Judicial Watch Fight for 74-Year Old Veteran Prosecuted for Memorial Day ‘Posting’ of American Flags on Veterans Affairs Center Fence Continues
Rosebrock moves to dismiss charges on First Amendment grounds and to suppress statements made without Miranda warnings
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced it filed a series of motions alleging constitutional and other legal deficiencies in the extraordinary prosecution of its client, Robert L. Rosebrock, a Vietnam-era veteran who faces federal criminal charges for purportedly displaying two four by six inch American Flags above a Veterans Affairs (VA) fence on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016. Judicial Watch’s team of attorneys recently filed:
- A motion to suppress statements Rosebrock allegedly made to a VA police officer during a custodial interrogation of Rosebrock without advising him of his Fifth Amendment rights, as required by Miranda v. Arizona.
- Two motions to dismiss the “flag posting” charge and two photography-related charges against Rosebrock on First Amendment and other constitutional grounds.
- A motion to dismiss all charges against Rosebrock on the grounds of selective and vindictive prosecution and retaliation for Rosebrock’s having exercised his First Amendment rights.
The photography-related charges stem from allegations that Rosebrock took photographs of VA police on Memorial Day 2016 and Sunday, June 12, 2016, without VA permission. Rosebrock is alleged to have taken unauthorized photographs of a VA police officer on Memorial Day 2016 as the officer took him into custody, interrogated, and cited him for purportedly displaying the two napkin-sized American Flags on a VA fence. Rosebrock also is alleged to have taken unauthorized photographs of VA police officers handcuffing conservative activist Ted Hayes on June 12, 2016 after Hayes purportedly displayed an American Flag on the same VA fence. Hayes, dressed as “Uncle Sam,” was not charged with any wrongdoing despite being detained and handcuffed.
The case, United States of America v. Robert L. Rosebrock, (CC11, 4920201; 4920202; 6593951), will be heard by U.S. Magistrate Judge Steve Kim in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Judicial Watch attorney Sterling E. Norris, a former Los Angeles County deputy district attorney, and Los Angeles-based defense attorney Robert Patrick Sticht are representing Rosebrock.
The fence is part of the “Great Lawn Gate” entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park, a public park on the corner of Wilshire and San Vincente Boulevards in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. The gate and park are part of a larger, 388-acre parcel that includes the Veterans Home of West Los Angeles.
Rosebrock (below), 74, along with fellow veterans, Hayes and others, have been assembling at the site nearly every Sunday and Memorial Day since March 9, 2008, to protest what they believe is the VA’s failure to make full use of the valuable West Los Angeles property for the benefit and care of veterans, particularly homeless veterans.
Deeded to the federal government in 1888 for the specific purpose of caring for disabled veterans, the property includes the veterans’ home, but also entirely unrelated uses such as a stadium for UCLA’s baseball team, an athletic complex for a nearby private prep school, a golf course, laundry facilities for a nearby Marriott hotel, storage and maintenance facilities for 20th Century Fox Television’s production sets, the Brentwood Theatre, soccer practice and match fields for a private girls’ soccer club, dog park, and a farmer’s market.
VA officials previously told Rosebrock that a federal regulation allowed hanging the American Flag and POW/MIA flags on the “Great Lawn Gate” fence, and Rosebrock, Hayes and others hung as many as 30 full-size America Flags at the fence at the same time without incident.
Rosebrock faces up to six months’ imprisonment if found guilty on any of the three charges.
A hearing on Rosebrock’s motions is scheduled for March 7, 2017, in Los Angeles, CA. Rosebrock’s trial had also been set for March 7, but the court has delayed the trial.
“We still hold out hope that Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice will put an early and deserved end to this case,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Rosebrock’s rights have been repeatedly and needlessly violated. No public good can be served by prosecuting a 74-year-old veteran over the placement of two small American Flags at the entrance to a park honoring veterans on Memorial Day.”