The Permanent Injunction Trial of Anna Richardson and Miguel de Leon resumes in the courtroom of Judge Tim Volkman with attorneys Jonathan Gettleman and Marc Briscoe defending.
If City Attorney Barisone's costly ($50,000-$100,000) targeting of two homeless musicians is successful, both will face a perpetual threat of jail and fine if they fall asleep in the downtown area at night or cover up with blankets there.
Current law (MC 6.36.010) limits penalties to a maximum of $97 fine or 8 hours of community service.
Last year under pressure from Councilmember Lynn Robinson's allies in the Downtown Association, the SCPD, the Santa Cruz Neighbors, and Take Back Santa Cruz, Barisone won an unusual "public nuisance" Preliminary Injunction against the two that banned them from nightime sleeping in the downtown area.
This, even though sleeping is everywhere illegal for the homeless in Santa Cruz and the city's Homeless Services Center acknowledges there is no walk-in emergency shelter
See "Anti-Homeless Injunction Against Two Street Musicians" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/29/18599000.php
A costly harassment hearing in April by Barisone, Sgt. Harms and his underlings attempted to expand the Injunction to cover daytime sleeping by claiming that the Richardson and de Leon were "setting up camp" when they fell asleep next to their bedding in the downtown area.
See"Homeless Couple victorious against contempt charges" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/03/20/18642279.php
The couple had refused to quietly accept verbal harassment, selective enforcement, and misapplication of the Camping Ordinance by Officerss Harms, Forbas, and Winston--assigned to target the two of them and harry them in the downtown area.
In June, Barisone began a third action to make last year's Preliminary Injunction a Permanent Injunction and to expand it in both area and content. See "City Attorney Barisone's Attack on 2 Homeless: Sentinel Smear and Activist Response"
The trial resumes today after Barisone tried to call 23 prosecution witnesses--almost all testifying that the two were caught "sleeping" outside the time and territory banned by the Preliminary Injunction last year.
Community Action Board Shelter Project Director Paul Brindel will be testifying that shelter space in Santa Cruz does not exist for the vast majority of homeless people here--a fact known to the City Attorney, the SCPD, and the courts, yet ignored in their campaign to "discourage" homeless presence in public spaces.
Also important to the defense is testimony from Richardson and de Leon themselves.
IF ANYONE KNOWS THESE TWO, PLEASE ADVISE THEM THAT THE TRIAL RESUMES TODAY AT 9:30 AM AND THEIR PRESENCE IS IMPORTANT. Homeless people often lose touch with these legal gymnastics--particularly when they are delayed and rescheduled--as happened here.
Protesters have been committing civil disobedience, violating the Sleeping Ban nightly to spotlight the law's violation of the "Cruel and Unusual Punishment" provision of the U.S. and State Constitutions in front of the County Courthouse and now at City Hall.
See "Peace Camp 2010 Relocates from County Courthouse to Santa Cruz City Hall" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/08/11/18655889.php
The "Infraction Intensification" law passed by City Council last month makes all infraction citations after the third unattended one misdemeanors at the discretion of the City Attorney. This law goes into effect in a few days.
See "Nasty new ordinance making Sleeping Ban Tickets misdemeanors" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/19/18651270.php
Richardson and de Leon have offended the downtown merchants by continuing their playing, socializing, and gathering downtown--and encouraging others by their example.
A general crackdown against activists trying to defend or expand public use of public spaces downtown has seen the recent assault on Wes Modes and the removal of the Drum Circle.
See "People v. Wes Modes: Trying to Remove DIY from Santa Cruz: at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/18/18654218.php
"City runs off Drum Circle again, cuts down trees and cements AREA CLOSED signs along levee" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/29/18654907.php
The trial is open to the public. I urge those who support a restoration of basic rights to homeless people and the community's right to use public spaces to attend the trial.
PeaceCamp2010 activists will reportedly be there in solidarity.