It was part of the federal government’s effort to make sure members of the Rainbow Family facing citations during their annual gathering appear in court.
“I thought it was a joke and they said I had to come back on the first day of the Rainbow gathering,” says Brandon who had to pay a fine for littering. “I was like, surely this is a staged event.”
But it was no joke. Out in the middle of the forest sat the federal judge’s courtroom, a mobile trailer.
“We’re following a model that other places has used when the Rainbow family gathering has visited their area,” says John Huber a deputy U.S. Attorney. “We bring the court to them and helps with better participation.”
One member of the Rainbow family liked the gesture.
“That is very much appreciated,” says Amy of Oregon.
But what wasn’t appreciated by the Rainbow family were the violations which they claimed to be petty.
“Leaving debris on the road, I set down my water bottle accidently and walked away from it,” says Brandon.
It was a littering offense for which he paid $25.
“When we pulled through the front gate we were accused of not using our blinker when I know for a fact that we did,” recalls Amy who was also cited.
The U.S.. forest service law enforcement officers soon found her with marijuana.
“She’s from Oregon where prescription marijuana is legal but not in Utah.
And then there was a man who called himself Windwolf. He got a citation because his dog was running loose.
“I’ve been given a ticket,” says Windwolf. .”Out here in the wilds?
It was a federal offense that law enforcement created just for the Rainbow family at their campsite.
Windwolf acted as his own attorney, lost and paid a 25 dollar fine.
“I don’t have to like it but I got my day in court,” he says.
And while the Rainbow family may not have liked the citations issued by officers, they felt respected inside the mobile trailer.
“It’s a lot better than going to town,” says Jonne. “It’s very interesting because everyone is really friendly.”