Saturday, October 01, 2011

Freedom of Speech on Trial

With trial a few short days away I feel compelled to do my best to awaken the Citizens of Dearborn County to a gross violation of the civil rights of one Mr. Dan Brewington, currently being prosecuted for exercising his First Amendment Rights under the Constitution of the United States.

Some of you may have seen the occasional and sometimes voluminous posts of data pertinent to his prosecution.  Some of you may have taken the time to read bits of his posts found at, and a few, like myself, may have even taken the time to read most of what is there.  So far, little direct commentary has been offered here on the subject, as we felt that the information and commentary elsewhere spoke for itself.  We had fully expected that, at some point, those persisting in this prosecution would come to the realization that their efforts were both unwise and without foundation.  Based on the attitudes exhibited in this post (  it would seem that is not to be.

Perhaps it is a simple failing our educational institutions, but it seems odd that those who are at the core of our justice system in Dearborn County, supposedly possessing degrees in certification of higher learning could be so ignorant of what the Constitution really means in it's assertion of Free Speech.  They profess a limit on this Freedom (and there surely are limits but not what they intend), then proceed to define that limit to serve their own interests.  I offer what follows so that both you and they can understand the realities of the issue.  Please bear with me and read on...

It is a grim time.  It seems we live once again in a world like that of England of old, when a man could be imprisoned for criticizing the King or his Nobles.  In those days such an act was called "Seditious Libel". These days, at least in Dearborn County, they call it "Intimidation".  (When I compare the weblog postings upon which the prosecution depends, I can find little difference between what the prosecutor calls intimidation and the description of  seditious libel below).  In those days truth was not a defense and offenders were routinely crushed by those with the power to do so.  It appears little has changed in all these years.  While we have no Aristocracy (and certainly no nobility) to lord it over us, we have Sheriffs and Judges and a Prosecutor more than happy to take up that mantle. 

Fortunately for the accused, these days we have something called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the very first amendment of which states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

The following is  a collection of excerpts relevant to Mr Brewingtons current situation from ...

Original Meaning: Freedom of Speech or of the Press

    Summary: Freedom of Speech or of the Press can be defined as the freedom from seditious laws of libel so people can openly discuss or criticize government policy or conduct of public agents without fear of being charged with a seditious crime.
The biggest modern error in understanding freedom of speech comes from viewing it as a right to be heard (or even seen) or the unfettered right to gain information that might later be used to create a public discussion. Such was never the purpose of the constitutional freedom.
Freedom of speech and of the press served one purpose in America: To remove the fear of the common law doctrine of seditious libel so citizens could freely speak or publish their grievances or concerns regarding public affairs or conduct of public officials. One of the distasteful things found under the common law was the government practice of criminalizing any discussion they felt made people dissatisfied with their government.
Seditious libel (or criminal libel as it was sometimes called) was generally defined as “the intentional publication, without lawful excuse or justification, of written blame of any public man, or of the law, or of any institution established by law.” (Stephen, History of the Criminal Law)
In England, it could be dangerous to criticize government, or peaceably assemble or petition government for redress of grievances because anything one might speak or write could end up being used against them under the charge of seditious libel where truth would be of no defense.
How can we know for sure the freedom of speech or of the press means freedom from seditious libel? All early American laws over speech and the press dealt solely with breaches of the peace or public morality (blasphemy, obscenity, profanity, etc.), but never laws criminalizing public discussion of public measures, grievances or criticism of public officials.
Benjamin Franklin, writing in The Pennsylvania Gazette, April 8, 1736, wrote of the American doctrine behind freedom of speech and of the press:
Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins. Republics and limited monarchies derive their strength and vigor from a popular examination into the action of the magistrates.
The Democratic-Republican caucus included the following in their 1800 platform: “An inviolable preservation of the Federal constitution, according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the states. … Freedom of speech and the press; and opposition, therefore, to all violations of the Constitution, to silence, by force, and not by reason, the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their public agents.
Thomas Cooley hit the ball out of park when he wrote of the freedom found under American constitutions:
Their purpose (of the free-speech clauses) has evidently been to protect parties in the free publication of matters of public concern, to secure their right to a free discussion of public events and public measures, and to enable every citizen at any time to bring the government and any person in authority to the bar of public opinion by any just criticism upon their conduct in the exercise of the authority which the people have conferred upon them. … The evils to be prevented were not the censorship of the press merely, but any action of the government by means of which it might prevent such free and general discussion of public matters as seems absolutely essential to prepare the people for an intelligent exercise of their rights as citizens.

Finally, as Mr. Brewington's prosecution now proceeds apace, I would suggest that regardless of the outcome of this trial the Citizens of Dearborn County will be the losers.  If Mr. Brewington is convicted we will all be on notice that there are no limits to what we may suffer at the hands of our local justice system and those who operate it as if the Bill of Rights never existed.  Open your mouth or get out of line, crime or no crime, and you can expect to spend six months in jail, even without a trial.  If Mr. Brewington is convicted, given that the charges are almost completely baseless and his defense has been utterly incompetent, it will almost certainly be overturned on appeal, meaning all of our tax dollars spent on this pointless personal vendetta will have been wasted.  Additionally, if the prosecution fails it will further bolster the Civil Rights suit Mr Brewington has filed against these individuals.  It is a suit he will almost certainly win.  We the tax payers of Dearborn County will bear that financial burden.  We will deserve the cost of the judgment he will be awarded for having failed to make clear to our elected officials in the justice system that this sort of abuse of their authority is unacceptable in the first place.

As a former commissioner used to like to quote:
The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.   -Plato

A. Dearborn Citizen


Dan Brewington said...

Well said A. Dearborn County Citizen!... Judge James D. Humprey took a father away from two little girls simply to punish Dan Brewington for questioning matters of law in his courtroom; for questioning the court's "expert" psychologist (who was not licensed in Indiana and admitted to "numerous errors and oversights" in his child custody evaluation) about recommending sole custody of the girls to his ex-wife. The "expert" even testified that Dan should have near equal visitation time with his children. So with no evidence of any abuse or neglect; no history of alcohol or drug abuse or violence of any kind, and no charges of contempt for Dan's "courtroom behavior", Judge James D. Humphrey ignored ALL evidence and took a loving father from two precious three and five year-old little girls. (can you even imagine the emotional trauma those little girls went through!!!) Then when Dan went online to voice his opinions and asked people to send letters to the Dearborn County advisor to the Indiana Supreme Courts Ethics and Professionalism Committee (who happened to be the judges wife) The Humphrey Family came down with this child-like fear of someone with absolutely NO violent history! Like a chid who breaks a lamp and cries to mom and dad about how scared they were running from the invisible monster that caused the lamp to break, the Humprey's simply made-up violent Dan. And James was so "afraid" that he sat in judgement of Dan for another 10 months, obstructing his ability to get back to his girls! Then nearly a year and a half after the feelings of "fear" and a few days after a formal complaint against Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard (for not pursuing an unlicensed psychologist practicing in the Dearborn County Courts) was dismissed, an abused grand jury indicted Dan on multiple felonies and misdemeanors. And even with all of the hardships brought upon Dan, his girls, and his family and friends by the childish corruption of Negangard and Humphrey, none of it even matters in his criminal case. You don't have to like Dan, or support the choices he made in his divorce proceedings, to understand that the right to peacefully voice your concerns about public officials (or private citizens) in the public realm is such a fundamental right of United States Citizens that it is the very FIRST amendment to our constitution. The fact that this trial is proceeding is nothing short of criminal. I'm sure that The Humphrey's defensiveness towards the truth makes their fear even more real to them. And the truth is, there was never ANY threat. Dan never personally contacted The Humpreys, or their children, or went to their schools, or homes, or workplaces. No... Judge James D. Humphrey, I'm sure thought that no one would stand up to his hurtful, childish, and erroneous decisions. Dan did. And that's when James' sixth grade tears of "fear" began to flow. Add in his buddy, Prosecutor F. Aaron Negangard who is an arrogant, ignorant, simpleton who will defecate on The Constitution of The United States of America in order to vindicate his own illegal behavior, and you get corruption in Dearborn County that should not, and WILL NOT stand in the 21st century. Everyone in Dearborn County, who does or does not support Dan should show up at the courthouse on monday in support of all those who have died or have been persecuted for defending the constitution that keeps all of us free.
Matt Brewington

Anonymous said...

Dan obviously can't directly comment on this site considering he is locked up. The previous comment was mine. I was accidentally signed in on his account. My apologies.
Matt Brewington

Anonymous said...

To: A. Dearborn County Citizen..So refreshing to read an intelligent post from someone who truly cares about a fellow citizen suffering from the corruption of a government who is supposed to protect us. God bless everyone who have been victims. BEVERLY VALENTINE