THINGS GOT HEAVY in U.S. District Court yesterday and it even blew the judge's mind.
Simple concepts like "phone number" and "address" took on deeper meaning for activist Adam Kokesh, as freedom for the ex-Marine meant the freedom to remain in jail for at least a few more days.
Kokesh, 31, was arrested at Saturday's "Smokedown Prohibition" on Independence Mall, where activists sought support for their effort to decriminalize marijuana.
He told his public defender, James McHugh, that he'd rather stay in jail than divulge his address and phone number to the U.S. Attorney's Office. He told McHugh he feared for his safety and couldn't accept bail terms that would prohibit him from having a firearm or would make his home address public.
"Does that make sense?" McHugh asked U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Rueter.
"No, it doesn't. I want to release you today," Rueter responded, looking at Kokesh.
Kokesh almost budged.
"This is the defendant's choice," Rueter said. "Mr. Kokesh is his own jailer."
Authorities allege that Kokesh and comedian Richard Tamaccio "assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded, and interfered" with federal officers at the monthly Smokedown Prohibition, during which activists regularly smoke marijuana near the Liberty Bell.
Tamaccio, whose stage name is N.A. Poe, waived a probable-cause hearing yesterday and was released shortly afterward.
Rueter gave Tamaccio permission to travel to California later this month for stand-up comedy gigs.
During Kokesh's probable-cause hearing, McHugh argued that Kokesh was simply standing near people who were smoking marijuana at the event, when a park ranger "pushed" into him. Rueter, however, found there was enough probable cause to move forward with the case against him.
National Park Service Law Enforcement Specialist Donald Reed tesitified that there was an increased police presence, about 86 federal and Philadelphia officers, at Saturday's Smokedown Prohibition because there had been complaints about marijuana use at prior events.
Reed also said they were aware of Kokesh prior to the event.
Kokesh, according to a recent profile in The Washington Post, is planning a large protest against "tyranny" on July 4 in Washington, D.C., but first he has another detention hearing scheduled for next week.