Common Law Grand Jury advocacy group booted from Clarkstown Town Hall after permit revoked
BY MICHAEL RICONDA
New City – A presentation by representatives of the National Liberty Alliance at Clarkstown Town Hall was cut short on August 14 when police arrived and directed participants to leave, claiming they did not have permission to use the space.
The National Liberty Alliance, an advocacy group which attempts to recruit people for common law grand juries, was showing recruitment videos when several officers arrived and instructed attendees to leave. The group complied and no arrests were made.
Outside, however, the group gathered for its planned vote to establish a common law grand jury for Rockland County, overwhelmingly passing it with a show of hands.
“This is what common law is, and they just shut that down saying that we can’t do this in the people’s building,” John Darash, one of the event’s organizers, protested.
According to Darash, who has organized similar events in Dutchess County, he went through all proper procedures to conduct the meeting and had never seen a jury vote disrupted by police.
“The people have the right to use all public buildings,” “You go and you fill out an application. As long as it’s for something that serves the public, they can’t refuse you, so they didn’t refuse us.”
Darash also explained the town attorney who allegedly revoked the permit, Amy Mele, may come before the common law grand jury herself.
However, Mele explained that though a permit was issued, the application was made under the title “Rockland County Grand Jury.” It was only when the National Liberty Alliance began posting notices on the town clerk’s bulletin board that the town clerk realized it was not an official court function.
In response, Mele explained a letter was sent out to the organization last week notifying them that the permit had been revoked because the NLA had not applied under its own name, but explained they were welcome to re-apply as long as they do so under their own name and are eligible to use the space.
“Generally we have requirements for giving out our public space,” Mele explained. “We do require that 50 or 60 percent of the attendees are Clarkstown residents.”
The presentation and videos themselves contained claims alleging U.S. citizens were legally owned by governmental entities and provided instructions on evading government control through the exploitation of loopholes in the law. As such, the NLA bears a resemblance to other groups in the “sovereign citizens movement,” a loose category of groups, which assert that common law is the only law American citizens are bound to follow.
Hence, sovereign citizens often attempt to develop strategies to bypass government regulations, taxes and required licenses and permits and have come under scrutiny from authorities for tax evasion and links to “extremist” anti-government groups.