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Man Goes to Jail for Puting a Sign in his Yard

First Amendment, Schmirst Amendment

"You can look through 'em all."

Up to his ears in legal documents, P hillip D ean is fed up with the judicial system.

"That's the kind of court system we've got in J ackson C ounty , A labama and I want everybody to know , " Dean says.

So he put a sign in his front lawn saying "Our Court System Is a Joke."

A message landing him behind bars.

" I was in a cell about four foot wide and six foot long and nothing in it but a toilet," he explains.

Arrest orders signed by J udge H aralson claim D ean to be in direct contempt of court , even though the sign is on C ounty R oad 107, not in the county courthouse.

"T he signs were so derogatory to the court they could not be ignored ," Haralson responds in a local paper.

With Dean locked up, the signs were removed.

" Before they would let me go in front of J udge H aralson , " Dean says. " They put leg shackles, they put handcuffs, they put chains from my legs up to my waist. they put a chain around my waist. they put chains from my waist up here and had my hands pulled up like this."

With an apology, Haralson released D ean after a day in jail , but the experience leaves D ean with unanswered questions.

" When it gets to where a man hadn't got any free speech in this world, what has he got?" he asks.

Answers he hopes to find with a message already back in place.

Alabama judiciary panel scolds judge who jailed man over yard signs

Associated Press

SKYLINE, Ala. — A man jailed for contempt for displaying yard signs critical of a Jackson County judge eventually got the signs back and was able to give the judge some advice — from a panel that investigates judges.

Circuit Judge Wallace Haralson said on March 17 that he received a letter from the state Judicial Inquiry Commission asking him "to be more judicious in the future toward arresting powers."

The letter stemmed from Haralson's order for Sheriff Mike Wells to arrest Phillip Dean of Skyline last August for yard signs criticizing the judge in a custody battle over Dean's two daughters.

One sign said: "Our court system is a joke," while others were critical of the judge for returning Dean's children to his ex-wife.

"I don't understand how the system can lock me up for a sign on my own private property," Dean told The Huntsville Times in a story yesterday.

The sign saying the "court system is a joke" remains in the yard, but several more were still put away yesterday. Dean said he planned to put the signs back in his front yard.

Dean said deputies took the signs from his property without a warrant and that he was jailed for about 12 hours after being arrested on Haralson's contempt order.

Dean said he was released and the signs were returned after his attorney told Haralson that the judge had violated Dean's free-speech rights. Dean said Haralson apologized soon after, although the judge said his comment was more like "I'm sorry I had to lock you up."

The attorney did not immediately return a phone message for comment yesterday.

Dean complained to the state Judicial Inquiry Commission about Haralson in December. Haralson said he received the letter from the JIC in February asking him to be more judicious about ordering arrests.

Haralson said the commission took no other action and exonerated him.

Dean said JIC Chairman Randall L. Cole, a DeKalb County circuit judge, informed him in a Feb. 3 letter that his complaint had received "serious attention and has resulted in appropriate action."

Cole said state law prevented the commission from disclosing its findings but that Dean's complaint "served a useful purpose."

Formal Grievance addressing the egregious and unlawful recent conduct of Respondent Haralson in the matter of Jackson County citizen Phillip Dean


3310 S. Ocean Blvd.,Ste 727 www.Courtwatchers.Org Boca Raton, Fl. 323487-2590

[email protected]


March 30, 2004

Judge Randall L. Cole

Chairman, Judicial Inquiry Commission

401 Adams Street, Suite 720

Montgomery, AL 36160


In The Matter of Mr. Phillip Dean, A Citizen of Jackson County, Alabama and Hon. Wallace Haralson, A Circuit Court Judge in Jackson County, Alabama

Dear Judge Cole:

Please regard this letter as a formal Grievance filed by Courtwatchers Alliance USA, Robert T. Farley, Director, known herein as The Relator, against one Judge Wallace Haralson, a Circuit Court Judge in Jackson County, Alabama, known herein as The Respondent.

This Formal Grievance addresses the egregious and unlawful recent conduct of Respondent Haralson in the matter of Jackson County citizen Phillip Dean. To Wit:

This Relator personally interviewed Mr. Dean at length. Relator personally discussed this matter with Huntsville Times reporter David Brewer, as well. Relator has collected additional factual information from newspaper articles appearing in The Huntsville Times newspaper, The Associated Press

Wire Service and The Scottsboro Daily Sentinel .


In the divorce matter styled Dean Vs. Dean, a divorce was granted the Deans in 1996. This is not an issue of this Relator.

For several years thereafter, custody of three children was contested by both parties to the divorce with recent custody being had by the former Mrs. Dean awarded by Judge Haralson in 1998.

In 2003 Phillip Dean, through his counsel, appealed to Judge Wallace Haralson for custody of his daughters based on evidence allegedly obtained by Mr. Dean that his ex wife was leading a corrupt and depraved life and was an unfit parent and a detrimental influence on his daughters.

A more complete record of these activities may be found in the files of the

Court, which Mr. Dean reports have been locked away in the private desk of Judge Haralson, even though same are public records with no orders for sealing of same records, they are apparently are not available for inspection by the public as the result of this unilateral and unlawful action of the Respondent.

During July, 2003 Mr. Dean was advised by his counsel that he had lost his appeal to Judge Haralson for custody of his daughters. He was told by his attorney that an appeal to the Appellate Court would cost him at least $ 10,000 and would be a waste of his money. This was in addition to the fact that Mr. Dean has already lost his life savings to this never ending litigation of over seven years, a sum of over $ 68,000. Mr. Dean had no more money to spend on the issue at that point in time.

After his appeal time had expired in August, 2003, Dean responded by contacting several Alabama newspapers, hoping that one of them would tell his story of injustice at the hands of Respondent. None were interested in doing that. Phil Dean doesn't own a newspaper or a TV station. Thereafter, Phil Dean responded in the only other lawful way he knew of at that time. He erected signs in his front yard along County Road 107, telling his story in a lawful manner. See

Exhibit # 1.

By way of contrast, DC Sniper John Allen Mohammad also lost custody of his children in another custody atrocity of the Domestic Relations Industry. As the result, Mohammad and his partner Lee Malvo starting blowing 13 people away in 23 days of terror around Washington, D.C. (and one more in Alabama earlier). Contrast? Phil Dean just put up a sign as his way of protesting the American Legal System. He's allowed to do that. That is not against the law. But, for that, Respondent Wallace Haralson picked him up, tied him up, locked him up and wanted to throw away the key. Bond was specifically denied in his Order, a cognitive act of rage and passion heaping further insult on top of injury. Respondent Wallace Haralson should not be near any courtroom in the free world although he might do well in The Peoples Republic of North Korea.  

One of these Dean signs read, “OUR COURT SYSTEM IS A JOKE.” Please see Exhibit # 1. Given the widespread clamor over the courts and the Divorce Industry seen by Courtwatchers Alliance each month year after year, Relator can certainly agree with that sign and we do so on the World Wide Web everyday without being arrested and locked away without a bond by some neo-fascist judge who doesn't happen to agree with us.

The erection of the signs on Mr. Dean's private property at 4928 County Road 107, shortly brought an angry, injudicious, criminal and fascist response from Respondent Haralson and armed deputies operating at his order. On August 18, 2003, Phil Dean awoke before dawn for his usual breakfast. On returning to his home, he discovered that his signs were missing. Dean called the Skyline, Al Police Department to report the theft. He was told by the Chief of Police that Jackson County sheriff's officers had removed the signs and apparently took them to the courthouse.

He then called Jackson County Sheriff Wells who confirmed that his officers had removed the signs. He was told that Sheriff Deputies had removed the signs, apparently on the verbal orders of Respondent Haralson. The Sheriff also told Dean that he was going to pick him up later that day and that, “ the Judge wants you to spend 30 days in jail to teach you a lesson.”

Let me be perfectly clear Judge Cole. Armed government officers came on to the private land of citizen Phillip Dean without a hearing, without due process and without a warrant and had confiscated (stolen) the private property (signs) of Mr. Dean on the verbal order of a fascist in a black robe. Shades of King George. We tried to stop all that back in 1776 and here we are in Alabama in 2004 during the same thing as the King's Dragoons were doing in 1776.


About 3:00 PM that day, armed government officers returned to the private home of citizen Phil Dean. One of the officers said, “ I'm ashamed to tell you why we are here Phil, but we have an order from “the judge” to arrest you and bring you in.”

Good citizen Phil Dean offered no resistance. Had these armed deputies come for such a private citizen at Ruby Ridge, Idaho or Waco, Texas, things might have been different. Dean peacefully went along with the judicial atrocity. At the County Jail, hard working and tax paying logging contractor Phil Dean was locked away in a tiny cage without a bond. It was almost as though he had committed a series of heinous axe murders. Later on in the atrocity, he would be handcuffed and shackled from head to toe. The Black Shirts of the 1938 Waffen SS would have been proud of Judge Haralson and Sheriff Wells for their conduct that day.

There was no arrest warrant or capias. Dean was finally presented with an ORDER OF CONTEMPT , although there had never been a Hearing on the Contempt Charge. It was hurredly drafted in a fit of passion, signed and executed by the most powerful man in Jackson County, Alabama, Judge Wallace Haralson, a judge gone mad with power and a madman who must be removed from this office. Please see Exhibit # 2.

When a trussed up Phil Dean appeared in prison garb before Respondent

Haralson, Haralson harassed him with needless commentary. “Do you feel embarrassed Dean?” Mr. Dean answered, I do not feel one bit embarrassed.”

Phil Dean spent 26 hours in the People's Prison of Jackson County. His Huntsville attorney Sheryl Snodgrass Caffey finally appeared and explained the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution (and Alabama I am sure), along with Criminal Rule 33 to the lawless renegade Respondent. Caffey showed Respondent the law and Criminal Rules right from the books in her possession.

Witnesses reported at one point, Respondent Haralson said, “ I might have violated your law Ms. Caffey, but in my eyes I haven't.” It's seems clear from the Haralson statement that he somehow believes that he is the maker of law in Alabama and above the laws of Alabama and the nation. In fact, Respondent Haralson is a black robe renegade who must be removed from office. He is truly dangerous to freedom and democracy. Respondent then ordered deputies to return judicial victim Phil Dean to the county jail and release him. CW hopes Attorney Caffey also explained the Fourth Amendment to both the Respondent and to Sheriff Wells, as well.

The nation is well aware and will long remember the lawlessness that occurred in Scottsboro, Alabama in 1931. It certainly does not appear that Scottsboro has advanced much since those dark days of The Scottsboro Boys based on the clear racist mentality of Respondent Wallace Haralson.

Lord knows, it seems to this Relator that we need Judge Moore's Tablets of the Ten Commandments in every court house and every sheriff's office in Alabama when we see things like this coming down.


On March 17 and 18, 2004 Huntsville Times reporter and Scottsboro Bureau Chief Dave Brewer was writing his story which appeared in the Times with a headline “ Judge Gets Letter Over Sign Arrest .” A letter? Judge Cole, it is very hard to believe that you have a fascist like Respondent Haralson loose in The State of Alabama and all they get is a letter asking them to be less despotic . Please see Huntsville Times Story, Exhibit # 3.

This is akin Adolf Hitler telling the SS guards at Auchwitz to be more humane as they marched their Jewish victims to the gas chambers.

Along the way, it seems that Respondent asked reporter Brewer to “kill the story.” This judge clearly does not understand things in the real world. Reporter Brewer declined the “kill” order and ran the story anyway. Dean reports that Judge Haralson told Brewer “ the only worse thing that could happen would be if Dean had been Black .” Excuse me your Honor ? “ Black ?” Shades of 1931. Is this justice, fair and impartial, in Alabama? How could being a Black man make Judicial Crime any more the worse for this clearly racist Respondent?

Recently, Huntsville Times Editorial Writer Dave Prather wrote a follow up piece on these judicial crimes. Please See Exhibit # 4 – Freedom Takes A Hit In Jackson County. Still suffering from foot in mouth disease, Respondent Haralson confirmed to Prather that the Times story was “factually correct” but he then wanted to go “ off the record ” to discuss the case further. Reporter Prather declined to go “off the record” so we have to assume that the reports of Dean, Brewer and Prather are correct. Maybe he wanted to repeat his thought that his plight could have been worse if only Phil Dean "had been a black man."

Finally, Mr. Dean has advised this writer that the Dean records are locked up in the judge's desk and are not accessible by the public. Dean reported that Brewer tried to get more background for his story, but could not get to the records in Haralson's private desk.


•  The Preamble of the Alabama Code of Judicial Ethics reads in part:

“. . . mindful that the character and conduct of a judge should never be objects of indifference. . .”

2. In fact, the Feb., 2004 to Judge Haralson from Judge Cole is paramount indifference to the egregious problem Respondent has become to the People of Alabama, nothing more than a “slap on the little finger” by your JIC. More is required for such a judicial monster. Much more.

3 CANON 1 : The Respondent is in clear violation of AJC Canon 1.


“. . . a judge should himself observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved.”

The Respondent Haralson is in naked violation of this Canon in several ways. To Wit:

•  Ordering unlawful violations of the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution and applicable sections of the Alabama Constitution and applicable law Alabama law.

•  Attempting to influence a newspaper reporter to kill a story, another attempt to stifle and oppress the First Amendment.

•  Attempting to influence a second newspaper reporter “off the record,” still another attempt to stifle and oppress the First Amendment.

•  Unlawful arrest and incarceration of a citizen of Alabama contrary to Alabama law and Criminal Rules of Procedure.

4. CANON 2 (A) and (B):


A. In Part: A judge should respect and comply with the law. . .

B. In Part: A judge should at all times maintain the decorum and temperence befitting his office. . .

Commentary, In Part:

Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges .

5. CANON 3: (A) (1),(2),(3),(4),(5),(6)


1. All violations listed in CANON 1 as though fully written out here.

2. Use of the prejudicial word “black man ” in a negative public conversation with a Sheriff and a newspaper reporter clearly classifies this judge as a racist bigot and as one who must be removed from his office. He is unworthy of serving the 26 % of the people of Alabama who are non-white.

According to an article by writer David Brewer in the Huntsville Times of March 18, 2004, you have sent a letter to Respondent Haralson suggesting that he “be more judicious in the future. . .”

The judge has apparently seized on your letter and has announced that he

has been completely “ exonerated .” Exonerated? For this reason Judge Cole, the Alabama public needs a public statement from you confirming that this racist fascist has been exonerated for his acts of home invasion by armed officers, his crushing of the First and Fourth Amendments, his attempts to muzzle the press and his bigoted description of African-Americans to reporter Brewer.

If your Commission has “ exonerated ” this Respondent for those acts, then the People of Alabama (and the world) have a right to know of this. Otherwise, I trust and request that you remove this cancer from the judicial body with all deliberate speed just as my associate Ken Hearn of Judicial Watch has previously suggested in his letter of March 22, 2004. No more judicial atrocities can be risked at the hands of this Respondent. He is a very dangerous man.

This story is being put up on Courtwatchers.Org and will be then be copied and carried by numerous other web site throughout the world. Do the Right Thing Judge Cole so we can report that Justice is alive and well in Alabama and it is not Just-Us Vs. Fascists in America. Otherwise, you will confirm the headline of Dave Prather's column and confirm that Freedom Has Taken a Big Time Hit in Alabama.

Wherefore, Pursuant to Alabama Code of Judicial Conduct, the Alabama

Code of Professional Responsibility, The Alabama Code, the United States Code

and the Constitutions of Alabama and the United States of America, Relator

alleges that Respondent Wallace Haralson is chargeable with despotic gross

misconduct in office and criminal acts;

Therefore, Relator suggests that probable cause exists for this matter to be brought before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary where this judge should be found guilty of these charges and removed from office posthaste.


Robert T. Farley, Director

Courtwatchers Alliance USA

Member, Judicial Watch, Florida

Member, Jail 4 Judges, Florida

cc: Mr. Phillip Dean

Sheryl Snodgrass Caffey, Esq.

Ken Hearn, Judicial Watch, Alabama

Judicial Watch, Washington, D.C.

Jail 4 Judges, Branson. California

David Brewer, Huntsville Times, Scottsboro Bureau Chief

David Prather, Huntsville Times

Mazie Aldrich, Editor, Scottsboro Daily Sentinel

Judge Wallace Haralson, Jackson County Circuit Court

E. Baumgartner, J.D., CW Staff Legal Advisor



Exhibit 1 - Photos of Yard Sign “Our Court System Is A Joke” and

Judicial Victim Phillip Dean. Photos Courtesy of The Huntsville Times and AP Wire Service.

Exhibit 2 - Order in Contempt

Exhibit 3 - “Judge Gets Letter Over Sign Arrest” - David Brewer

Huntsville Times

Exhibit 4 - Judicial Panel Cautions Judge Who Jailed Man . . .

The Associated Press

Exhibit 5 - Freedom Takes A Hit In Jackson County – David Prather

Huntsville Times

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911:  The Road to Tyranny