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Visiting Judge Postpones Preliminary Due to D.A. Diddling and Bad Attorney Blues
Seven defendants (two were recharged) now face an upcoming Preliminary Hearing sometime in June thanks to the deep-pocket conspiracy obsessions of D.A. Bob Lee and his faithful lieutenant Rebekah Young. The Seven are activists and reporters selected out of hundreds who passed through the 4-year empty-Wells Fargo Bank (now surrounded with barbed wire) at River and Water Streets downtown. As one of the Magnificently Weary Seven, I give my personal account below, which, of course, reflects only my views.
MORE MISCHIEF FROM RACK-EM-UP REBEKAH YOUNG, CUB D.A.
Judge Sillman, standing in (sitting in?) for Judge Burdick with cases moved to Dept. 7, first unexpectedly issued arrest warrants for Cameron Laurendeau and Franklin ("Angel") Alcantara. I was told neither they nor their attorneys had been effectively advised that D.A. R. Young was finally refiling all the bogus charges. When Angel showed up later, the judge recalled his warrant.
Apparently Cameron was left to swing in the wind over the long weekend. He can't have the warrant cleared, locals said, until Tuesday morning and if encountered, will have to face jail, bail, and more of this costly "humiliate-the-activsts" process. An example of Young's indifference, ineptitude, or deliberate malice in my view.
ABUSIVE ATTORNEY FINALLY DUMPED
Brent Adams successfully got another court-appointed lawyer--J.J. Hamlin--who is likely to be better than the retiring creep Ryan Murphy, who was forced to withdraw (even though Brent earlier lost his Marsden motion). The appointment, however, won't be active for another week. The Public Defenders and Alternate Public Defenders who have covered most of the 11, have with a few honorable exceptions, not been terribly interest in much prep, pre-hearing communication with defendants or other lawyers, and making any pre-hearing motions that might discourage or quell this witchhunt. This is typical of the Santa Cruz courtroom process where plea-bargains and last-minute conferences in the hall are S.O.P.
D.A. DISCOVERY CAPERS
My attorney (out of towner David Beauvais) previously exposed Young's repeated failure to provide requested discovery. At this hearing, he moved for a continuance of the Preliminary Hearing date because of that failure. The hearing--scheduled previously for Tuesday May 29th, was postponed, and joined in by five of the other six defendants (presumably the same will apply to Cameron when he is informed).
Desiree, Becky, Angel, and I were also there--Gabriella and Cameron were not. Judge Sillman brushed aside R. Young's excuses for not having all the discovery available, though it appears she has most of it. In fact, Young needed to be sanctioned and the cases dismissed for her continued abuse of the discovery process (i.e. withholding discovery, cooking up excuses, not to mention patching together wild conspiracy theories). The D.A.'s office probably also needed to be recused from prosecution for its nasty practice of posting videos without timestamp or authorship on its website, but not providing those same videos to the defense in a manner where they could be used. (See http://www.youtube.com/user/SantaCruzDAs)
The new court date to reexamine the situation is 8:15 AM Dept. 6 Friday June 1st. This seemed to relieve the attorneys who had feared having to spend the whole long weekend going through video, photos, and past Preliminary Hearing transcripts in prep for the now canceled Tuesday hearing. The June 1st hearing will likely be before Sillman, but Burdick is returning the next week, so the cases will be back in his court--which is better. Burdick is the judge who dismissed cases against 6 of the 11 at the Preliminary Hearings or shortly thereafter. Young, as mentioned before, doggedly refiled against Angel and Cameron. In theory the other four can be refiled against as well because the dismissals by Burdick with "without prejudice".
There are rumors that Rebekah Young would make another attempt to replace Judge Burdick on this case after having failed to do in the cases of Alex Darocy and Bradley Allen. This will not be possible according to my attorney (David Beauvais) because Young needed to do that shortly after Burdick was assigned (after the previous judge, Symons, was recused)--and she failed to take action at that time.
The Santa Cruz Eleven (currently the Seven, depending on the moods of former reporter, cub D.A. Rebekah Young) still strongly need support--not just for the sake of our own cases, but because this ongoing prosecution is a frosty sword against anyone who'd publicly challenge the real criminals like Wells Fargo and the politicians, prosecutors, and police that protect them.
For more info of a less personal and passionate nature (the opinions here are obviously my own), go to http://www.santacruzeleven.org . There you can find (and perhaps add) more endorsements demanding these charges be dropped. Please contact local organizations to which you belong and get them to sign on. The First Amendment you save could be something you want to use in future.
Yesterday a "Flash Tent Occupation" took place in front of the Courthouse (where First Amendment activity is now barred after 7 PM in the latest "modernization of the Constitution" decreed by local officials). See at "TENT MOB!! yes we camp.. for 3 hours" at http://www.facebook.com/events/371713436209812/ & followup facebook posts at http://www.facebook.com/groups/occupysantacruz/ . Sadly, this is an example of how neutered protest has become in Santa Cruz under the toxic shadow of felony prosecutions.
More of my personal analysis of Santa Cruz's Crackdown on Occupy (remarkably coincidental with similar crackdowns across the country) can be found at "Defense Demands the Missing Videos in the Santa Cruz Eleven case" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/05/17/18713652.php and related links.
Activist "Lighthouse" Linda Lemaster continues to face six months in jail for sitting with a sign on the steps of the county building in August of 2010 with PeaceCamp2010. See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/02/16/18707485.php and Linda's own blog at http://hearthbylinda.blogspot.com/ .
"Ground Zero" Gary Johnson and activist attorney Ed Frey face six months in jail each in an appeal of their convictions (Gary was additionally convicted and sentenced to two years for sleeping on a bench outside the courthouse with a "Sleep is Not a Crime" sign in a separate case) 4 PM Thursday June 14th in Dept. 5.
Prospects are not hopeful as the courts maintain a close "friendly" relationship with cops, politicians, and povertypimpsters who have no problem making sleep after eleven outside for the 1500-2000 homeless people in Santa Cruz a crime.
For more coverage of these issues, check out http://www.beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/search/label/Gary%20Johnson and http://www.beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/search/label/Ed%20Frey .
For those interested in restoring the rights of homeless people, or even maintaining the basic middle-class rights to peaceably assemble, it's an ongoing struggle.