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Final Evidence and Final Arguments in Mayors' Trial
Monday November 05
Federal Court in San Jose (280 S. 1st St.), Courtroom #6 (Ronald Whyte)
|Contact Name||Robert Norse|
|Email Address||rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com|
|Address||309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Monday's hearing will conclude public testimony on whether Mayors Krohn, Fitzmaurice, and Kennedy (now-dead) falsely arrested activist Robert Norse for behavior that was not disruptive.
Norse has claimed for a decade that the measures taken against him at the March 12, 2002 meeting, the January 13, 2004 meeting, and various other meetings was repressive and retaliatory.
Fitzmaurice and Krohn insist they were simply "following the rules" and "elminating disruption".
Monday's testimony will include a reading of former Mayor Kennedy's deposition since he is no longer alive to testify in person. It will also include the playing of some video clips by both sides as well as closing arguments and jury instructions.
THURSDAY'S HEARING: WITNESSES FOR BOTH SIDES
Tim Fitzmaurice acknowledged being a "stern disciplinarian" concerned with making the "sacred space" of City Council a "safe and welcoming" place for the community by strictly enforcing decorum rules.
Chris Krohn testified he needed to respect the sensitivities of Fitzmaurice in expelling Norse, even though he didn't see or feel disrupted by the "don't act like Nazi's" salute himself.
Witnesses for Norse testified that the whispering that supposedly disrupted the January 2004 meeting couldn't be heard. They also testified that Mayors had a pattern of singling out and threatening or ejecting Norse, while allowing others to engage in the same supposedly "disruptive" behavior without comment. Such behaviors in the January meeting included holding up signs in the audience, walking past the podium silently, whispering, and asking a question from the audience without prior permission.
At other meetings, testimony ran, Norse had his public comment time shortened, the public comment time moved ahead 8 hours, the rules for Consent Agenda discussion radically changed to reduce comment, and public comment time called at points when Norse had stepped out of the room.
Norse noted the significance of the discriminatory behavior was that it not only impacted the community generally, but specifically silenced public protest and testimony on City policies that criminalize the homeless like the 11 PM to 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban.
Former Mayor Kennedy created the new "three disruption warnings and you're out" policy at that meeting, according to Norse, where Kennedy could cite various behaviors as "disruptive" and then threaten to arrest or bar people at that meeting or subsequent meetings for other (unspecified) behaviors.
MORE OPTIMISTIC PROSPECTS
I am more upbeat about the prospects for victory in this trial given the willingness of the court to exclude complicating testimony and possibly prejudicial testimony.
The City Attorney wanted to introduce evidence of my frequent speaking at City Council. He claims the fact that I was not ejected and/or arrested on most occasions shows both that (1) I wasn't damaged by the arrests, (2) I wasn't the subject of retaliation, and (3 I was allowed to speak more than not.
We have pointed out that at many of those incidents I was threatened, cut short, interrupted, and threatened, and that each incident would have to be gone into individually, which would lengthen the trial, necessitate more witnesses, etc. Judge Whyte is apparently inclined to rule in our favor.
A key issue will be whether the jury is instructed to stick strictly to the issue of whether my behavior at the two meetingsdisrupted (i.e. stopped) them. It, of course, did not. It was the hostile demands of the Mayors that interrupted the process. All done, they claimed, "to protect the dignity of this body."
Will the jury will see past the special Mayoral power and mystique to "preserve order" as they define it and instead acknowledge the importance of the public's right to participate without fear of intimidation through selective use of rules?
My attorneys are hopeful and so, nervously, am I.
Some background on the case can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/10/31/18724886.php ("Two Mayors to be Cross-Examined in Federal Court Today")
Continuing Sentinel coverage can be found at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_21909979/former-santa-cruz-mayors-stand-by-ouster-advocate
Earlier history of the case can be found in my comments following the Sentinel story "Santa Cruz to appeal Nazi salute case to Supreme Court..." at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_18006114 .
REPRESSION AND JUDICIAL HARASSMENT CLOSER TO HOME
Linda Lemaster faces a phony criminal charge herself in a trial that is likely to begin Monday November 5th for peaceful and lawful protest in front of the courthouse in August 2010 in the PeaceCamp2010 demonstrations. See "Lodging 647(e) Trial: Jury Selection Begins" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/11/02/18725008.php
Also: "Trial Readiness Hearing for Lemaster Lodging Trial" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/10/31/18724833.php
Attorney Jonathan Gettleman and his colleague have put in hundreds of hours of work on this case over the last two years. At a lengthy afternoon hearing yesterday, Judge Rebecca Connolly allowed the prosecution to call last-minute witnesses in their continuing attack on peaceful protest around the County building and courthouse that predates the Occupy Santa Cruz protests of last year.
More background on Linda's case: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/10/01/18722775.php?show_comments=1#18723649
Added to the calendar on Saturday Nov 3rd, 2012 1:24 AM
Such was the latest from the judge via e-mail today, or so my attorneys tell me.
A call from a second attorney has clarified that the time proceedings will begin today is 1 PM.
However because the judge hasn't finished his proposed jury instructions, concluding arguments will be postponed until 8:30 AM tomorrow (Tuesday November 6).
Today there will be concluding evidence. This evidence will include a long rather boring reading of former Mayor Scott Kennedy's deposition--since Kennedy himself is dead and so can't be present, a few video clips from the city attorney--either to show that I'm "disruptive" generally or that I wasn't damaged by the arrests, and finally perhaps some rebuttal testimony by me.
Sorry for any confusion.