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View other events for the week of 2/21/2012

Title: First Mass Arraignment in the D.A.'s "Round Up the Activists and Reporters" Trial
START DATE: Tuesday February 21
TIME: 7:45 AM - 8:15 AM
Location Details:
701 Ocean St. Initially a koffeeklatch and speak-out in front of the courthouse at the main public entrance, then the actual arraignment in Dept. 7 before Judge Symonds
Event Type: Court Date
Arraignment for four community activists accused of two felonies and two misdemeanors each for being present at the symbolic occupation of the 3 1/2 year vacant property of major profiteer and foreclosure felon Wells Fargo.

Coffee and some munchables will be available at 7:45 a.m. on the steps of the County Building at the main entrance. Come show your support for Arresting the Real Criminals.

Flyer at: http://www.indybay.org/uploads/2012/02/16/pre-arraignment_flyer.pdf

Police Interference with a Subsequent Protest:
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/17/18707600.php
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/17/18707576.php

Your Support is Wanted and Needed.

If you can't come, call Ed Frey at 479-8911 to see what help you can give.




Added to the calendar on Monday Feb 20th, 2012 9:48 AM

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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Curious
Monday Feb 20th, 2012 2:39 PM
What aspect of the 3-day occupation would be considered symbolic? Seemed pretty literal from my perspective.
by Robert Norse
Monday Feb 20th, 2012 7:39 PM
Symbolic in that it seemed to me, watching from a distance, that the practical prospects of actually and practically establishing a community center in the face of wounded police pride, city corporate collusion, and anti-homeless sentiment were very low.

It seemed more to me like a message to the community that wealthy owners and city officials were colluding in keeping buildings vacant while many homeless people faced increasingly dangerous conditions outside.

I think those occupying the building were doing it in hopes of awakening the conscience of the community, that they would be more concerned with redress for the billion-dollar crimes of banks like Wells Fargo and the ugly reality of much indoor space vacant while people freeze outside.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Feb 21st, 2012 2:44 AM

The flyer describes upcoming recent events, upcoming protests, and the overall picture.
by Robert Norse
Tuesday Feb 21st, 2012 7:34 PM
I made some notes about today's pre-trial protest gathering in front of the courthouse, the subsequent arraignment hearings, and post-arraignment hide-and-seek with Brent's phone in the corridors afterwards.. I apologize for their roughness, but it's all I feel up to doing at the moment.

Great crowd turning out to wolf down coffee cake and coffee, compliments of Joe Schultz around 8 AM as attorneys, judges, and victims made their way into the "Halls of Justice". There were 20-30 of us outside, with a few Occupy banners and signs about. Later a photographer and reporter for the Sentinel showed up, probably to cover a murder-kidnapping case of a man in custody.

I wore a bathrobe covered with political buttons and teddy bear (Eduardo the police bear). The point of the theatrical getup was to show solidarity with homeless people sleeping outside and to mock/emphasize the anti-homeless laws. Folks may remember that one of the objectives of the 75 River St. takeover was to emphasize the cruelty and absurdity of all the vacant housing space that is open in Santa Cruz while there are more than a thousand people outside without shelter. Though I had nothing to do with the planning and organization of it, I certainly sympathize with the need and perspective.

The courtroom was filled, though not quite packed. A number of former mayors were there (Jane Weed, Chris Krohn), watching apparently.

First up was Angel, who retired to the hallway to consult with Art Dudley, his court-appointed one-time lawyer. Dudley told me Angel's regular attorney would be Jesse Ruben of Page, Salsibury, and Dudley.

Next up was Bradley with Attorney Ben Rice. Bradley, an excellent indybay photographer, has apparently decided to proceed separately. He didn't stop to mingle with the rabble slurping coffee and cake on the courtyard steps. He got a preliminary hearing setting date March 2 and the preliminary hearing itself slated for March 5th, time waived. (meaning he agreed to trial time beyond 60 days I think it is, if necessary). This date may be changed, I'm told, since attorneys for other clients are looking for something later--say in mid or late April.

Judge Symons gave Bradley four conditions for his continued pre-trial release (and that of the rest of the defendants): that he come back to court on the dates mentioned, that he stay away from the property, parking lot, and sidewalks adjacent to 75 River St., that he obey all laws, and that cooperate with the police (which may mean anything from simply not interfering with police to a requiremen that he answer all questions truthfully). Rice got a hearing time to challenge these conditions for Bradley, suggesting they were not necessary and that he'd try to overturn them.

Grant Wilson was up next, got an appointed alternate Public Defender, which he may shift out for another attorney he hopes the court will appoint. Same release conditions as Angel and Bradley. Also the same dates to return for Preliminary Hearing setting and Preliminary Hearing (March 2 and 5). 8:15 AM, I think.

Symons only gave me a week to find a lawyer; I postponed my arraignment, thinking I may want to file some pre-arraignment motions or give an attorney the opportunity to do that. The judge apparently wants to combine these cases and speed them along. It shows how hidebound or complicit the court is in not dismissing this crap out of hand.

I was given the same release conditions as the other three victims. When I asked to set a hearing time to challenge those conditions as Ben Rice had for Bradley, I was brushed aside and told I could settle that when I "had an attorney". I told Judge Symons that I was likely to be documenting police behavior and didn't want to be re-arrested for doing so. She tartly remarked she didn't "think that would be a problem." I didn't ask if I would be required to "answer truthfully all questions put to me by a police officer" as she instructed Angel, so I'm assuming that the 5th Amendment still applies on the street (i.e. the right to NOT answer questions). I guess we'll see how this plays out.

My next court date is February 29th (next Wednesday) at 8:15 a.m. for arraignment.

Bailiff Nabs Brent's Phone; Solidarity and Persistence Get it Back
Since there was no sign outside Dept. 7 announcing that photography was verbotten without special permission from one of the Black Robes, Bailiff Bitanti snatchedBrent's phone-camera when he reportedly tried to take a photo of me up there

The bailiff's first comment was "I'll need that", followed by "it'll be back in a minute", followed later by "at the end of the session", followed by a goose chase where Brent went back and forth between the sheriffs and the court clerks. He was finally told to "file a motion with the court", which could take several weeks according to legal worker Steve Pleich. Whether this showed Bitanti's bad faith or capricious behavior by Symons (with whom Bitanti consulted) or both, I don't know.

I encouraged Brent to (a) note down everyone he talked to as well as their superior's name, and (b) take a bunch of people with him on his merry-go-round trips to clerks, bailiffs, etc. in search of a phone, which he said was necessary for his work because of all the data he had stored there. When I asked the bailiff, at attorney Gettleman's suggestion, if Brent could make an oral motion before the judge, Bitanti reappeared, drew Brent aside privately, and then with the rest of us eagerly listening, first said that the judge didn't respond to oral motions, but finally on our repeated request, agreed to bring the matter before the judge.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease—particularly when there a dozen people out in the corridor. Shortly thereafter Bitanti returned with Brent's camera and agreed to return if it if Brent erases the offending Norse video/photo. Denica, a visiting journalist, said that Bitanti lied in claiming that there was any posted notice outside the courtroom banning videoing or photoing. I saw none. All this goes to show the importance of persistence and having a large support group.

Next up next week Gabriella and Brent go to arraignment on the 28th and 8:15 AM in the same department in this costly charade to powder the red nose of the SCPD. (Anything to show our cops are "tough").
by (posted by) Norse
Tuesday Feb 21st, 2012 7:49 PM
For the Sentinel's slant, go to http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_20011802 Not as bad as usual.
by Lucy Parsons (posted by Norse)
Thursday Feb 23rd, 2012 6:57 AM
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/12/30/18703634.php