Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Today I read about a fellow Second Amendment enthusiast and activist who is undergoing legal trouble. Now I'm not acquainted with Paul personally, but being the community that we are I empathize for him heavily and hope that my readers, few though you may be, will at least give this story a read and offer your thoughts and, if possible, your support.

Copied from: - Legal Defense Fund for Skidmark


Legal Defense fund for Skidmark -

Several weeks ago Skidmark took a notion to drive to Williamsburg from his home near Richmond, thinking that he'd take the scenic route to enjoy the fall color in the leaves along the James River. His leisurely trip was interrupted at the Surry ferry crossing; a private contractor working for VDOT to "ensure security" ordered Skidmark to get out of his car, instead of asking if he could look inside the vehicle as he is supposed to do. Perhaps the "security" contractor noticed Skidmark's GSL and VCDL magnets on the rear of the car.

Skidmark asked the guy what authority he had for ordering him out of his car instead of simply asking him to pop the back open so they could look inside. The guy refused to answer that question, and simply reasserted his demand that Skidmark get out of the car. Skidmark elected not to take the ferry, and went to the turn-around point where he had a conversation with the "security" contractor's supervisor. When Skidmark asked him what authority the first guy had to order him out of the car, the supervisor basically called Skidmark a liar and told him that what had just happened never did happen. Skidmark pointed his finger at the supervisor, punctuating the word, "you", and said, "You don't know, you weren't there."

The supervisor took the finger-pointing as "a threat" and ended up calling the Sheriff's office. Now, Skidmark was openly wearing his Rohrbaugh 9mm at the time, but never made any reference to it during the course of these events. A deputy showed up after a while and interviewed everyone else who was involved before getting around to talking to Skidmark. By now, Skidmark had parked and locked his car, and was never "operating a motor vehicle" during the time the deputy was present. The deputy demanded that Skidmark produce a driver's license. The deputy threatened Skidmark with unspecified criminal charges if he failed to produce the driver's license as ordered. Since Skidmark was not in, or even near, a car, he declined to do so, orally identifying himself by giving the deputy his name and address.

At no time did Paul gesture towards, touch, mention, or make any reference to, his handgun.

The deputy demanded that Skidmark produce "paperwork for that gun". Skidmark asked what "paperwork" the deputy was referring to and was told "We want to make sure that gun is legal."

After finally getting the deputy to state that he was not detained and was free to leave, Skidmark got in his car and left. No attempt was made to stop him or to place him under custodial arrest for any offense.

Much later, having arrived back at home in Chesterfield County, Skidmark was placed under full custodial arrest by five deputies from the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office (who even brought their K-9 unit along). These men cuffed Skidmark, put him in the back of a cruiser and took him to the Chesterfield courthouse where he was fingerprinted, photographed and took him in front of a magistrate. There, Skidmark learned that he had been charged with obstruction of justice and brandishing a firearm. (Obviously, if either of these charges had been legitimate, Skidmark would have been arrested on the spot.) Skidmark had to put up a sizeable cash bond in order to secure his release, because the magistrate in Surry County had specifically marked the misdemeanor arrest warrants to prohibit release upon recognizance or by issuance of a summons. They clearly wanted Skidmark to have to go to jail pending trial.

Several members of this Forum attended the first hearing in Surry to set the trial date fully expecting both charges to be nolle pros'ed. We were not allowed in the court room – the hearing was CLOSED. Trial was set for Jan 4, 2011.

Let me consolidate this for you – Skidmark "brandished" his finger and didn't produce his papers on demand. He thought he had the situation resolved, but apparently underestimated the deputy's determination to punish him for contempt of cop – the "we can do this the easy way or the hard way" type of thing.

Like a lot of us, Skidmark is not in a position to comfortably afford the needed representation on his own. Something I think that the deputy was counting on – what they don't understand is our collective resolve.

Accordingly, we are setting up a legal defense fund for Skidmark and hope that many of you will contribute and plan to attend the trial. The following from his attorney:

Skidmark's Legal Defense Fund
Anyone wishing to contribute should send a check to:

Virginia Legal Defense
P.O. Box 100
Broad Run, Va. 20137

Checks should be made out to "VLD Attorney Escrow", with a notation on the memo line that it's for Skidmark (Paul Henick). Just writing "Henick" will be sufficient. All such checks will be deposited into the attorney-trust account on Paul's behalf and as his property; anyone who does so should understand that this is not tax deductible, and that it's an irrevocable gift to Paul. If there's money left over at the end of all this, it will go to him.


PayPal Donation

Be sure you click the PERSONAL tab, and then click the GIFT button, This will eliminate PayPal taking a cut of your contribution.

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