Tag Archives: Free Speech

Free Speech: Too much, not enuf?

 

 

 

 

 

Update: Danny Goad was released from jail six days after his arrest for contempt of court.

 

Danny Goad has kids that are in the Botetourt County school system.

Obviously, he was unhappy enough with some of the goings-on in that system that he chose to raise local awareness. The court has not convicted him of defamation of character, but since last Thursday, July 5th, 2012, he has spent 72 hours in isolation for refusing to answer a question that could implicate his son. If you start at the bottom of this page and work your way up, you’ll kind of get the story of what happened between last December and last Thursday, when Danny was put in jail.

Today Danny will be moved into a “pod”. He can visit with his family for one hour a week, beginning this Wednesday.

There are a lot of unanswered questions….How long will he be imprisoned for contempt of court, without bail or bond? (A mechanical engineer by profession, Danny’s continued absence puts his job at risk.) Is this just punishment, in a civil lawsuit? Do individual liberties still count for something, under the Constitution, when accused of saying too much, or saying too little?

Danny’s friends ask that letters of support and donations to his legal fund be sent to PO Box 370, Fincastle VA, 24910.

This says a lot about who Danny Goad is, in his own words, from February 23, 2010:

 

2010.02.23

Danny Goad seeks chairmanship of 6th District Republicans

Danny Goad of Botetourt is seeking the chairmanship of the 6th District Republicans — the congressional district that runs from Roanoke up into the Shenandoah Valley.

Here’s the letter he’s sent out:

Citizens of the Sixth Congressional District,

It is with great anticipation and a strong sense of duty to serve that I write to you. After encouragement of many throughout the district I want to let you know that I am running for Chairman of the Republican Party of the Sixth Congressional District of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I believe as a nation and a state our best days are yet to come and that freedom fought and died for by our Founders is resurging. Great encouragement should be taken in the activity we are seeing in groups in our localities like the tea parties and Constitutional advocacy groups. For freedom to endure we must set the stage for it to be nurtured. We cannot sit idly by and think that business as usual will accomplish the task. We must be deliberate in what we do. We must have a plan for correcting the things that we are not doing well as the Republican Party.

As Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District I will work hard to strengthen the local units in accomplishing our stated goals and to grow the Party. The purpose of the Republican Party is threefold. First, we have an obligation to advocate the principles of the Republican Party and represent those electing us in our respective units. Second, we have an obligation to work hard to get Republican candidates elected to office. Lastly, we have an obligation to assist elected Republican office holders as they have need to attend meetings or otherwise assist them. I believe the Sixth Congressional District does a good job working on campaigns and assisting elected Republicans.

As we reflect on the events of the last year we recognize that our district is not what it was one year ago. Something has changed. Citizens are on their own volition speaking out in a constructive manner on the issues of liberty and the role of government. Once again citizens are talking about the Constitution like it means what it says. While Republicans recognize that this resurgence of liberty is a good thing, we must be true to ourselves and acknowledge it did not originate in the Republican Party. We must ask ourselves right here in the Sixth District what we must do differently to nurture this freedom.

We have a great opportunity to participate in this renewal of freedom. Our greatest strength is our principles. What we say we believe is the only thing that makes us different from the Democrat Party. The principles of the Republican Party are quite simple and are expressed concisely in the Virginia Republican Creed. Of particular note is the fourth clause of the Creed which refers to Constitutional limitations. As I have intently listened to many citizen groups in the last year I get the sense they feel the Republican Party has let them down in the Party’s failure to abide by Constitutional limitations. Specifically, they say, “On what authority does the federal government have the permission to dictate what health care plan we have? On what authority do you pass the TARP legislation and provide no accounting of the funds? On what authority do you pass ex post facto legislation that targets specific individuals and takes their assets?” These are but a few examples of concerns of the citizen’s groups. Many citizens feel to a large degree that the response of the Republican Party has been silence. Recognizing our weakness is the first step in gaining the confidence of those who feel our actions do not match our rhetoric. As Chairman of the Sixth District I will not be silent on these issues.

We declare that we are a grassroots organization when we need someone to volunteer with the campaign but we sometimes cringe when we are asked by a volunteer why an elected Republican took a certain position on an issue. I think this is a natural human response. We don’t like it when the actions of elected representatives that we campaigned for are questioned. However, we must be willing to hear the concerns of citizens and be willing to advocate for them when we view their concern and recognize it as consistent with the Republican Creed and Constitution.

The Sixth District Republican Party has the opportunity to embrace freedom in a manner not paralleled in recent history. If we embrace the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, the Republican Party will grow. As Chairman I will lead that effort.

Very briefly I will tell you some of my political experience and I’ll follow-up with more at a later time. In 1992, I joined the Republican Party and went to my first state convention in Salem. In 1993, I was elected Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Hampton and was responsible for organizing the city-wide campaign of more than 300 volunteers. Simultaneously, I was City Coordinator for Mike Farris for Lieutenant Governor. 1994-Elected to Hampton City School Board, organized North for Senate campaign in Hampton. 1997, 1998-Elected Chairman of the Giles County Republican Committee. 2001-SW VA Area Director Jay Katzen for Lt. Governor. 2006,2008-Elected Vice-Chairman of the Botetourt County Republican Committee. I have a record of growing the Republican Party.

By trade I am a Mechanical Engineer, licensed in two states, and hold an engineering degree from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the College of William and Mary. I am also a graduate of The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding.

I am married and have six children.

We have a fantastic opportunity to more fully embrace the ideals of our Founders: the opportunity to pass a greater freedom to our posterity. Let’s work together to promote liberty in the Sixth District. Will you join me in reaching out to Virginians who share our vision of limited government who have not been active in a political party? Will you join me in my campaign for Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District? Please call or email me and I will let you know how you can get involved in my campaign.

Sincerely,

Danny H. Goad

 

 

Friday, July 06, 2012

Botetourt County man held in contempt after refusing court order

Danny Goad refused to answer a question that could implicate his son.

By Duncan Adams
981-3324

Botetourt County resident Danny H. Goad ended up jailed Thursday without bond for contempt of court after a hearing in Botetourt County Circuit Court.

Goad refused to comply with Circuit Judge Michael Irvine’s order to answer a question relevant to a civil lawsuit in which Goad is a co-defendant. The judge had earlier ordered Goad to respond to a deposition question from the plaintiff inquiring about who had helped Goad distribute allegedly defamatory fliers in early October that focused on former Lord Botetourt High School Principal Tim Bane.

Goad said he refused to answer the question because he took full responsibility for the fliers’ distribution and did not want to involve others.

On the witness stand Thursday, Goad continued to refuse to comply. Authorities have said that his son, Cullen D. Goad, a co-defendant in the civil case, was involved in the distribution.

Irvine reacted strongly to Danny Goad’s refusal to obey the court order.

“This goes to fundamentally our whole justice system,” Irvine said.

If people take it upon themselves not to comply with the rule of law, he said, “our whole system fails.”

Bane and his attorney Bill Cleaveland filed a lawsuit Dec. 5 that alleged the fliers included defamatory material about Bane that had damaged his reputation and profession, and caused “shame, embarrassment and humiliation.” It sought $75,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.

Bane had been reassigned in June 2011 from his duties as high school principal, but school officials, citing confidentiality in personnel matters, declined to say why. He no longer works for the school division.

The fliers, distributed at an Oct. 7 home football game and two days later at two churches, implied that Bane’s reassignment could have resulted from criminal behavior or professional misconduct. Tony Brads, superintendent of Botetourt County Public Schools, has said Bane had violated neither the law nor school board policy.

On Thursday, Irvine told Goad and his attorney, Melvin Williams, that Goad can get out of jail by complying with the court order and responding to Cleaveland’s question.

Williams and Goad have asserted that the content of the fliers distributed in early October is protected by the First Amendment.

 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Botetourt defamation defendant jailed after refusing judge’s order

Danny H. Goad won’t reveal who helped him distribute fliers last October that a former county school principal said damaged his reputation.

By Duncan Adams | The Roanoke Times

Botetourt County resident Danny H. Goad refused to comply this morning with a Botetourt County Circuit judge’s order to answer a question relevant to a civil lawsuit in which Goad is a defendant and ended up jailed without bond for contempt of court.Judge Michael Irvine had ordered Goad to answer a deposition question that had asked who had helped him distribute fliers in early October that were critical of former Lord Botetourt High School Principal Tim Bane, who no longer works for Botetourt County Public Schools.

On the witness stand today, Goad continued to refuse to name who had helped him distribute the fliers at a home football game and two churches in the county. His son, Cullen D. Goad, is a co-defendant in the civil case and was allegedly one of the distributors.

Bane and his attorney Bill Cleaveland filed a lawsuit Dec. 5 that alleged the fliers included defamatory material about Bane that had damaged his reputation and profession, and caused “shame, embarrassment and humiliation.” It sought $75,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.

Today, Danny Goad said he refused to answer the question because he took full responsibility for the fliers’ distribution and did not want to involve others.

Irvine told Goad he can get out of jail by complying with the court order and responding to the question asked by Cleaveland.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Former Botetourt County principal files suit over fliers

The former principal of Lord Botetourt High School says a man and his son spread defamatory material about his reassignment.

By Duncan Adams
981-3324

A former high school principal in Botetourt County is suing a county resident and his son for defamation for their alleged role in distributing fliers in early October that implied the principal’s reassignment in June could have resulted from criminal behavior, such as embezzlement, or abuse of students, sexual harassment or other professional misconduct.

Tim Bane, former principal at Lord Botetourt High School, is suing Danny H. and Cullen D. Goad, alleging that the father and son distributed defamatory fliers at an Oct. 7 home football game and again, in a slightly different version, on Oct. 9 at two churches in the county.

For the alleged defamation, the lawsuit filed Monday seeks $75,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages. Additional compensation is sought under a section that suggests the fliers’ distribution resulted from a conspiracy to injure Bane’s reputation.

The lawsuit alleges damage to Bane’s reputation and profession and suggests the former principal has “suffered shame, embarrassment and humiliation” as a result of the fliers’ implications.

When interviewed Tuesday afternoon, Danny Goad said he had not seen the lawsuit. He neither denied nor admitted involvement in placing the fliers.

Instead, Goad said school division officials have an obligation to explain the circumstances of Bane’s reassignment.

“My reaction to [the lawsuit] would be that the citizens of Botetourt County and the parents and children of Botetourt County have a right to know about what happened that resulted in his reassignment,” Goad said.

The lawsuit, he said, is a way to communicate that “they will crush anyone who dares ask a question of the government.”

Maj. Delbert Dudding of the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday that officers working the football game had observed Danny and Cullen Goad at the scene and told them to stop distributing the fliers.

The football game flier posed a question: “Why was Principal Bane demoted?”

It then offered five reasons and instructed, “Choose the best answer.”

One possible selection was, “He abused his power over subordinates and had inappropriate relations with teachers.” Another was, “He embezzled taxpayer money.”

The flier deposited on windshields at churches asked, “Has your son or daughter been abused by Principal Bane?”

Both versions ask, “Why has the Commonwealth [sic] Attorney Joel R. Branscom done absolutely nothing?”

After the fliers’ October distribution, Botetourt County schools Superintendent Tony Brads reacted with some heat, describing their content as “misleading and inflammatory.” He emphasized then that Bane had neither broken the law nor violated school board policy.

Brads has said the circumstances of Bane’s reassignment are a personnel matter and remain confidential. In October, Bane was working for the division as a safety officer.

Lawyer Bill Cleaveland filed the lawsuit on Bane’s behalf.

He described the fliers’ contents as malicious and reckless.

“We believe there is no protection for this kind of behavior under the First Amendment,” Cleaveland said.

He said Bane is experiencing some problems applying for employment “because of this trash being spread around in Botetourt.”

“You throw something like this out and suddenly no one will talk to him,” Cleaveland said.

 

 

 

Where did the love go? Part 2

“Office Policy” vs Constitution

Griffith said his staff didn’t call the police on the protestors. They simply, in accordance with a new policy enacted after the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., let the police know ahead of time that a crowd was anticipated.    Bristol Herald Courier

A tea party supporter from Patrick County stopped by Morgan Griffith’s office on Wednesday, March 16th on his way to Blacksburg. His wife had told him about the protest. When the gentleman decided to talk to some of the nice office ladies about some of the issues and asked Griffith’s office manager why the police were there, he was told that the DC office instructed them to “phone the police and have them insist on a permit or disband.”

So Griffith’s staff didn’t call the police on the protestors—only they did.  Because of this ‘new policy’. So, here’s the question:  Does ”Office Policy” trump the US and Virginia Constitution?  Ninth District Liberty Coalition member Phil Spence, after speaking at length with Griffith’s Chief of Staff, Kelly Lungren,  isn’t satisfied with the Congressman’s response.

So he asks the Governor. Here is his letter:

P O Box 333                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 New                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             New Castle, VA 24127-0333

The Honorable Bob McDonnell

GovernorP.O. Box 1475

Richmond, Virginia 23218

Governor McDonnell,

On Wednesday, March 16, 2011, the Ninth District Liberty Coalition, in conjunction with members from The New River Valley TEA Party, arrived in front of U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith’s office to peaceably protest his recent house votes.

Upon arrival we were met by the Christiansburg Chief of Police who informed us that Representative Griffith’s office had notified his office of our planned visit.  Police Chief Sisson stated that we must have a permit to assemble or we would be cited with disorderly conduct.  We asked Chief Sisson if we refused a permit and refused to disperse after a citation, would he arrest us, Representative Griffith’s constituents?  His response was that he hoped it would not come to that.

At this point, it must be stated that Chief Sisson treated us respectfully and behaved with professionalism.  We believe Chief Sisson was put into a position that was unfair to him, that of being called to the scene by Representative Griffith’s office.

Sir, this behavior by our “representative” is seen by us to be a constitutionally questionable action which is unacceptable to us, the citizens of Virginia.  The response coming from Representative Griffith’s office was that this is now “office policy” and that the Sergeant-At-Arms had “privately” advised House members to follow this policy.  This too is wholly unacceptable to us in that rules which concern us are being made in “private”—and that we are not able to see or access these rules, or this process.  Where is the constitutional justification for this process?

Speaking for my own conscience, I did not on this day seek a permit, and at no point in the future shall I ever ask permission from my “representative” or any other form or face of government, for any behavior, speech or action, that I as a sovereign citizen of this commonwealth undertake.

                                          Article 1, Section 2, Constitution of Virginia

 That the freedom of speech and the press are among the great bulwarks of liberty and can never be restrained

 except by despotic governments, that any citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all

 subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; that the General Assembly shall not pass any law

 abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, nor the right of the people peaceably to assemble and

 petition the government for the redress of grievances.

 

As the Governor of this Commonwealth and past Attorney General, how, in the light of this passage, can any county or corporate subdivision whatsoever have or enforce a statute that could in any way supersede my birthright of freedom of assembly?

Today we know not the names of or how many patriot martyrs paid in blood for this guarantee of our liberty preexisting:

                                 Article 1, Section 1, Constitution of Virginia

 That all men are by nature equally independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into

 a state of society, they cannot by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely the enjoyment of life and

 liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

 

Where is the compact that we the people have acceded to, whereby the corporate entity of Christiansburg, may for one moment by any corporate by-law or statute presume upon the liberties of the people?

Sir, your endorsement of U.S. Representative Griffith indirectly enjoins you in this matter.

Your standing as first civil magistrate on the Commonwealth of Virginia with a constitutional trustee obligation to the people of Virginia directly enjoins your response.

At this time we place the issue forward and stand in necessity of your answer and direction

We anticipate your speedy reply of assurance that you stand with us as we proceed in this situation.  As always, our hand of cooperation is extended to help propel Virginia forward.

With Highest Regards,

Phillip H. Spence

CC:     Attorney General, The Honorable Ken Cuccinelli

The Honorable Mr. George Allen

Here is Attorney General Cuccinelli’s reply:

Dear Mr. Spence:

Thank you for contacting the Office of Attorney General Kenneth T.
Cuccinelli, II.

This office however is prohibited by code from providing legal
opinions or advice to private citizens.  Section 2.2-505 of the Code
of Virginia is the statutory provision that authorizes the Attorney
General to render official advisory opinions.  The statute provides
that:

A.  The Attorney General shall give his advice and render official
advisory opinions in writing only when requested in writing so to do
by one of the following: the Governor; a member of the General
Assembly; a judge of a court of record or a judge of a court not of
record; the State Corporation Commission; an attorney for the
Commonwealth; a county, city or town attorney in those localities in
which such office has been created; a clerk of a court of record; a
city or county sheriff; a city or county treasurer or similar officer;
a commissioner of the revenue or similar officer; a chairman or
secretary of an electoral board; or the head of a state department,
division, bureau, institution or board.

The General Assembly has not authorized the Attorney General to render
an official opinion except as expressly provided.  I regret that this
Office is unable to respond to your request.

Sincerely,

Audrey

—-

Audrey D. Jackson

Director, Legislative and Government Affairs

Office of the Attorney General

900 East Main Street