Legal Notes

by Courtside Beat

As our constitutional rights are constantly challenged, Rainbow gathering attendees are currently involved in 5 court cases. Cases against rainbows generally fall into two categories. "Regulations" cases, being cases in which ‘rules’ are contested, and the Letter of the Law is defined. And "Harassment" cases, in which individuals have been persecuted by law enforcement agents. This includes incidents of illegal search and seizure, unwarranted "Gauntlet style" roadblocks, and downright brutality. We have attempted to briefly summarize these ongoing struggles. Keep in mind that this was compiled on 4/26/98, for more current information please contact the numbers provided.

March 98 MS Dixie Regional (Homochitto N.F.) (Harassment)

A multi-agency police roadblock was set up at the entrance to the gathering, resulting in 37 arrests for various misdemeanors. Many serious law enforcement abuses were documented, including women publicly strip searched, and a pregnant woman tied to a tree. 5 individuals filed a complaint against the F.S., the US Marshals, & the Sheriff of Copiah- county, and requested a temporary restraining order. Although the TRO was not granted, the Law Enforcement Agents (LEOs) backed off when the complaint was filed and all but 3 of the ‘prisoners’ were released.

Status:Several individuals have initiated the process to begin a federal investigation into criminal charges against individual LEOs. Those who were arrested are filing a suit against abuses in the Copiah county jail.

Send Donations to:

The Ocala Defense Fund c/o The Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice
P.O. Box 90035 Gainsville FL 32607
(make checks payable to FCPJ for Ocala Defense fund)

Contact: Arjay (352) 481-2489


Feb 98 FL Winter Regional (Ocala N.F) (Harassment)

1 Arrest (Down from 90 arrests in 97) A temporary victory, ruling prohibits illegal verification roadblocks.

Status: Decided in Our favor. Funding is needed to persue this.

Contact/Donations: Arjay (352) 481-2489 Email

or Write...The Ocala Defense Fund (listed above)

June 97 OR Annual Gathering (Ochoco N.F.) (Regulations)

6 Plaintiffs(Ticketees and attempted ticketees) who were charged for not signing a permit, filed a suit against the Forest Service, Special Agent Russell Arthur (F.S. Cop) and Mike Lowry (Incident Commander)

Status: Filed 4/21

Contact/Donations: Brian Michaels (541) 687-0578 fax (541) 686-2137

Sept 96 PA Mid-Atlantic Regional (Regulations)

Two Ticketees cited as ‘leaders’ were found guilty in violation of CFR 251-261
Assembly of 75 or more persons w/o a special use permit.

Status:Lost (due to an uncoordinated response to the charges)

Contact/Donations: Bill Baxter (304) 258-5362

Rainbow Defense Fund P.O. Box 1554 New York, NY 10003

July 96 MO Annual Gathering (Mark Twain N.F.) (Harassment)

Two attendees who were harassed at the National Gathering, have filed a federal suit against the Forest Service, the county sheriff, and the state highway patrol, asking for an injunction prohibiting "verification" roadblocks. This could set a precedent that would be the model for the return of our right to assemble (w/o the threat of harassment) nationwide.

Status: On Hold

Contact/Donations: Rainbow Defense c/o Attny. Dave Garner 202 W. Schwartz, Salem, IL 62881

June 96 NC Katuah Regional (Regulations)

5 persons charged in violation of CFR 251-261 Assembly of 75 or more persons
w/o a special use permit

Status: 1 case dropped. 4 convicted. On 2nd appeal at 5th circuit court in Richmond, VA

Contact/Donations: Dan Gallagher (704) 622-3655

Katuah Family Defense Fund P.O. Box 114 Hot Springs, NC 28743

As We look towards this year’s annual gathering in Arizona, the Forest Service has created a task force to deal with us. Made up of agents from various branches of Government, with a ‘Cop at the Top’. Bill Fox, a special agent in enforcement, has been appointed Incident Commander (IC). Mr. Fox has stated that he intends to build a 'resource based' relationship with us, based on ‘mutual respect’. What exactly he means by this only time will tell. The most important thing to remember is that...We are all rainbows.