Prosecutor tries to force activist to sign rights away

Negotiation is Over - Florida

by Lisa Grossman

It was a good day in court today for the innocent prisoners in the University of Florida’s animal experimentation labs. I know this because the state attorney’s office (on behalf of UF) not only changed their deal agreement with me after my deciding to do community service for trespassing instead of going to trial, but they suddenly wanted me to agree to their new stipulation of having no further contact with UF! Not no trespassing-no further contact. Just sign here and go away for good?

This day is a huge victory for NIO activists and another step closer to getting the lab innocents freed. Because the more they unfairly persecute any of us, the closer we’re getting to exposing them! Soon I expect they’ll just start making stuff up to jail me for violating probation- especially with UF being in contempt tomorrow for refusing to surrender public records requested. If they weren’t guilty they would let people in to see and would be laughing at activists instead of making up bogus legal obstacles to the truth.

I don’t mean to sound naive, but I was truly shocked to see the prosecution changing their deal without a word until questioned by the judge and the defense lawyer. Since the only ones to benefit would be UF, it sure looks like UF can affect the law with the states attorney’s office.

In August I was charged with trespassing in the UF Genetics Lab on July 9th during a demo to tell UF students and their parents that their degrees would soon be worthless if UF continued barbaric animal experiments instead of using myriad of alternatives available. After UF going to the Gainesville Sun a few times instead of me to announce charges, several court appearances including not guilty and discovery for trial- I decided that UF had some evidence that could possibly incriminate me. I finally agreed to no charges after 6 months of probation and 3 days on Alachua County’s work crew- authored and offered by the states attorney. Today was the formal hearing to accept these terms.

Judge: Ms. Grossman do you agree to the prosecution’s terms of 3 days on the work crew, 1 year of probation and to no longer have any contact with UF? Hold on- does this state that the charge is a 2nd degree misdemeanor and 1 yr jail time?

Defense Lawyer: No your honor this is misdemeanor trespassing.

Grossman: No sir I did not sign any agreements beyond 6 months probation and no trespassing at UF. Is prosecution saying I cannot call or email UF or talk with students?

Judge: Yes, apparently so. Why would you even need to call UF?

Grossman: For one thing as of tomorrow in this court they will be in contempt for refusing public records about their lab animals. I plan to respond to that and keep continuing work to exposing them. I won’t trespass there again and I accept the work crew, but not to no contact with UF. That’s not right.

Prosecution table: Uh well sir, I’m just repeating what’s in (states attorney’s name) notes here.

Defense Lawyer: Your Honor, may we approach?

(We can’t hear that of course, but the defense lawyer said he was explaining my cause and what I have been doing at UF.)

Judge: Ms. Grossman….

Grossman: I do not agree to any UF contact and didn’t sign to that. Nor did I sign to 1 year probation.

Defense Lawyer: Your honor my client has no problem with the probation, just the continuing costs that she can’t afford.

Judge: Ms. Grossman would you agree to a no trespassing stipulation, 3 days work crew and 1 yr probation first 3 months $50 a month, second 3 months $25 per month then discontinuing probation after 6 months?

Grossman: Yes. As long as I’m allowed to continue protesting on public property. (looking at the 2 UF representatives) I’m not just going to stop and go away.

Judge: Yes your first amendment rights are yours to exercise, keeping in mind that you do these things at your peril if they go into harassment.

Grossman: I’m a middle aged woman with a power point flyer, I’m not dangerous. I have never done anything harassing or beyond my rights except this trespass.

Judge: OK. Wait don’t leave yet, I have to formally sentence you for the record…..

My court services paperwork states only no trespassing at UF under special circumstances.

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