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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons

SC Sleeping Ban Struggle: Judge Accepts Considering "Writ of Habeus Corpus"
by Becky Johnson, Linda Lemaster, Robert Norse
Tuesday Sep 20th, 2011 4:59 PM
Under pressure from pro bono attorney Jonathan Gettleman in an extensive Writ of Habeas Corpus brief, Superior Court Judge John Galllagher postponed the scheduled misdemeanor trial of long-time homeless activist Linda Lemaster for at least a month. Before the trial, Gallagher will hear the Habeas Corpus motion, which claims that Lemaster cannot even be tried for "lodging" because the case is really one of political dissent being suppressed by authorities.
Lemaster PC 647 (e) Case Postponed until October 28th

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Appearing in court on Wednesday, September14th for a pre-trial readiness hearing, Linda Lemaster still faces misdemeanor "illegal lodging" for allegedly falling asleep at PeaceCamp2010 on a single night in August 2010.

Her pro bono attorney, Jonathon Gettleman, filed a comprehensive writ of habeas corpus, claiming that 647(e) is vague and overbroad, and that Lemaster's freedom of speech was truncated when County Sheriff Deputies used the antique "lodging" law to break up an otherwise legal protest.

Deputy District Attorney Sara Dabkowski again offered to reduce Lemaster's charges to an infraction with zero public service as a consequence. Having previewed the Writ a week earlier, Lemaster declined again.

In court, Judge John Gallagher, Dept 2, ordered DA Dabkowski to answer Gettleman's "well-written, voluminous" brief by October 14th, with Gettleman's response to hers due by October 21st. A hearing on the 'writ' is set for October 28th. If a trial is to result, the date will be set then. The hearing is to take a closer look at the Lodging law as applied during PeaceCamp2010.

In related news, Ed Frey and Gary Johnson, convicted of PC 647(e) in May 2011, have received the court-approved complete transcript of their trial in order to file their appeals. Frey and Johnson still face the remainder of their 6 month sentences should their appeals fail.

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Linda Lemaster herself on Linda's Hearth at http://www.hearthbylinda.blogspot.com/ notes: I was very impressed by the "Writ of habeas Corpus", eighty pages my attorney brought together to bring the First Amendment back into these trials and hearings. As a long time advocate for homeless families and individuals, I felt a kind of validation when I saw the Jones and Eichorn cases, and the ghost of Mitch Snyner in gettleman's citing the Community for Creative Nonviolence's supreme court's decision, in this Writ.

I hope to be able to focus for a bit now, health permitting, on a fundraising dinner. To raise money for legal costs, but this event also hopes to function as a thank-you for both attorneys involved so far with this lodging law stuff.

I'm forming a "dinner committee" (and it 'may' not be a consensual one?). If any of you would like to be contacted or included in planning and carrying out such an event, e me back with your phone number or preferred contact info (I have neither a meeting directory nor a computer in my home at present).

If you have not read "my" article in Street Spirit's September issue, here's the URL to their dynamic website: thestreetspirit.org. Putting "my" in quote marks because it was largely and sensitively edited (two stories into one!) by Street Spirit's editor Terry Messman, who deserves equal credit on the writing in this instance.



More recent stories about PeaceCamp 2010, the struggle against the City's anti-homeless Sleeping Ban, and those being prosecuted for Sleepcrime can be found at "D.A. Bob Lee Tries Linda Lemaster for Sleep Ban Protest" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/09/13/18690213.php Follow the links there.