Regarding the March 7 editorial “The people’s property”: I question your argument that protesters should be acquitted or charges dismissed because the property belongs to the people.
I sit on the back row of the chamber, just a few feet from the doors to the lobby. On May 6 and May 13, chanting and singing in the lobby made it very difficult to hear the proceedings for the first 20 (May 6) and 30 minutes (May 13) until protesters were gradually removed. If I had needed to participate in the debate or even hear it, I would have had to leave my assigned position.
The consequence of your editorial position is this: Protesters can go to the lobby of the Wake County courthouse and sing and chant outside the courtroom at the trial of their fellows. The judge would not clearly hear the proceedings. Do you really want justice or legislation derailed by “direct action”?
Protesters claim their legislators are not listening to them. My experience is that of most members: Not one person identified as a protester contacted my office to discuss any issue at all before going to the lobby to sing and chant and disrupt the proceedings of the House.
Will you rethink your position when you realize the consequences?
The writer, a Republican, represents N.C. House District 37.

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My name is John McWilliam and I’m the lawyer who represented the seven people who were found not guilty on March 5 that spurred the editorial Mr. Stam is talking about. I’m also the one who subpoenaed Mr. Stam’s Republican cronies to come to court that day; they declined the invitation and sent someone from the Attorney General’s office to “quash’ the subpoena. They prevailed in that request. But there was nothing to stop them or Mr. Stam from coming to court on that day or any other Moral Monday court-date and offering their services to the District Attorney as State’s witnesses to say what Mr. Stam chooses only to write about. Ellie Kinnaird — also a member of the legislature at the time of the various Moral Monday demonstrations — has testified that she was not disturbed nor was either House disrupted by the actions of the Moral Monday demonstrators.
The evidence in the trial of my seven clients was that, on the day in question, the Senate was not in session but the House was, and, according to the Sergeant-at-Arms, the House was debating the budget in one of the “biggest” days of the year. The evidence was that not a single member of the House – Republican or Democrat – complained about the singing, chanting, praying and sign-holding of my clients that day while the House was in session. Neither did any of the non-legislators working nearby have cause to complain. Chief of Police Weaver also testified that it was his decision and his alone to decide when the noise of the singing, chanting and praying became too loud such that its continuation and my seven clients’ behavior became criminal. So all seven were arrested including the two elderly people in wheelchairs.
Finally, no one testified about who the “other” is who owns the property that my clients were alleged to have trespassed on (trespassing requires that the trespasser be on the property of another). Without establishing who this “other” is, the charge of trespassing fails. I encourage Mr. Stam to come to my next round of Moral Monday trials on July 1 and 2 in courtroom 302 in the Wake County Justice Center. Perhaps he might want to testify about who owns the legislative building. I’ll enjoy cross-examining him on how the owners of the building in which we are supposed to be practicing democracy is owned by anyone other than the people of North Carolina.
John McWilliam