From the March 2001 Idaho Observer:
The Strawcutter decision
A federal judge has already ruled that FCC can have no case against Mark Alan
In August, 1998, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), allegedly in response to a complaint from a competing radio station licensed by the FCC, fined Mark Alan, owner/operator of North Valley Broadcasting, $11,000 for operating a radio station without a license and ordered the micro broadcaster to cease and desist. After reviewing FCC rules and, certain that his 100 watt station was not interfering with other stations, Mark Alan continued broadcasting his pro-American programming to his some 1,500 listeners in Oroville and Tonasket, Wash.
On February 8, 2001, Mark Alan, a man who hasn't had so much as a speeding ticket in at least 20 years, was arrested for allegedly assaulting with a deadly weapon a federal marshall who was attempting to serve him with legal documents in connection with the FCC issue. Mark Alan was taken into federal custody and transported to Spokane County Jail which is where he sits to this day though the federal marshall was not injured and no intent to cause harm has been established by U.S. Attorney Thomas Hopkins.
By The Idaho Observer
A recent federal court ruling indicates that the federal government has no case against Mark Alan. The August 7, 1998 Strawcutter Decision, which was rendered prior to the FCC decision to fine Mark Alan, shows that the FCC has no jurisdiction over him or his radio station. Michigan District Federal Judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr., dismissed the government's motion for summary judgment against the assets of micro broadcaster Pastor Rick Strawcutter -- with prejudice -- because the FCC failed to follow due process as stipulated in law.
Like Mark Alan, Pastor Strawcutter dedicates his airtime to pro-American programming.
Judge Cook held that, because Strawcutter had been in obeyance of all FCC rules and had gone through great pains to insure that his broadcasts would not interfere with other radio stations, the federal government had no authority to continue with its prosecution against him. Pastor Strawcutter continues to broadcast within the guidelines of radio stations not required to be licensed by the FCC.
The FCC, therefore, had no authority to commission the U.S. Marshall's Service to serve Mark Alan with the legal documents that were the cause of the alleged assault.
According to Rocky Mountain Communications (RMCC), a company that supplies radio equipment and promotes the rights and responsibilities of micro broadcasters, "The purpose of low power community broadcasting, operating at 100 watts RF output or less, is to provide news and commentary and other items of local interest to the community in an inexpensive manner without the necessity of FCC licensing and government regulatory control."
Michael Heit of RMCC believes that the FCC is being used by the American Association of Broadcasters and other powerful interests that promote the agenda of network communications. Heit believes the FCC is the regulatory agency apparently charged with the task of silencing low-powered broadcasters to promote network preeminence and squelch pro-American voices that are opposed to the incessant advance of government control of our lives.
Per FCC Regulations, no licensing is required for broadcast stations operating at less than 100 watts RF output, and not interfering with the broadcast frequencies of licensed commercial stations of greater output power.
RMCC advises all micro broadcasters to stay within the 100 watt RF output limitations and operate only within a clear frequency band. RMCC believes that, "In abiding by this voluntary standard of ethical operation, the operator is fully within the rights as set forth in the First Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America." RMCC also believes that the previous statement has legal merit as found in the recent Strawcutter Decision.
"Briefly, Judge Cook's order explains that prior to asking the court to grant a seizure order, the FCC is mandated by law to exhaust all administrative remedies available to it. The FCC has the statutory power to make its own 'decision' or 'order,' and it must do so before proceeding into federal court," Heit said.
Mark Alan knew his rights and knew that to acknowledge the FCC was to "volunteer" himself for federal administrative authority. He also knew that to apply to the FCC for an FCC license waiver would give the federal agency that authority. Furthermore, such applications submitted by pro-American micro broadcasters are always denied. An FCC "decision" to deny a waiver could be interpreted as an "order" that would allow the federal agency to move against Mark Alan in federal court.
The FCC moved against Mark Alan anyway by issuing a fine and an order to cease and desist.
Judge Cook ruled that before serving a Cease and Desist order, the FCC is mandated by law to serve upon the person involved an order to show cause. Judge Cook's finding points out that the FCC failed to do so in the Strawcutter case. Judge Cook's decision in Strawcutter would appear to apply to Mark Alan as the FCC also failed to adhere to prescribed statutes in it attempts to secure jurisdiction over his broadcast operation. Judge Cook also found no definition in the Communications Act as to exactly what constitutes an FCC order.
"As with most out-of-control federal agencies, the FCC finds it more expedient to ignore due process mandates and accomplish its objectives using force and disingenuous methods in contempt of the law," observed Heit.
The entire Strawcutter Decision can be found at the RMCC website at: