Federal authorities are arresting protesters on minor charges and then telling them “they can’t protest anymore as a condition for release from jail”. Is this blatant violation of Constitutional rights what Billy J. Williams meant when he complained that protesters simply didn’t understand that the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse “is the solution not the problem” and “absolutely represents everything essential to our system of justice”?
It could not be learned who drafted the orders barring the protesters from joining further demonstrations. The documents reviewed by ProPublica were signed by a federal magistrate in Portland. Magistrates have broad authority to set the terms of release for anyone accused of a crime. They typically receive recommendations from U.S. Pretrial Services, an arm of the U.S. Courts, which can gather input from prosecutors and others involved in the case. ProPublica identified several instances in which the protest ban was added to the conditions of release document when it was drafted, before it was given to the judge. It remained unclear whether the limits on protesting were initiated by Justice Department officials or the magistrates hearing the cases.