By George Stewart
The Tustin News
Thursday Jan. 22, 1998
Within the unlikely confines of a Tustin Ranch apartment is the home and headquarters of a freedom fighter.
There, groups of up to 25 people assemble at night around long tables with a wall of shelved law books overlooking them, while Peymon Mottahedeh teaches them how to stand up against government oppression.
"I'm hoping to train an army of freedom fighters armed with the knowledge and proper assertion of the law," says Mottahedeh. "I'm not advocating armed revolution or violence - I renounce violence."
Mottahedeh, 35, is referring to his Freedom Law School where he estimates he has had about 300 graduates since he started it in his living room in January of 1996.
He is not an attorney, nor can his school offer any accredited degree. But for $150 just plain folks can take a course of nine three-hour classes in subjects like how to beat the IRS and state income tax agencies, how to use a law library, how to respond to harassing letters from government, how to read and write effective court documents, and basic trial procedures and techniques and strategies for free living.
"It is about education and results," Mottahedeh said. "for people who are wrongfully convicted, victimized by the IRS and unjust traffic tickets, and other oppression by other beaurocracies."
"The government has unlimited money to come after you. The average individual has little money and no knowledge. Even when he is in the right he has no chance."
Mottahedeh is of Jewish descent and fled Iran for the United States in 1977, when he was 14, just before the ayatollah came to power. He attended Tustin High School and got a degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach.
In the early 1980s an uncle visited --Please see FIGHTER below
Peymon Mottahedeh studies one of the law books in his Freedom Law School, which he operates out of his apartment in Tustin Ranch. He teaches the average person about his legal rights and how not to be taken advantage of by the government.
him and told him of how he was tortured back in Iran, of how another relative was tortured and executed under a bogus charge of being a Zionist spy.
"I was so glad to be here in America, but I realized we have given up so many of our freedoms for government's fake security. Government is making so many laws that are trifling - like not smoking in bars, traffic violations and zoning violations. They are not going after the real criminals. Criminal are taking over the government itself."
He got a job interpreting Persian for the courts in Orange County, where he got a chance to see bureaucracy and the court systems in action.
"I got involved with the Freedom movement and I got to know about our rights and how they work - how to work within our constitutional system to get our freedoms and rights back."
After the debacle at Waco, Texas, and President Clinton's efforts to get government control of medicine, he and a couple of friends started the Freedom Law School as part of the Freedom movement.
Relying on word of mouth, advertising flyers, and mailers, the school has grown and even offers at-home courses through audio cassettes in the mail.
The Piecemakers, a religious group in Costa Mesa that believes God's law supersedes that of man, took his course for help in their battles against the city and the county.
But most of his students are less high-profile.
"It gives you more confidence when dealing with governmental agencies," said Dan Scott, A Tustin graduate who does tax work.
"He gives a very detailed course in the different aspects of the law for people who don't want to use a lawyer if they don't have to," said Richard Forest, a Costa Mesa computer programmer.
Mottahaedeh's latest cause is a voter initiative he has authored, hoping to get it on the November ballot. It would allow jurors to acquit a defendant if they deem a law unjust.
He wrote it in response to the conviction of Rev. Wiley Drake for illegally housing the homeless at his church in Buena Park. Drake said he later talked to jurors who told him they only voted against him because the judge instructed them they could not consider his motivation or intent.
"The problem is judges are lying to jurors about their powers to veto the law," Mottahedeh said.
In order to get his initiative on the ballot, he must get 433,000 signatures of registered voters by May 30.
"There's always a chance with these things," he said. "You never know until you try."
He said he will try to raise enough money to hire professional signature gatherers, but if anyone wants information, he can call the Jury Education Initiative Committee at (714) 838-2896.
Last Updated on Friday, 23 March 2012 18:47