Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

It’s Our Government Too…

Posted by Adam Graham on April 25, 2009

Dave Frasier at the Boise Guardian reports:

In what can only be described as a legal atrocity, an official of the Republican Party was convicted Tuesday in Fourth District Court of trespass–in a public building.

The conviction of Christopher Pentico came because a State copper told him to leave the Capitol Annex last March after making some legislators “uncomfortable.” The State copper also told him to stay away from other offices, including that of Guv. Butch Otter.

There seems to be only a slight descrepency in stories, but days after the 2008 warning from the copper, Pentico visited the office of the Guv at the Borah Building located at 8th and Bannock. He dropped off some documents, inquired about an appointment and left.

That’s when ISP copper Jenes Pattis chased him down outside, handcuffed him and eventually issued a TRESPASSING ticket!
After a year of court appearances, a trial was held before Magistrate Kevin Swain who allowed little evidence, found Pentico guilty, and set sentencing for May 11.

Pentico, a district 22 Republican committeeman, is known in political circles as a conservative with continuing issues at Boise State University over issues relating to funding clubs with student fees. He favors giving equal funds to clubs with religious affiliation. He also claims there is a conflict of interest in some decision making because the deputy Attorney General assigned to the Borad of Ed is husband of a BSU dean at the college of engineering. 

The story is disgraceful and worse yet, no legislator or group of legislators has come forward to take responsibility for the action or explain what the heck it was that Pentico did to anger them. I’ve spoken to several people who know Pentico and they indicate he’s not of a threatening stature or nature. And as Frasier noted, he’s not rude or disorderly.

The best possible explanation I’ve received for what may have made people uncomfortable revolve around issue of physical appearance (he has long hair) and perhaps race, or perhaps more patently discomfort with the issues he was brought to the legislature. None of this is a good excuse for denying a citizen their right to be in the seat of government.

The government belongs to us all and while I’m sure I might make some legislators uncomfortable, as long as I’m not doing anything illegal or disruptive, as a citizen, I have a right to be there.  So do all citizens. So does Chris Pentico. We deserve an explanation and we need to make our voices heard with our legislators and with these prosecutors.

A citizen should not face six months in jail for trying to lobby their representatives.

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