To O’S News Service October 4, 2013
Normally when court support is sought it is because one of our own is being dragged through the criminal justice system. Whether it is their freedom that is in jeopardy at the hands of law enforcement or the lives of their children and the unity of their family threatened by Children’s Protective Services, we are there to show them support and hope that our presence can make a difference.
This time is it is different. Instead of “them” going after us, the tables have turned and we are going after our tormentors.
In October 2007, Lanny Swerdlow was attending one of the first meetings of the Inland Valley Drug Free Community Coalition. He wanted to find out what this new group was all about since according to newspaper stories and articles written by them, their entire reason for existence revolved around stopping the burgeoning medical marijuana and law reform movement. The fact that they were applying for federal money to support their efforts made it even more of a concern.
Concerned that his presence would prove both embarrassing and threatening to him, full-time drug warrior Paul Chabot, the organizer of the meeting, fabricated a story that Lanny had pushed him so he could call 911 and have police rush over with lights and sirens to have him removed. Not satisfied with just getting him out of the meeting, he filed a citizen’s arrest for battery and instigated a yearlong criminal prosecution.
After a four day criminal trial, the jury, in not much more than 90 minutes of deliberation, found Lanny not guilty.
Lanny’s ordeal through our justice system is but an irritant compared to the horrors experienced by those charged with far more serious offenses for their use, cultivation and distribution of marijuana. Even when found not guilty, those of our community who have experienced these horrors have had little recourse to seek justice for their malicious prosecutions. In his particular case Lanny realized here was an all too rare opportunity to turn the tables on one of the chief proponents of our continued criminality.
Lanny filed a civil lawsuit against Paul Chabot for false arrest and malicious prosecution. Due to an unending series of continuances sought by Paul Chabot’s attorney, the lawsuit has dragged on for over 4 years. Last August a newly appointed judge had enough of their constant delaying tactics and ordered Chabot’s attorney to appear in court for the trail. This Monday, October 7, the trial will finally begin.
Bringing to justice one of the Inland Empire’s major proponents of our continued criminality has never been done. This is not going to be a slam dunk. It is going to be tough to get him convicted, but it is time that our opponents are subjected to the same torments and cruelties of the justice system that they have so freely wrought upon us.
A strong show of support from our side will let the jury know that there are a lot of people out there who think this guy is a clear and present danger to the community and needs to chastised and shamed at the very least. It is this kind of demonstration of community support that gives jurors pause to reflect on the implications of their decision and can help sway them to do the right thing.
This trial will not be a boring and dull exercise in jurisprudence. It will be an exciting, riveting and even scandalous expose on the deceitful tactics and the flawed characters of our oppressors. In its own unique way, it will be viewed as an historic moment when the scales of justice will weigh upon the backs of those who have continually sought for their own personal monetary gain and public notoriety, our blood.
The trial begins on Monday, October 7 at 9:30 a.m. It is expected to last about three days. The trial takes place in courtroom R-10 on the third floor of the San Bernardino Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga at 8303 N. Haven Ave., Rancho Cucamonga 91730.
Please dress appropriately. No shorts, tank tops or sandals are allowed. We will be providing green ribbons for everyone to wear, but if you have a favorite one of your own that brings hope and courage to all those who gaze upon it, please wear it proudly.
If you have any questions or need more information, call Lanny at 760-799-2055.