a negotiable part of our conversation," he said. Cooper seemed well-coached by the prosecution, and offered little to help the defense. Cooper maintained that he and Trinity Church were "supportive of the movement, but not their occupation," citing health and safety hazards. Upon cross examination, the prosecution objected repeatedly to a line of questioning as to whether or not Cooper had contacted the NYPD prior to December 17.
Bishop Packard said his only regret was that he might have given the impression that the church condoned an attempted occupation of Duarte Square. "I was acting on behalf of myself only and to the degree that others felt encouraged to break the law, I am sorry." His defense attorney asked Packard if he was showboating that day, wearing purple vestments. "I wore the same outfit in Bosnia, in Iraq, on missions—I was not," said the former military chaplain.
Addressing the court before sentencing, soft-spoken Bishop Packard told the judge he would like no special treatment. "Your honor, I am not pleading for leniency," he began," Frankly, I don't think it's dignified to do so." Seemingly unfazed by his own conviction, the bishop saved his ire for Trinity: "Is it a corporation worried about fiduciary interest or a portion of the Body of Christ? Which are they? We have received our answer today by their insistence for this action. In a time when we hope our moral institutions will speak with clarity, this one didn't."
2009-10-15 "SI judge is red 'face'd, 'Friended' lawyers"
by Alex Ginsburg [http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/staten_island/item_1TCZaxBoS2p5oOyES11jPN]:
Facebook is fine for sharing and connecting with the people in your life -- just keep it out of your courtroom.
A Staten Island judge has been quietly disciplined for using the site to "friend" lawyers who were scheduled to appear before him, The Post has learned.
Courts officials decided to move Staten Island Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino, 41, to Manhattan after some of the lawyers he linked up with on Facebook complained, sources familiar with the matter said.
"It's just inappropriate," said one insider familiar with the matter. "It puts the lawyer in a very uncomfortable position. If you say no, and then you have to appear before him and ask for bail. And if you say yes, that's also awkward."
Sciarrino is known to work with a laptop at the bench, but sources said that was for legitimate purposes such as computing sentences, looking up statutes and managing calendars.
Court insiders were left unsure whether Sciarrino ever updated his Facebook page or tweeted through his Twitter account from the bench.
Both the judge and courts spokesman David Bookstaver declined to comment on the matter.
Several people familiar with the case said court officials had decided to simply move Sciarrino rather than refer a formal complaint to the Commission on Judicial Conduct, which is the only body that can formally punish judges.
But the move itself is punishment enough, several insiders said, as it will turn the Staten Island resident's once-easy commute into a real daily grind.
Staten Island Criminal Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino.