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Thread: VA tresspass charge dismissed for leafletter

  1. #1
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    Applying the holding of this case, it appears possible that if a person believes that they have a right to remain on private or public property while carrying a gun, perhaps under the "law of innkeepers," or, per an AG opinion on college carry, then this may be a defense to a charge of trespassing, even if the charge was made after the person refused to leave the premises, or,ignored a conspicuous posting of said conduct.

    Thoughts on this?

    SNIP:


    "Noting a lack of criminal intent, an Albemarle County judge has
    acquitted a one-time political candidate charged with trespassing after
    leafleting at a local shopping center....In a written order dated
    Tuesday, Peatross stressed that his recent ruling does not reverse his
    June decision to toss a civil lawsuit Collins filed against the shopping
    center. The judge also said that his decision does not grant Collins
    permission to distribute campaign literature on private property. “He no
    longer has the good-faith basis to do so,” Peatross wrote....Meanwhile,
    the civil suit that Collins filed against Shoppers’ World is headed to
    the state Supreme Court on appeal."


    http://www.dailyprogress.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=CDP/MGArticle/CDP_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=114919112 9543

  2. #2
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    Though he said he personally believed free-speech rights trumped private-property rights, Judge Stephen H. Helvin said the Supreme Court of Virginia has held that private-property rights prevail.

    If both private property and free speech are human rights (and I certainly think so), then one does not "trump" another, and that is a flaw in his thinking. Of course, law is not necessarily based on clear thinking.

    Anywho, private property is private property. If they tell you to stop leafleting, or to stop carrying, and you blow them off, you are a trespasser. I believe in the right to KABA, but not at the expense of liberty and rights in a more general sense. Sure, argue with them and try to reason with them, but the owner has the final say.If we use the law to do an end run around a property owner's rights, then we should not cry foul when the the same tacticis used to supress our right to self defense. In the end my life is my property, so we're talking about the same thing, here.

    Also, the one lawyer in the case is trying to argue that a shopping center or a mall is a defacto public square. BS. As long as that property was bought and paid for by a private owner, it's private, and you visit at his pleasure. If we long for the days of a public square, there's nothing written says we can't get our local government to buy a piece of land and make one, and set it up so that shops line it, etc.



  3. #3
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    The power to exclude others from your property has always been both the essence of property rights, yet still highly contextual, and so not absolute. We are dealing here with property owners who are:

    1. Malls and restaurants (i.e., inn keepers).

    2. State owned colleges.

    At common law, innkeepers' rights to exclude members fo the public for lawful conduct is limited.

    State colleges are not private property.

    Federal and state civil rights laws have long limited discrimination by property owners, even by single family homeowners selling or renting to otehrs.

    Criminal tresspassing is invented by the state and is not applicable in VA to anyone who reasonably believes that they had a right to be on theproperty. No state must have a criminal tresspass statute at all.

    Under Kelo, states seize private property to re-sell to make shopping centers to be private town squares. Similar efforts go on under color of zoning, declared constitutional in Village of Euclid.

    So malls today are constructed substantially under state action - the theory that folks have some limited freedom to excercise constitutional rights there has some merit - so have several state courts agreed in construing their state constitutions.

  4. #4
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    We are dealing here with property owners who are:

    2. State owned colleges.
    In other words, public property. No argument there.

    1. Malls and restaurants (i.e., inn keepers).
    At common law, innkeepers' rights to exclude members fo the public for lawful conduct is limited.
    So, you're talking about rights under common law, not natural rights per say.
    Federal and state civil rights laws have long limited discrimination by property owners, even by single family homeowners selling or renting to otehrs.

    Again, some (not all) "civil rights" laws are not necessarily protections for natural rights, but rather rights made up by a bunch of leftists in the 60s; by and large people who didn't believe in private property rights to begin with and who use the law against us. Same goes for the Kelo case.

    An innkeeper, as far as I'm concerned has a right to do business with anyone he wants, or not, and he doesn't need to give a reason. I know the law doesn't see it that way, but that doesn't make it right for me to take advantage of that (in my view) bad law to force the innkeeper to put up with my leafleting.

    On the other hand, I see what you're saying. It would be unreasonable for a mall-owner to wake up on the wrong side of the bed and start charging anyone wearing a blue shirt with trespasing because he doesn't like blue today, etc.

    I guess I'll have to think about it some more. Personally, I reserve the right right to sell my house to any-damn-one I please, and view an anti-discrimination law to the contrary as oppressive.

    I'm all for using the law to force governments and public institutions to respect the rights of individuals to speak freely, carry openly or concealed, and to exercise freedom in general, but I get a bad feeling when the same tactics are used against private individuals or business owners. Maybe I'm wrong, and you probably know more about this suff than I do.

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