Ask the Attorney: An Interview with Trent Garmon

joyce-fecteau

The first time I saw your name was in a press release Mary Riley sent to me with the article in the Birmingham-based news site AL.com about sidewalk counselor Joyce Fecteau being acquitted in Huntsville. I don’t think that many Lifeline readers are familiar with the situation there and her being criminally prosecuted.

This is an example of another tactic that the pro-aborts here are using to try to suppress the truth about abortion. The pro-aborts paraded in ten witnesses and they had videoed two of the escorts followed by a third escort. The first escort was carrying a burning sage stick and the two behind her were [the two alleged victims]. The smoking stick was waved back and forth, four different times, the escorts were following her in what was an area permitted only for pro-lifers and people who were walking through that sidewalk with a purpose (other than to harass or annoy somebody). But we had video from across the street where, right before they come through, they huddle up, they kind of point as what they’re going to go do, they march right behind the lady with the sage stick, and intentionally go right beside Joyce, carrying this billowing sage stick, trying to harass and annoy her. This was about the fifth time they had done that that morning, and she just did what she had done before, she hung in there and sprayed water toward the smoke to try and dissipate it, but stayed where she was.

There’s a code section in Alabama that says that it’s a crime to possess a stink bomb, something that has got a noxious odor, if you’re using it with the intent to commit another crime. And so here they had a sage stick and they were causing Mrs. Fecteau to be sick to her stomach. They were carrying it with the intent to harass and annoy them and to make them sick. And despite an initial plea to a police officer, nothing was done. They did it four more times and then they, off to the side of the shots we got, huddled up to come through for a fifth time, and we caught them huddling to show the conspiracy, from the video, and we also caught them coming back and yelling, “Oh, we’ve been burned by the holy water!” They were smiling in the video, so the judge saw without a doubt that they had created the situation and had actually been harassing Mrs. Fecteau.

We revealed that she was in an extremely hostile environment, she was having people parade back and forth with billowing smoke, while she stayed in the designated area. The judge saw her intent was to dissipate the smoke—that she had health problems with it.

Why are they using the sage stick? Just to make a stink?

We couldn’t get a straight answer. They came up with several pretexts. They said that it was a Native American offering, although there was only one lady out there that has any Native American heritage, and she wasn’t out there that morning.

Is it a typical practice in your community? I mean, do people walk around doing it all the time?

I’ve never seen it, never.

That’s what I was thinking. Kind of a strange practice.

It’s just amazing what those folks do. They went and got a warrant, and one of their leaders, Pam Waters, was posting an article, “That’ll show the pro-lifers that they’re not going to back down from harassment.” If that’s their version of showing the pro-lifers that they’re not going to back down, there needs to be some remorse for having done what they did, which was a flat out manipulation of the system. There needs to be also some repercussions for going and using the system like they did.

I gather this isn’t the only misbehavior by escorts that has been going on at that clinic. What sort of steps are being taken to curb that?

We filed a civil suit against a man that pushed out there. Obviously any unwanted touching can be an assault or battery, but one of the escorts stormed down the sidewalk and yelled, “Get out of my way!” and shoved a 15-year-old kid, a kid that he had been making sexual moves on that were just completely inappropriate. This is the same guy that’s been in some of our videos—he called a Hispanic lady a whore in Spanish, and he broke out some handcuffs. He was twirling handcuffs on his fingers—and he’s a Treasury agent, sadly enough. He works for the Department of Treasury, an IRS guy, and he’s out there, with handcuffs, saying that he’s used these handcuffs on prostitutes, and meth hookers, and he knows how to use them.

Where do you see this heading?

I think we’re seeing a momentum shift. When you let the pro-aborts think that they’ve got dominion and you don’t break that, it’s like a football game, the Giants or the 49ers or whoever, you can see a momentum shift, and you can’t describe it, but that’s what happens in a lot of these pro-life battles. The Holy Spirit is bringing a momentum shift. I know Alison [Aranda] has been saying that a lot. I hope this brings a momentum shift, because there’s only one abortion clinic in Huntsville. And if it brings enough shift, maybe a shutdown in Birmingham?

What is your regular practice?

I do personal injury work primarily. Workers’ compensation and injury work. I’ve had a general practice. I’m just starting to focus on personal injury.

Where did you go to school?

I went to Regent University and Birmingham School of Law. Undergraduate, I was in the military system, two years at West Point, then finished my undergraduate at Troy University, then went to law school at Birmingham School of Law and then did a masters in Theology at Regent University.

When did you become pro-life? Have you always been pro-life? Did you grow up that way?

I actually wrote a paper in law school, I was so pro-choice, I wrote a paper defending a minor’s right to have an abortion without the notification of her parents. I was pro-choice.

I’m sick to my stomach to think that I was so blinded, but I got born again April 26, 2006. Oh my goodness, I’m really just seven years old in the Kingdom. But it just transformed my mind, and to know that at the point of conception, that there is a human being, and shortly thereafter you have heartbeat, brain wave activity, and the capacity to feel pain. It’s just mind-boggling that people would not see that that is a human life and that the choice is made to have sex, but thereafter, it’s not a choice, it’s a result. But that’s what did it for me—just getting born again. It opened my eyes.

That’s pretty awesome. What was your first case with Life Legal?

In Birmingham, I was at a seminar and I sent a guy an email, offering services to him in case he needed any help. They were having a demonstration outside—a prayer vigil outside of the New Woman All Women abortion clinic in Birmingham, and they got sued and got served with a state court injunction, and Jeff White called me. I was in a CLE class and was wondering “should I stay or should I go?” It was a Friday afternoon and I ended up saying “all right.” I went over and met him, and ended up in the middle of a pro-life battle.

Right there at the library across the street from the courthouse I wrote a response, printed it at the library and took it up, and got a court reporter up in front of the judge within about 2-1/2 hours of calling. The judge wouldn’t rule on our response to the injunction, but he set it for the next Monday, which pretty much killed the prayer vigil, because they had to stand across the street—a battle over one sidewalk. But we stood across the street for that weekend, and then that Monday we just kept pounding and pounding, and eventually they agreed that the injunction did not apply to anybody except those that were named in the federal court injunction. After that, all the pro-lifers except the few named in the federal court injunction were able to stand on that sidewalk.

It was shortly after that we were able to take pictures and document three women being carted out of that clinic on a Saturday. That led to an investigation by the health department and they got shut down. That’s what I mean when I talk about the momentum. If lawyers will pound and pound and pound for justice, there’s enough people on the front lines that will get out there. All we’ve got to do is be persistent through the court system, and let those people on the sidewalk take care of the momentum shift.

I didn’t know you were active in that case. That’s the New Woman All Women clinic that was recently shut down and they reopened again and they shut down again, went back and forth with the Department of Health in Alabama. Is that the one?

Yes. I argued the full response to the injunction that they served on Jeff White, Patrick Mahoney, and the young woman who was served for Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. There were several folks that were named in the injunction and I argued that and got it resolved. Then Terry Gensemer and Sue Turner and others really pursued the state health department, thank goodness, after the pictures of the three patients came out, one with blood, being carried downstairs because there’s no wheelchair around. They were taking her to the hospital because of overdose on medications.

It was an honor, too, that I got to do my very first deposition as a lawyer (because I didn’t start practicing until about 2010) on Diane Derzis. She was the abortion clinic owner. That was my first deposition. Oh, gosh, that was good.

I hear you recently had some exciting news in your family.

On January 30, my wife Holly gave birth to our twin sons, Judah Michael and Josiah Rogers. The staff at the hospital had been snowed in for two days but they did a great job and it was a complication free delivery. Seeing these boys is a true reminder of God’s love for each of us and His desire for good in our lives. Their names are a confession of that truth, Judah meaning “Praise God” & Josiah meaning “God Saves.”

If that’s their version of showing the pro-lifers that they’re not going to back down, there needs to be some remorse for having done what they did, which was a flat out manipulation of the system.

That led to an investigation by the health department and they got shut down.

Author: Life Legal

The Life Legal Defense Foundation is a non-profit law firm that specializes in the defense of vulnerable human life, especially life in the womb.