I’ve been meaning to post this for a couple days but I was waiting for a reply from Unpopular Bird who has recently had a run in with the law. If there is anything you can do to help them out, please contact them via their IAM page. This is why I’ve wanted to set up the BME Legal Defense fund so I could help out members like this when they’re in situations that don’t make sense but BME is burdened with it’s own lawsuit and there seems to be little I can do to raise funds currently to help BME, let alone others in the community. So if there is anything you can do to help out Unpopular Bird, please do.

On October 24, 4 sheriffs, from Paulding county, Ohio, raided my house in Antwerp for the reasons of me doing illegal body modification/piercings. They had looked onto my Myspace to see that i was doing suspensions/body piercings, and used a few pictures and a short video of it happening to produce an affidavit to one of the judges of Paulding county.

They came in after they had watched me and my roommate leave, i guess it was no more then 10 mins after he left. They came in and took a whole bunch of stuff including: some marijuana and pipes(i never get high while working, im just a guy who like to smoke in his off time), hooks, my rigging, suspension things, my computer, camera, and other piercing related things that were not suspension related, the unrelated piercing equipment that they took were on there way to going to the shop i work at as a professional piercer. They also took my 12g shotgun and 3 bags of sea salt, then called me a meth dealer for the 3 weeks it took for the bags to come back from the lab.

I was charged with: Illegal body piercing/tattooing, possession of marijuana, and possession of marijuana paraphernalia,a minor misdemeanor and two misdemeanor 4′s(all very low charges). I have been in court over 5 times over the last year and a few months.

Last month i had my jury trial, During the Eight hour trial, the only thing the State could prove was that i did the suspension. I admitted to doing the suspension the entire time. Also the pipes that were confiscated were not tested for marijuana and the holding evidence that found me guilty was the sheriff, who was head of the raid, saying it was used for marijuana.

The Man from the board of health in Pauling county was brought to the stand. He stated that they may have a problem here and we might have a problem there, and then saying that the pictures were taken 2 months after the suspension happened, he couldn’t say that a violation had occurred, only that it might have occurred.

After 8 minutes in deliberation from the jury, i was found guilty. Justice was not served and now suspensions are illegal in Ohio, unless done in a shop registered by the health board. And as of Monday the 14th I have my sentencing.

25 thoughts on “Help!

  1. This is my buddy Jacob Sigg. I first talked with him after the bust was made. I have corresponded with him for the last several months and trust me he has gotten the very raw end of the deal. Starting this past Monday he is serving a 60day jail sentence because of the courts ruling. So Merry Christmas Jacob from Paulding County and Fuckin’ Defiance Ohio. I will see you in January man.

  2. I can only hope that the sentencing judge was reasonable and realized that *if* the warrant was executed properly (which it does not sound like it was) the most he should have been charged with would have been possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, but because he is in a mid-west / mid-atlantic state, he is dealing with the incredible prejudice against body piercing and specifically against ritual acts like suspension. It is truly a shame that he could be facing 8 months in prison. Please keep us abreast of his sentencing.

    The best i can offer right now is advice that, if possible, he moves to Oregon. While the state is well, and fairly regulated, it has a good tolerance for ritual acts. And, despite the high occurrence and tolerance of heavy modifications, there are parts of the state that still lack quality practitioners. Plus, we always love to have new suspension lovers in the area.

    Good luck, and keep us informed.

  3. although i feel for his plight, I’m a firm believer that piercings, like tattoos, should only be done in studio. In the tattooing world, the home tattooer-the scratcher- has a detrimental impact on our industry for many reasons.. and I doubt it’s any different for the piercing industry.

    Beyond that, It sounds like all he really got charged with was the drug stuff. you play, you pay. Even if laws are unjust, if you run afoul of them, do not be surprised when Johnny Law decides t act. Maybe some thought should be put to what if he had been doing all this in a shop.. would the police have even cared?

    home tattooists and piercers need to quit damaging the industry.. and certainly quit whining when they’ve made the bed they are forced to lie in.

  4. i cant stand this. i recently had a situation when a parole officer found a sealed bottle of lidocaine amongst my work stuff. to avoid a shit storm at the shop i work at from the the state, i cried drug addict and was put in rehab. regardless, what 2 consentual, safe, sane people do to there bodies is no concern of law enforcement.

  5. fuck that…. that raid doesn’t sound like it was conducted even close to properly…. and then accusing him of being a meth dealer?? what the fuck happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? it sounds like they already had their minds made up, despite what the evidence suggests…. and even if they COULD prove he was doing suspension, doesn’t it seem wrong to outlaw something that was being conducted properly, and serves to teach one something more about their body, and push their limits as a person? bahh…

  6. Well, was what was being done illegal? If so, you got caught.
    If you were doing illegal things and then also got caught will illegal drugs….well, you got caught.

    Maybe a legal defense fund would be better spend defending the innocent? Or maybe helping to change laws to make more sense?

    I’m pretty sick and tired of people piercing from home…doing suspensions in back yards on video for myspace and youtube…what possible GOOD can come of that? IF it’s ILLEGAL, why post it online for the world to see?

    Whether or not it’s justice, it’s still being stupid and then whining when you get caught. I have no sympathy on this one.

  7. I live in Columbus, Ohio and have been doing much research on this case. I have been able to find not one single document that states that body suspension is illegal in the state of Ohio. We have suspension shows that are highly advertised all over and have yet to encounter one problem.
    There was one incident we had almost two years ago when a neighbor called the police and stated that someone had committed suicide in my front yard and people were pushing the body around and taking pictures. After the police, EMT’s, fire dept. and NBC news showed up the police gave me the go ahead to continue.

    This case of suspension being illegal may just be sanctioned to Paulding County. Otherwise we would have one hell of a problem with all our advertised activity (past and present). If anyone has been able to find any info I have yet to discover, please send it my way.

  8. I have a couple questions. What exact law was used to prosecute you for the suspension? It says that they raided your house for “performing illegal body modification/piercing” but what criminal code was used exactly. In Oklahoma and other states there are laws that could be interpreted as suspension via piercing would be illegal if not performed in a licensed studio by licensed piercers. Of course this should concern all of us if that is the case. This sets a hell of a precedent.
    Also, what type of attorney did you use? Was it a public defender?
    I would file an appeal for sure and consult another lawyer.

  9. Some free IANYL advice:
    1. It is never a good idea to publicly admit to breaking the law (admitting to recreational drug use).
    2. If you are going to temp Joe Law on suspension, don’t fuck it up for everyone else by making yourself easy to bust by having drugs at the location.
    3. Don’t post pictures of doing shit that violates your local health board law if you are a professional piercer.

    Sorry but I have trouble feeling sympathetic.

    Especially when there is a lie being told. Suspension is not illegal.

  10. Wow, that’s completely messed up.
    I live in Ohio and have been wanting to do suspension for a long time but this is a huge bummer.
    Guess I’ll have to take a roadtrip. :/
    Well, unless something changes since I live about two counties away from Paulding.

    Btw, Jared, I LOVED the image of someone thinking that people were pushing a dead person around and taking pictures.

  11. i was given a $300 fine, over $800 in court costs, 60 days suspended with non-reportorial probation, and a 6 month drivers license suspension

    i was completely expecting jail, considering the marijuana and the trial by jury… i am not going to complain but the sentence just didn’t seem right to me.

    we are currently looking to appeal to a higher court seeing as because of me being found guilty it changes the laws in Ohio making suspension more illegal then it might or might not have been

  12. prison would be absolute BullShit for this!
    you mention an affidavit, did they have a Warrant to enter your home?

    i think you have to accept responsability for the weed and such, but we all deserve fairness. if they cant find residue on the pipes they shouldnt be able to use them. i hope they didnt find baggies and a scale!
    using your professional equipmet/supplies against you is also BS. since you are a pro working out of a shop , that stuff does NOt indicate home body art.. where else shoudl you keep your personal tools, a locker down at the bus station?!? i would hope you could sue for their impeding your ablity to work as they confiscated your equipment! in all fairness right?
    If Suspention was NOT illegal before the bust, then they can fuck themselves on that too. if not, i guess you have to take it. but it should be fair, its not like a violent crime!

    man those fuckers are reaching…
    best of luck to you.

  13. Do it in a studio approved by the health board of your state. These laws aren’t there to screw around with you, they’re there to protect the safety of the clients and practitioners.

    It’s unfortunate that because of you the entire state may ban suspension.

  14. without even goin to look…. by chance is this the same person that whined awhile back about bein busted for suspensions. Now the story changes to more. I said it then and i’ll say it again. I remember looking threw pics and almost in every picture you had done something wrong. meaning you had no clue what you were doin and not bein professional at all about it. i also recall you sayin you were goin to try to say suspension was your religious belief to try to get out of that charge. Suspension is not banned in ohio yet but will be i am sure. you pissed off the wrong people. quit tellin half the story and tryin to get sympathy and accept you did stuff you were not trained in. you were not professional …the pictures prove that.

  15. it is very difficult for me to feel sympathy for this person, simply because he has publicly admitted to using what is (rightly, or wrongly) a controlled substance and was in possession of that substance and it’s ‘paraphernalia’…

    rick (11) has a very good point to be made as well… what specific law/statute was used against you in prosecuting you for the suspensions?
    as Jumpino (16) has already said, laws enacted to regulate piercing and tattooing to being done only in licensed studios are created to protect the public… yes, it is very true that some laws that have been created to serve that purpose are either outdated or completely dumb, but that is why the industry should organize against those laws and put forth a concise and concerted effort to have those laws changed….

    so, if you’re doing something that is against the law (ei. piercings.suspensions outside of a licensed studo setting), don’t advertise it by posting videos and pictures on a publicly accessible online site…. don’t speak of it… don’t write about it….

    the first rule of fight club is, do not talk about fight club….
    this person would do well to remember that…

  16. the fact that bme is supporting this man and seeking help for his cause is far beyond my capacity to understand. this community should be about furthering the careers and causes of those of us trying to be conscious modifiers. unpopular bird has brought this upon himself by his foolish behavior, and, as his letter states, the entirety of ohio.
    hopefully the moderators of bme will take a long look at the sides they are choosing, and the implications they bring for the entire modification community.

  17. Body rituals and minor piercing procedures should not be exclusively confined to a shop or studio setting. I could probably create a cleaner and safer environment for a body piercing procedure outside than some shops can inside! And the setting of a ritual can drastically change the way a person perceives the whole event.

    Most states and counties don’t have any guidelines for body rituals. They have guidelines for the body piercing procedure only…I wonder if the state/county would allow the piercing to take place inside the studio but the following ritual to be done outside…cuz you know they don’t have regulations for what the clients do to their piercings after they leave the studio…

  18. After I posted that ^, I looked at the suspension photos on his page. It looks sloppy, unsanitary, and I don’t know much about rigging, but that setup doesn’t exactly look safe or secure.

    I understand why people don’t want to support him.

  19. Maybe the fund should be set to focus on challenging the “Illegal body piercing/tattooing” conviction? The drugs and ‘minor misdemeanor and two misdemeanor 4’s’ are not the business of the bod-mod community……… just is it’s not our business if a tatttooist or piercer gets a speeding ticket. You know the risk, you know the penalty, you made a choice.

    As an adult who is involved in the mod-scene I am well aware that we can be judged negativly because of our looks or accpetance of suspensions, i know this is unfair, but i also accept that it happens. as a result i have made an extra effort to keep myself out of trouble, as i expect to NOT be given the benefit of the doubt. again it sucks, but is the guy really suprised that he got a bum deal by the judge and jury ??

  20. Hmmm. So… Reading all that I am quite sure you are absolutely allowed to do private suspensions in Ohio, without having a single professional in the crew. As long you and your friends are doing it, and you’re not making money with the service “body suspension”. If you do so, if you sell suspensions for money, without having a proper lisenced studio, then they can bust you. If you also sell quite a load of other body modification services, they can bust you. Or at least they can have a careful look, and decide to do something or not.

    You really did n ot consider that risc, that somebody may have a look about what you’re doing there, when you’re bending the law, standing best in a grey zone which is half-legal, but with the risc of beeing really illegal? If you considered that as a risc, if you thought about the risc, that the police may want to do a control, why you still did play with drugs?

    Please no discussion about the laws – I’d like to see the dutch model, but as long as that is not law in your place, marihuana based drugs are illegal.
    Finally – what did they fine you for? drugs. And you were quite lucky neither to have 10 times your expenses nor a serious time in jail. In Germany and Austria, finding Marihuana in your place, you’d sit for some months (and we have way softer laws than US).

    I am quite surprised, that BME, with that kind of BS around wants to support you. Be happy to come out with very mild fine, and think more in future. And if you want to be a professional – than be one. But serious, with a legal studio (or working in one).

  21. Wait a minute! Shit you post on the internet can be used against you? Like in real life? Damn, who would’ve thunk it.

    “They had looked onto my Myspace to see that i was doing suspensions/body piercings, and used a few pictures and a short video of it happening to produce an affidavit to one of the judges of Paulding county.”

    We’ve been teaching this to thirteen year olds for a while now. Do we need to start explaining it to the adults, too?

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