Jury acquits CDC activist arrested at Albuquerque airport!

Transportation Security Administration and Albuquerque Police arrest flyer for taking photos

UPDATE February 28, 2011 -- We have updated our Phil Mocek Defense Fund accounting. We will be sending the $3,000 balance to Phil's attorneys in Albuquerque to cover his legal bills -- which totaled $34,000.

UPDATE January 21, 2011 -- An Albuquerque jury has acquitted CDC board member and "freedom flyer" Phil Mocek of four trumped-up charges relating to his refusal to show ID to TSA screeners. Congratulations, Phil!

January 21, 2011 -- American citizens enjoy a right to travel between the states without showing their papers to the government -- a right long upheld by the Supreme Court of our nation. Before the United States Transportation Security Administration implemented naked body scanners and started groping crotches and bosoms, and before it was widely popular to criticize the TSA, CDC member Phil Mocek opted out of the federal government's ID demand. And they hit him pretty hard for it, throwing him in jail and charging him with four trumped-up counts, hoping any one of them sticks.

Phil went back to Albuquerque -- by train this time -- for his December 7 trial. However, the trial was ultimately postponed after prosecutors requested more time to review video evidence. In open court, Phil's lawyer told the judge, "the video has become relevant because it contradicts directly the witness interviews that we did in this case," and said "I am optimistic that, hopefully, the DA will review this and compare it to prior testimony that we have, and hopefully this case will go away."

The case did not go away, and Phil's trial started yesterday in an Albuquerque court house. Jury selection is complete, opening arguments are in, and the prosecution has pressed its case. Today the defense will present its case.

Privacy advocates and civil libertarians across the country are watching the case. Edward Hasbrouck from the Identity Project told Albuquerque media, "this is the first time anybody anywhere in the country has actually been arrested and put on trial on criminal charges for anything that happens at a TSA checkpoint."

Please consider contributing to Phil's legal defense.

Arrest updates

Tue, Nov 17, 2009, 6:30 p.m. PST -- Our boys made it back to Seattle. Phil's criminal case information is now online. (Thanks FlyerTalk.)

Tue, Nov 17, 2009, 4:30 p.m. MST -- Phil and Jesse are on a plane back to Seattle. Should be home at 6 p.m. PST.

Mon, Nov 16, 2009, 11:35 p.m. MST -- Phil is out of jail, finally! The first post-arrest ping from the CDC Skype chat:

[10:34:58 PM] Phil Mocek says: Howdy, folks. Free man, here.

He is listed in the Albuquerque jail release list.

Mon, Nov 16, 2009, 6:45 p.m. MST -- Phil is now listed as bonded meaning he's free to go. The jail said they will let him out in an unknown amount of time -- approximately 4-6 hours or so.

Mon, Nov 16, 2009, 4:20 p.m. MST -- We think we've finally posted Phil's bond, which was lowered to $1,000. According to most sources, he should be out of the Albuquerque Metropolitan Detention Center in 4-8 hours. We are working to secure him legal representation in Albuquerque. Cost estimates are about $2,000-4,000 for a retainer. Hoping he has heard somehow that people have been working to get him out. Incommunicado for 28 hours and counting.

Mon, Nov 16, 2009, 12:20 p.m. MST -- The lawyer we got hold of didn't get to his arraignment in time. It appears Phil was arraigned and put back in the Metropolitan Detention Center, with no modifications to his bond. We've contacted a bonding company and are working to get them 10% bond payment information and license copies via frustrating fax technology. The bond will cost $275, and of that, $228 is non-refundable.

We've continued talking with a few civil rights attorneys in Albuquerque, in hopes of finding someone willing to 1) deal with the litany of criminal charges they threw at Phil for his amateur photography, and 2) seek redress after that. Currently, Phil is still incarcerated.

Mon, Nov 16, 2009, 9:30 a.m. MST -- Phil is charged with four counts -- disorderly conduct, concealing his identity, refusing to obey an officer, and criminal trespass. He is being arraigned this morning.

It is unclear whether police were called because of Phil's refusal to show ID to TSA, or because Phil took photos at the TSA checkpoint. It appears to be the latter -- the photo taking. Interestingly, Phil contacted the Albuquerque airport (scroll down a bit and look for the pmocek posts) many months ago about this very same issue, and was told by airport officials that it is legal to take photographs at the TSA checkpoint.

After much scrambling, we found an attorney who (hopefully) is representing Phil at his arraignment. His bond was initially set at $2,275. The bonding window doesn't take phone payments, so we need someone local to bail him out (either the lawyer, or a bail bondsman). We've set up a paypal account for Phil's Legal Defense Fund.

Activist arrested at Albuquerque airport

Sun, Nov 15, 2009 -- A Washington State medical marijuana activist was arrested at the Albuquerque airport today after refusing to show ID to TSA screeners. Activist Phil Mocek is one of many Americans who believe Americans have a right to travel freely between the states without showing their papers to the federal government.

Mocek was tabling at the 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference for a Seattle-based activist group called the Cannabis Defense Coalition. The event was attended by over one thousand people, including New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and former Governor Gary Johnson.

At the Albuquerque airport for his flight back to Seattle, Mocek politely refused to show his ID to a TSA screener, who called in a supervisor. Mocek started recording with his digital camera, which caused the TSA supervisor to become extremely agitated. The police were called in, with six officers arriving on the scene. Mocek was immediately arrested. Another Seattle activist, Jesse Gallagos, was traveling with Mocek, and was driven in a police cruiser to the edge of the Albuquerque airport, dropped off, and told he was banned from flying for 24 hours.

Like many Americans, Mocek has flown for years without showing ID to federal officials. He made headlines last year for questioning security measures at Kansas City Airport in regards to their ID requirements.

At this point, it remains unclear what Mocek was arrested for. Unofficial police statements say is being booked for "disturbing the peace" by taking photographs at a TSA checkpoint. As of 5 p.m. Sunday, Mocek has been in police custody for four hours, and is still being "processed" by airport police.

The Cannabis Defense Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit group focused on medical marijuana activism in Washington State. If you know anyone local to Albuquerque that can help, please contact Ben Livingston at 206-335-9214.

Media

Other Info

Phil's Defense Fund

We've set up a Paypal account to raise funds to get Phil out of jail, and help defend him against these charges. Please consider contributing to Phil's legal defense.

Defense fund accounting

This page accounts for the donations we have received for the Phil Mocek "freedom to travel" defense fund.

DateLocationAmountFeeNet
11/16/09 Johns Island SC 10 -0.69 9.31
11/16/09 Orchard Beach MD 100 -3.2 96.8
11/16/09 Garden City Park NY 25 -1.03 23.97
11/16/09 Charlotte NC 25 -1.03 23.97
11/16/09 Providence RI 20 -0.88 19.12
11/16/09 Sterling IL 10 -0.59 9.41
11/16/09 San Jose CA 25 -1.03 23.97
11/16/09 Pflugerville TX 5 -0.45 4.55
11/16/09 Seattle WA 40 -1.46 38.54
11/16/09 Alexandria VA 20 -0.88 19.12
11/16/09 Orchard Park NY 20 -0.88 19.12
11/16/09 Longmont CO 40 -1.46 38.54
11/17/09 Charlotte NC 1.15 -0.33 0.82
11/17/09 Maple Valley WA 40 -1.46 38.54
11/17/09 Federal Way WA 25 -1.03 23.97
11/17/09 Sparta NC 50 -1.75 48.25
11/17/09 Port Orchard WA 25 -1.03 23.97
11/17/09 Forest Park IL 100 -3.2 96.8
11/17/09 Floyds Knobs IN 50 -1.75 48.25
11/17/09 Seattle WA 50 -1.75 48.25
11/18/09 Glendale AZ 10 -0.59 9.41
11/18/09 Chicago IL 5 -0.45 4.55
11/18/09 Fresno CA 25 -1.03 23.97
11/21/09 San Diego CA 50 -1.75 48.25
11/22/09 Edgartown MA 20 -0.88 19.12
11/23/09 Colorado Springs CO 25 -1.03 23.97
11/24/09 Mesa AZ 25 -1.03 23.97
11/25/09 New York NY 50 -1.75 48.25
11/27/09 Atlanta GA 20 -0.88 19.12
12/09/09 Long Beach CA 20 -0.88 19.12
01/18/10 Kosice Slovakia 10 -0.69 9.31
941.15 -36.84 904.31

At the end of January 2010, the Cannabis Defense Coalition sent a check for $941.15 to Phil's legal team. This included $36.84 contributed from the CDC general fund to cover all Paypal fees associated with these donations.

DateLocationAmountFeeNet
02/02/10 Floyds Knobs IN 100 -3.2 96.8
02/02/10 Redmond WA 25 -1.03 23.97
04/25/10 Elk Grove CA 20 -0.88 19.12
04/26/10 Houston TX 25 -1.03 23.97
04/29/10 Ventura CA 25 -1.03 23.97
05/10/10 Rochester NY 50 -1.75 48.25
05/18/10 Evanston IL 50 -1.75 48.25
07/02/10 Portland OR 25 -1.03 23.97
11/20/10 Colorado Springs CO 25 -1.03 23.97
11/21/10 Montreal Canada 75 -3.23 71.77
11/22/10 New London CT 50 -1.75 48.25
11/22/10 Ireland 18 -1 17
11/23/10 Hunnebostrand Sweden 35 -1.67 33.33
11/28/10 Bellevue WA 20 -0.88 19.12
11/29/10 Seattle WA 35 -1.32 33.68
12/02/10 Manhattan KS 15 -0.74 14.26
12/02/10 Tucson AZ 20 -0.88 19.12
12/03/10 Maumelle AR 20 -0.88 19.12
12/04/10 Trumansburg NY 100 -3.2 96.8
12/05/10 Palmer AK 25 -1.03 23.97
12/08/10 Hunnebostrand Sweden 15 -0.89 14.11
12/08/10 Tempe AZ 10 -0.59 9.41
12/13/10 Providence RI 50 -1.75 48.25
01/01/11 Watertown MA 100 -3.2 96.8
01/17/11 Santa Ana CA 25 -1.03 23.97
01/18/11 Bellevue WA 200 -6.1 193.9
01/19/11 Hunnebostrand Sweden 20 -1.08 18.92
01/21/11 Harlingen TX 20 -0.88 19.12
01/21/11 Northville MI 25 -1.03 23.97
01/24/11 Cobug North Australia 20 -1.08 18.92
01/24/11 Verneuil-sur-Seine France 10 -0.69 9.31
01/24/11 Berlin Germany 5 -0.5 4.5
01/24/11 Bennington NH 50 -1.75 48.25
01/24/11 Los Angeles CA 30 -1.17 28.83
01/24/11 Trappe PA 100 -3.2 96.8
01/24/11 Golden CO 10 -0.59 9.41
01/24/11 Harrogate United Kingdom 10 -0.69 9.31
01/24/11 Charleston SC 25 -1.03 23.97
01/24/11 Roselle NJ 10 -0.59 9.41
01/24/11 Duluth GA 10 -0.59 9.41
01/24/11 Portage MI 10 -0.59 9.41
01/24/11 Pacifica CA 20 -0.88 19.12
01/24/11 Studio City CA 20 -0.88 19.12
01/24/11 Oakland CA 50 -1.75 48.25
01/24/11 Burbank CA 20 -0.88 19.12
01/24/11 Garden Grove CA 20 -0.88 19.12
01/24/11 Tenafly NJ 10 -0.59 9.41
01/24/11 Little Rock AR 20 -0.88 19.12
01/24/11 Houston TX 5 -0.45 4.55
01/24/11 Toronto Canada 100 -4.2 95.8
01/24/11 Brockton MA 100 -3.2 96.8
01/24/11 New York NY 10 -0.59 9.41
01/25/11 Brookline MA 50 -1.75 48.25
01/25/11 Salt Lake City UT 10 -0.59 9.41
01/25/11 Orange CA 50 -1.75 48.25
01/25/11 Dallas TX 100 -3.2 96.8
01/26/11 Pittsburgh PA 35 -1.32 33.68
01/27/11 Portland OR 50 -1.75 48.25
01/27/11 Hunnebostrand Sweden 75 -3.23 71.77
01/27/11 Federal Way WA 100 -3.2 96.8
01/27/11 North Bellmore NY 25 -1.03 23.97
01/28/11 Florissant CO 10 -0.59 9.41
01/29/11 Blaine WA 25 -1.03 23.97
01/30/11 Amagasaki Japan 100 -4.2 95.8
01/30/11 Califon NJ 20 -0.88 19.12
01/31/11 Palmyra VA 25 -1.03 23.97
01/31/11 Ashburn VA 50 -1.75 48.25
01/31/11 Natick MA 20 -0.88 19.12
02/01/11 Westlake Village CA 10 -0.59 9.41
02/04/11 Assumption IL 1 -0.33 0.67
02/05/11 Santa Fe NM 20 -0.88 19.12
02/06/11 Longmont CO 100 -3.2 96.8
02/07/11 Mooresville NC 5 -0.45 4.55
02/07/11 Seattle WA 50 -1.75 48.25
02/09/11 Gastonia NC 20 -0.88 19.12
02/11/11 Denver CO 50 -1.75 48.25
02/11/11 Duncanville TX 10 -0.59 9.41
02/14/11 St. Laurent Canada 25 -1.28 23.72
02/18/11 Salt Lake City UT 30 -1.17 28.83
02/21/11 Arnold MO 40 -1.46 38.54
2994 -116.02 2877.98

On February 28, 2011, the CDC cut a check for $3,594 to Phil's attorneys. The amount includes $2,994 in Paypal donations -- with $116.02 contributed from the CDC general fund to cover credit card fees -- and $600 in cash donations.