Grieving father Jonathan Vanderhagen, who was thrown in jail with a $500,000 bond after making social media posts exposing a judge he blames for taking away his now-deceased son, was acquitted today on all charges in a Macomb County, Mich. courtroom.
Big League Politics reported on this case last week, and it has gained national attention due to its unconstitutional and overreaching implications. Vanderhagen’s lawyer, Nicholas Somberg, made the announcement that his client was exonerated today on social media.
“I asked in my closing for a QUICK Not Guilty to send a message to the prosecutor that this was WRONG,” Somberg declared in a Facebook post.
“Jury deliberated for 26 minutes and 8 seconds … Jonathan Vanderhagen is FREE!!!” he added.
Earlier in the day, Somberg noted that Vanderhagen took the stand and gave testimony about his painful ordeal. There was “not a dry eye in the room” as Vanderhagen talked about the pain of losing a young daughter and then being punished by the courts for speaking out about what had happened.
Vanderhagen was given an opportunity to take a plea deal and avoid trial, but refused to admit guilt to a crime he did not believe he committed. He was eventually vindicated by a jury of his own peers, who affirmed his right to free speech in the court of law earlier today.
The nightmare began for Vanderhagen after he lost a custody battle for his son over two years ago, and then his son died shortly after while in his mother’s custody. He had warned the court about the mother’s history of unstable behavior, but his pleas were ultimately ignored by Judge Rachel Rancilio and the court referee. Vanderhagen believes their decision was ill-advised and possibly led to his son’s untimely death.
Vanderhagen expressed his anguish on social media afterward, assigning blame toward Judge Rancilio for her role in the custody hearing. As a result, Rancilio complained about her safety, and the Macomb County Sheriff’s office charged Jonathan with malicious use of telecommunications services to protect her from Vanderhagen’s free speech.
Rancilio tried to garner sympathy in the court room earlier in the week by claiming on the stand that she received numerous death threats because of Vanderhagen’s social media posts. Rancilio had hoped an example would be made of Vanderhagen so the little people would know the consequences that resulted from speaking ill of the kritarchy.
“It wasn’t just one post,” she said while attempting to produce crocodile tears. “It was a compilation of it all. … I was scared something was going to happen to myself, my children.”
“The death threats I’ve been getting as a result of this stuff is horrifying. I’m terrified. It continues to this day,” she added.
Rancilio’s sentiments were ultimately rejected by the jury, who found that Vanderhagen’s 1st Amendment rights were more important than her subjective feelings.
While Vanderhagen’s life has been harmed substantially because of a court system desperate to shield its own, justice was finally served today with a victory for whistle-blowers against judicial tyranny nationwide.
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HUGE: 5th Circuit Court Affirms Texas Abortion Ban During Coronavirus Pandemic
A big league victory for sanity.
The 5th Circuit Court has issued a decision allowing the state of Texas to ban elective abortions during the coronavirus pandemic, as medical supplies are in high demand to treat victims of the illness.
The panel made the ruling by a 2-1 margin on Tuesday. The majority cited “the escalating spread of COVID-19, and the state’s critical interest in protecting the public health” in making their decision.
Breaking: 5th Circuit rules for Texas in case over coronavirus abortion ban. Judge Kyle Duncan, a Trump appointee, cites "the escalating spread of COVID-19, and the state’s critical interest in protecting the public health."
— Emma Platoff (@emmaplatoff) April 7, 2020
Judges Stuart Kyle Duncan, a Trump appointee, and Jennifer Elrod, an appointee of George W. Bush, made up the majority while Judge James Dennis, a Clinton appointee, dissented with the ruling.
“That settled rule allows the state to restrict, for example, one’s right to peaceably assemble, to publicly worship, to travel, and even to leave one’s home,” the majority wrote. “The right to abortion is no exception.”
The panel also determined that the lower court erred when they refused to apply the Supreme Court’s test to determine the constitutionality of abortion restrictions. The SCOTUS test pertains to the legal review of weighing the burden on a woman’s access to abortion services against the medical benefits of the restrictions on abortion.
The majority ultimately determined that the lower court “failed to balance (the Texas restriction’s) temporary burdens on abortion against its benefits in thwarting a public health crisis.”
“The bottom line is this: when faced with a society-threatening epidemic, a state may implement emergency measures that curtail constitutional rights so long as the measures have at least some “real or substantial relation” to the public health crisis,” Judge Duncan and Judge Elrod wrote in their majority opinion.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a guidance last month declaring that all abortions “not medically necessary to preserve the life or health” of the woman would be considered a “non-essential” medical service throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors who refuse to comply and murder babies in the womb despite the order are subject to “penalties of up to $1,000 or 180 days of jail time.”
The Democrat on the panel is dismayed with the opinion of the majority and would have preferred to keep the baby-mutilating industry going in Texas while coronavirus poses a serious threat to public safety.
“In a time where panic and fear already consume our daily lives, the majority’s opinion inflicts further panic and fear on women in Texas by depriving them, without justification, of their constitutional rights, exposing them to the risks of continuing an unwanted pregnancy, as well as the risks of travelling to other states in search of time-sensitive medical care,” Dennis wrote.
Because of this ruling, Texas is permitted to make common-sense decisions to conserve medical supplies during an unprecedented crisis.
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