Sep 032010
 
 September 3, 2010  Court, Surveillance

Peter Hermann of the Baltimore Sun reports:

Norman Christopher Usiak was in a hurry. The attorney from Frederick had briefs to file, and in the rush, he couldn’t remember where he put his wallet. He was wearing dark pants and a white T-shirt, an un-lawyerly ensemble a police officer described as “looking disheveled.”

It was 4:10 in the afternoon and the Maryland Court of Appeals building in Annapolis closed in 20 minutes.

The regular bailiffs had gone home, replaced by a police officer for the Maryland Department of General Services, which runs and secures state office buildings.

Usiak signed his name in the register but refused the officer’s demand to show a photo Identification.

Police wrote in a report that the attorney told them he left his driver’s license in his car and didn’t feel like walking back. Usiak said he refused out of principle.

He said that being forced to show an ID “is the antithesis of access to a free court system. I took a stand. It was offensive to me.” He said the rule bars people who don’t have picture IDs from availing themselves of the justice system.

Usiak’s “stand” on June 1, 2007, landed him in handcuffs and, he said, into a hot police car, where he was left until he vomited. Then he was taken to a police station, where he said he was shackled to a basement pipe before being fingerprinted, photographed and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and failure to obey the lawful order of a police officer.

Read more in the Chicago Tribune.

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