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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Santa Cruz Indymedia | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons
Convicted of "Unlawful Lodging," Homeless Advocate Linda Lemaster Hopes to Abolish 647(e)
More than two years after originally being cited for lodging on the morning of August 10, 2010 during the Peacecamp demonstrations, which were held to protest the sleeping ban that criminalizes homelessness in Santa Cruz, Linda Lemaster's trial began on November 6, 2012. After three days of listening to testimony, a jury found her guilty of lodging during Peacecamp, and on December 6, Lemaster was sentenced to community service and probation by Judge Rebecca Connolly. In an interview conducted on January 3 of this year, Lemaster said she believes now, even more than when she left the trial, that her being cited for lodging was about breaking up a political protest that relied on a law enforcement strategy that is anti-homeless and has a homeland security agenda. "I don't think that trial had much if anything to do with justice," Lemaster said. [Top photo: Linda Lemaster speaks to supporters outside of the Santa Cruz courthouse before her sentencing on December 6, 2012. Scroll down for more photos.]
"One of my goals is to get rid of this law," Linda Lemaster said, referring to California Penal Code 647(e), or unlawful lodging. After nearly being removed entirely from the state's law books in recent years, the law was tweaked a bit, but it still remains. It is mostly used as a move-along law for homeless people in San Diego and Santa Monica, according to Lemaster.
"I think it was a political trial." Lemaster said.
"The law seems to be used entirely against homeless people and demonstrators right now in California. We haven't been able to find another recent example of its use."
Lemaster plans to appeal the conviction, saying, "The appeal is more of a chance to focus on the law, rather than me."
Some advocate for a change in the lodging law, but she wants it completely removed because, "I just think with that kind of history even if they change it a little, two years, and they will change it a little more."
Linda Lemaster had been a social and political advocate for the homeless and an activist in Santa Cruz County for over 30 years when she was issued a citation for "unlawful lodging" during the Peacecamp demonstrations. Originally held to protest the sleeping ban in the City of Santa Cruz, section 6.36.010 of the municipal code, which makes it illegal to sleep outside during the hours of 11pm and 8:30am in the city, Peacecamp was initiated at the Santa Cruz County Courthouse and Government Center by a group of local homelessness activists on July 4, 2010.
Community members gathered at the court house during the evenings and either slept or protested there to make a strong statement against the criminalization of homelessness locally. The action quickly grew and began to included a large number of homeless community members who were looking for a safe place to be at night.
Lemaster, the founder of the organization "Housing Now! in Santa Cruz", originally attended Peacecamp to make one on one contact with both homeless people and other advocates.
"I use Housing Now! in Santa Cruz as a vessel to stay in touch with how homeless people feel about stuff," Lemaster said about the group that had non-profit status for its first ten years, and was under welfare's parent support groups. Now it is mostly just her and whatever volunteers she can find.
"Sometimes I'm warning homeless people how to be discreet at night, or this is where the services are. It takes different forms, but because it is ongoing, I think of it as a medium to help me to know when, and how, we can do more," she said.
"I feel like it is my job through Housing Now! in Santa Cruz to inform other people...to let people know, 'look this isn't right, you cant even have a blanket.'"
At Peacecamp, Lemaster found the one on one contact with homeless people and advocates she was looking for. "I've gone to a lot of demonstrations...That's what is consistent no matter where I have been, no matter whether it is a few people or it's a hundred people...that there are people who never get to express themselves."
Eventually, Lemaster became part of a support network at the demonstrations that had her, on the evening of August 9 into the morning of August 10, 2010, attempting to stay up all night to help a sick friend who wouldn't leave.
Over the course of that evening, another friend handed her a blanket, and she wrapped it around herself. She lay down on the concrete outside of the courthouse, and she may have fallen asleep. When deputies arrived early that morning as part of their enforcement campaign against Peacecamp, Lemaster fit their description of who to target for a lodging citation, which she receive at 4am that morning.
Later, that act of taking a blanket and wrapping it around herself as she lay down to rest during Peacecamp, may have played a large part in her conviction, and according to the District Attorney, it was one of the major examples of evidence that she was "unlawfully lodging."
The definition of lodging that was used can be applied, according to the California penal code, to both public and private places, and in the case of Lemaster's trial, was worded specifically as follows:
"To lodge means to occupy a place temporarily, or to permanently or temporarily settle or to live in a place. It may, but does not have to include, sleeping, the laying down of bedding, the storing personal belongings, or carrying on cooking activities. Lodging means more than merely falling asleep, but less than moving in permanently."
Lemaster felt that the process of arriving at the legal definition of lodging to be used in her trial was not fair. "To me it was very frustrating," she said. She feels that the definition of lodging that deputies were using when they cited people at Peacecamp in 2010 was vastly different from the legal definition arrived at for the purposes of her trial in late 2012.
"Four days in a row....the judge changed her mind out of hearing of the jury about what that would mean," Lemaster recalled.
Furthermore, whenever the DA came in and said he didn't like part of the definition they were working on, Lemaster felt that the judge "accommodated him every time."
After the trial had begun, the DA even wanted to change the definition again, she recalled. "How can you prepare on either side, for your trial, if everyday it's a different meaning," Lemaster wondered.
Whether she fell asleep or not on the morning of August 10 at Peacecamp may not have been the primary reason the jury sided against her, according to two members who stayed to discuss their motivations after the verdict was read, Lemaster said.
"The jury foreman said that they all felt that the lodging law would have pertained to anyone once the policeman made his first warning to go, and so they had no choice but to find me guilty," Lemaster said. She added, "the other guy, not the foreman, said, like two to three minutes passed and you were still there like you wanted to talk to him (like you could have been leaving)."
"I tried to talk to him [the sheriff's deputy] when they came around ticketing people, which is what made it look like I wasn't going to leave to some jurors, that I stood while people scrambled, so I wasn't afraid enough," Lemaster explained.
"If the law is that kind of...soggy, that not moving fast enough makes you lodging and someone else who is scrambling for cover isn't lodging, there is another good reason that it should be exposed so that ordinary people who have their brains working can get in on this conversation," she concluded.
To Lemaster, the jury also apparently felt that using the lodging law was justified in breaking up a political protest.
Lemaster also felt that the judge in her trial treated Peacecamp as a public safety issue, as opposed to a peaceful demonstration.
"The inclination of judge Rebbecca Connolly, was to not acknowledge the demonstration, but look at is as public health and safety issue, but as my attorney Johnathon Gettleman pointed out, if it was a health and safety or public safety issue, there's an appropriate department of the county government to deal with that, and they didn't even think to call them."
"You just can't have a law that is both landlord-tenant law, pushing homeless-around law, a status crime, a public safety code, and whatever use you want to put it to. You know? I mean, this isn't England, this is the U.S.A...It's too broad in general."
Ultimately, Lemaster felt she was targeted for lodging because she didn't leave the scene when deputies arrived. "Because I didn't scurry in fear when the deputies walked up...I must be guilty of lodging."
"Everybody went with the idea that just being there made me guilty, and that makes me want to appeal it in and of itself, to appeal the decision, that if that jury is correct, then we have this big status crime problem, if just being there is the crime, you know, and if they are wrong, then there is something wrong with the courts. But I am not quite ready to be in the front of that parade, I can see that the courts are under great stress."
Lemaster sees the possibility of appealing her case as a method of challenging the state's lodging law, but she says the city and Peacecamp's original target is still the main issue on her mind.
"I'm still committed to a campaign to change the 6.36.010 sleeping ban for the City of Santa Cruz. It's a long-term commitment, but we have a city council that there's is no point in lobbying. I disagree with some other activists that that's the outlet for educating everyone. I think until people feel differently, ordinary people, we wont get very far exposing how unfair that law is, but it needs to be done when the opportunity comes."
Over the course of the three decades Lemaster has been involved in homeless issues, she has done everything from feeding people through Food Not Bombs, to working for the county in various official capacities to help the homeless. She has participated in a number of demonstrations, and has chaired governmental bodies concerning homelessness and violence against women. She also has first hand experience; she has been homeless herself.
One example she recalls of an early success in her endeavors to help those without a fixed address, was when she fought for the rights of homeless people to vote.
"Even though it had already been litigated, the county wasn't letting them register to vote. This was in the very late 70s or maybe 1980 and it took an attorney and I taking them to court, and making us argue all over again that even if they were on a heater grate on the sidewalk, if they were willing to describe where that was, and apply to be a valid voter which you have to do a month before the election, then they are entitled to vote, and it easily won in court once you went to all that trouble," Lemaster recalled.
She has been involved with governmental agencies long enough to notice a change in how certain issues are being addressed. At the time she was fighting for the right for homeless people to vote, she said that she and other activists wouldn't necessarily be able to persuade the county to change policies without going to court, but at that time she felt that they could at least, "bring problems one by one to the county government."
Lemaster's advocacy work also lead her to help motivate county officials establish a location where welfare recipients in Watsonville could cash their checks. There was a time when those living in the southern part of Santa Cruz County would have to travel to Santa Cruz to cash their benefits checks. After Lemaster paid a personal visit to county officials, a solution was found within two weeks.
The manner in which the authorities dealt with Peacecamp was different, Lemaster noticed.
"What I think is most different now, is there is a set of, I don't know if they are beliefs, policies, or a driving philosophy, but it seems to me that there is homeland security agenda that has changed how government responds to some situations," she said.
Lemaster felt that more governmental agencies should have been involved in the decision making process regarding Peacecamp, but none appeared to take an interest in getting involved.
"Now there were people through Peacecamp, there was someone from the SPCA, someone who used to be a county social worker, people who in their own conscience, during the day mostly, came down and checked out who was there. But in the whole infrastructure of county government, nobody thought to do that."
Consequentially, Lemaster felt that law enforcement was left to deal with Peacecamp on their own, and they handled it as a complaint driven process.
"They made this plan to whip the whole thing out, and give people like me a ticket, based on the complaints they had, as it was shown in the testimony during my trial, and their own first hand perception, what they decided from their own contact, that's all they had behind them to plan, and I want to go to the county and say I feel that was remiss."
"They didn't even think of the court, they didn't even think of talking to social workers."
Though some of the individuals who helped devise the plan to deal with Peacecamp were county officials that Lemaster herself had worked with in the past, she pointed out that, "all of these executive decisions were left more or less to Plageman [Lieutenant Fred Plageman of the sheriff's department]."
Lemaster also pointed to Plageman's testimony during her trial where he stated that he had looked to law enforcement models that were being employed outside of Santa Cruz County when he found the lodging law, as opposed to looking to social workers within the county.
"It's like using a nuclear weapon to whip out Hiroshima, It's a little overkill," she cautioned.
"They deserve to have the CAO [the County Administrative Office] and the actual County Board of Supervisors, or an appropriate agent in their place as policy maker, in on that conversation, rather than shut down what they knew was a first amendment protest. I know they carefully put words in that warning [the flier that deputies handed at Peacecamp warning individuals they were lodging] saying we were guilty of lodging to make it sound like a demonstration doesn't count at night, but that's not true."
Beyond the police-centered decision making, Lemaster also compared the way deputies conducted law enforcement activities as being "homeland security" influenced.
"At Peacecamp I'm seeing them [sheriff's deputies] on one day, they are comrades, they put their arm around one of the guys when they walk up to him, they check in with everyone, it's very casual. They seemed to remember people's names, even if they hadn't seen them for a few days," she recalled.
When it came to the evening she was issued a citation, however, Lemaster felt their demeanor completely changed. She recalled trying to engage in conversation with deputies a number of times that morning, but they wouldn't answer her questions, telling her, "We're a team, we can't talk to you now," and, "We really have to do this exactly the same [each time], so bare with us," she recalled.
"Their personal self is still wanting to be comrades, but they have a protocol, and in my opinion, it's a homeland security protocol," Lemaster observed.
"They were like people one day, and then when they decided, they got their lodging law and decided a campaign, they stayed in the role of this military, four man team. Two four man teams the first night, and one the night I was there."
"That's why I was having trouble getting to ask a question," she explained "They said that, 'We have to treat each one of you exactly the same.'"
"Indicating it was a military approach," Lemaster thought.
She also felt that this "military" approach, as she put it, was expanded on when the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's department used similar law enforcement techniques during the period Occupy Santa Cruz spent at the courthouse in 2011, which was during the height of the national occupy movement.
"Because Peacecamp had happened, and up to that point they had gotten away with it, they were willing to feel a little more emboldened and capable of the larger group with this homeland security type approach at Occupy Santa Cruz," she said.
An even deeper problem for Lemaster is anti-homeless bigotry, which she feels is "pervasive" and says is also something that had to do with law enforcement's strategies for dealing with Peacecamp.
"I really believe the sheriff's deputies would have had a more adequate strategy if they weren't being reactionary, and I believe they were reacting to people in the county building complaining. Complaining about the same old stuff everybody complains about, about a fifth of which is even possibly true."
Peacecamp was reportedly receiving sanitation-related complaints, and Lemaster felt the complaints which were from county employees working in the building, who were coming into first-hand contact with the demonstration, were really about homeless people themselves, and they weren't fair.
"We don't go around excoriating each other for smoking cigarettes," she observed, "but we go around excoriating homeless people for leaving a butt behind, as if they had a choice."
"As long as they were looking at all the homeless people crashed there, and their friends, as "the other" they're not really looking at the whole situation when they have to resolve a problem."
"Homeless people come from the same culture that we come from when we are not homeless, but they have to live in a culture that is much more immediate and much more dangerous.
"I expect more from law enforcement. When they are bringing extra people out, I think they need to study the problem beforehand."
Even though Lemaster feels her ability to communicate directly with the county has changed over the years, she said, "I consider them my allies still."
"We used to go to the same workshops together...we used to be immediate allies...we used to be part of a team that would confront people," Lemaster said about some of the county officials who had a say in the decision making process regarding law enforcement strategies at Peacecamp.
"Because of the adversarial nature of the court, and in my opinion you don't have to be honest in court these days, We are put like we are on two different sides of a team that is at war with each other, and that is the opposite of what I just tried to do for most of my time. that I had any choice about, in the last 40 years. It was frustrating."
Even more frustrating for Lemaster was how she effectively became silenced during her trial, saying, "I was put out of my life, I was put out of my volunteer work, my relationship to my community, because I had to hold my tongue as far as anything in the county was concerned."
While Lemaster felt she was once able to visit in person any and every county official she wanted to communicate with, being on trial for lodging forced her to hold her tongue in many situations she once would have openly confronted, because she feared her actions or words could have been used against her in some way during her trial.
"I've been doing something for 40 years to help poor people, and one part of that is when I find something where the system doesn't work, I try to show that to people, or even fix it, or help fix it, or find out who can fix it.
"So if it is people on GA [General assistance] can't get GA if they are not already in the system, that's easy to fix, you just tell everyone, and then they'll say, 'OK,' and it somehow trickles up to the Board of Supervisors eventually."
"Real people suffered because I wasn't able to be that liaison for them," Lemaster said.
When defending her decision to not plead guilty, or take a plea deal, Lemaster was not only informed by her outlook as a Quaker, which guides her to never lie, but also by a desire to maintain a certain moral high ground in the community as an advocate for others.
"Doing the kind of changes that affect people in some practical way in their lives for the better requires a credibility," she said.
Lemaster said she was offered a plea deal by the District Attorney's office in 2011 which would have reduced her misdemeanor to an infraction if she would plead guilty to "disturbing the peace."
"I wouldn't have minded the infraction's apparent purpose. But I was being asked to say that I was disturbing the peace on Dec 10th at 4 am or so? I mean, they wanted me to say either guilty or no contest. They were asking me to say an outright lie, expecting me to," Lemaster recalled.
"I couldn't," Lemaster explained.
To her, pleading guilty would have felt like, "totally denying PeaceCamp2010, my new friends from there, and what it had meant to me...it was just that compromise that felt like being pressed to lie."
"I don't think that trial had much if anything to do with seeking justice," Lemaster concluded. "I think it was a political trial, and I feel strongly about that, more so than when I left the trial...I think the District Attorney was given political marching orders when they picked him."
"In our country and in Santa Cruz County, is this a homeland security state where the government decides who is a terrorist, or who is a good citizen, or who is not even worthy of naming? Or is Santa Cruz County still under the Constitution that we think of as the lead legal document of our land, where people even if they happen to be homeless have certain civil rights, and even some human rights are acknowledged in our constitution, and even more clearly so in the state constitution."
Lemaster plans to continue raising awareness about the laws that outlaw sleep in Santa Cruz.
She also plans to file an appeal in her case to fight Judge Connolly's claims that the lodging law is constitutional, and she wants to make a presentation before the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors that outlines "missteps" on the county's part in relation to how sheriff's dealt with Peacecamp 2010.
Finally, Lemaster also wants to begin a campaign that she hopes will achieve statewide participation of "homeless friendly" groups and supporters to, "take the lodging law 647(e) off the books."
Lemaster calls her motivation a, "simple and moral imperative," because, "consequences are way too harsh for houseless and homeless folks. It has to get exposed."
Lemaster feels that Santa Cruz is poised to be a leader in finding better solutions to end homelessness.
"The legislature is under the same pressures that the court is, and the county is, and their deputies, to keep the homeless out of sight, because within the scheme of things, within our status quo, our government's status quo, they don't have the tools they need to solve the problem."
"So, under pressure from the citizenry at large, and whatever delusions some of them are carrying with them, the police just keep pushing them back, and criminalizing them, sweeping them. If you have to shove them in a van, or put them in jail overnight, at least that curb is clear."
"It's the mentality of LA, and small towns like Yreka, and obviously in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz could be a leader. The City and County of Santa Cruz could be a leader in finding solutions."
"They are going to have to be a leader, in either a kind of demonic abuse of people, or solutions that are inclusive. One way or the other, just because of the cost of housing here, and not having the infrastructure that a city would have for people when they fall, or when they are hurt, or when they can't get to the hospital."
For a complete report of Linda Lemaster's trial for unlawful lodging, either scroll past the photos at the bottom of this article, or click on this link to go directly there:
For more information about Linda Lemaster and her work advocating for poor people and the homeless, see her blog at:
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Lemaster with homeless advocate Robert Norse. Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
Before sentencing, December 6, 2012.
During the trial, November 6, 2012.
As soon as Ed Frey was finished serving his sentence for a conviction of unlawful lodging during Peacecamp, he had his ankle bracelt removed at the county jail, then he went directly over to Linda Lemaster's trial, which was in progress.
During the trial, November 6, 2012.
During the trial, the HUFF organiztion held its weekly meeting at the government center's cafeteria.
During the trial, November 6, 2012.
During the trial, November 6, 2012.
During the trial, November 6, 2012.
During the trial, November 6, 2012.
During the trial, November 8, 2012.
Coral Brune sits where she was pictured at the Santa Cruz Courthouse during Peacecamp in the sheriff's video that was submitted into evidence and played over and over again during the trial.
During the trial, November 8, 2012.
Defense attorney Jonathan Gettleman and Linda Lemaster, still hopeful shortly before the guilty verdict, November 8, 2012.
Jury selection for Linda Lemsater's lodging trial began on November 5 of 2012, and stretched into November 6, with opening statements for the trial starting that afternoon. The trial itself lasted four days total, and four witnesses were called by the prosecution: Lieutenant Fred Plageman of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's department; Chris Joyce, the sheriff's deputy who issued Lemaster the lodging citation; Mary Chavez of the county's Department of Public Works and Parks; and Nancy Carr Gordon, the Director of General Services for Santa Cruz County.
The defense called only one witness, Linda Lemaster herself.
Lemaster was represented by defense attorneys Jonathan Gettleman and his assistant, Eric Nelson. The prosecution consisted of district attorneys Alex Byers and Jennifer Hutchinson.
Shortly before sheriff's deputies began the enforcement campaign at Peacecamp, fliers were distributed to individuals at the demonstration that read as follows:
"You are lodging here without the permission of the owner or the person entitled to control this property, therefor you are in violation of California penal code section 647(e), a misdemeanor. If you continue to lodge here, you will be cited and/or arrested for this violation. This action is not intended to interfere with your non-lodging demonstration during business hours. Lodging at any time will not be tolerated."
To be found guilty of the charge, it had to be found that Lemaster was lodging in a public or private place, and that she did so without permission. The prosecution was also required to prove that she acted with unlawful intent, meaning she intentionally committed a prohibited act. They did not need to prove that she knew she didn't have the permission to lodge.
The definition of lodging that was used during the trial stated:
"To lodge means to occupy a place temporarily, or to permanently or temporarily settle or to live in a place. It may, but does not have to include, sleeping, the laying down of bedding, the storing of personal belongings, or carrying on cooking activities. Lodging means more than merely falling asleep, but less than moving in permanently. In determining whether the defendant lodged in a public or private place, the jury should consider the totality of the circumstances on or about August 10, 2010."
The judge later instructed the jury that the courthouse area was a public place.
When Linda Lemaster first took the stand in her defense, after the prosecution rested their case, she said she was, "feeling nervous but happy."
The attorney in charge of her defense, Jonathan Gettleman, started by asking Lemaster questions about her background in Santa Cruz.
Lemaster testified that she had been living in Santa Cruz since 1977 and she raised her children there. She said she considers herself a homeless advocate, and when describing her children, she said that one runs a Goodwill.
Lemaster testified that she began advocating for the homeless in 1979 on the westside of Santa Cruz. She herself has also been homeless, and she testified that she had previously lived in a shelter for over a year, in the Watsonville Family Shelter for nine months, and that she had also been homeless for several months at a time, a couple of other times. She testified that she brought these issues to local government, and eventually she served on the Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women. She also said that she chaired the Homeless Issues Task Force with Ken Cole as her co-chair, and she had testified as an expert witness several times in court cases involving the homeless.
Gettleman then asked her directly, "Does your advocacy affect your conduct in the community in relation to protests?"
"Yes," she answered, and she gave an example of the organization she founded, Housing Now! in Santa Cruz, and how it was one of the goals of the group to bring, "that voice and share it with the rest of the county."
Lemaster described herself as being "disabled," and she listed off some of the conditions she deals with, which included environmental allergies, chemical sensitivities, arthritis, and coughing due to chronic asthma (later she would also testify that she also suffered from pain due to a ruptured disc in her back). "If it's a cold day and a hard rain," she said, "I could get in trouble."
Lemaster was asked about her participation in Peacecamp and what she thought the protests were about. According to her, Peacecamp had already begun when she began her participation, and she described the demonstration's purpose as an attempt to show that homelessness is worsening, and that homeless is hard on people and it's dangerous. She said she participated because she thought it would be an opportunity for her organization to make one on one contact with both those who were homeless and those involved in advocating for the homeless, and specifically to communicate with others about the dangers of the ban on sleeping in Santa Cruz.
When asked by Gettleman why demonstrating at night was an important part of Peacecamp, Lemaster replied that demonstrators wanted sleep to be the thing people were thinking about, and they also wanted the place of the demonstration to be a place where people could go to get a safe place to sleep.
Gettleman continued along this line, and asked if demonstrators were getting press coverage because the action was being held at night, and Lemaster said, "Yes, because it was unusual and controversial," and she described that receiving the coverage was important because there were so many homeless people now and that something had to be done.
Gettleman asked Lemaster if she investigated the legality of Peacecamp, and she said, "yes," and she described how she visited county offices to attempt to determine if the area outside of the county courthouse was subject to the local sleeping ban.
Lemaster also described how there were pages of rules developed by those involved with Peacecamp, that were, "mostly to make Peacecamp people peaceful," she said. The "code of conduct" included rules prohibiting behaviors that might affect the health of others, including drinking and taking drugs, and it also outlined and area that was set up where people were allowed to smoke.
Lemaster described her participation at Peacecamp in terms of her being a caretaker for much of her time there. "A lot of people were doing what I was doing, supporting the safety." She described how different people participated in Peacecamp for different reasons. Some people came to camp, she said, and some were there to play support roles and that it was the latter role that she perceived herself to be taking on. She was attempting to create alliances and relationships with people one on one, she said. One example of that "support" was when Lemaster got someone some chap stick.
She was asked about the night support at Peacecamp. Gettleman asked her if support people slept overnight, and Lemaster replied that the only support person to sleep overnight was Ed Frey (who was convicted and found guilty of lodging for his part in Peacecamp. He served his sentence in 2012, which coincidentally ended during Lemaster's trial).
Lemaster said she was at the Peacecamp demonstrations a number of times before August 10, and that she never had planned to sleep there. She testified that she had her van with her that night, and she also had a home, and she didn't "need" to sleep on the steps of the courthouse during Peacecamp.
In addition to the support and advocacy roles she played, Lemaster testified that every time she showed up at Peacecamp she engaged in some form of protest. On the night of August 9, Lemaster recalled that she arrived at the demonstration that evening with the intention of communicating how the sleeping ban affects people, and she brought two protest signs with her. She couldn't recall what the signs said, but she recalled that one of them had on it the number of the penal code that outlaws sleep locally, 6.36.010.
Lemaster's role quickly changed back to support that evening when she became aware that one demonstrator appeared to be very ill. Christopher Doyon, also known as Commander X, played a key role in the Peacecamp demonstrations (he was described by Lemaster as being one of the people in charge), and on the evening of August 9, Lemaster said his lungs became filled with fluid and she was concerned because of her experience with her own health problems, which had made her, "a little lung sensitive."
"His lungs were soggy and rattling, and I was afraid it may even be a death rattle," Lemaster testified. She said that he couldn't get air past his throat and he was paler than when she had first met him. "It looked like he would be hard pressed to get up and walk or move," she recalled, and Doyon himself appeared alarmed at his own condition. "He said he had double pneumonia....I thought I needed to keep an eye on him if he passed out or worse."
"I couldn't find any legal or practical reason not to stay and watch him," she concluded that night.
Lemaster recalled her efforts at staying awake that night so that she could be sure to keep an eye on Doyon, and that it was painful for her to be on the cement of the courthouse because of a ruptured disc in her back. She explained that the condition would make it difficult for her to fall asleep in a situation like that, even if it had been her intent to do so, which it never was.
Lemaster recalled trying to get others to watch Doyon so she herself could leave. She asked her friend Coral Brune, but she was unable to, and Lemaster wasn't able to find anyone else willing to help. Other people gave her items to help her stay up , so she could watch Doyon, including a blanket and a walkman style music player.
She recalled that the weather was nice and balmy when she first arrived at the courthouse that evening, but later it started sprinkling slightly, and when deputies first arrived on the scene, Lemaster recalled it was sprinkling.
Lemaster recalled bringing her jacket, keys, and a phone with her that night. She didn't bring any bedding with her or a pillow, she testified. She had bedding in her van, but she never brought it to the site of the protest, and at one point in the evening she recalled using her jacket as a pillow, while she was passing the time and watching Doyon.
Testimony by a sheriff's deputy prior to Lemaster's speculated that she had a pillow under her head when first contacted by the authorities that evening, but Lemaster recalled that she thought it must have been her jacket. Eventually it was her friend Becky Johnson, she said, who covered her up with another "Peacecamper's" blanket.
Lemaster testified that she did not remove the blanket that was around her when first contacted by the authorities because, "it was chilly."
She recalled being asked twice to leave or, "take a citation."
She wanted to tell the authorities about Doyon's condition, but the only option she was given other than to leave was to, "take a ticket."
Officers weren't willing to answer her questions about the warning on the flier, and about the possible and impending lodging citations. "They weren't willing to have a conversation with us," she testified.
"After I saw they were arresting Chris, I left," Lemaster testified. Their arrival relieved her of her personal duty to protect Chris, she said.
At this point, the judge stepped in to remind the jury that 'necessity' was not a defense in this case, and that Lemaster's need to aid Doyon, whether it was perceived or real, was not in itself a defense for the lodging charge.
When asked by Gettleman why she didn't call 911 to get Doyon some help, Lemaster testified that she was trying to save the cost of an ambulance and that she could have taken him herself in her van if he had been cooperative, but she didn't call any emergency personnel ultimately because Doyon said he would refuse their services.
When Gentleman went through some of the video evidence that was presented in the case, he pointed to the objects surrounding Lemaster, and asked if any of the bedding materials were hers, or if she could use it if she wanted.
"No," Lemaster testified.
She also testified additionally that she believed the possessions that were near her possibly belonged to a person who was lying next to her, but who was himself never seen in the evidence video. She couldn't remember much about him, only that earlier he may have been lying there in the stuff that was pictured around her.
The video also showed her twice attempting to communicate with the authorities.
Footage also showed a protest sign that Lemaster recognized as belonging to Doyon that read, "No Police State." Near him, Lemaster pointed out a bottle of his Robitussin cough syrup.
When asked directly by Gettleman if it was possible she fell asleep that night, she testified that it was possible because she was resting while taking care of Doyon, but that she was making her best efforts to stay awake.
One video the prosecution showed over and over was taken from youtube and was shot by Lemaster herself, with her voice narrating as Becky Johnson is seen sweeping the steps of the courthouse during the daytime. As Johnson sweeps, Lemaster says, "thank you for sweeping my bed from last night."
Lemaster recalled that she had slept in her van and had just woken up as she made her way over to the steps the morning after receiving the citation.
Lemaster had known Johnson for 14 years in 2010, and testified that they were close friends and that Johnson was also her caregiver.
Lemaster testified that she was trying to be funny with that comment, that she had just gotten a ticket for lodging the night before, and that they at Peacecamp still didn't really know what it all meant.
Lemaster testified she never went back and stayed at Peacecamp or slept at night there after receiving the citation on August 10.
Prosecutor Alex Byers went right into questions that focused on the concept of what it means to be an activist, citing Lemaster's statement on her website that she is one. He asked if there was a difference between being an activist and being an advocate, and more specifically if advocates worked within the system while activists worked outside of the system.
When presented with other general questions about whether or not activists by definition intended to break the law with their actions, Lemaster testified, "I wouldn't do that myself."
Byers asked questions about Lemaster's "circle," which included Ed Frey, Becky Johnson, and Christopher Doyon, and ultimately a defense objection to that line of questioning was sustained.
When Byers asked if Peacecamp was by its title a campsite, Lemaster responded that to her it was, "a demonstration," but about the homeless people there, "they were probably camping."
When questioned further by Byers, Lemaster noted, "the deeper you get into this movement, it is harder to define what camping is."
Lemaster testified she first saw the fliers warning about unlawful lodging a day or two before she was cited.
Byers asked if when she saw the fliers, did she know from them that the county did not want people to spend the night on the courthouse steps, and Lemaster responded, "yes," but she never felt that the activities were not permitted at the courthouse. The flier itself did not persuade her that it came from the county. "I thought it was a joke," Lemaster testified earnestly.
"It didn't say what lodging is," she noted, later adding that, "Sheriffs couldn't tell me...or they wouldn't." She thought that the flier might have been something from the deputy's office intending to "stir things up" at Peacecamp.
Lemaster couldn't recall how many nights she had stayed in her van in the county government center's parking lot prior to the morning of August 10, and when asked by Byers, she testified that she had foam, quilts, pillows, and books in it.
She reiterated that she was at Peacecamp because of the injustice of the local sleeping ban.
"I was demonstrating there. I went with my own objectives," Lemaster testified.
She didn't feel, however, that making a point about camping would mean much without the sleep activities also going on there.
When asked by Byers, Lemaster again testified that she never set-up or intentionally lay in anyone's bedding.
She never noticed the concrete getting "darker" over the course of the demonstrations, as Plageman testified earlier in the trial, saying that it must have been gradual.
Lemaster described how she met Chris Doyon for the first time at Peacecamp, a couple of weeks after her first visit to the demonstrations, and that she went to Peacecamp on the night of August 9 to help him because he was sick. She testified that Doyon told her that he had been squatting north of Santa Cruz off of Highway 1.
Byers spent some time with questions that helped outline Lemaster's time line for being at Peacecamp. In response to his questioning, she testified that she may have first "sat" next to Chris Doyon at 10pm, and that Becky Johnson gave her a blanket at 11pm. Doyon "finally got some sleep," at that point, she testified.
Lemaster explained once more that she never made the decision to stay there all night long.
"Would you agree you occupied the spot at the courthouse for at least seven hours," Byers asked, and Lemaster answered that it was, "possible."
When asked about her contact with deputies, Lemaster testified that sheriffs, "wouldn't let me," tell them that Chris Doyon was sick. "I remember sitting up more so than I was, to get their attention."
About possibly falling asleep that night, Lemaster sounded almost apologetic, and Byers picked up on the tone, adding strategically to his questioning of her, "and who would fault you, it was four in the morning."
When discussing the moments following her being cited by deputies, she testified that she returned to her van, which was parked in the parking lot of the county government center, and she went to sleep.
About the comment she made that Becky Johnson was sweeping "her bed," Lemaster testified that she was being "sarcastic."
"I find it ironic that my bed would be cement," she said. Because she had received a lodging citation she was making a joke, she explained.
"If it had a little padding, it might be like a bed," she said about the concrete surface.
Byers asked about a statement from her blog, and quoted Lemaster as saying about that evening at Peacecamp, "I fell asleep on the job."
Lemaster explained: "I fell asleep on the job of listening to Chris' lungs," further elaborating that she remembered it as more of a lapse in her paying attention.
"I've laid down in a lot of places in this county," Lemaster testified, but added that she had never been accused of "lodging."
"I was relieved when Chris fell asleep and the noise in his lungs stopped."
Lieutenant Fred Plageman, the first witness called by the prosecution, testified that he has served 24 years as a sheriff in Santa Cruz County, and for four of those years with the rank of Lieutenant.
Four sergeants worked for him at the time of Peacecamp in 2010, he recalled. He viewed Peacecamp every day between July 4 and early August because it was on his way to work at the county center.
He testified that he saw people camping, sleeping, and spending the night at the courthouse. He saw people with blankets and sleeping bags, and he saw people cooking and eating. He saw activists, and he saw the bathroom facilities that demonstrators had brought in, which consisted of a portable restroom on a trailer that was brought in at night and taken away each morning.
Plageman noted that the interior of the building's hours of operation were 7am-6pm and that the restrooms inside it were open to the public.
He described the number of people he saw at Peacecamp, testifying that during the morning hours there were as few as 12 and by the afternoon there might be 50 or 60 people. After midnight it fluctuated between 15 and 20, he testified.
Plageman described what he called a general decline in the property of the courthouse, saying the area never got a rest during the demonstrations. Everything became dirty and the whole building was in a state of decline, he testified.
He recalled that Peacecamp impacted the work of the bailiffs, who were called to conduct enforcement activities in response to various violations, and he said there was also an increase in calls for service due to the activities of the demonstrators.
Witnesses, judges, attorneys, and jurors all entered the building through the area of the demonstrations, Plageman said, adding that complaints were received from people who worked at the county building who felt "intimidated."
Plageman testified that due to cleanliness, sanitation, and general health and safety issues, a plan was created to deal with these issues.
When questioning Plageman, the prosecutor asked him to name who he described as the "power players" behind the plan, and Plageman stated that the group consisted of Susan Mauriello, Sheriff Phil Wowak, Nancy Carr Gordon, and multiple attorneys from the county. They met shortly after Peacecamp began on July 4, 2010, he testified.
The plan was created, and it first began to be executed on August 1, 2010. The prosecutor asked why it took so long, and Plageman explained that the county courthouse steps has a long precedent for supporting first amendment activity. Additionally, authorities didn't want to create a riot or make something worse, and they thought the demonstrators, "would get the protest out of their system." They would try to reason with people to resolve what he called "the conflict" before taking law enforcement action, he explained.
"How was it determined as to what would be enforced," the prosecutor asked, and Plageman responded that county council was consulted.
The plan, he said, was not to get rid of the protest, but to focus on unlawful lodging and camping.
The courthouse area, he testified, was, "not designed as a campground."
The plan, Plageman said, involved an education campaign that was followed by an enforcement campaign. The education campaign took place during daylight hours over the course of a couple of days, he said, and it did not involve arrests.
The enforcement campaign took place a week later at night, he said. After demonstrators received their first warnings, deputies were to return in one hour.
Enforcement efforts were focused only on people who were lying down and sleeping, and people with gear, Plageman testified. He said arrests were only to occur if people did not leave after being cited.
The enforcement campaign was not carried out during daylight hours to avoid any ambiguity with free speech rights, he told the prosecutor.
When asked if "tone' was discussed, he said it was discussed "explicitly," and that officers were to be civil, professional, "super polite," and were to give people the opportunity to comply.
When asked by the prosecution why these instructions were given to deputies, Plageman answered, "Because that's the way you should treat people," but he added that a number of people at the demonstration were "hostile" and that things could have escalated.
The "enforcement" campaign began on Friday, August 6, and Plageman participated in it, he testified. It ended on August 10, but Plageman didn't participate in enforcement that day, and he described there being a "decline in lodgers" as the enforcement campaign progressed.
When asked why deputies videotaped the enforcement activities, Plageman testified that it was to document that they were using an educational approach, and also that by using video, a chance for violence might be de-escalated.
The prosecution then showed aerial views of the county government center, its parking lots and its grounds, and Plageman was asked a number of questions regarding the location of demonstrators during Peaccamp. The prosecution, one by one, methodically marked nine locations of where campers were located between July 4 and August 11.
When showing a Google Earth photo, defense objections were sustained when the prosecution attempted to identify additional locations of campers' locations during the demonstrations.
Defense objections were then sustained when the prosecution attempted to word questions pertaining to damage caused by Peacecamp by people other than Lemaster. The judge informed the jury to be aware that the damage was not caused by Lemaster, and the questions continued, though later in Plageman's testimony he testified that a large amount of feces and urine had been found on the grounds of the county government center.
Plageman then identified locations on the aerial view where damage from Peacecamp had occurred.
Lt. Plageman - Cross Examination
Defense attorney Jonathan Gettleman began his cross examination of Lieutenant Plageman by questioning him in more detail about the group of county officials named as the "power players" earlier by the prosecution.
Plageman testified that he was not present when the group met to discuss enforcement strategies for Peacecamp. Communications with regards to those meetings were made to him through Sheriff Phil Wowack and Chief Deputy Don Bradden, and he also had a dialog with Nancy Gordon.
Plageman testified that he did not not know for certain who represented the Parks Department, but he believed it was Susan Mauriello, and that ultimately it was she who was to make the call on what to do. He explained that part of the function of her position was to be the person designated to take care of the property, "like a landlord," he testified. Nancy Carr Gordon was the second in that chain of command, he said.
When asked by Gettleman why, if the flier that authorities handed out was to be educational, it did not define what lodging was? Plageman testified that he did not know why it wasn't addressed. He added that the lodging activity was affecting the grounds, but the first amendment activity associated with Peacecamp was not.
When questioned by Gettleman, Plageman testified that he was the one who presented the lodging law personally to county legal council because he became aware that, "they are using it all over the state to solve similar problems."
Gettleman then attempted to ask Plageman questions about the process of "finding" the lodging law, and when he asked Plageman if he was looking for an instrument that could be used broadly, the prosecution's objections were sustained. All of the prosecution's objections to Gettleman's subsequent questions about the broad or vague nature of the definition of lodging were sustained by the judge.
Gettleman asked Plageman questions about how it was determined who would receive citations during Peacecamp. Plageman testified that they were, "looking for people lying on their side, with bedding and pillows."
If someone was awake and sitting on those items, Plageman testified that they would be warned but not cited; they had to be sleeping, camping, and spending the night.
Gettleman asked him if a person was awake, but appeared to be sleeping, if they would be cited, and Plageman admitted that there was no way authorities could tell if people were really sleeping.
When asked how many times Plageman had cited someone for lodging before, the lieutenant testified, "never."
Gettleman asked why the multiple-tier system of education and enforcement was adopted by the county, and Plageman replied that if people comply it makes their job easier.
Plageman described the process where deputies would first warn a person that they were lodging, and then would return an hour later to issue the actual citation.
He testified that he chose a one hour warning time to relieve any ambiguity from the enforcement process, but that he believed any amount of time was appropriate to warn individuals they were lodging. He thought that an hour was, "way more than ample time."
When asked if he hoped people would leave as a result of the warning, Plageman answered, "not necessarily," but when pressed further by Gettleman, he did admit that he hoped people who had been cited for lodging would leave.
Gettleman then asked a series of questions that had Plageman confirm that it was not illegal for those participating in Peacecamp to be at the courthouse. Plageman testified that the grounds were legally open 24/7, there weren't any no trespassing signs, and that there was no law that a person could not lie down on the courthouse steps.
When asked if he knew where those who worked for the county derived the authority to make decisions about the use of public space at the courthouse, Plageman testified, "I would have to research it."
Gettleman asked if at 4:30 am on August 10, anyone's access to the courthouse building had been denied, Plageman said he had no information about that, but to his knowledge, "no."
Plageman himself testified that he had no personal knowledge of Lemaster's involvement with Peacecamp, and he never saw her there, but that he did recognize her from the community, perhaps seeing her downtown before.
Gettleman then asked about the so-called damage to the courthouse. Plageman testified that the concrete had changed colors, and there was "wear and tear" to the lawn, but that there was no structural damage.
Objections to questions about whether or not the county turned on lawn sprinklers at night to get rid of the protesters, were sustained by the judge.
Deputy Chris Joyce
Chris Joyce testified that he is currently a deputy Sheriff in Placerville, and that he was a deputy in Santa Cruz from 2009-2010. He first began in law enforcement work two years before that in Stockton.
Joyce testified that the walked past Peacecamp everyday on his way to work at the county government center, but that he did not know much about it except that people were sleeping. Joyce testified that he generally saw 20 people there involved with Peacecamp each morning he walked by.
Joyce testified that he was told two days prior to report to work early on August 10 for a morning briefing regarding Peacecamp. That day was his only involvement with Peacecamp, he testified, and he recalled that there were eight deputies at the morning briefing, in addition to Lieutenant Gretchen Hurley and Sergeant Bill Gazo (Gazo was in charge of "oversight" on August 10, according to earlier testimony by Lieutenant Plageman).
The enforcement strategies that were detailed by Plageman in his testimony differed from the actual enforcement that was carried out by Joyce when he cited Lemaster for lodging on the morning of August 10, as explained in his testimony before the court.
Joyce testified that he was told to hand out fliers to people who were sleeping, and to inform them that they were lodging. After 10-15 minutes, he recalled, they would ask people if they were leaving, and if not they would be cited. If they didn't leave after being cited, they would be arrested, Joyce testified.
When Joyce arrived at Peacecamp to begin enforcement on the morning of August 10, he recalled that two people in the group of demonstrators present were up and awake.
He testified that he recognized Lemaster in the courtroom as someone he contacted that morning, but that it was difficult to describe his initial contact with her at Peacecamp.
Joyce testified that he "definitely" remembered coming into contact with Lemaster 10 or 15 minutes after his first arrival at Pececamp that morning, when he and one or two other deputies handed out fliers.
Lemaster was at the top of the courthouse steps, seated up at night, covered in blankets and bedding, Joyce testified.
Joyce testified that when Lemaster was asked if she was going to leave she either said no or did not answer. He did remember her saying she would cooperate with the citation process, though.
The prosecution had Joyce identify Lemaster on one of the evidence videos that was shot by sheriff's deputies, and when Joyce was asked to describe what he saw in the video, he noted that visible with Lemaster was one blanket and what appeared to be a pillow. When questioned, Joyce could not attribute to Lemaster a second blanket that could be seen near her on the concrete, but when looking at video stills he described her as being "covered" in blankets.
Defense attorney Jonathan Gettleman began his cross examination of Joyce by having the deputy describe his walk to work that morning. In a walk from his car that including some jaywalking by Joyce (the jaywalking was not noted by either the defense or the prosecution), the deputy testified that he remembered thinking to himself as he passed Peacecamp on his way to work (which was earlier than usual for him because of the impending enforcement action), that, "at least someone is getting some sleep around here."
Gettleman had Joyce clarify in testimony that when he first recalled being able to identify Lemaster on the morning of August 10, she was sitting up and not asleep, and that was when Joyce asked her if she would be staying or leaving.
After more questioning, Joyce then testified that he had no specific recollection as to whether Lemaster verbally indicated that she would not leave the area when he first contacted her, and he did not note in his report for that evening whether she communicated that she was not going to leave verbally or non-verbally.
Further information from Joyce was obtained in redirect by the prosecution. When Joyce first arrived that morning on his way to work he recalled seeing people sitting in lawn chairs, surrounded by equipment, he testified. To the best of his recollection, none of those in the lawn chairs were cited, and the people who were awake, but surrounded by a lot of stuff were also not cited.
Joyce re-iterated that if those he warned refused to leave they were cited, though authorities originally approached individuals at first contact for lodging.
Mary Chavez and Nancy Carr Gordon
Mary Chavez of the Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works and Parks was the next witness to take the stand for the prosecution, and she testified primarily in relation to the subject of how the County of Santa Cruz processes and administers event permits.
Chavez testified that use permits could be requested when groups wanted to use county facilities, and fees might possibly be charged. Use permits are required for groups to use the exterior grounds of the county courthouse, she testified, and the county Parks Department controls those locations. General Services, she testified, oversees the interior of the building, and administers use permits for the courthouse steps.
Chavez testified that she is the person at the county who is in charge of administering those permits.
The county owns the government center and the courthouse steps, she testified, and no overnight permits were given for use of those locations during Peacecamp. The parameters of use, she testified, were dawn to dusk, or 8am to 8pm, and it was also not possible to get a permit for overnight lodging or camping.
To her recollection, Chavez stated, Lemaster did not request a permit for a Peacecamp protest by Ed Frey for July 4, 2010.
Chavez also testified that permits would be denied for overnight uses, and that all permits require that accessibility into the building be maintained at all times.
During Gettleman's cross examination of Chavez, she testified that it was the general policy of the county that groups should themselves proactively seek out permits to use county facilities, and that the group at Peacecamp was not notified they needed a permit to be there.
Gettleman asked Chavez if she understood that as a function of her office that the courthouse steps were a traditional public forum.
"I don't know that it is a function of my office," she testified, "But I know people have rights."
After further questioning she added that getting a permit is the best way to tell the government when a "planned protest" will be held.
Gettleman asked if Peacecamp was operating without her department's permission on the night of Lemaster's arrest, and Chavez answered, "yes."
During the redirect of Chavez, prosecutor Jennifer Hutchinson asked if the only way to have permission to do something on the courthouse steps was to get a permit, and Chavez again testified, "yes."
Concluding his cross examination of Chavez, Jonathan Gettleman asked what action her department would take if a non-permitted use was discovered.
Chavez testified that they sometimes sent a letter out, but that her office is not an enforcement arm, the Sheriff's office is.
The testimony of Nancy Carr Gordon, the Director of General Services for Santa Cruz County, was brief. Mostly she confirmed that the courthouse steps were controlled by the Parks Department in 2010, which was ultimately controlled by Susan Mauriello, and that no one had permission to lodge on the courthouse steps.
Prosecution Closing Arguments
In Prosecutor Alex Byers' closing arguments, he called Peacecamp 2010, "a long-term occupation." It lasted for 39 days 24/7, he stated.
The problem, he said, was that Peacecamp affected the rights of others, and included health risks, property damage, and infringed access.
Byers discussed the plan the county developed, which he said respected the rights of others, was tolerant, and included a delay of 34 days before any citations were given. The were warnings, and about the flier the authorities handed out to Peacecamp demonstrators, Byers said that anyone who received that flier would know they weren't allowed to be there.
The goal of the authorities, Byers argued, was, "to stop people from protesting 24 hours a day."
Byers argued that the very intent of the protest was to violate the law. He said the education phase of enforcement focused on campers and lodgers, not protesters.
Showing a video-still photo of Lemaster on the courthouse steps shortly before being cited, Byers stated, "That is someone in bed."
"Everyone here recognizes an individual's right to protest....That stops when you infringe on the rights of others." No one is ever permitted to sleep or lodge on the courthouse steps, he argued.
Pointing to the flier, Byers said, "When you got this note at 4:30 in the morning, you were lodging."
"In other counties you would have been arrested," he claimed.
Byers then quoted former U.S. President John Adams, who said in 1774 that the United States was a, "nation of laws, not men."
"If one were to break a law for good reasons, that leads to a slippery slope," Byers reasoned.
Byers discussed the items Lemaster brought with her to Peacecamp that night. "She brought stuff, she brought her camera, she felt comfortable sleeping in her van in the courthouse lot."
"Unlawful lodging doesn't require sleeping," Byers asserted. It had more to do with the question of, "are you in a campsite and are you camping," he argued. When sheriffs first arrived at Peacecamp that morning, it was, "quiet like a campground," he stated.
Byers said Lemaster could be seen putting her shoes on in the sheriff's video.
He referred to the stuff seen around Lemaster in that video as "her property" and emphasized the amount of stuff visible all around her.
Byers, addressing Lemaster's claim that she had allergies, asked the jury if she really would use "another person's stuff."
"All this stuff," Byers claimed, was evidence that Lemaster was lodging.
He also claimed the sheriff's video showed Lemaster with a copy of the flier that morning she was cited, and he argued that the evidence showed she knew she was lodging without consent.
Another video showed that she was given a second warning, Byers claimed.
Referring to the video obtained from youtube, Byers argued that when Lemaster said she was going to go home to sleep in her "real bed," the quote suggested that she was sleeping in another bed the night before. Byers also pointed to her statement in that video, in which Lemaster was referring to her stay at Peacecamp the evening she was cited when she said, "I finally got more than two hours of sleep in a row."
Byers pointed to Lemaster's own words again, saying she testified that, she went there to spend the night with Chris Doyon, she lay down and covered herself with bedding, she fell asleep, and she "occupied" a space from 10pm to 4:30am.
Byers presented to the jury quotes from Lemaster's blog that he said referred to Lemaster's experience on August 10 at Peacecamp. The quotes he included were: "I quite literally fell asleep on the job," "The first night I slept outside with Peacecamp 2010 folks, I got a ticket," and "I slept on the cement."
Byers concluded the prosecution's final arguments with a discussion of what lodging was.
He argued that it was lodging, "when it looks like someone is occupying."
That Lemaster was an advocate and an activist, and that the lodging going on at Peacecamp is something she agreed with, is circumstantial evidence that she was herself lodging, Byers argued.
Byers asserted that the following were not a defense to lodging: participating in a protest, not knowing the law, not intending to sleep, not bringing bedding, did not sleep ("you do not have to sleep to lodge," he said), and the first amendment was also not a defense.
Byers concluded by stating that these issues were raised to distract the jury.
Defense Closing Arguments
Jonathan Gettleman began the defense's closing arguments by stating that he would suggest the case was all about perception, and that a person's experiences color "what it is that is seen."
He contradicted prosecutor Alex Byers and asserted that Lemaster's case was indeed about political speech, free expression, and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Where should the limit lie on peaceful protests, Gettleman asked.
The prosecution would have the jury believe that Lemaster was guilty because she occupied space and didn't have a permit, according to Gettleman and he cautioned the jury. "You have to safeguard your perception," he said.
"You're allowed to see a person there who is taking care of a person, rather than lodging. You're allowed to see a person there who is protesting, rather than lodging."
Gettleman discussed what lodging was and how it was limited, arguing that, "temporarily occupying a space," could not be correct, or everyone in the court would be lodging.
Gettleman pointed to what he considered to be the most important line in the definition of lodging: "Lodging means more than merely falling asleep, but less than moving in permanently."
"This has to do with residency," he asserted.
"The question is, are you settling or living in a place? This can't be just about living...It is not about sitting down...It is not about occupying space...If it were true, we would all need permits now."
Gettleman pointed to Lieutenant Plageman's testimony that he had not in 24 years used the lodging code once, "in all the protests he has seen...never once."
Gettleman noted that the officers who issued citations for lodging the morning of August 10, 2010 were using a different definition of lodging than the one used in Lemaster's trial, and that police that evening were looking for anyone sleeping or laying down.
"The police weren't even using the same standard as you are to judge Lemaster," Gettleman said to the jury.
Gettleman stated that the county considered Peacecamp a public nuisance, but did not obtain a public order to abate the nuisance, they just took part of the law and, "told people to get out of there."
Police, "wouldn't tell people what lodging is," and the only option they gave them was, "to leave."
Gettleman pointed out that there was no letterhead on the flier that authorities handed out at Peacecamp, and as a result people didn't truly know where it came from.
He accused Plageman of "demonizing" the group through his use of the numbers; the 39 days of demonstrations, with hundreds of participants, had nothing to do with Lemaster, Gettleman argued.
About the sanitation concerns, Gettleman wondered if anyone had tested it to see if the waste found was animal or human, and concerning testimony that the grounds were destroyed, he challenged the jury to find any damage in the sheriff's video. He argued the grass in the video looked perfectly fine.
Gettleman asserted there was a difference between lodging and the support of lodgers. He suggested that just because sheriffs were looking for people who, "looked like Linda Lemaster," that doesn't mean she was unlawfully lodging.
He questioned the way sheriffs issued the citations. If people were sitting, they didn't receive a citation, if they were lying they did, and if they weren't standing near "stuff" they didn't receive a citation either. He suggested it was starting to sound as if Lemaster received a citation because, "she couldn't get up fast enough." He also suggested she received the citation because she was trying to tell the authorities about Chris Doyon's condition.
About the testimony given by County of Santa Cruz employees Nancy Carr Gordon and Mary Chavez, Gettleman argued that those two would have people believe that you need a permit to "breathe" to be on the courthouse steps.
He argued that their testimony didn't mean that the Peacecamp activities were illegal, but that without a permit there just wasn't official permission. Permission for political speech on public property does not come from a county permit, Gettleman argued. He also suggested that there should be a "permits required" sign if it did, and that the county courthouse area didn't have any hours of operations signs or "no trespassing" signs posted in 2010.
Gettleman also argued that prosecutors spent so much time providing testimony about how "reasonable" law enforcement was, that it was an attempt to make Lemaster look ridiculous. He said the DA's tactic was to first demonize the group, and then to suck Lemaster into that group, therefor demonizing her as well.
"No one was being affected that night by what was going on," Gettleman asserted.
"Deputy Joyce couldn't have been a better witness for us," Gettleman then stated, adding that the defense may have even called him to testify themselves.
According to Gettleman, Joyce didn't see anything there at Peacecamp on his way to work, he didn't see what Lemaster was doing when he first arrived on scene to cite Lemaster, and he testified that Lemaster was seated at first contact.
Gettleman then listed off what Lemaster was doing at Peacecamp.
Social advocacy was her purpose for being there, he stated, "not for setting up a residence."
Gettleman reminded the jury that Lemaster testified about her disabilities and that it was not physically easy for her to be "out there."
Lemaster wanted to support the people who were sleeping on the steps, supporting those who were lodging, and she was caring about, "the needs of these human beings," and, "caring about her friend."
Gettleman pointed out that in all of the still photos taken from the evidence videos, Lemaster is never seen leaving Chris Doyon's side. She was trying to protect Doyon, he said, and she was trying to tell the authorities that she was not lodging.
She did everything possible to stay awake that night, Gettleman argued, and she didn't bring her bedding. People gave her things, such as a walkman, he said.
It was "killing her back" to be out there, Gettleman argued, and that she had a ruptured disc, and she was on the concrete.
The green blanket that was seen wrapped around her in the sheriff's video was for "comfort," not lodging, Gettleman argued.
Attempting to explain the "stuff" that was seen near Lemaster in evidence videos, Gettleman recalled that when police first arrived the morning of August 10, they initially told everyone present to go line up against a nearby railing, and the photo stills from the evidence videos did not properly reflect who was also there.
Gettleman then emphasized that if Lemaster did sleep at Peacecamp, the evidence shows that she did so "involuntarily," and the law does not hold those responsible for things that happen involuntarily.
Gettleman agreed that she fit the "officer's description," but argued that she was not lodging.
Gettleman instructed the jury that they should consider Lemaster's medical condition, and that she was trying to get other people to help with Doyon. As soon as she received a citation she was "out of there," he said.
Referring to Lemaster's comment about the "sweeping" videos, about which she in her testimony recalled she was "joking," Gettleman argued, "you can hear in the levity in her voice she was making a joke."
"Imagine if people followed you with a tape recorder in your life," he cautioned.
Gettleman compared Lemaster's interactions at Peacecamp to those of a "combat medic." In his analogy, combat medics may even relate to combat events, but they are not the event, they are medics, further pointing out that, "you don't shoot the medic."
"These are important rules of engagement," he concluded.
Gettleman then argued that the only evidence the jury had of Lemaster's intentions, were from Lemaster herself, and she was there to help Chris Doyon. It was obvious that Lemaster did not go out there just to sleep that night, he argued.
There was really only one witness against Lemaster, Gettleman stated, and that was Deputy Joyce.
Gettleman reminded the jury that legally, to find Lemaster guilty, it would have to be shown that there was a union of the act and intent, and that Lemaster must not only have committed the act, but that she did so with wrongful intent.
"If I have an epileptic seizure and fall into you, it is not battery," Gettleman argued, adding that if Lemaster fell asleep, the evidence showed that she did so accidentally.
Sleeping could not be legal evidence in this case, Gettleman argued, it was circumstantial evidence, and if Lemaster fell asleep unintentionally, then the jury could not even use that as circumstantial evidence.
Additionally, to use circumstantial evidence, Gettleman stated, the jury must find that it is the only possible reason for guilt, and if there were other reasons, the jury must use those.
He reminded the jury that reasonable doubt was the standard in the case, that it was a very high standard as far as rules of law go, and that it was important in Lemaster's case because, "It's a criminal action and there are liberty interests at stake."
Gettleman then went on to discussed Lemaster's physical conditions, explaining that Lemaster was seen in the evidence video taking her shoes off, and it was due to bunyons. She may have been "on her side" at one point, Gettleman said, due to her bad back.
Concluding the defense arguments, Gettleman returned to the still photo of Lemaster at the scene.
"If you see in this picture Lemaster taking care of a friend, then you must acquit Lemaster," he concluded.
During the trial, members of the jury appeared to take very few notes. They reached a verdict of guilty in just about three hours. A month later Linda Lemaster was sentenced to probation and community service, and the latter sentence had her supporters describing it as "ironic."