JUDGE PENICK'S RULING 2-22-01
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT IN AND FOR PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA CASE NO. 99-7430-CI-08 ----------------------------------------X : CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY FLAG SERVICE : ORGANIZATION, INC., a Florida : corporation, : : Petitioner, : : vs. : : ROBERT S. MINTON, JR., ET AL., : : Respondents. : ----------------------------------------x BEFORE: The Honorable THOMAS E. PENICK, JR. PLACE: Pinellas County Judicial Building 545 First Avenue North St. Petersbrg, Florida DATE: January 21, 2001 TIME: Commencing at 2:00 PA.M. REPORTED BY: JACKIE L. OSTROM Court Reporter --------------------------------------------------- RULING -------------------------------------------------- Pages 1 - 50 ROBERT A. DEMPSTER & ASSOCIATES P.O. BOX 35 CLEARWATER, FLORIDA (727) 443-0992 . APPEARANCES The Honorable THOMAS E. PENICK, JR. CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE F. WALLACE POPE, JR., ESQUIRE JOHNSON, BLAKELY, POPE ET AL 911 Chestnut Clearwater, Florida HELENA KOBRIN, ESQUIRE MOXON AND KOBRIN 3055 Whilshire Boulevard, Suite 900 Los Angeles, California 90010 Attorneys for Church of Scientology Flag Ship Organization JOHN MERRETT, ESQUIRE 2716 Herschel Street Jacksonville, Florida 32205 BRUCE G. HOWIE, ESQUIRE PIPER, LUDIN, HOWIE AND WERNER 5720 Central Avenue St. Petersburg, Florida 33707 Attorneys for Robert Minton and Lisa McPherson Trust, Inc. . 3 1 PROCEEDINGS 2 THE COURT: No tape recorders. We have 3 an official court reporter taking them and if 4 you're press or something we have a procedure 5 where you come request or identify, the same 6 that we have for the cameras. Press? 7 UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm a reporter 8 from the Times. I'm sorry, I didn't realize 9 your procedures, sir. 10 THE COURT: Yeah. I don't care. 11 UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If you don't 12 want me to, I won't. 13 THE COURT: No, but remember, remember, 14 she's press now, okay. That doesn't go 15 for -- no, there's special procedures we 16 follow and we have followed in all these 17 cases, ma'am, and I'm not doing anything and 18 I'm not singling you out. 19 UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I understand. 20 THE COURT: But that's okay. I'll let 21 you do it. Go ahead. Okay. And Mr. Bunker, 22 the same rules apply here. 23 Remember, now, you've already had your 24 one bite at the apple. If those start 25 making noises or, you know, then they're . 4 1 mine. 2 Okay. All right. All right. Thank you 3 for your patience. 4 I think the court system has been 5 patient with you all, and what looked like 6 some simple show causes have consumed nine 7 days of in-court proceedings. Many 8 witnesses and a lot of exhibits, a lot of 9 videotaping, and it's now the Court's time 10 to render its decision regarding the matters 11 that were brought forward. 12 Now, first let me do this. I would like 13 to thank the attorneys for an outstanding 14 job of representing their clients. The 15 Court is not unmindful of the fact that in 16 making oral arguments and presentations and 17 cross-examining witnesses there comes a time 18 some of the time when a little theatrics 19 gets involved. 20 I'm not trying to say that there wasn't 21 some tension here at times between 22 attorneys, but I do thank you for backing 23 down rather than pressing the issue. There 24 was some times when I felt that I might have 25 to intercede more than I wanted to, but on a . 5 1 whole they were very eloquent arguments, 2 excellent cross-examination, but a lot has 3 come out during these nine days of 4 proceedings. 5 What started out with a temporary 6 injunction actually started a year ago 7 because we had a temporary last year and 8 then again this year there was the necessity 9 for a temporary injunction, the Court 10 designed what we could call a loose and 11 general injunction. But I did go to what I 12 felt were great length to color code it or 13 make it visually understandable, knowing 14 full well when I did that that with the 15 intelligence level that was evidenced last 16 year that it was going to be like the OSHA 17 rules and regulations for safety at a 18 construction site. 19 You know, they say well, you have this, 20 that and the other and you have a safety 21 net. If you don't spell out the size of 22 holes in the safety net, they'll have a 23 safety net with five feet between each hole 24 so even a bulldozer falls through it. 25 That's what happened here. Both sides . 6 1 found every loophole possible. And you're 2 going to have that when you have AB lawyers 3 and you have people that comprise the 4 parties that we have in this case. 5 Ladies and gentlemen, the talent, the 6 technology and the expertise on both sides 7 is awesome. Any good small business would 8 love to have your talents available to them. 9 Technicians in videography, technicians in 10 electronics, technicians in mechanical 11 design, technicians in computers, and you 12 couple all of that with two sides that has 13 strong feelings. I mean, we're talking 14 about super strong feelings here, folks. 15 It was very clear to this court beyond 16 any reasonable doubt that there is no love 17 lost between either side and both of you 18 will go to the ends of the earth to make 19 your point. So it's kind of hard for one 20 little old judge sitting in St. Petersburg, 21 Florida to close all of the holes in the 22 dikes or the dike that's separating you two. 23 Now, where is all this going? Well, 24 folks, you all have already agreed. It's 25 been said -- I mean how many times did I . 7 1 hear it from the witnesses that both sides 2 appreciated the injunction, they you were 3 glad there was the ten feet and that you 4 want a permanent injunction. 5 Now, let me tells you was scares me. 6 This permanent injunction is probably going 7 to be thicker than the Random House 8 Unabridged Dictionary Second Edition, and 9 that thing is about ten inches high. And 10 with the diagrams that are going to be 11 necessity just to encompass the danger 12 zones, as I call them, that have come out in 13 these proceedings, the diagrams will exceed 14 the blueprints for the International Space 15 Lab. And I'm not being naive or sarcastic. 16 I'm telling you facts of life. 17 I didn't count them all up, but I 18 imagine there were probably at least 25 19 different allegations of contempt with all 20 of the various defendants and all of the 21 various events and all of that took place in 22 less than a month of having the injunction 23 in effect. 24 Now, a lot of it was much ado about 25 nothing. Unfortunately, a lot of it was . 8 1 adult nursery school antics, and I said it 2 earlier and I'm totally convinced of it now. 3 This calls for a professional nanny and not 4 a judge. 5 You know what's scary? All of this has 6 international flavor. I mean several days 7 we had the French media here, French 8 lawyers, the German government has been 9 here, representatives from of Hamburg 10 government, and all of this is going on, not 11 in Clearwater, not in St. Petersburg, but 12 all over the word. I mean name calling 13 taunting, teasing, stalking, yelling, 14 screaming, games of Hide and Seek, King of 15 the Mountain, Blind Man's Bluff, Red Rover 16 Red Rover, Picket Chicken. 17 That's just the videotape that was 18 entered into evidence. I don't know who has 19 the franchise to sell you all the videotapes 20 but somebody is getting filthy rich. 21 Now, what did we learn? The first thing 22 we learned is the battle lines are blurred. 23 Each side has a different spin on what the 24 injunction says. 25 And I've asked the attorney for the . 9 1 Clearwater Police Department to be present 2 here today when I announced my findings and 3 my decision because the Clearwater Police 4 Department has tried to tell each of the 5 sides what the injunction said and they have 6 their own spin on what's involved. 7 Unfortunately, the lines have become 8 very blurred in exactly what is picketing, 9 what is protesting, what is the exercise of 10 the First Amendment Right, what is a picket 11 device, what is a First Amendment device, 12 etcetera, etcetera. And this case has its 13 own unique features. 14 Usually, if there is a question about 15 what an injunction or a document that's been 16 drawn by a judge says, in the past it's been 17 my experience that if you don't understand 18 it, you come back and ask the judge. But 19 there was far too much street justice being 20 meeded out by either off-duty or on-duty 21 Clearwater police officers. 22 Quite frankly, they led to a lot of the 23 confusion here of which charges could not 24 stick because these officers would tell the 25 people one thing today and turn around the . 10 1 tell the next thing tomorrow after somebody 2 else has taken a course of action. 3 Let give you some examples. Mr. Henson 4 is a good example. He asked where can I 5 picket. I'm not with the LMT. I need to 6 know what's going on. That's fine. You can 7 picket there in front of the hotel. Have a 8 ball. Clearwater police tell him that. 9 So, Scientology rushes into court, gets 10 a show cause on him saying you can't picket 11 on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. He 12 asks the police again. They said woops, no, 13 you've got to be on the other side of the 14 street, so I waste a whole day on that show 15 cause. 16 What is a picket? Well, if you turn the 17 sign upside down and you march that way, 18 it -- common sense would tell you that's not 19 a picket. But yet, we saw videos and there 20 is a video there where somebody is leaning 21 on a sign turned upside down and the police 22 officer walks over and pats it on the butt 23 end of the thing sticking up in the air with 24 the words down saying this is a picket. I 25 waste more time. . 11 1 Now, the other thing that bothered me 2 immensely is that all good -- you know, no 3 good deed goes unpunished, seriously, and 4 you've just got to love the Clearwater 5 police. 6 They're trying has hard as they can and 7 they're caught in middle of this just like I 8 am and something for the good of the masses, 9 a chance for the off-duty officers to make 10 some extra money and they're trying to do 11 their job, but it's become obvious to me 12 that they're getting a little more help than 13 they need from the people that are paying 14 their bill. And they're coming very 15 dangerously close to being a private 16 security force for the Church of 17 Scientology. 18 Now, that's something that's got to be 19 worked out by both side together with the 20 police department of Clearwater, their 21 attorneys. I think all lawyers need to sit 22 down and hammer this out because there have 23 been instances where the independents, if 24 that's why they're there, is shaky at best. 25 And, you know, it became obvious that . 12 1 this side has this police agency and the 2 other side is over here and they want to use 3 a police agency to protect their protest 4 zones, what's to keep them from getting the 5 sheriff's office or the Florida Highway 6 Patrol off duty? What are they going to 7 have to do, go get FDLE? I'm serious about 8 this folks. 9 Another example of the blurred line, 10 process servers. Process server is supposed 11 to be an officer of the court serving 12 documents of the court. When I was asked to 13 make that modification to the injunction 14 that said that process servers, and let me 15 get that quote. Any process server retained 16 by any party to this action pursuant to the 17 laws of the State of Florida and the 18 applicable rules of court, is free to 19 legally -- I wrote that in and put my 20 initials out there, serve process on any 21 person notwithstanding the terms of 22 temporary injunction number two inasmuch as 23 such process server would be an agent of 24 this court for the purpose of serving 25 process. . 13 1 Now, folks, I had some severe heartburn 2 about the independence of so-called arms of 3 this court. When we get around to 4 redrafting and working on this permanent 5 injunction and I'll talk about that in a few 6 minutes, there needs to be some special 7 provisions that the process servers are 8 going to have to come from a pool of process 9 servers somehow determined by the three of 10 you or this court included and they can't 11 work at any other time for anybody. But 12 when I see so-called process servers forming 13 armed chains so the people can get in and 14 out of the Church of Scientology, which was 15 caused by disruptions of other side, I 16 question the independence of the process 17 server. I'm not that gullible. That 18 doesn't cut it, folks. 19 Now, let me make it real clear that when 20 we come up with a permanent injunction, I 21 want language in there that basically says 22 that it will be independent process servers 23 and they well serve process legally and 24 professionally so that they don't violate 25 any rules or statute in the State of . 14 1 Florida, and also I want it worked into the 2 injunction that when these independent 3 process servers duly certified and appointed 4 attempt to serve process pursuant to the 5 laws, that any shenanigans as far as not 6 taking it, throwing it on the ground and 7 everything else will be deemed a hinderance 8 of the progress of justice, that the 9 applicable a statutes of laws will be 10 applied and that regardless of what the law 11 says can be meeded out for punishment, it 12 will be a per se contempt enforceable by 13 contempt. Because, I'm telling you, that's 14 got to stop. And that's going to be part of 15 the injunction. 16 Self help: I am amazed at the quality 17 of technology that both sides have available 18 to themselves. Folks, like I said, I am but 19 a pebble of sand on this mountain or a 20 molehill, whichever you want to call it, but 21 when I look at the technology and the 22 knowledge on the internet alone and all of 23 these websites and everything you were 24 showing me and the stuff that's posted, not 25 posted and the graphics and all that, you . 15 1 leave me way behind. 2 As Technology Chairman for this circuit, 3 I keep trying to tell the Chief Judge and 4 Mr. Lockhart and all of his computer people, 5 listen to me this. There is all this stuff 6 out there and I thought we were on the 7 cutting edge. Man, you all got the 8 computer. We got Nintendo. 9 Now, something else that concerns me, 10 folks and it puts this in proper 11 prospective. For this court to try and 12 draft a workable injunction is really scary 13 when you consider the international 14 implications that are going on here, when 15 you consider the technology that's involved, 16 when you consider the local governments. 17 Now, let me talk about technology a 18 little bit further. I'm concerned that 19 Picket Chicken is but a rouge to hide the 20 moving of the shell with a pea under it. 21 Let's talk about the spy camera. Let's 22 talk about self help. Ladies and gentlemen, 23 as the judge on this case and after 24 listening to everything, nine days worth, I 25 understand now, I have a much better grasp . 16 1 for the seriousness of the feelings between 2 both sides and I have a far greater grasp of 3 the seriousness that the Clearwater police 4 find themselves in out there in the 5 trenches. Because both sides having 6 videographers sitting around at alert, ready 7 to rush out with a video camera for the 8 least little thing to film the other side, I 9 harken to back to my days when I spent 10 thousands of hours on alert stranded in a 11 mole hole halfway around the world and you 12 all make like you have your videographers 13 and cameramen on bicycles respond to the 14 incidents and everything else. 15 To place a camera in the down spout on 16 the building, I'm missing the point here. I 17 hope someone will let us know when the great 18 invasion is coming. Give the citizens a 19 head start. 20 Sophisticated cameras hidden in the 21 shrubbery around the apartment houses; 22 taking pictures of people going up and down 23 Saturn to go to the little league ball park. 24 I'm missing something. 25 I don't know how we're going to handle . 17 1 it. I understand that it's a sticky wicket. 2 How do you come into court and say, Judge, I 3 mean obvious cameras and hidden cameras and 4 everything else we know they're there and I 5 say, okay, prove it and you say we can't put 6 the ladder up and we can't go there because 7 it's going to be in a no go zone or 8 something. 9 But I don't see this coming to an end. 10 I'm concerned. You know, the great attorney 11 Jerry Spence in introduction to his latest 12 book talks about the fox slowly eating 13 everybody around that's in the outer circle 14 and then the next circle and the next circle 15 and the next circle until they finally get 16 into everybody in the middle. When is all 17 this going to stop? 18 Transitional movements: Okay, not all 19 the picket areas are adjacent to each other. 20 And I knew when I drafted the injunction and 21 I sat there and I looked at that and I said, 22 you know, right now all the different ways 23 that something can happen as they go from 24 one area where they can picket to the next 25 area, how they going to cross Ft. Harrison? . 18 1 How are they going to go across Cleveland? 2 And you know, after I had written about two 3 pages of this yellow tablet it suddenly 4 dawned on me. Leave it alone. You couldn't 5 plug those holes if you tried and you've 6 proved me right. 7 Now, the thing that concerns me is 8 really and truly, you know, in a lot of the 9 pickets and a lot of the protest around our 10 country there is a message or you're trying 11 not only to reach the people that might be 12 coming or going from a particular facility, 13 but you also have a message for the public 14 as a whole. 15 Quite frankly, everything I've heard 16 here and everything I saw, this is a feud 17 between the parties. I haven't seen any 18 messages for the general public. 19 These were messages to people within 20 Scientology to get out, you know, what's 21 wrong here, what's wrong there, come to us, 22 help us and this was a fight to the other 23 side to stifle the people exercising their 24 First Amendment Rights trying to reach the 25 people inside the Church. But the taxpayers . 19 1 and the public as a whole have been burdened 2 with this. 3 Now, knowledge: I see a problem. We 4 have a problem. How do you reach somebody 5 who just comes into town and is not a named 6 defendant or doesn't know what's going on. 7 Now, fortunately this hasn't reached the 8 size of the masses that that's been a major 9 problem. The legislatures a long time ago 10 came up with those catch all phrases that 11 are in the rules and the statutes regarding 12 injunctions. 13 That works up to a point, but in the 14 permanent injunction there's going to have 15 to be something worked out so that you don't 16 have one group across the street in the 17 orange zone where they can legally protest 18 and a whole bunch of other people blocking 19 traffic claiming ignorance because it's only 20 going to get worse and it's going to get 21 messy. 22 Now, fortunately we had some real close 23 instances where the water could have broken 24 through the dike and this could have gotten 25 real bad and I'm talking about the so-called . 20 1 neutral zones. 2 If this weren't criminal proceedings and 3 it required specific documents and specific 4 pleadings, there were several instances 5 where some of the OSA agents for the Church 6 were in violation of the injunction, i.e. 7 riding a bicycle in and out of the orange 8 zone within ten feet of the protesters, 9 rushing out into neutral zone to get the 10 video camera in the policeman and 11 Mr. Minton's face; instances like that. 12 That's something we're going to address 13 in the permanent injunction, but if 14 something's going on there is a little 15 tete-a-tete between say Mr. Minton and the 16 so-called off-duty police officers, there is 17 no need for the Scientology OSA agent to be 18 in there with that camera in everybody's 19 face. They're only asking for trouble and 20 it will only be a matter of minutes until 21 you get it from them and then we'll be all 22 back here again and here we go again. Like 23 I said the other day, I know there are 24 things bigger and better that you can put 25 your energies to. . 21 1 Now, a couple of instances; video 2 cameras, spy cameras or not video, spy 3 camera incident: Let me just suffice it to 4 say there was a winner going there until we 5 got into that rebuttal. When we went back 6 and revisited everything, that was 7 embarrassing. That's all I'm going to say. 8 You know what I'm talking about. The bread 9 went in, the bread came out. There was no 10 hinderance, nothing else. That's over. 11 Sitting in the Santa Claus chair: You 12 know, that was a classic example of the 13 injunction not being eight inches high. 14 You can't have a definition for 15 everything. When you're dealing with clear 16 and convincing and you have to consider what 17 it will look like when it goes through the 18 appellate hopper, it wasn't there. But I 19 hope in the future when it's spelled out 20 enough that that's taunting, teasing, 21 rubbing their nose in it, whatever you want 22 to call it, that's got to stop. 23 Now, let's talk about something else. 24 The use of megaphones, horns, other noise 25 makers, screaming, yelling, etcetera. Where . 22 1 this is headed folks that concerns me is 2 that a court is not going to be prepared to 3 deal with this. I can't draw an injunction 4 to say that you can't honk the horn that 5 many decibels, that you got -- you can't 6 scream except only so loud, etcetera. 7 That's going to be government's job. 8 That's the local municipalities. They've 9 got to establish their noise ordinances. 10 They've got to establish their littering. 11 If you're going to take documents and throw 12 them down, if you're going to hand out 13 documents and people are going to throw them 14 down, that's going to be up to either the 15 local city, the town, the county or the 16 state or the feds. 17 Now, we can humbly try, but that goes 18 back to the source and that goes back to the 19 law enforcement officers for the source. 20 That if they're out there and they know 21 their ordinances, that's where I question 22 can an off-duty policeman do something as 23 opposed to hearing it and having to call the 24 on-duty to come over and by the time he gets 25 there you could hear two roaches talking and . 23 1 I mean pests. I'm not talking about 2 anything else. 3 It concerns me, so a lot of this, what I 4 feel is necessary to keep peace, that's 5 going to have to be worked out at a lot of 6 levels. 7 Now, we've gone down the various events 8 pretty much with the judgment of acquitals 9 and those arguments thereto and it actually 10 comes down to two events and two instances. 11 After all of this was said and 12 done -- now, let me go at this one at a 13 time. The first one that I have involves 14 Ms. Bezazian. And it involves the incident 15 on the 7th of December the year 2000. And 16 it involves the walking down the east side 17 of Ft. Harrison on the north side of the 18 Bank of Clearwater Building in a no picket 19 zone carrying two picket signs upright so 20 that everybody can read them. 21 Let's do this. Ms. Bezazian, would you 22 and your attorney come to the rostrum? 23 Ms. Bezazian, you were charged by an 24 order to show cause violating this court's 25 injunction on the 30th of November, the year . 24 1 2000 as amended on December 1, the year 2 2000, by willfully and intentionally 3 picketing in an injunction prohibited zone, 4 i.e. that area next to the Ft. Harrison 5 Hotel by walking through that area with two 6 picket signs held high. 7 Now, I do find you guilty of violating 8 the injunction or of contempt of court for 9 that action. Is there any reason why 10 sentence should not be imposed at this time? 11 MS. BEZAZIAN: Your Honor, I'm very 12 sorry that I had those signs up, but I was 13 walking from the Trust to the Ft. Harrison 14 and the policewoman did say, as soon as she 15 said and she did say I know you're not 16 picketing but it might look like it because 17 your signs are up. Would you please put them 18 down and I did put them down. 19 MR. MERRETT: The only other thing that 20 I would add for the Court is that as the 21 Court mentioned there had previously been a 22 police lieutenant telling Ms. Bezazian that 23 holding them upside down was picketing, 24 leaving a set of facts where it was 25 impossible to move from the Lisa McPherson . 25 1 Trust to any orange zone if both of those 2 officers were to be believed. However, as to 3 legal cause why sentence should not be 4 imposed, there is none. 5 THE COURT: All right. 6 MR. MERRETT: Judge, I would ask rather 7 that the Court enter a judgment of not guilty 8 notwithstanding the verdict. 9 THE COURT: In this particular case I 10 will do that and the sentence will be $100 11 fine. That concludes this as far as that is 12 concerned and as far as Ms. Bezazian is 13 concerned. 14 MR. MERRETT: That is a withhold of 15 adjudication? 16 THE COURT: Yes, sir. 17 MR. MERRETT: Thank you, Your Honor. 18 THE COURT: Now, I know that there is a 19 question to whether in contempt you can 20 withhold. Now, in this incident I'm going to 21 withhold and impose the $100 fine. 22 MR. MERRETT: Yes, sir. Is that $100 23 costs or $100 fine together with the 24 statutory addition? 25 THE COURT: No. Fine, period, end of . 26 1 ball game. 2 MR. MERRETT: Yes, sir. 3 MS. BEZAZIAN: Thank you, Your Honor. 4 THE COURT: That's it. Now, I want this 5 clear. Legally every attorney in here knows 6 that nuances and the problems that the Court 7 had to face in light of the allegations and 8 the charges based on the evidence. And when 9 you've got to go beyond a reasonable doubt 10 there are only two instances that I was about 11 to go beyond a reasonable doubt and find. 12 But I don't want anybody to think that with 13 this whole big pile, the next time around I 14 think both sides know how to make a case and 15 I figure it won't take me nine hours to 16 listen to the testimony and make a ruling 17 that will probably include jail, so hear me 18 out. Thank you, ma'am. 19 Now, the other matter that I have 20 involves Robert S. Minton and this one I 21 want to make real clear. A judge has to do 22 what a judge has to do. 23 I was deeply concerned on this one, 24 because no matter what I did there would be 25 comments made that well, you were biased, . 27 1 you were prejudiced, you were wearing your 2 feelings on your robe, but quite frankly, 3 when you look at the video and you look at 4 that video and you look at that video, the 5 Court does find, as to Robert Minton the 6 Court finds that Mr. Minton willfully and 7 intentionally violated the injunction of 8 January 6 in the year 2001 by walking into 9 the injunction's prohibited zone from the 10 west sidewalk abutting Waterson Avenue in 11 Clearwater, Florida and protesting or 12 otherwise engaging in First Amendment 13 activity. 14 Specifically, the defendant went to 15 within one or two feet of the Scientology 16 building known as the Clearwater Bank 17 Building and vertically extended and waved a 18 fishing pole with a copy of the injunction 19 attached to the end of the pole referred to 20 throughout the proceedings as the "Threep", 21 in front of the windows of the building in a 22 taunting manner likely to provoke. 23 I find Robert Minton therefore guilty of 24 contempt as charged in Paragraph 1F, the 25 order to show cause regarding contempt dated . 28 1 January 10 in the year 2001. 2 Mr. Howie, Mr. Minton, is there any 3 reason why sentence should not be imposed? 4 MR. HOWIE: No legal cause, Your Honor. 5 We wish to be heard in mitigation. 6 THE COURT: You may, sir. 7 MR. HOWIE: Your Honor, again, although 8 the Court has stated that there is some legal 9 concern over adjudication or withhold of 10 adjudication, we would request a withhold of 11 adjudication in this case. 12 I would also point out that in imposing 13 any sentence the offer of two concerns for 14 the court. One is the penalty imposed for 15 violation of the Court's injunction. 16 Another concern is the extent to which harm 17 or damage was caused as a direct result or 18 even an indirect result of that violation. 19 I would point out as the Court is well 20 aware, that there is no allegation, no 21 evidence presented that any actual harm rose 22 out of this. I think if anything the Court 23 should do is by way of affirmatively stating 24 for all concerned, no just Mr. Minton but 25 for all concerned, that there are going to . 29 1 be certain activities that are going to be 2 completely barred and that this is an 3 example of them. 4 I think it's more significant the Court 5 has made this ruling and that people have 6 heard this ruling than any penalty that can 7 be imposed. I ask that the court limit its 8 contempt power to the imposition of a fine 9 and that that fine clearly reflects the 10 extent of the damage caused. 11 THE COURT: Mr. Minton, do you want to 12 say anything other than what you've said so 13 far or do you want to stand on what your 14 attorney said? I'm not forcing to it. I'm 15 giving you an opportunity to if you wanted to 16 avail yourself of it. 17 MR. MINTON: Yes, Your Honor, I would be 18 happy to say a few words if you wouldn't 19 mind. 20 You know, I am sorry that you have 21 chosen to view this in the way that you 22 have. I, certainly judging by the -- on the 23 basis of the comments that you've made 24 throughout the course of today's events I've 25 certainly learned a lot about how you view . 30 1 this injunction and how everybody else 2 should view this injunction. 3 I apologize for appearing in any way to 4 hold the court in any contempt with respect 5 to this incident which was done as 6 carelessness at the worst and that's really 7 all I have say, sir. 8 (Whereupon, a pause in the proceedings took 9 place.) 10 THE COURT: Here's what I'm going to do 11 in this case. Mr. Minton, you certainly are 12 a moving force in the protest movement of the 13 Church of Scientology. You have obviously 14 many good ideas and thoughts on how legally 15 and peacefully the message can get out. 16 I've thought about this quite a bit. 17 What I will do is I'll withhold 18 adjudication, I'm going to place you on 19 probation for six months. The conditions of 20 probation is that you pay a fine of $500, 21 that you live and remain at liberty without 22 violating any laws or any other injunctions, 23 temporary or permanent entered by this 24 court, that you pay any costs of probation 25 that may be lawfully imposed by the . 31 1 administration of probation, and that you, 2 in cooperation with your attorney, work to 3 draft the permanent injunction that will 4 make this peacefully be a viable document 5 for your side, the other side and the City 6 of Clearwater. 7 MR. MINTON: Yes, Your Honor. 8 THE COURT: I see talent there. I don't 9 want to say it's misguided. I just want it 10 directed the right way. 11 MR. MINTON: Yes, sir. 12 THE COURT: And I want you to understand 13 that everything would have been fine, 14 probably, I don't know, if you had kept that 15 Threep out horizontal, but when you raised it 16 vertical you and I know good and well that 17 that was a symbol of your exercising your 18 First Amendment Rights in the wrong area and 19 I might just throw this out also. 20 If you take a look at the law of, which 21 a member of my staff reminded me. Thank 22 you, Mr. Bailiff, by holding that Threep in 23 your hand, it's an extension of your body so 24 the ten feet actually starts at the end of 25 the pole. Am I not right, Mr. Howie? . 32 1 MR. HOWIE: Your Honor, I recall 2 something in tort law about that and I 3 figured that may not include criminal law, so 4 I didn't mention it. 5 THE COURT: Well, of course, if you hold 6 a baton in your hand and you strike somebody 7 that's a battery. You don't have to use your 8 fist, so I'm wondering if that thing -- where 9 does the ten feet really start? It may be a 10 20 foot pole before you know it, but anyway, 11 my point I want to make here is that we've 12 got to, after all this we've come down to 13 this and I admonish, beseech and beg both 14 sides, please -- I'm scared to say this. I 15 want to say graduate from kindergarten. but 16 my gosh, if your expertise at the 17 kindergarten level has been this great, 18 what's it going to be if I say act like high 19 school students. 20 Please, now, we've come a long way. I 21 don't have anything. Is there anything else 22 that anybody wants to say for the good of 23 the Court? 24 MR. HOWIE: Your Honor, for purposes of 25 clarification, I take it that given the . 33 1 nature of the sentence you would want 2 Mr. Minton to report to Salvation Army? 3 THE COURT: Yes, yes, yes, and let's 4 just get this on down the road, okay. 5 MR. HOWIE: And we request 24 hours in 6 which to do that. 7 THE COURT: You have it and if you -- 8 I'll come out with a new written order and 9 get the attachments and I will sign it today 10 in both cases. And also -- now, wait a 11 minute. There's another one I've got to do. 12 That's all with you all. Thank you very 13 much. Yes, Mr. Minton? 14 MR. MINTON: You asked if there was a 15 comment to make -- 16 THE COURT: Yeah. 17 MR. MINTON: In the interest of the 18 Court and it does have to do with a very 19 heated argument I had a couple nights ago 20 with Mr. Merrett on the injunction itself and 21 rather than go and drawing anything, I'll 22 just say -- 23 THE COURT: What's your question? 24 MR. MINTON: With regard to the four 25 corners at the intersection of Cleveland and . 34 1 Ft. Harrison Avenue. 2 THE COURT: Yeah. 3 MR. MINTON: The southeast corner is the 4 only orange zone. Obviously, the northeast 5 corner of the Clearwater Bank Building is a 6 prohibited picketing area. 7 THE COURT: Right. 8 MR. MINTON: But my contention based on 9 the injunction before the clarification that 10 you made was that the northwest corner and 11 the southwest corner were, because they're 12 not around Scientology buildings that those 13 are permitted picketing areas and that's what 14 I'm asking you for at least minor 15 clarification from the Court on because those 16 areas that are not around Scientology 17 buildings that do appear in some form or 18 fashion on these maps due to the second 19 clarification of the injunction has now cause 20 some additional confusion. 21 THE COURT: Those are open zones. 22 MR. MINTON: Right. 23 THE COURT: Probably Mr. Merrett is 24 going to say, but Judge, you didn't stick by 25 me, but quite frankly when I drew those up I . 35 1 saw that and I knew but what would apply 2 there is ten feet away from everybody. 3 Now, I don't know, then you get into the 4 King of the Mountain routine that if you're 5 there first and then they come and want to 6 cross, do you have to back up ten feet or do 7 they have to back up ten feet and I'm not 8 prepared to answer that right now. 9 That's one of the dilemmas we've got and 10 they've got to be able to get from the Bank 11 of Clearwater Building to the Church and you 12 got to be able to get from the Church or 13 from your building back and forth. 14 MR. MINTON: Right. Obviously, my 15 question in that respect and I appreciate 16 that comment that you made, was that by 17 positioning someone on the southwest corner 18 and somebody -- no, not the southwest, the -- 19 THE COURT: Southeast corner. 20 MR. MINTON: Southeast corner and the 21 northwest corner you would be playing games 22 by putting people there and I understand 23 that. 24 THE COURT: I realized when I drew this 25 up and I looked at that and I thought, you . 36 1 know, if you read all those abortion clinic 2 cases and I don't give you one street corner 3 somewhere, I don't think the appellate courts 4 would back me up. And I looked at one where 5 there was no entrance way or anything else 6 and I gave you a street corner and that was 7 the southeast street corner. 8 MR. MINTON: Right. 9 THE COURT: Now, that's enough. 10 MR. MINTON: Yes, sir, and I think that, 11 you know, judging from what you said 12 extending that to the north side of Pierce 13 Street which I believe is the one that runs 14 along the side of the Ft. Harrison that 15 wouldn't be prohibited there when it's 16 obviously prohibited on the south side or 17 permitted on the south side. 18 THE COURT: Well, you know, what do you 19 do walking across that block from Pierce up 20 to, up there where you -- the south side of 21 the Coachman Building, the parking lot. And 22 quite frankly, you know, like I said, I can't 23 cover everything. And you've been given a 24 big picket area and from the numbers I've 25 seen so far, you can't -- there's not even . 37 1 any way that there is going to be any 2 crowding or so many people in those areas 3 there that you need the other area. That's 4 all I can say. 5 MR. MINTON: Right, and then one final 6 point on this and a very important point I 7 think that you made is you haven't seen in 8 these videos a message to the general public. 9 Now, the reality of that is that the message 10 is -- 11 THE COURT: Bear in mind, I'm not asking 12 for a message to the general public. 13 MR. MINTON: Right. 14 THE COURT: I'm just telling you -- 15 MR. MINTON: You haven't see it. 16 THE COURT: -- that this is between you 17 all. 18 MR. MINTON: Right. 19 THE COURT: But you're tying the public 20 up. 21 MR. MINTON: Well, I understand that and 22 I appreciate that the Court has spent 23 considerable time over the last 12 or 14 24 days. 25 THE COURT: Not just the court, but when . 38 1 I look out there and I think of all the 2 off-duty policemen and the on-duty policemen, 3 I won't ever forget that one video where I 4 counted 11 police cruisers suddenly called 5 and then the police get out with their 6 videographers. I mean what did that cost the 7 taxpayers? 8 MR. MINTON: Yes. Well, the reason that 9 you don't see any videos with the message 10 that we are trying to get to the general 11 public is because those protests are 12 perfectly straightforward and normal and 13 there are plenty of videos of those events. 14 THE COURT: I'm not sure that's your 15 mission either. I'm not asking -- I'm just 16 saying that I think -- I guess what I was 17 trying to say is that I feel the mission is 18 different here. It is a very, very unique 19 situation. 20 MR. MINTON: Yes, sir. 21 THE COURT: This does not fall purely 22 into the abortion clinic mold. 23 MR. MINTON: Right, and I can honestly 24 say, Your Honor, that you know, I am the 25 guiltiest party of -- . 39 1 THE COURT: Maybe you better talk to 2 your attorney here. 3 MR. MINTON: I mean in terms of sort of 4 getting out there and being a little bit 5 aggressive, too aggressive and you know. 6 THE COURT: Well, I put you on probation 7 for six months. I don't know why, but 8 Mr. Minton, am I going to see you again in 9 six months? Good-bye. That's enough. Thank 10 you. 11 MR. MERRETT: Your Honor, excuse me. 12 (Whereupon, the Judge left the bench and 13 then after a moment returned.) 14 THE COURT: Mr. Merrett? 15 MR. MERRETT: Yes, Your Honor. 16 THE COURT: In regards to the spy camera 17 thing, I made my comment earlier. 18 MR. MERRETT: Yes, sir. 19 THE COURT: But I find you not guilty. 20 MR. MERRETT: Thank you. 21 THE COURT: And I find Mr. Merrett not 22 guilty. 23 MR. MERRETT: Mr. Minton, as well. 24 THE COURT: Or Mr. Minton. 25 MR. MERRETT: Thank you. Your Honor, . 40 1 one matter I wanted to address. 2 THE COURT: Sit down everybody. 3 MR. MERRETT: Your Honor, I assumed that 4 counsel, both for Mr. Minton and for 5 Scientology would stipulate that in the event 6 that an appeal is taken the Threep itself is 7 not a necessary item for review by the 8 appellate court. 9 I would ask ore tenus that the court 10 release it and if I should fail to pick it 11 up by five o'clock this afternoon, dispose 12 of it in some appropriate manner. 13 THE COURT: Okay, and what I will do is 14 request that for the purposes of the file put 15 a photograph of it in there or so that there 16 is at least in the file. 17 MR. MERRETT: Yes, sir. 18 THE COURT: And I guess I'm already on 19 the record previously as saying that boy, I 20 see a future there for somebody if they can 21 figure out the law on whether that's an 22 extension of the body or not for other 23 situations. 24 MR. MERRETT: As I say, Your Honor, I 25 would be gratified if the Court would . 41 1 undertake to dispose of it should I fail to 2 retrieve it this afternoon. 3 THE COURT: I understand what you're 4 saying and let the record be clear on that. 5 I'll come around the room. Let me get 6 Mr. Pope first. 7 MR. POPE: I had the impression that 8 with regard to Ms. Bezazian there was an open 9 issue about that blocking of the parking lot. 10 THE COURT: Yes, and I found her not 11 guilty there. 12 MR. POPE: Okay. 13 THE COURT: And I'll tell you why. Let 14 me tell you what shot you down big time; UPS. 15 MR. POPE: All right. 16 THE COURT: Hey, if you can't drive your 17 van through a space that a UPS truck gets 18 through, what's blocked? 19 MR. POPE: Okay. 20 THE COURT: Yes, sir. 21 MR. SURETTE: Your Honor, may I address 22 the Court on behalf the Clearwater Police 23 Department? 24 THE COURT: Sure. Yeah, I asked you to 25 come. Go ahead, yes, sir. . 42 1 MR. SURETTE: It's really my concern 2 based on the videotape that Mr. Bunker -- 3 THE COURT: No, now let me make 4 something real clear on that. I recognize 5 that videotape for what it is, biased 6 propaganda. 7 Now, when I go look at these over here 8 with footage galore of Clearwater police 9 officers telling these people what they can 10 and can't do and some of the other 11 instances, it doesn't take a rocket 12 scientist to know what's going on. 13 Now, you want to address that, that's 14 fine. Don't talk to me about that video. 15 That's junk. Sorry, Mark, but that as far 16 as in a court of law, that's exactly what it 17 is. 18 MR. SURETTE: May I approach, Your 19 Honor. I just wanted to make sure that the 20 court has a complete view of some of the 21 background leading up to that videotape and 22 basically -- 23 THE COURT: That videotape? 24 MR. SURETTE: That videotape. 25 THE COURT: You can talk all you want, . 43 1 but I ain't going to sit and listen to it. 2 MR. SURETTE: Well, it's -- 3 THE COURT: I told you, I don't have 4 anything to do with that videotape. Well, 5 wait a minute. I'll tell you what I will do. 6 I did allow them the show it. I'll give a 7 forum, but I want the record clear that I'm 8 not -- I'm more concerned about other 9 matters. 10 MR. SURETTE: Well, I think the 11 videotape, however, is a representation of 12 those concerns and that is the number of 13 off-duty -- 14 THE COURT: That's their concern. 15 MR. MERRETT: -- who have been working, 16 and what I wanted to do, Your Honor, Chief 17 Klein after he received a copy of 18 Mr. Bunker's videotape and again I would 19 mention that as a representation of the 20 concerns that you've expressed in a memo 21 dated November 9, which I've included in the 22 packet of information, prior to the 23 November 9 memo, the Chief shared that 24 videotape with all the members of his command 25 staff which I was attending the monthly . 44 1 meeting. 2 Subsequent to that videotape, the Chief 3 went ahead and sent a copy of that videotape 4 to the City Manager and all of the 5 commissioners as well as the press and in 6 that letter he expressed his, basically some 7 of the concerns regarding the videotape and 8 again stated that he recognized that there 9 was friction and confrontations that had 10 been basically continuing, seemingly 11 indefinitely, between the two parties and 12 believed it was in the best interest of the 13 Clearwater citizens and taxpayers to 14 continue allowing off-duty officers to work 15 to maintain the public peace and order. 16 The proverbial rock and the hard place 17 the Clearwater police have found themselves 18 in is trying to deal with two contentious 19 sides that in the past were repeating 20 calling police officers were on duty out to 21 respond to the confrontations. 22 Usually that necessitated a sergeant to 23 respond to the scene and then subsequently 24 the lieutenant, tying up at least three 25 officers from important calls, serious calls . 45 1 that taxpayers and the citizens of this 2 community -- 3 THE COURT: Let that record be real 4 clear that's why I started holding these 5 hearings on the weekend, which cost money to 6 the sheriff's office, because of the 7 shenanigans that are going on here and I was 8 also scheduled to start last week a four to 9 eight week trial, the second known as Son of 10 Pipeline and you know what that means in this 11 county, which had to do with the pipeline 12 bringing water to everybody in this circuit 13 or at least in Pinellas County and my concern 14 was to get this heard. And when my regular 15 trial calendar was such that I could move 16 some of those jury trials and do this, I gave 17 you number one attention to get this taken 18 care of for the good of the policemen and 19 Clearwater. 20 Now, I'm trying to tell you that what I 21 saw on some of this other stuff, it appears 22 that some of your officers are being duped. 23 And if they don't understand exactly how the 24 ordinances or how the junction applies, you, 25 as their attorney, ask for a court hearing. . 46 1 Now, I know in the past when Mr. Merrett 2 entered the scene there were telephone 3 conferences or question and things were 4 worked out with Paul Johnson, etcetera and 5 Mr. Pope. That was lacking this time. You 6 know it as well as I do. 7 MR. SURETTE: Your Honor, subsequent to 8 the presentations of that tape I had two 9 telephone conversations with Mr. Merrett in 10 which I expressed to him on behalf of Chief 11 Klein the Chief's basic sensitivity to the 12 representations and the allegation that were 13 contained in Mr. Bunker's tape and my 14 specific words were the intent of the 15 telephone call was to open the door, that the 16 Chief did not want numerous officers working 17 off-duty. 18 The Chief already found himself in a 19 position where he provided such services to 20 numerous other churches, Sears and Roebuck, 21 other organizations that he had an 22 obligation to taxpayers, an obligation to 23 treat the Church as he would treat any other 24 organization, however if there was something 25 what Mr. Minton and his organization could . 47 1 do to limit the activities that were 2 occurring out there that necessitated police 3 response, Chief Klein was prepared to 4 withdraw all of those officers immediately. 5 Now, I presented a packet, Your Honor, 6 and the only purpose of that was to try to 7 demonstrate that there has been an 8 extraordinary effort on behalf of the Chief 9 of Police to ensure the officers acted 10 impartially. 11 There is a training bulletin that I 12 included in the packet, one of which by the 13 way was triggered by the incident contained 14 on that videotape regarding a incident 15 involving an Officer Kelly who told a 16 videographer to go ahead and turn off that 17 and had some confusion regarding 18 interception of oral commmunications, 19 etcetera. 20 The police department is willing to work 21 with both sides in some way to extricating 22 the officers from that situation. It is a 23 no-win situation and I just -- 24 THE COURT: I've already put that in the 25 record. . 48 1 MR. SURETTE: And you're suggesting, 2 Your Honor, that you made regarding attorneys 3 should meet trying to work out some sort of 4 agreement whereby the officers could reduce 5 their presence out there. I think it's an 6 extremely conducive and constructive 7 suggestion. 8 I'm more than willing to meet with both 9 sides and try to work out some solution to 10 reduce the presence of it. But the only 11 purpose of my being here, Your Honor, was to 12 try to ensure that any adverse impression 13 you got based on the representations 14 contained in those tapes in not a complete 15 picture. 16 The officers who work out there -- 17 THE COURT: Well, let the record be real 18 clear. I've had both sides telling with 19 these tapes and they've been showing where 20 they're been spliced, doctored, put together 21 upside down, sideways and everything else. 22 So, you know, I fully understand what you're 23 telling me. And I had to deal with them with 24 what they showed and snippets from here and 25 snippets from there and the record is . 49 1 replete, nine days, where's the whole tape; 2 where's this, where that, but the thing that 3 I am deeply concerned about is that last time 4 things were worked out there seemed to be 5 more of a -- if there was a question, and I 6 mean I went to great lengths to color code 7 this thing and to personally Xerox each copy 8 of my home -- my own cost. 9 Let this record be clear, so that your 10 people in the trenches wouldn't have any 11 questions as far as the designated color 12 areas. And make it clear, but the phone 13 calls and the cooperation that was existent 14 last year was nonexistent this year. And I 15 was here ready willing and able that answer 16 any questions and nobody asked me. Thank 17 you all very much. 18 (Thereupon, the proceedings were 19 concluded.) 20 21 22 23 24 25 . 50 1 CERTIFICATE OF REPORTER 2 STATE OF FLORIDA ) 3 COUNTY OF PINELLAS ) 4 I, JACKIE L. OSTROM, in and for the 5 Sixth Judicial Circuit, State of Florida: 6 DO HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing 7 proceedings were had at the time and place 8 set forth in the caption thereof; that I was 9 authorized to and did stenographically 10 report the said proceedings and that the 11 foregoing pages, numbered 1 through 50, 12 inclusive, is a true and correct 13 transcription of said stenographic report. 14 IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto 15 affixed my official signature and seal of 16 office this 22nd day of February, 2001 at 17 Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida. 18 19 20 ��������������������������� JACKIE L. OSTROM 21 Notary Public, State of Florida, at Large 22 23 24 25 .