Since his arrest on May 18th at Independence Mall, comedian and activist N.a. Poe has attended every Smokedown Prohibition demonstration from just off of federal property as a condition of his pretrial release from detention. The probation officer assigned to his case and prosecutor have both taken issue with Poe’s literal interpretation of the condition requiring he not enter the Mall grounds, citing his proximity as defiant and asking the judge to extend the breadth of his conditions as a result.
Under the terms of his probation as recommended in his pre-sentencing report, Poe would be ordered to refrain from not only criminal activity and be subject to geographic limitations but also face serious restrictions upon his freedom of expression by association. While Poe’s attorney has moved for a continuance to prepare a response to the government’s proposed terms, which will likely be granted September 24th, the US Attorney’s office is asking that certain conditions of the recommended sentence be immediately implemented for the remainder of the case’s pendency. They want the judge to instruct Poe that he is forbidden from promoting illegal acts, effectively banning his participation in Smokedown and Poe’s own organization The Panic Hour. Just in case, the government wants Poe banned from coming within 100 feet of Independence Mall.
Most prohibitive of all is a third condition barring the defendant from contact with those arrested or those participating in Smokedown and related activities, a group of people which includes his girlfriend with whom he lives. He would also be prohibited from acting in his role as a member on the board of a chapter of a registered non-profit organization, PhillyNORML, which co-organizes Smokedown with The Panic Hour.
- FOIA Response Reveals Cost of Smokedown for Independence Mall Law Enforcement (You) (phillydeclaration.org)