by Tim Rasmussen, Stevens County Prosecutor
Recently, I was watching a documentary of the Apollo Space program. It was a John Howard film that told the story of the Apollo program from the viewpoints of 9 of the 12 men who went to the moon. The film documents the consummate effort of the scientific and industrial community to fulfill the challenge to the country of late president John Kennedy to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth.
The film is a good story told from the unique viewpoint of the men who were there. One thing that struck me was the words used by Frank Borman when the “Eagle” landed. The astronaut quoted from the Bible, from the book of Genesis. He read that phrase, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…” A little research reveals that many of the astronauts had spiritual experiences as a result of their participation in the space endeavor. For some, it changed their lives forever.
Then, the men involved in this pinnacle of national achievement were freely permitted to use these words. Now, it is against the law for a teacher to read these words to students in the classroom. Things have changed, but not improved.
Not long ago we received notice that the Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of Dennis Patterson of Deer Park. A jury had convicted him of Interference with Court and Disorderly Conduct as a result of his actions in disrupting District Court in early 2015. Judge Al Nielson sentenced him to serve 10 days in jail. That has been stayed pending completion of the appellate process.
Mr. Patterson made an appearance last week to request his appeal bond be exonerated. The state pointed out that the appellate process was not over and opposed the bond return. Mr. Patterson agreed that the process was not over and that he intended to appeal to the Supreme Court for review of the Court of Appeals decision. Judge Nielson listened and then denied his request to have the bond returned. The appeal to the Supremes will take several more months to complete.