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Santa Cruz Eleven Update
by Robert Norse
Thursday Apr 12th, 2012 7:13 AM
Court dates today, tomorrow, and Monday for two of us. A website soon to go up. Interesting articles to check out. Disclaimer: I in no way speak for anyone else among the Santa Cruz Eleven. These observations are mine and any errors my responsibility.
Court stuff: Today at 9 AM in Dept. 7 (to be moved to 6 probably), a Pitchess motion by Cameron Laurendeau's attorney. This is a motion to get the judge in his chambers to look over old complaints against police officers who are witnesses in the D.A.'s witchhunt and determine if there any allegations of false representation (i.e. lying). The judge can then decide to give contact info of the complainants to the defense attorneys.

Tomorrow at 9 AM in Dept. 6. Becky and I go in for "readiness" for the Preliminary Hearing which is (tentatively) scheduled for Monday 4-16. I will be changing attorneys and requesting a continuance (i.e. delay in the Preliminary Hearing). The D.A.'s office, perhaps busy grooming informants in the community, has failed to provide any of us with the actual video that police took at 75 River St.

As far as I'm concerned that would clearly indicate both selective enforcement, selective prosecution, and police opportunistically using "illegal" activities which they ignore when they happen, but then months later use to target those they choose.

I'll be posting more info on whether the Preliminary Hearing is actually going forward next week and when that is. Folks needn't come down, though I'll be at both the hearing today and tomorrow (hopefully my Monday date will be cancelled through a continuance). Becky's case is likely to go forward.

The other seven defendants have "readiness" on Friday April 20th at 9 AM, and their sure-to-be-a-circus Preliminary Hearing on Monday April 23rd at 9 AM in Dept. 6.

Bradley and Alex go to trial May 29th.


The new http://www.santacruzeleven.org website should soon be up if it isn't already.

Interesting articles:
http://www.goodtimessantacruz.com/index.php/good-times-cover-stories/3686-occupy-santa-cruz.html
http://www.cityonahillpress.com/2012/04/05/facing-foreclosure/
http://socialistworker.org/2011/12/06/closed-bank-put-to-good-use
http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/2012/04/empty-buildings-are-crime.html
§Note to Reality Challenged
by Robert Norse Friday Apr 13th, 2012 6:55 AM
The victims of this backdoor attack on Occupy Santa Cruz needs to have all the video to determine if the prosecution is suppressing exculpatory evidence or perhaps visual proof that the police officers lied, were mistaken, or were incomplete in their reporting.

Cops are the ones who provide the testimony at the Preliminary Hearing where the judge decides if these phony felonies will be dignified with more public time and money.

Sign the on-line petition demanding these charges be dropped at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/549/146/902/11-people-are-facing-2-felonies-each-sign-the-aclus-statement-of-support/ . Get friends you know to do likewise.
§Updated Schedule for Me and Becky
by Robert Norse Friday Apr 13th, 2012 4:03 PM

Becky and I went before Judge Burdick today in Dept. 6.

Thanks to Nasren, Brent, Gail, and Linda (among others) for showing up in solidarity!

D.A. henchwoman Rebekah Young still didn't have the videos and police reports together, so Burdick agreed to a continuance--a postponement of our Preliminary Hearing until May 29th at 9 AM (readiness on May 25th at 9 AM).

Unfortunately that's also around the time Bradley and Alex's actual trial is scheduled to start--but it's possible their dates may change.

When Young declined to specifically answer the question as to when she would actually really really really have the long-promised audio, video, and reports available for us, Burdick set May 18 at 8:15 AM in Dept. 6 as the hearing date on the Motion to Compel Discovery.

My previous attorney, Nicole Lambros, had tried repeatedly to get the 20 hours of video, supplementary reports, any audio, fingerprints, etc. and gotten lots of promises and then drips and drabs. I dropped her because she wouldn't make an early motion to postpone the Preliminary Hearing until we had the discovery.

Young did turn over a bunch of video--whether it was anywhere near 20 hours, I have yet to hear from my attorney, but I'll keep folks posted.

Brent, Becky, and I met afterwards with supporters to chat (and celebrate Linda Lemaster's birthday--she has a 647e case that is coming up for hearing at the end of the month, sounds like) as well as to CONSPIRE as to who should go to what group to get support for an ACLU statement denouncing the prosecution.

Tip of the hat to Steve Pleich for that statement. I'm attaching it, and it can also be found at the petition website mentioned in the story above. Keep those signatures coming!
§Widening the Witchhunt: the Story the Sentinel Story Missed
by Robert Norse Saturday Apr 14th, 2012 9:49 AM
Sentinel Reporter J. Pasco wrote the following blurb in the Sentinel about Friday's hearing: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_20392035/hearing-postponed-two-charged-takeover-former-bank-santa .

Becky and I had our Preliminary Hearings moved ahead a month and a half. Why? Mainly because D.A. Rebekah Young continued to refuse to provide "discovery"--the videos, the lease, the supplemental police reports, and other information required by law.

This material should have been provided more than two months ago when Becky was handcuffed at home and taken to jail. Or rather a day later when she was released on her own recognizance and briefly represented by attorney Ed Frey at her arraignment.

At that time, at several subsequent points, and again at the hearing, Young promised it would "soon" be forthcoming but declined to give a date. In response Judge Burdick set a hearing for a Motion to Compel Discovery in early May. Young's endless excuses and broken promises show a mixture of incompetence and mendacity--hard to tell which is uppermost.

This refusal to provide the SC 11 with the evidence it needs to expose and defeat the charges is coming at the same time as D.A. Bob Lee is putting out bits and pieces of video, not previously provided to the SC 11, on his website as "snitch-bait". All the group photos on Lee's facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151482832190094.829511.235639840093&type=3 ) are of people OUTSIDE the bank. In essence, Lee seems to be broadening his net, looking to charge people who were assembling outside with protest signs, as observer, as supporters, or as reporters. The suggestion is that these may all be "criminals" and the community is urged to finger them. This sounds like an expanded witchhunt.

I haven't reviewed all the video clips fully yet. But if the first two are any example, the D.A. is definitely misrepresenting what is going on as "criminal" in a manner that seems designed to spread fear among the many and garner informants among those who are hostile to the protest.

What I've seen of the selective video clips released (at http://www.youtube.com/user/SantaCruzDAs) focus generally on the outside of the vacant bank suggesting that assembly there is criminal activity.

The video of people going in and out of the bank in the first video (75 River 5.avi at http://youtu.be/eQMJAfaVmDM ) is not evidence of criminal behavior as Officer Winston's testimony at the Preliminary Hearing of Bradley and Alex was that there was no warning given (and then only heard by a few) until after dark. Moreover, police milling about are making no effort to stop, cite, or arrest anyone coming or going giving the impression that there is no crime scene there. Do we see any "do not cross" tape? Any "no trespassing" signs?

The "No Trespassing" signs, according to PH testimony were put up the next day. This is shown without a time or date stamp in the 2nd video (75 River 13.avi at http://youtu.be/5YPXKH_JUVg ) Even as the officers post signs, you see them ignoring people coming out of the building, not attempting to ID them, cite them, arrest them, or tell them to leave. On this day there no crowd, no threat to the officers. Had they wished to clarify the people coming and going were "criminals", they could have done so.

The general point is that the police objective was to persuade and pressure people to leave peacefully--which was what ultimately happened. According to police accounts and published stories, police negotiated, held meetings, gave them a cell phone, made ultimatums, gave the protesters more time to leave (while denying they were doing so),, and eventually achieved their objective of getting protesters to leave. According to second-hand accounts, protesters delayed leaving because they wanted to clean up as much as possible, which was made more difficult by the building power being turned off. But the police objective was ultimately achieved: according to news accounts, the protesters left with no arrests, citations, or violence on Saturday. To now seek to prosecute those who got the impression that they were not regarded as criminals at the time seems to be untenable as a matter of law and deceptive to the community.

To use video to pillory hundreds of people as "criminals" is to libel them publicly without proof.

That it was clear there was no sense that being in the building or on the property was considered criminal at the time most of these videos and photos were taken was reinforced by the presence of City Council member Katherine Beiers in the building, a Sentinel photographer in the building, City Manager Martin Bernal there, and even Mayor Don Lane on the property. Hundreds of people came in and out--with no police stopping them. Now, months later, the D.A. leads a witchhunt.

It's encouraging that every comment posted but one seems to be strongly critical of Lee's new McCarthyism. Perhaps there's more hope for Santa Cruz than I'd thought.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Reality Check
Thursday Apr 12th, 2012 2:11 PM
NorseKahn, the videos are on YouTube. Can't have much more disclosure than that.
by Becky Johnson
Thursday Apr 12th, 2012 3:39 PM
NOTE TO REALITY CHECK: Det. Gunter testified that police reviewed "20 hours of videotape." LEE has posted maybe 1 hour of video-tape. That hardly constitutes discovery. Today, in court, the DA didn't have the videotape of the office for which the Pitchus hearing was held. Seems like they are withholding evidence. Protecting the bigwigs who DID go into the building? Failing to release exculpatory evidence? I don't know but they are NOT playing ball correctly.
by Becky Johnson
Thursday Apr 12th, 2012 4:03 PM
In case you haven't seen them: DA Bob Lee has posted 11 videos on youtube and on his facebook page is asking for help from members of the public to turn in friends, neighbors, and family members to the police.

see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbACsolxLK4&feature=relmfu

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151482832190094.829511.235639840093&type=3
by Reality Check
Thursday Apr 12th, 2012 5:33 PM
Becky, just because they reviewed 20 hours doesn't mean they're going to use 20 hours as evidence (I'm sure the judge and juries would appreciate it!) They only need a few minutes to convict. Like the one with you carrying a 'fight back' sign. Not very journalistic.
by Becky Johnson
Thursday Apr 12th, 2012 10:01 PM
Last I heard, carrying a sign is not illegal. Do you deny that I have a blog and that I regularly write articles, essays, letters, and post other people's articles as well there? You see, it's a funny thing. I can carry a sign AND write articles. I'm a multi-tasker. BTW, while I AM a journalist and blogger, I'm NOT claiming some kind of immunity from prosecution for reporting. My innocence lies in the fact that I didn't plan the action, I didn't carry out the action, and I didn't participate in or physically support the action. I never even entered the building.

My "guilt" lies in having written on my blog and elsewhere what an EXCELLENT ACTION it was! I mean Occupying a VACANT BANK BUILDING?!With WELLS FARGO holding the lease? And owned by Mr. 1% himself, Barry Swenson? Wow! That takes guts. Now if I'd written about "break-ins" and "vandalism" and "graffiti" and "trespassers" etc. (like Jessica Pasko of the SENTINEL wrote) then I probably wouldn't be currently facing charges. DA Young has said that the favorable articles posted by Alex Darocy and Bradley Allen "aided and abetted" the vandalism and trespassing.
DA Young asserts that favorable articles aid and abet?!

Could that be why Sentinel propaganda has been so anti-Constitution and so anti-people?

Boycott tyranny.

Fire Bob Lee!
by Robert Norse
Friday Apr 13th, 2012 6:34 PM
At http://www.cityonahillpress.com/2012/04/05/facing-foreclosure/ I posted the following comment which bears somewhat obliquely on this thread:

I'm glad that Occupy activists and others are continuing to focus on the important foreclosure issue (among others).

It's important, though, that folks not lose sight of what gave the Occupy movement its initial strength and helped it spread like wildfire.

This was the coming together of masses of people in public places challenging the atomizing isolating institutions that have catapulted the country into war and bankrupcy (and kept us there). And taking direct action to reclaim public space, the public purse, and public civil rights.

Now eleven are charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors for entering, observing, and leaving a vacant bank building last November in support of a Community Center and to expose the predatory Wells Fargo foreclosure master.

These recent opportunistic and repressive prosecutions (described in the current Good Times at http://www.goodtimessantacruz.com/index.php/good-times-cover-stories/3686-occupy-santa-cruz.html.... have frightened many---inside and outside Occupy--who now fear that violating any local law or ordinance can be the pretext for felony conspiracy charges, punishable by years in prison.

The fear has driven many to cut back on any public actions that might risk arrest--which in the fall was one important strong arm of the movement. The protest against the city and county's anti-Occupy curfews around public buildings (clearly unconstitutional) has not been sustained. Folks are afraid to say they were present in or around the bank at 75 River St. or to testify on behalf of those who were.

Meanwhile D.A. Bob Lee has selected me and ten other activists as scapegoats and is apparently trolling the waters for more victims (See latest news updates at http://datinternet.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/). His aim seems to be to create a community of snitches who will bolster his selective prosecutions.

Since direct police brutality against Occupy activists in other cities resulted last fall in swelling the movement, it appears SC cops and prosecutors here are using a different stealth strategy---making no arrests until months later and spreading the icy fear of further arrests for simply walking into a vacant unposted bank building along with hundreds of other people.

Learn more about the false charges being selectively pressed against journalist, whistleblowers, and community activists around the 75 River St. 3-day vacant Wells Fargo leased bank occupation.

Go to the Good Times story mentioned above.

You can also check out an earlier story: http://socialistworker.org/2011/12/06/closed-bank-put-to-good-use
or follow the issues in more detail at http://www.indybay.org/santacruz .

We need help in publicizing and combatting these charges while simultaneously continuing the struggle that so galvanized the country last fall.

The http://www.santacruzeleven.org website will soon be operational. Until then, contact Robert at rnorse3hotmail.com
if you wish to offer time, money, or any other kind of support.

Contacting a local organization you belong to and getting a resolution of support can be helpful. Letters to the newspaper, on-line blogging, and phone calls to the D.A. can help. Joining public protests can help even more.
by RazerRay
Saturday Apr 14th, 2012 5:33 PM
tolerating_neither.jpg
tolerating_neither.jpg

Ahem... yes. This is du jour: "DA Young has said that the favorable articles posted by Alex Darocy and Bradley Allen "aided and abetted" the vandalism and trespassing."

You'd think Alex and Bradley were Anwar al-Awlaki's manchurian islamworshipingamerican spawn or something. Watch out for the predator drones guys.