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Indybay Feature
Sun Mar 25 2012 (Updated 04/05/12)
Gary Johnson Convicted for Sleeping Outside Santa Cruz Courthouse
Sun Mar 25 2012 (Updated 04/05/12)
Gary Johnson Remains Behind Bars After Jury Finds Him Guilty for Sleeping
Gary Johnson is a homeless activist who maintained a nightly protest at the Santa Cruz Courthouse from late December until earlier January against local and state laws which criminalize the basic human necessity to sleep. Johnson, who slept next to a sign which stated "6.36.010 647(e) A LEGACY OF CRUELTY", was arrested four times for "lodging" in violation of Penal Code 647(e) and "trespassing" PC 602(o) during his protests. "6.36.010" is the Santa Cruz Sleeping Ban, officially known as Municipal Code 6.36.010, which makes it a crime to sleep outdoors in Santa Cruz, with or without bedding, at any time between the hours of 11pm to 8:30am.

After witnessing Gary Johnson's arraignment on February 17th, Drew Lewis wrote, "The crime the prisoner was accused of was sleeping on the park bench in front of the County Courthouse. I sat there in awe and disbelief that our government was wasting so much of our tax dollars and police time prosecuting a homeless man with nowhere to sleep at night while allowing real criminals in the banking system to steal peoples' homes through foreclosure fraud and many other real crimes against our society."

A jury trial was held March 20th-22nd at the Santa Cruz Courthouse, the publicly owned building which Johnson slept in front of. About an hour after assembling, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all four counts of "illegal lodging". Johnson's attorney, Ed Frey, noted the jurors looked somber as they left. "In my opinion, [because of Judge John Gallagher's rulings] the jury had no idea what was going on."

Johnson has been incarcerated since January 6th for the crime of sleeping. Judge Gallagher slated the sentencing hearing for March 29th at 8:30 AM in Dept. 2.

Read more | SleepCrime Prisoner Faces Four Years in "Lodging" Trial | SleepCrime Defendant Denied Necessity Defense

Previous related coverage: imc_photo.gifimc_video.gifSheriff's Deputies Wake, Question and Photograph People at Peace Camp 2010 | imc_photo.gifAttorney Ed Frey Arrested on 35th Night of Santa Cruz Peace Camp 2010 | imc_photo.gifimc_audio.gifGary Johnson Held on $5000 Bail for Sleep Protests at Santa Cruz County Courthouse
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