“In my 38 years as an attorney I have never seen anything like the blatant, sloppy and disingenuous actions of the Court today.”
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This afternoon Gregory Koger was sent back to Cook County Jail to serve the remainder of his 300 day sentence (around 3 months) for peacefully videotaping a statement against censorship at a public meeting of the “Ethical” Humanist Society of Chicago (EHSC) on Sunday, November 1, 2009. Over 50 supporters, including fellow ex-prisoners, human rights activists, a priest, musician, scientist, retired business people, and a doctor, filled the courtroom in suburban Skokie. Expressing their outrage at the vindictive hearing and sentencing, over two dozen supporters went straight to the main Cook County jail several miles away to demonstrate their support for Mr. Koger and the California hunger strike.
The hearing today was supposed to be about adjusting Mr. Koger’s original sentence, which in part exceeded the statutory maximum. Mr. Koger was represented by attorney Jed Stone, who planned to argue that Mr. Koger’s Post-Conviction Relief Petition filed in March, had to be adjudicated, after months of silence.
When Mr. Koger’s case was finally called, however, the presiding judge announced that she had rejected Mr. Koger’s post-conviction relief petition more than three months ago, on April 15, and that his 30 day period in which to file an appeal had expired! No notice had been received by Mr. Koger or his attorneys of record of the rejection, nor had they received notice that Mr. Koger should appear in court on April 15. The judge stated that the prosecutors had told her that Mr.Koger had been seen in the courthouse on April 15 but left before his case was called, an impossibility because the defense team knew nothing of the date. Furthermore, although Mr.Koger had served two months of his 300-day sentence, the Judge insisted the file showed that he had only been in jail for two weeks. Jed Stone stated, “In my 38 years as an attorney I have never seen anything like the blatant, sloppy and disingenuous actions of the Court today.” Mr. Koger’s attorneys plan to take further legal action and his defense committee, the Ad Hoc Committee, is determined to continue to press for his release. For more information on this case, see www.dropthecharges.net.
At the press conference before the hearing, Mr. Koger announced that while in Cook County Jail, he would join the California prisoners hunger strike, now at Day 16, in solidarity with the demand to end solitary confinement. Recently, Gregory Koger has been speaking in support of California hunger strikers on WBEZ’s Worldview, WVON‘s Cliff Kelley Show, and KPFK’s Michael Slate Show. In his youth, Gregory spent years in solitary confinement while in prison. During that time, he transformed himself and has dedicated his life since his release to opposing injustice and struggling for a liberated world for all humanity, as he has written.