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California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judge:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 27, No 06 on February 15, 2008
Website: http://www.arrl.org/
View comments about this article!

California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judge:

On February 12, the FCC issued a Hearing Designation Order (HDO) http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-08-361A1.pdf to William F. Crowell, W6WBJ (ex-N6AYJ), of Diamond Springs, California to determine if his application for renewal of his Amateur Radio license should be granted. The HDO stated: "The record before [the FCC] indicates that Crowell has apparently willfully and repeatedly engaged in and continues to engage in unlawful Commission-related activities, including, but not limited to, intentionally causing interference and/or interruption, transmitting music and one-way communications, and using indecent language on amateur frequencies. Based on the information before us, we believe that Crowell's apparent past and continuing course of misconduct raises a substantial and material question of fact as to whether he possesses the requisite character qualifications to be and remain a Commission licensee. Accordingly, we hereby designate his application for hearing." Crowell initially filed his renewal application February 28, 2007.

Pursuant to Section 309(e) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, the FCC is required to "designate an application for evidentiary hearing if a substantial and material question of fact is presented regarding whether grant of the application would serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity. The character of an applicant is among those factors that the Commission considers in determining whether the applicant has the requisite qualifications to be a Commission licensee. Violations of the Communications Act and/or the Commission's Rules are predictive of licensee behavior and directly relevant to the Commission's regulatory activities."

The HDO informed Crowell that Section 333 of the Act and Section 97.101(d) of the Commission's Rules provide that "no person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of licensed stations. Section 97.113(a)(4) and (b) of the Commission's Rules specifically prohibits transmission of music, obscene or indecent words, and one-way communications on amateur frequencies. Section 97.113(a)(4) of the Commission's Rules and Section 1464 of the Criminal Code also prohibit transmission of obscene, indecent, or profane language."

Since 2000, Crowell has been warned by the FCC to refrain from intentionally interfering with and/or otherwise interrupting radio communications, transmitting one-way communications and music and using indecent language on the air. "Notwithstanding these warnings, the evidence before us indicates that Crowell has and continues to engage in such activities in flagrant and intentional disregard of the Act and the Commission's Rules. We find that Crowell's apparent past and continuing course of conduct raises questions as to whether he possesses the requisite character qualifications to remain a Commission licensee. Crowell's history of FCC-related transgressions and apparent contempt for the Commission's regulatory authority are patently inconsistent with his responsibilities as a licensee and belie any suggestion that he can be relied upon to comply with the Commission's rules and policies in the future. Consequently, we will commence a hearing proceeding before an administrative law judge to provide Crowell with an opportunity to demonstrate whether his above-captioned application should be granted," the HDO continued.

The issues to be put before an Administrative Law Judge concerning Crowell include:

* To determine whether Crowell willfully and/or repeatedly violated Section 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 97.101(d) of the Commission's Rules, by intentionally interfering with and/or otherwise interrupting radio communications.

* To determine whether Crowell willfully and/or repeatedly violated Section 97.113(b) of the Commission's Rules by transmitting one-way communications on amateur frequencies.

* To determine whether Crowell willfully and/or repeatedly violated Section 97.113(a)(4) of the Commission's Rules by transmitting indecent language.

* To determine whether Crowell willfully and/or repeatedly violated Section 97.113(a)(4) of the Commission's Rules by transmitting music.

* To determine, in light of the evidence adduced pursuant to the foregoing issues, whether Crowell is qualified to be and remain a Commission licensee.

* To determine, in light of the evidence adduced pursuant to the foregoing issues, whether the Amateur Radio license renewal application filed by Crowell should be granted.

Crowell has until March 3, 2008 (20 days from the mailing of the HDO) to respond to the HDO. "If he fails to file a written appearance within the twenty-day period, or has not filed prior to the expiration of the twenty-day period, a petition to dismiss without prejudice, or a petition to accept, for good cause shown, a written appearance beyond the expiration of the twenty-day period, the Presiding Administrative Law Judge SHALL DISMISS the captioned application with prejudice for failure to prosecute," the HDO states.

Source:

The ARRL Letter Vol. 27, No. 6 February 15, 2008

Member Comments:
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California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judge:  
by N6NKN on February 15, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Looks like Billy finally gets his day in court.

N6NKN
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by KE4MOB on February 15, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Wow. Really...just wow.

I just wonder what will happen if the ALJ decides the FCC is correct and dismisses Crowell's renewal?

 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by K4KWH on February 15, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Well, they don't often lose!!!!


J
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6EM on February 16, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah, but where's the K1MAN hearing? Its been 2 years and 4 months since he applied for a renewal and he just sits there, continuing to have a license and operate.

Some have said that the FCC only prosecutes those who they think aren't willing or capable of defending themselves. Is that the case here?

Baxter hasn't paid his $21,000 Forfeiture Order nor has the FCC ordered a hearing. Now, ponder that for a while.

 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6WBJ on February 17, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I welcome both the challenge my case presents, as well as the opportunity to protect the free-speech rights of all amateurs.

The only thing the Commission has done so far is try to bluff me, and setting my case for a hearing is just a continuation of that bluffing attempt. They have no credible or admissible evidence. I believe I may be able to have their case dismissed on a motion for summary adjudication, in which case a hearing would never take place.

I believe it would be a mistake to think that this case will be resolved in the near future. Whichever party is dissatisfied with the ALJ's decision (as one side or the other is likely to be) can appeal to the FCC Review Board; the party dissatisfied with the Review Board's decision can appeal to the full Commission; and the party dissatisfied with the full Commission's decision can appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco (note that, at this point, the venue of the case changes from Washington, D.C. to California, and FCC personnel have to come to California to prosecute the case).

It would seem that process would take at least several years, and the courts have recently been notably in conflict with the FCC over free-speech issues (see the "Fox v. FCC" case), but the Commission is in total denial about it because they're pandering to the Commissioners rather than following the law. This is a recipe for disaster, as far as the Commission is concerned. But if they want to shoot themselves in the foot, and demonstrate their own unreasonableness, that is fine with me.

I am entitled to stay on the air with my full operating privileges until the final court ruling, and I intend to do just that.

Even assuming for the sake of argument that I were to lose my case before both the Commission and the courts, I intend to turn around and apply for a new license the next day. Would the Commission want to go through the entire process again?
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6WBJ on February 17, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Remember, all you've heard so far is the Commission's side of the case, which is extremely false and inaccurate. For example, they have deliberately distorted the meaning of their "Character Rule" in order to make their case sound stronger.

The "Character Rule" cases all say that if a licensee engages in a legal activity, no Character Rule violation can possibly be involved. In other words, something is either legal or illegal; we are not required to guess about it. There is no "gray area" where an activity is legal but violates the Character Rule. If you have the legal right to do something, you don't have to worry about whether it violates the Character Rule. This is just another example of the Commission trying to distort the law by claiming to have powers they don't have.

The FCC has no credibility! They even tried to bluff the Fox News Corp. in the "Golden Globe Awards" case, and look what happened! They lost, and made bad law (bad for the Commission, that is) in the process!

If they want to make MORE bad law (bad for them, that is) in my case, I'm game!
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by TANAKASAN on February 17, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
W6WBJ, when you're in a hole the best thing you can do is stop digging.

Tanakasan
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6WBJ on February 17, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not in a hole. The Commission is, but doesn't realize it.
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by WD40 on February 18, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
It's a shame somebody has to go to court to defend their right to enjoy hobby ham radio but this case is lynch mob mentality to the max. W6WBJ is a single man living in a mobile home who enjoys children, working on old cars and tending to his gardens. He is a gentle soul who helps out at his local church and often makes generous donations to homeless shelters and even offers his own home to those in need of a warm place during cold weather. I support W6WBJ because I know he is a stand-up guy who wouldn't hurt a fly let alone say all those bad things he is being accused of.

William "Hurricane" Eichner III
Loving soul brother of Timmy Sheen N6MZA (SK)
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by KD7VOK on February 18, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Get a rope........bye bye Billy
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by KC9JUB on February 18, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
"The Court: He just about talked himself into jail as it was."
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by KD6NEM on February 18, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
The accused is most certainly entitled to his day before the judge. I hope that reason prevails and truth wins here. In this case it is difficult to say which way it will go, but I have to wonder one thing- How in the world did this operator tick off those reporting him and the FCC enough to get to this place? It could be rightly or wrongly, but I wonder based on the argument presented by the accused if it was not just being stubborn and inflammatory. If indeed there was any truth to the accusations then he deserves any penalties received.

Hiding behind the First Amendment never justifies any genuinely poor behavior and/or violation of the rules; such violations remain inexcusable. Indeed, it is a true disgrace when this card is thusly played. A much better way to have dealt with this, and vastly more legal, would have been to simply keep a cool head & QSY. Some people would rather die than admit error or back away from a potential conflict.

KD6NEM
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6WBJ on February 19, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
After I have my ALJ hearing, ham radio is going to be really great! We'll all be able to say whatever we want on the air, without having to worry about Riley Hollingsworth second-guessing everything we say.
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6SAT on February 19, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
He's been a pain for way too long. The hobby will be better off when his license get yanked!
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6WBJ on February 20, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Please see:

http://pages.suddenlink.net/stevewingate/w6wbj/w6wbj.jpg

Thanks for reading!

W6WBJ
Everybody's Favorite Ham
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by WD40 on February 20, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Silent Key N6MZA told me shortly before his death that Billy was the next best thing to a home-cooked meal. I believe he meant Billy as being part of the home-cooked meal but I can't be exactly sure of that as I was heavily medicated during our conversation.
I remember Tim offering me what looked like chicken wings but tasting more like a fingernails dipped in BBQ sauce....
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by K4KWH on February 20, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
After I have my ALJ hearing, ham radio is going to be really great! We'll all be able to say whatever we want on the air, without having to worry about Riley Hollingsworth second-guessing everything we say. (quote)
-------------------------------------------------------

I sure as heck hope not! :) To have amateur radio return to the crap and free-for-all it was in the early
90's would be a tragedy. Something *I* certainly want NO part of!

73

 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by W6WBJ on February 21, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
K4KWH, wake up and smell the coffee: there is a lot more jamming now than there was in the early '90s. In fact, the jamming problem has gotten much worse since Riley Hollingsworth took his job as "S.C.A.R.E." (aren't you SCARED??) in 1998. Riley has been a complete failure in his position.

Besides, your comments are rather inane and insipid, as they amount to saying either:

1. I'm in favor of free-speech rights, but I don't want to hear anything I might not like.

OR

2. I'm not in favor of free-speech because I might hear something I don't like.

Which is it, station?

Free speech ALWAYS comes at the cost of maybe hearing something you won't like! Is that an argument in favor of eliminating free speech?

W6WBJ, Everybody's Favorite Station
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by WD40 on February 21, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Billy, it's obvious K4KWH doesn't understand how radio works. He needs to listen to a few of your original musical recordings all downloadable from www.hamjamming.com
 
RE: California Ham to Face Administrative Law Judg  
by KG4RUL on February 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
"W6WBJ
Everybody's Favorite Ham"

Well, since you are NOT my favorite Ham, shouldn't you change that statement to "Some People's Favorite Ham".
 
Interesting Case  
by K8MHZ on February 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
This will be interesting to watch. I am not really sure if I know what side Bill is on. (I think he likes it that way.) At face value it seems that he is being recalcitrant and poking a stick at the FCC. But upon exchanging some e-mails with him and finding his responses to be both very intelligent and lucid, I am just not sure what to think.

I do know one thing, Bill is no dummy and if Riley has ever met his match Bill is as such. If Bill prevails that pretty much means he was right from the start and his tenacity has paid off.

Bill, I know you are reading this. Consider that I have met more great people that are hams than are not by at least an order of magnitude and I hope you have as well. We need someone like you on *our* side. If you had taken up interference issues not directed at you and brought to task the thorns in the sides of the great amateurs that populate our genre with such bulldog like tenacity our craft would unquestionably be better off.

Most of us don't realize that the FCC has pretty much abandoned us. We need *more* enforcement, not less and we need it to be effective. Bill's case, no matter where we stand on our respect or lack thereof for him, will make an indelible statement of the FCC's clout and prowess when challenged head on by a formidable opponent.

Bill, if you are on the Dark Side, please reconsider after you have made your stand. You have a golden opportunity here. Whether or not it turns from a noble metallic opportunity to one cast from pyrite will be up to you.

73 OM, hope your car projects turn out well.

Mark K8MHZ
 
RE: Interesting Case  
by K8MHZ on February 26, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
Bill,

Can you send me your new e-mail address? Mine's still the same.

mhz
 
RE: Interesting Case  
by WD40 on February 29, 2008 Mail this to a friend!
retroguybilly@gmail.com
 
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