Fight For Justice

On the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Reservation

September 1996

Read from the bottom up

Friday, Sept. 20, 1996
Motions filed by FFJ attorneys in tribal court
Some exerpts from the Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

The tables appeared to have turned Friday in tribal court as the judge and the defense attorneys searched for probable cause for charges filed against FFJ members....

...Because the tribal courtroom is so small, FFJ attorneys asked Judge Gurski to move further prroceedings to a larger courtroom, the move would allow tribal members who wanted to view the proceedings access, and would allow ailing tribal members and others who sat elbow-to-elbow in the tiny courtroom Friday to be comfortable and safe.

It would also ensure the proceedings took place in the open.

...Gurski said he would try to find larger quarters for any other proceedings.

While some frustrated FFJ members wanted to view proceedings, two others, Fred Dakota and Ricky Geroux, didn't accept subpoenas, Houghton County sheriff Butkovich attempted to serve.

Fred Dakota ordered his security guards to escort Sheriff Butkovich off the reservation and to keep him off his property to avoid being served with the subpoens. Richard (Ricky) Geroux hid in his house and did not answer his door, peeking out his window to avoid being served with his subpoena.

FFJ Attorney Milton Rosenburg asked the pair be served by tribal police. the motion was granted.

FFJ attorneys were granted another motion in being able to view the tribal jury list.

FFJ Attorney Mark Wisti made a motion to dismiss the charges against FFJ due to lack of probable cause. He said the prosection never supplied to him any names of any witnesses nor any video tapes it may have, as per requested in a verbal motion made in tribal court last month. He was only supplied with a 111 page police report, which they contend did not contain any probable cause for any arrest.

Judge Gurski asked MacGregor how the defense could prepare an adequate defense, if the prosection didn't turn over its evidence to the defenants. MacGregor repiled that any witness are in the police report.

"And do you have anything else?" Gurski asked again, to which MacGregor said he has videotape, but dosen't intent to use. "Police reports are all the physical evidence I have and intend to use," said MacGregor. FFJ Attorney Wisti said "He might" [use the videotapes for his defense].

When asked why didn't the prosection turn over all the evidence to the defense, MagGregor replied that "he wasn't ordered to." Gurski decided to defer judgement until he could listen to the tapes of last months hearing to determine exactly what the prosection was asked to provide to the defense.

"It's probable cause, not beyond a reasonable doubt," MacGregor said of the police report.

"Not mere speculation or suspicion?" Gurski asked. "Have you taken any statements from witnesses?"

The prosectur said no.

The Judge cited Indian Civil Rights Act, saying it is a violation of people's rights to issue warrants without probable cause and to deny a person a speedy trial. Gurski told MacGregor the first step is to establish probable cause. The second is to back it up. Gurski asked the prosection " if he knew of any jurisdiction that did not have to produce probable cause before issuing warrants?"

MacGregor said "He did not know of any."

Gurski said "I think the prosection has had plenty of time to produce." [the evidence] Adding that the prosecution's action could be preceived as lacking cooperation with the defense.

FFJ Attorney Wisti said this is the time to "put up or shut up."

FFJ Attorney Clark argued the majority of the defendants, arrested and arraigned , had their rights to a speedy trial violated. He said it was up to the prosecution to push the matter to trial.

"There's no way at this late date to mount an adequate defense. The trail has gone cold," Clark said.

MacGregor regarded the right to a speedy trial as being more important if people were in jail. He said the court needs to consider what hindered the tribe's ability to bring suit: chief and assoc. judges disqualified themselves....

Gurski said he will take a motion for dismissal because the defendants had not gotten a speedy trial under advisement and will issue a written opinion.

Click Here to see the briefs filed on FFJ's behalf in regarding Mark Stevens actions.

On September 20, 1996 FFJ's attorney's will be tribal court to proceed with the dismissal charges of the bogus arrests that happened to FFJ members in Aug. 1995. Everyone please come and support this action at 9:30 am on Friday Sept. 20, 1996 at the tribal court house on US-41 in Baraga.

September, 1996
Fred Dakota is saying that FFj didn't turn over all the records to the federal marshalls and that the mystery paper that would clear him of all these federal charges is 'suprise' not there.

It is no suprise to FFJ that Dakota is claiming that the mysterious paper wasn't there, how could a paper that never existed be turned over to the federal marshalls?

Mark Stevens, Dakota's attorney, filed papers in federal court requesting that FFJ show cause why they haven't turned over all the documents. Stevens is also requesting that FFJ turn over to the court a list of all the members of the group Fight For Justice. Also filed were papers requesting that the court reverse it's decision on returning all the files and computers that FFJ turned over to the federal marshalls back to FFJ and instead be returned to him.

Click Here   To see copies affidavits written by 3 former KBIC tribal police members for tribal court, on the treatment of FFJ members by the police.

Press Release From FFJ

On Thursday August 16, 1996, Father John Hascall, O.F.M. Cap., confirmed with the Keweenaw Bay Tribal Police that a warrant was issued thru the Tribal Prosecutor Gregor MacGregor III's office. The Tribal Police did not discuss the particulars of the warrant with Fr. John, saying he could see the warrant when they arrest him. Tribal Police hinted to Fr. John through the media that if he turned himself in, it would avoid a confrontation on the hill. When Fr. John called the Tribal Police they hastily read some of the counts. From other sources, Fr. John has learned there are nine counts on the warrant which alleges that Fr John committed conspiracy, injury to trees, cutting trees without a permit, obstructing justice, trespassing, illegal entry of land; these are the only charges that Fr. John can find out about.

Fight For Justice wants to emphasize that Fr. John Hascall has in no way conspired with Fight For Justice in any way in the take over of the Tribal Center building or any of the subsequent actions of Fight For Justice. Fr. John Hascall has only provided needed spiritual advice and sanctuary of the Roman Catholic Church to individuals fighting for their basic human civil rights.

Fr. John Hascall is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie band of Chippewa Indians. He has stated that, "sanctuary is a right, not a privilege and that it is his duty as a priest to provide the protection under a law older than most others. I always stand for people and justice. I'm always going to be there. It's the teaching of the Church."

Fr. John has also stated that, "the bond provisions are a violation of the Religious Freedom Act." Members of Fight For Justice who have been arrested have been extorted by excessive high cash bonds, (whereas Tribal Chairman Fred Dakota's grandson & nephew of Chief Tribal Judge Brad Dakota, is released on a personal recognizance bond for Grand larceny) and forbidden to attend mass and Native American spiritual ceremonies, which is also a violation of the Native American Religious Freedom Act. One such individual is Judy Smith, Great Granddaughter of Chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux Nation and a Keweenaw Bay tribal member. Judy has been sitting in Marquette Co. jail since August 11, 1996 because she will not agree to the provisions of the bond forbidding her from attending church and spiritual ceremonies.

Fr. John said, "many of his parishioners are afraid to come to mass and attend native ceremonies fearing they will be fired from their tribal jobs."

Fight For Justice would like to thank Fr. John and the Church for not caving into pressure from the bogus tribal council and the tribal chairman, who is presently awaiting trial for federal charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and the taking of illegal kickbacks, in offering sanctuary to individuals who are fighting the corrupt tribal government of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

The tribal government is being aided in carrying out the atrocities against members of the tribal community by a non-Indian Public Relations Specialist, Rich Rossway , a non-Indian Judge, Douglas B. Gurski and also a non-Indian tribal prosecutors office issuing trumped up charges for political reasons.

To protest the housing of political prisoners, call Marquette county jail at 906-228-6980.

Warrant issued for Father John Hascall

The KBIC tribal prosecutor Gregor MacGregor has issued a warrant for the arrest of Roman Catholic Priest Father John Hascall, Fr. John is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie band of Ojibwa Indians.

The warrant consists of nine counts. The counts include conspiracy to injury trees, conspiracy of cutting trees without a permit, illegal entry of land, etc...

The KBIC tribal prosecutor Gregor MacGregor said he wouldn't release details of the warrant until Hascall is served with it.

MacGregor said the tribal police had no obligation to tell Fr. John Hascall the charges.

Ex-TV 6 employee and now KBIC tribal Public Relations man, Rich Rossway said he wanted to talk with Bradley Dakota and MacGregor about the warrant. "We don't want this to be tried in public," he said.

"The charges stem form the his (Fr. John')s full knowledge and orchestration leading up to and including the events of August 22," Rossway said.

The charges are the result of Fr. John providing sanctuary to Fight For Justice members after the take over of the tribal center building. the church, The Most Holy Name of Jesus Church is located next to the tribal center building.

"The church just happens to be near the center. Sanctuary is a right, not a privilege," Hascall said. He explained it was his duty as a priest to provide the protection under a law older than most others. He pointed out dictionaries define "sanctuary" as a holy place and as a place of refuge or protection from arrest.

"I always stand for people and justice. I'm always going to be there. It's the teaching of the church," Hascall said. "The main thing is I've never been politically involved up here."

The gentle man many call "Padre" said many issues surrounding the controversy arose in his mind, in light of the warrant being issued for his arrest.

Of primary concern is the bond provision banning arraigned FFJ members from the church.

He sees the bond provision as a violation of the Religious Freedom Act, which Hascall said is very strong, bigger than tribal law, covering the whole world.

Hascall said the tribe's religious practices are sacred to them. The practices include swear lodges, pipe ceremonies and talking circles, all of which are traditional ways to pray.

Hascall also sees his necessary confinement on the site to avoid arrest as a violation of the act. Basically, the Fr. John cannot step off the site without facing arrest.

Because of the warrant, not only has Fr. John canceled all sick calls to hospitals and homes, but also all the masses he was scheduled to say at Zeba, Watersmeet and Marquette.

Hascall said many of his parishioners are afraid to come to mass fearing they will be fired from their tribal jobs.

Provincial Dan Fox from Detroit said the Capuchin Franciscans support their brother in his pursuit of justice.

Judge makes his decision.

Federal Judge Greeley made his decision on the records being held on the tribal center grounds. The records will be moved form the tribal center grounds to a location in Marquette and held in federal custody.

Fred Dakota's attorney Mark Stevens will be required to present the federal court with a list of documents needed and the court will make copies of the requested documents.

After the copies of requested documents are made that are pertinent to the case all the records will be returned to the Fight For Justice at the tribal center.

To read a brief summary of FFJ and it's begining read Tina Lam's Detorit Free Press article

Copyright 2001 by Rose Edwards. All Rights Reserved.