5th District Court Judge Luke Berger Unveils Double-Standard Concerning Self-Defense in Madison County

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On August 28th, 5th District Court Judge Luke Berger sentenced Michael Waitt and Portia Daem to two years of probation for breaking and entering an occupied Madison County home at night and armed with bear spray. In a statement of reproof from the bench, Judge Berger informed the defendants they were lucky they didn’t get shot and then commented, (referring to the family that was at home when this attempt at armed robbery occurred): 

“You have the right to protect yourself. A father has a right to protect his children.”

The judge is correct. It goes without saying, and this is plainly affirmed by Montana Law:

“ANY NECESSARY FORCE may be used to protect from wrongful injury the person or property of one’s self, of a wife, husband, child, parent, or other relative or member of one’s family, or of a ward, servant, master, or guest” (49-1-103).

Unfortunately, in the case involving the persecuted North Carolina missionaries who were walking across America last November and attacked on the side of US Highway 287 near Cameron, there seems to be a double-standard, as if the rights afforded to Montana citizens and affirmed by Judge Berger from the bench don’t belong to them.

These missionaries, including a father and two of his children, were threatened, assailed, beaten, arrested by the attacker’s buddies from the local sheriffs department, and then thrown in jail. They were released on $50,000 bonds each and forced to wear and pay for ankle monitors. Despite the overwhelming evidence of selective prosecution for the purpose of religious discrimination, Judge Berger denied motions for dismissal, and now, they must stand trial in his court. 

In the judge’s August 10th “Order on Outstanding Motions,” the Attorney General’s motion “Prohibiting Defendants from arguing the affirmative defense of Justifiable Use of Force unless they testify at trial and admit they purposely and knowingly committed the charged offenses” is granted (page 26). On page 27, Judge Berger writes: “Defendants must testify and admit to the alleged offenses.” Furthermore, on page 29: “Defendants must testify and admit to the offenses at trial if the defense of JUOF is to be asserted. The Court notes, however, it is entirely in the Defendants’ right to not assert this defense. The State’s motion is thus granted.” 

In other words, a father has a right to protect his children unless that father is a Christian evangelist carrying a cross and walking across America. In that case, he must first admit that he purposely and knowingly committed an ASSAULT before he is “allowed” to claim self-defense or justified use of force against an unprovoked attack.” 

The Madison County father who was at home with his kids when Michael Waitt and Portia Daem broke into their abode had a RIGHT to protect his family and even shoot the burglars, according to Judge Berger, but missionaries who were minding their own business when local man Brad Terrell pulled up beside them in his pickup truck, screamed “Your kind ain’t welcome in Montana,” and then exited his vehicle, charging a father and son from about 20 feet away, must admit an offense before they can even claim a right Judge Berger and Montana Law says they possess.

How can this be?

After this sentencing hearing, according to a social media post, a resident from Eastern Montana called Judge Berger’s office to encourage him to remember what he had said, (i.e. “A father has a right to protect his children”) when it comes to the missionary case before him. The clerk’s response was telling and further highlights the apparent double-standard: “Each case is different.” It has also been reported by numerous concerned citizens who have called Judge Berger’s office over the past ten months to express support for the missionaries that his clerks have repeatedly responded, “The missionaries will have the opportunity to PROVE THEIR INNOCENCE,” the diametric opposite of “innocent until proven guilty,” the bedrock of due process and American jurisprudence. 

This type of chicanery is not much different than what is transpiring in Washington DC courts with J6 defendants and in multiple courts overseeing bogus charges against President Donald Trump. The American judicial system has been weaponized to target law-abiding citizens and trample their constitutional rights, and this weaponization can be seen across the board: from a DC Circuit Court to a Fulton County Court in Atlanta, Georgia, all the way down to a podunk 5th District Court in a red Montana County with less than 9,000 residents. It’s why the American people are losing faith in the courts at breakneck speed and no longer taking them seriously. Such erosion of trust in what used to be cherished institutions can only be a harbinger of bad things to come.

Interestingly, the Bible, which President Andrew Jackson once said is “the rock upon which our Republic rests,” warns against this kind of judicial double standard:

Righteous King Jehoshaphat reproved the judges of the Kingdom of Judah: “And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts” (II Chronicles 19:6-7).

America is in big trouble, from the White House to the State Houses to the old Courthouse in Madison County, Montana. God save the United States!

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