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Green Delaware Action Alert #87

American Civil Liberties Union represents 
arrested Delaware environmental leader

        Many requests to Governor Minner for 
dropping of charges and apology

Court Hearing: Friday February 9th, 10 AM in Dover

Port Penn, DE. February 8, 2001.  The information below is very similar to 
that in a recent Green Delaware press release.  Since Green Delaware Alerts 
are directed primarily to our members and friends, we add a few additional 
thoughts:

Green Delaware's target audience is those who support democracy and freedom 
of speech.  To all those who have written or spoken about against what 
happened to Muller, our sincere thanks.  To those who have not, and 
especially to those who have applauded this harassment, be assured that it 
not only CAN happen to you, it IS happening to you.  The reasons you can't 
breathe clean and safe air and water, protect yourself and your loved ones 
from cancer, or control the development that is devastating Delaware, are 
the same reasons a Green Delaware representative was dragged from the House 
of Representatives.  If you think you can solve YOUR problem by sucking up 
to the powers that be, and selling our your colleagues, you are 
wrong.  Speak up for freedom.  Or, the next time you have an environmental 
problem, take it to the Governor, or the Capitol Police.// Sincerely, Alan 
Muller

        * * * * * * * * * * *
Green Delaware is an environmental and public health advocacy group that 
has worked to keep garbage incinerators out of Delaware, to stop dumping of 
raw sewage, and on other campaigns.  Successes don't come easily, and are 
resented by some,  in a place with a reputation for control of the 
political system by big developers and polluters.  Alan Muller is a 
reporter and lobbyist for Green Delaware.  On January 16th, 2001, Muller 
was in Dover, DE, to report on the inauguration of Gov. Elect Ruth Ann 
Minner, a long-time presence in Delaware politics; known for her 
indifference to Green Delaware's concerns and her close ties to industrial 
and development interests.  Muller picked up literature showing who had 
paid for the inauguration, and asked questions about a "private" reception 
in the new Public Archives building.  Soon, Capital Police were following 
Muller around Delaware's Legislative Hall, where he is well known as a 
registered lobbyist.  Capitol Police officers Thomas Kashner and David Hunt 
took Muller outside, saying "you are asking questions...now we are going to 
ask YOU questions," and threatening to "lock you up."   The officers 
indicated they intended to keep following Muller around.  A few minutes 
later, while seated peacefully in the House of Representatives, in a seat 
designated by the Sergeant at Arms, Muller was dragged from the House, 
arrested, handcuffed, manacled to a bench in a cell, and charged with 
criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.  Officer Kashner berated him for 
asking about his Miranda rights, asked him to disclose the name of every 
organization he belonged to (suggesting Green Peace), and said "you were 
making people uncomfortable...that's illegal."  Police then took Muller 
before Justice of the Peace Agnes E.  Pennella.  They sought and received a 
"condition of bail" banning Muller from Legislative Hall and from contact 
with Gov. Minner, claiming that Muller represented a threat to the 
functioning of the General Assembly.  John Flaherty, long-time lobbyist for 
Common Cause, called the events "unbelievable," saying that the only person 
he recalled being banned from Legislative Hall had threatened to kill people.
Attorney David Finger is representing Muller in cooperation with the 
Delaware Chapter of the ACLU.  The ACLU notes: "ACLU sponsorship means, 
first, that the imprimatur of the nation's leading defender of civil rights 
and civil liberties is placed on the case.  It is a notice to courts and 
the public that the case is considered important to the protection of civil 
rights and civil liberties." Finger has filed a motion asking that the ban 
from Legislative Hall be rescinded, stating: "The right of citizens to 
attend and observe the legislative process is protected by ... the 
Constitution of the State of Delaware, in addition to the First Amendment 
to the Constitution of the United States ... thus, the Condition infringes 
upon defendant's constitutional and statutory rights. ... He is a respected 
citizen whose efforts on behalf of Green Delaware have benefited 
Delawareans...."

Many people have written Gov.  Minner, other elected officials, and the 
newspapers, objecting to the arrest and banishment  Some examples:

"Dear Governor Minner, I was appalled to hear of the January 16th arrest of 
a peaceful citizen, Mr. Alan Muller, in Delaware's Legislative Hall.  This 
arrest undermines the democratic principles on which our nation was 
founded. Government harassment of individuals and groups who exercise their 
constitutional right to freedom of speech will not be tolerated.  I 
respectfully ask that this situation be corrected immediately, an apology 
extended to Mr. Muller and his charges dropped."

"To the editor [of the Wilmington, Delaware, News Journal]: The recent 
arrest of a peaceful citizen in Legislative Hall on the day of Minner's 
inauguration appalls me. As a result, Mr. Muller has been denied contact 
with Minner's staff and entrance to Legislative Hall.  On the other hand, 
wealthy corporate sponsors (polluters and developers) are treated 
royally.  Just who does our government work for?  This  threatens the very 
basis of democratic government. It reminds me of something which might 
happen in a third world dictatorship wanting to squash dissenting 
voices.  If Minner truly plans on being "the most accessible governor yet," 
she should extend an apology to Mr. Muller, have his charges dropped, and 
restore public trust in our government."

"Letter to the Editor:  I was appalled to hear what happened to a vigilant 
environmentalist, Alan Muller. ... We need people like Alan Muller to keep 
in check what goes on in the kingdom of Legislative Hall.  He is our watch 
dog for the environment and should not be shut out of Legislative Hall.  If 
not for people hike him, how are we to know if our representatives are 
doing a public service or making private gain?"  (The full text of these 
letters, along with much more information, is available on Green Delaware's 
web site, www.greendel.org)

Delaware's corporate influenced "environmental community" (Audubon Society, 
Sierra Club, Students for the Environment, etc.,) has remained silent.

The Capitol Police report to a Secretary of Public Safety appointed by the 
Governor.  The prosecution of the case is in the hands of Attorney General 
M.  Jane Brady (In Delaware the Atty. Gen.  is independently elected and 
not part of the Governor's cabinet.)  Brady's office has been criticized by 
Green Delaware for failure to prosecute "big politically connected 
environmental violators."  Keith Trostle, one of Brady's top environmental 
lawyers, once described Green Delaware as "disgusting."

Concerned people are forming a Freedom of Speech Coalition, which is 
expected to seek dropping of all charges, expungement of the arrest record, 
written apologies from responsible officials, and civil liberties training 
for all Delaware police.  A sign-on letter will soon be distributed.

Minner isn't giving an inch.  Here is a typical response:  "The incident 
occurred at Legislative Hall which is under the jurisdiction of the Capitol 
Police.  It is their job to decide what is and what is not appropriate 
behavior.  They felt Mr. Muller's behavior was unappropriate [sic].  The 
incident also occurred during a state of heightened security during 
Inaugural [sic] Day events that involved a crowd of well over 1000 
people.  It is now a matter for the courts to decide. // Ruth Ann Minner "

On Friday, Feb. 9, 2001, at 10:00 AM, in the Court of Common Pleas, in 
Dover, there will be an arraignment and a hearing on the Motion to Modify 
Bail Conditions.  (These are preliminary events, not the trial 
itself.)  Green Delaware invites supporters to come and observe.

For more information contact:

        American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, 302.654.5326
        David Finger, Esq., 302.884.6766
        Green Delaware, 302.834.3466 

Let us know what you think. 

Email us at 

GreenDel@dca.net

or contact
Alan J. Muller, Exec. Director
P.O. Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731
302-834-3466 Voice
302-836-3005 FAX

Green Delaware is funded through membership dues, donations, and grants.
All work is done by volunteers and members including this website. 

This page was last updated on February 8, 2001.
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