Call to Action - support Joe Bezjak, 76 yr. old jailed for kicking pipeline workers off his property, Fayette County, PA

December 17, 2012 - 8:30am
Friends of Joe
Fayette County Jail
12 Court St.
Uniontown, PA 15401
United States

Call to Action

If you are able, please attend tomorrow morning & help spread the word to folks in Fayette County area:

Supporters are asked to be at the Fayette County jail. Bring signs saying you support Joe.
At 9 a.m., Joe Bezjak will appear in Fayette County Court, 61 East Main St., Uniontown.

If you can’t attend, please call:
US Senator Bob Casey - (202) 224-6324
Fayette County State Senator Richard A Kasunic - (724) 626-1611
Fayette County State Representative. Tim Mahoney - (724) 438-6100
Fayette County Judge NANCY VERNON - 724-430-1397 – she’s the one who sent Joe to jail.

Background info:
Sometime this week, Joe Bezjak, 76 yr. old, was jailed for trying to keep Williams Mid Mountain workers from dumping waste fluid onto his farm. Judge Nancy Vernon, of Fayette County’s Court of Common Pleas, ordered Joe to be jailed for breaking a court order which forbid him from disturbing pipe line workers on his own property.

Bezjak was not allowed any bail, nor was he allowed any visitors, including his wife. Joe is on medication for a heart condition and was not allowed his meds. This goes beyond the fracking issue, this is about human rights, civil rights, property rights.

Earlier this year Joe caught Williams Mountain Midstream workers dumping mine water on his property. He had pictures and everything. He threw them off his property. Got taken to court. Court order slapped on JOE by Judge Nancy Vernon. Judge didn't care about his story or his pictures. He was told to leave the workers alone, with court order to that effect slapped on him. DEP was contacted and DEP issued a violation because of the dumping incident.

So when the workers recently showed up again and started doing the same thing - dumping mine water on his cow pasture - he asked the workers to leave after until DEP approved a plan of remediation. (There are cattle grazing in the affected field, the stream is also impacted.) They go to authorities. Joe's declared in violation of court order - contempt of court - by Judge Nancy Vernon. Vernon sends him immediately to jail, where he is currently being held, without bail, without visitors, and without his medications. He is 76 years old.

Joe Bezjak

This is just mind-boggling... I wonder if he had just shot at them, rather than talk to them, he wouldn't have be in breach? - Aren't you allowed to protect your property down there?

Coverage of Joe's saga, in the Herald Standard

Coverage of Joe's saga, in today's Herald Standard

Fayette County farmer spends weekend in jail

Joe Bezjak said when he traveled to Uniontown Friday for a hearing regarding an apparent violation of a court order, he never expected to go to jail.

But that is exactly where the 73-year-old Nicholson Township man spent the weekend, all for speaking to employees of a gas pipeline company working on Bezjak's own farm against the court's direction.

“I was told by Judge (Nancy D.) Vernon that I wasn't allowed to speak to them, even though they were working on my property and even though I saw them doing things that were wrong. I talked to them, so I went to jail,” Bezjak said this morning, after he was released from Fayette County Prison at 9 a.m.

Bezjak, who worked as an educator in Fayette County for nearly four decades, said that his problems with Laurel Mountain Midstream of Williams Companies LLC began in the spring when he signed a contract with them to allow a pipeline to be placed on his 700-acre farm.

For full details, see Tuesday's Herald-Standard.

Joe Bezjak

I find it incredible that our courts support the dumping of wastes on private farm land and standing in the way of landowners protecting their livestock and property. Joe has spent a lifetime being a contributing member of society, an exemplary career in the local school district, and always as a good steward of his property and livestock. In my view this is not an appropriate or just handling of a fair concern by a good citizen of the community.

Property owners should have rights on their own land.

Joe Bezjak lives in Nicholson Twp., near Smithfield, Pa. in Fayette County. I've known him all of my life. He's a good guy, who helps others, doesn't hurt anyone, and takes care of his livestock on his farm. We should have the basic right to protect ourselves on our own property, without fear of being arrested. The waste water that is being illegally dumped will kill his cows and eventually the people too!

Joe Bezjak released from jail-- I just called the prison ....

I just called the prison and he's released. I called the court and there is no hearing for him today.

about Joe-- I just called his Reps and Senator and ....

I just called and left info and messages for his reps and one asked what township is he in; This write-up only mentions the county and judge; can anyone let us know what town or township where Joe lives. thanks, Vera


Judge Nancy Vernon :