2015 Gathering

The 44th annual rainbow gathering of the tribes is happening in the Black Hills of South Dakota." (The consensed areas include Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and South Dakota.) For posts related to the gathering location including directions and site updates, click here. For the Howdy Folks, click here. To find out specifically where the gathering will be, you need to understand how we find our "home" each year. Click here for an overview of the process. To make it into the gathering without a ticket, click here. Please ignore all rumors of cancellation. Copy and distribute this information freely.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Getting Into the Gathering Without a Ticket

How to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket!!!
Court Appearance Ticket

Every year the United States Forest
Service Law Enforcement (USFS) Incident Management Team (the cops) attempts to write as many tickets to family coming home as they possibly can to justify their presence. They give out tickets for broken tail lights, failure to use a turn signal in a deserted parking lot at 2 AM, lack of seat belts, controlled substances (even just a trace amount), beads hanging from your rear view mirrors, lack of insurance, prescription medications if the label doesn't clearly have your name on it or you can't prove who you are, dogs off leash, a vehicle missing a front license plate even if you live in a state that does not issue a front license plate and a lot more violations of the letter of the law.

However, these tickets are not the type of citation you would probably receive for any of these issues in your hometown. These are mandatory court appearance tickets. There will be special court dates set up just for us, so we can go to the local courthouse, fire station or visitors center and go before a magistrate. In the past, charges have been reduced, fines were often minimal and the court has allowed people to make payment plans ranging from 90 days to pay $75 to 18 months to pay $25 depending on the hardship cases people have expressed.

If you do not show up for your mandatory court appearance on the date indicated on your ticket, a Federal Bench Warrant will be issued for your arrest. Then the USFS LEOs will come into the gathering looking for you. If they find you they will arrest you and put you in jail until the next court date. If this happens on a Friday afternoon, you will be in jail until Monday. If they do not find you at the gathering, the next time a law enforcement officer for any reason stops you, your ID will be run through the database and you will go directly to jail.

Of course, everyone is free to manage this situation as they wish but I strongly recommend you go to your court date. I have seen people charged with crimes that could potentially result in a six years sentence walk out with a $500 fine and three years’ probation. Many people end up with charges being dropped. Keep in mind that every year the dynamic is different and these results may not always be available. There are lawyers at the gathering (I am not a legal expert) who attend the court dates and will assist as best they can although I recommend you catch up with them before your court date to gain a better understanding of your specific charges and strategies to get the charges dropped or reduced. If you do not know these people personally, go to INFO and let them know you received one of the magic tickets and you need legal assistance.

Want to come home without a ticket?

Make sure your car is 100% legal, all windshield wipers, turn signals, tail lights in perfect working condition. Have a legal, licensed driver with liability insurance. Make sure all small children are securely fashioned in the right car seat for their age/weight. Click here for info on car seats. Do not use anything illegal in your car that could be smelled by a dog or law enforcement officer. Don't drive under the influence!  We want your journey home to be a safe one.

1 comment:

  1. There have already been a few arrests in Rapid City of people claiming to be with Rainbow Family. Aggressive solicitation (panhandling) initiated contact with the police and resulted in 4 people being charged. Mariujuana charges were added. Rapid City has no tolerance for panhandling and South Dakota has no tolerance for marijuana, even the smallest amounts.


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