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On September 8th, 2011, BART police mass arrested close to thirty people, including Indybay reporter Dave Id, inside the Powell Street BART station during a protest against BART police. Protesters and journalists alike were handcuffed for hours and charged with violating California Penal Code Section 369i. On June 4th, the case was heard in open court and charges were dismissed against fourteen defendants represented by the NLG. It is unknown if other arrestees sought independent counsel, paid a fine for the infraction, had their charges dismissed, or if their charges remain pending.
On Friday, June 8th, five of the Santa Cruz Eleven had preliminary hearing dates set by visiting Judge Stephen Sillman. Additionally, Brent Adams now has a new public defender, attorney Lisa K. McCamey. Charges have been refiled against Franklin Alcantara and Cameron Laurendeau, and they have a new preliminary hearing scheduled for July 23rd. Gabriella Ripley-Phipps and Becky Johnson will be going into their preliminary hearing on Monday, June 25th.
Robert Norse reports: Seven defendants (two were recharged) now face an upcoming Preliminary Hearing sometime in June thanks to Santa Cruz County District Attorneys Bob Lee and Rebekah Young. The seven are activists and reporters selected out of hundreds who passed through the vacant Wells Fargo bank building (now surrounded with a fence and barbed wire) in downtown Santa Cruz. The next pretrial court hearing is on Friday, June 1st at 8:15 AM in Dept. 6.
On May 18th, supporters of the Santa Cruz Eleven held banners on the Soquel Avenue overpass, to be seen by passing drivers on Highway 1, in support of the eleven people charged in association with the 2011 occupation of a vacant bank building in Santa Cruz. So far six of the eleven defendants have had charges against them dismissed by Santa Cruz County judge Paul Burdick, and the remaining five, Brent Adams, Desiree Foster, Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, Becky Johnson, and Robert Norse (Kahn), are still in the middle of pre-trial hearings.
On May 14th, all charges against Indybay photojournalists Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy were dismissed by Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Paul Burdick. The Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office had argued, without any evidence, that Allen and Darocy were "the media arm of the organization, the group’s propagandists" for the occupation of the vacant Wells Fargo bank building at 75 River Street in late November, thereby validating Shmuel Thaler, a Santa Cruz Sentinel photographer, as having been at the occupation as a bona fide journalist. Judge Burdick questioned the inconsistencies in the DA's argument and dismissed all charges.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California filed a brief as amicus curiae, on May 3rd, in support of Bradley Stuart Allen and Alex Darocy’s motion to dismiss, pursuant to Penal Code section 995, pending before the Superior Court of California for the County of Santa Cruz. In the brief, ACLU of Northern California concludes, "The prosecution’s theories of liability for conspiracy to trespass and aiding and abetting trespass seek to punish Allen and Darocy for activity they engaged in that is protected by the First Amendment and the liberty of speech clause of the California Constitution."
On May 4th, community members gathered at the Santa Cruz Courthouse for a press conference and rally to demand District Attorney Bob Lee drop the charges against the Santa Cruz Eleven, who have all been charged with felonies arising from the occupation of a vacant bank building last fall. Organizers of the rally believe the DA should, "re-examine the basis for the charges, and the Court must ensure that these activists are not being selectively prosecuted." Approximately 100 people were in attendance at the courthouse rally, and after a brief press conference that had seven of the Santa Cruz Eleven introducing themselves, the group marched through downtown Santa Cruz.

Indymedia: 1