The following is a statement read before the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on May 12, 2009:


Last month I was tried for two unlawful disturbances of board of supervisors meetings on May 13th and June 17th of last year.


During the trial a concerned news reporter friend suggested the public meeting freedoms of the people in this country would rise or fall with the trial outcome. A burden I keenly felt.


Well, county residents, first the bad news: the jury said guilty on both counts.


The good news is that the verdicts will be appealed on multiple grounds including one point previously upheld by a San Bernardino County appellate court in 2000.


The prosecution erred in calling me a "liar" for testifying that I had the right to a definitively formal process of arrest prior to the seizure of my public meeting rights. The prosecutor further slandered my character by telling the jury I was "resisting arrest," a serious offense, by insisting on the formal arrest process.


Actually, the constitutionally required arrest protocol at a county board of supervisors meeting has already been ruled on by an appellate court consisting of three San Bernardino County judges. Case CR.A. 3412 (2000).


In overturning three PC 148(a) verdicts for resisting arrest at board meetings, the court said, "Although appellant refused to leave the podium until he was arrested, at no time did he resist arrest. He was not violent or belligerent. In fact, far from resisting or delaying the officers in the performance of their duties, appellant quietly insisted that each officer perform his duty in a definitively official manner, that is, by making an arrest. Such behavior does not support a conviction for violating section 148."


Which is perhaps why the resisting arrest charge was not formally filed in last month's case, but only dropped as a verbal sandbag at trial.


This Thursday morning at 8:30 a.m., in Department 16 of the old county courthouse, I will be sentenced.


According to California Supreme Court research, in the rest of America, the peaceable disturbance of a public meeting is "generally penalized by no more than a small fine." That same In re Kay 1 Cal.3d 930 court found the four month sentence before it "far more severe that any we have been able to discover in other prosecutions for disturbing a meeting ..."


Among the possible sentence recommendations from the San Bernardino County DA's office to be considered this Thursday is six months in jail on each count, to be served consecutively. One year in the county jail, and, if I understood my public defender attorney, a $500+ fine and 100 hours of community service.


And since there is a possibility that I will be taken into immediate custody this Thursday to begin serving the sentence, my notice of appeal notwithstanding, it may be some time before I can present an update on this matter.


One thing this ordeal has proven: We do not have a free press in this country, as attested to the fact that this important trial was not even reported by the Sun and barely mentioned by two other papers.


Nelson is a three-time candidate for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, most recently in June 2008. He was sentenced to three years probation and a $100 fine at his sentencing hearing on Thursday.