The courts carry a cruel edge of racism. When people come into the courts, they expect at least a certain degree of equality and fairness. However, the judicial system is broken, as evidenced by this recent case involving a white nationalist and two women, one of them a black Vermont state representative.
Upon hearing that Judge William Cohen decided against imposing cash bail against white nationalist Max Misch for violating a firearms court order, Shawn Pratt raised his voice so that he could be heard from the back of the courtroom according to The Brattleboro Reformer:
‘You all keep letting him walk out of here.’
Misch had been charged with two counts of illegally possessing high-capacity magazines last February. He was in court this week on a new charge of allegedly violating the conditions of his release which forbade him from buying firearms.
Judge Cohen claimed the only way he could impose the maximum bail of $200 for the misdemeanor was if Misch was a flight risk. He cited the man’s history of appearing at past court hearings. He did add a new condition.
Pratt called out:
‘This is unfair. He should be locked up.’
Misch told Pratt:
‘Shut the fuck up.’
Pratt said his nephew had been held with a high dollar bail for almost a year until the charges against him were dismissed. He added:
‘My nephew didn’t get no conditions, your honor. Keep up with these racial disparities, guys. We’re watching all of it. It’s ridiculous.’
Court officers eventually led Pratt out of the courtroom as he said:
‘You’re all a bunch of racists. Racists. Now I’ve got to be pulled aside, for what?’
Misch had been arrested for violating the conditions of his release when he bought a handgun for $350 two months after his release, according to court records. The affidavit prepared by Officer Amanda Knox noted that the gun was still at the store, but Misch had already paid for it.
‘The Armory employee advised that they were holding the firearm for Max until his court case cleared up.’
Misch’s ex-wife Lisa Shapiro said he had been calling her, but those calls were listed as “No Caller ID.” His conditions of release stated he could not have any contact with her. No charges had been filed based upon her allegations that he had violated the conditions of his release.
Shapiro wrote on her statement to the police:
‘He states over and over that the trouble he is in is my fault. Max has also asked me to call (Vermont Attorney General) TJ Donovan and I should take back my statement because he claims I was not accurate in what I’ve stated about the amount of ammo he was stacking.’
Misch harassed former Representative Kiah Morris (D) online. She was the only black woman in Vermont’s legislature. She decided to leave the House citing online harassment and racist threats. She requested a protective stalking order against Misch in December 2016. She said that she feared for her safety.
Judge William Cohen issued a 365-day restraining order on December 1, 2016. Misch could not come within 300 feet of the representative, her family, or her home.
Although the attorney general’s office investigated, it did not find cause to file charges against Misch, this even though he confessed to “trolling” her online. The defendant claimed First Amendment free speech protections.
One condition of Misch’s release in this case was that he could not possess or buy any dangerous weapons, and he had to remain a minimum of 300 feet from Morris and her husband James Lawton, and Shapiro. In addition, he was barred from leaving Bennington County. The judge added the condition:
‘(He) not enter any place that the primary business is selling firearms or dangerous/deadly weapon.’
The illegal possession of high-capacity magazines charges against Misch were headed to the Supreme Court
Misch talked to the media for about 45 minutes prior to the hearing. He was wearing an Iraqi War veteran hat and a statement t-shirt that read “Fuck Gun Control.” The letters “F” and “K” were formed with long guns. Misch claimed that he was making a statement about the first and second amendments. He also told the reporters that “trolling” people on social media gave him a “thrill.”
Pratt went home after the hearing. He did not believe that the defendant would serve any jail time. However, he thought it was his duty to go to the courthouse and “express his view of the legal system.” This was not the first time he and Misch had disagreed or . when Misch also threw racial slurs at him.
‘I like the judge. I’m not disrespectful of those people, they know that, but this is beyond ridiculous.’