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Santa Cruz Eleven Court Report: Brent Adams
by Brent Adams
Wednesday Aug 28th, 2013 4:00 PM
The court follies continues as the 4 remaining local Occupy activists have their felony jury trial is rescheduled to March 2014.

I was in court on August 16 and 28th for a “Status Conference.” I’m facing Felony Vandalism and Misdemeanor Trespassing charges filed by DA Bob Lee based on “evidence” collected by SCPD. This is from the occupation of a long vacant bank building at 75 River St. in late 2011. The building is owned by local mega-developer Barry Swenson and leased for many years by the bank across the street, Wells Fargo.

There had been more than 300 people who crossed the threshold of the building in the course of the 3 day occupation and eventually 11 people would be charged with 2 separate felonies and 2 discrete trespassing charges. Finally, 7/11 had all of their charges dropped based either on assertions that they were there as journalists or they hadn’t returned to the building after being warned of the trespass.

Now, nearly 2 years later and after several judge changes, a new assistant DA has been appointed. I believe his name is Greg Peinado. We’re still hanging tough. There has been a plea offer made to us but we’re not budging. Why would I plead guilty for shit I didn’t do? I was there on principle in the first place so I’m not about to take the easy path out just because I’m fearing jail time.

After nearly 2 years we’re still pre-trial. We’ve been dragged back to court over and over and over. There is still no end in sight. Okay, now for my report on the precedings of the past few days. Please note: My report is incomplete because I don’t really pay much attention to this bullshit.
------- ----------- ------------

Court report:

Aug. 16. The Assistant District Attorney had indicated that 2 police witnesses had schedule conflicts with the pending trial date. Then attorney Alexis Briggs also said her pregnancy might cause a conflict. Then two other attorneys including Lisa McCamey who is my court appointed defender told the judge that other cases they are working on posed a schedule conflict.

Judge Burdick asked the ADA if the “people” thought it necessary to go forward with the cases given the profound expense it would cost considering that the damage amount is only $20,000. Peinado stated that the “community” he is hearing from does want to see a jury trial. The Status Conference was rescheduled to Aug. 28 to assess scheduling conflicts.

Aug. 28. Attorney for Cameron Laurendau, Alexis Briggs confirmed that her pregnancy will create a conflict with the scheduled jury trial. Judge Burdick rescheduled a new trial for March 3rd 2014 with a “readiness” hearing on Feb. 27.

Then Ass. DA Peinado stated that Gabriella Ripley-Phipps would have to reinstate her bail bond as the current one had elapsed. When charges were filed last year, and several of the Santa Cruz Eleven had been arrested in their homes, Ripley-Phipps was told by her attorney to take out a bail bond. I (Brent Adams) simply turned myself in to the sheriff’s department. Judge Burdick then asked if Ms. Ripley-Phipps is a danger to the community or a flight risk. Peinado stated that she had been arrested at Occupy Oakland following her arrest in Santa Cruz last year and that indicates that she is a “danger to her community.” Burdick agreed and stated that Ripley-Phipps must now repost a bail bond.

There were a large group of friends in court supporting Gabriella and Brent also had a supporter with him. Angel Alcantar and Cameron Laurendau were both not present in court today.
§Gabriella Ripley-Phipps Bail bond hearing
by Brent Adams Wednesday Aug 28th, 2013 4:40 PM
Ms. Ripley-Phipps' bail bond issue will be heard on September 3, 2013 8:15am

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by G
Wednesday Aug 28th, 2013 7:00 PM
What are the limits of abuse for the Santa Cruz District Attorney's office? Who has oversite, Federal powers? What is their hidden relationship with Wells Fargo, and Barry Swenson?

#MoreForensicAccountingPlease
by (a)
Wednesday Aug 28th, 2013 9:07 PM
does that mean she is out another 10% of her bail? whether or not to have a jury trial was the issue. from what i have seen of jury bias against activists in SC, you can expect a guilty verdict. a felony means state prison, not jail.
why hasn't your public defender brought up your journalism? 30,000 downloads for that cop video you published is good evidence of it. get it into the record. you don't need no stinking credentials to be a journalist.

though i am too lazy to get up that early, i support you in spirit dude.
by Robert Norse
Friday Aug 30th, 2013 1:52 PM
Some of my thoughts as well as a posting of the expensive legal papers that Bob Lee's office has created (at taxpayer expense of thousands of dollars) in his attack on Judge Burdick's $500 fine against his D.A.'s office are at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/08/27/18742198.php .
by Trip Weir
Saturday Aug 31st, 2013 9:32 AM
Today's Sentinel says the DA is spending so much time defending against sanctions in the two-year-old vandalism case that he has an emergency and doesn't have enough staff to prosecute murders. He needs 16 lawyers in the next 60 days and didn't budget for the caseload so now taxpayers have to pay up. At least we can all rest easy knowing Wes Modes got convicted of marching in a parade with a thousand other people.
by Cause it;s laughable
Friday Sep 6th, 2013 7:29 PM
Brent, self posting that his garbage cans are well intended recycling containers......when his history shows him being a proud rabble rouser who in fact bangs garbage cans as a form of drumming protest.

You don't get to have it both ways Sparky, and your reputation and the evidence precede you this time. Reap what you sow. But your chest thumping "I won't plead because I was just handing out garbage cans to keep it tidy" defense is a fucking joke.
PUNISHING GOOD DEEDS IN THE NAME OF SMEARING ACTIVISTS
The aftermath of the Gabriella Ripley-Phipps bail hearing (which continued on 9-3) was interesting, according to Gabriella and her supporters, who I talked to shortly afterwards. Gabriella was fingered as a "leader" of the crime by Judge Burdick in late August apparently because she acknowledged being an intermediary who assisted the police and the protesters in communicating with each other by phone.

Her reward for successful mediation that resulted in a violence-free end to the 3-day occupation was to be saddled with a perp jacket by Burdick. The Department 6 judge has shown extreme leniency to the D.A. Bob Lee's office in spite of its direct and repeated violation of court orders to turn over evidence to the defense. As a result the trial has been dragged into a third year (assuming it proceeds in March 2014 as now scheduled). With arrogant flair manipulating the hyped-up "law and order' anti-protester anti-homeless climate in Santa Cruz, Lee has succeeded in extorting another hundred G's from the Board of Supervisors to hire new D.A.'s.

Because of his own insistence on pursuing this patently political case, as Trip Weir notes in a comment above, Lee has had to put more important cases on the backburner. (See http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/santacruz/ci_24027558/santa-cruz-county-officials-authorize-hiring-two-attorneys )

LEE'S BIG BANKBOOK
Lee is also spending thousands of dollars to appeal a $500 sanction imposed as a slap on the wrist by Burdick. Burdick did so in response to the incompetent and contemptuous behavior of former SC-11 prosecutor Rebekah Young who disappeared from Santa Cruz soon after. Her hasty and unexplained departure came shortly after the fine as well as the dropping of another 4 of the SC-11 cases for lack of evidence in the long-delayed Preliminary Hearing last January.
Two of the SC-11 had similarly been discharged earlier in the spring of 2012 when it was shown they'd simply been reporting (as had other uncharged mainstream reporters also in the 75 River St. building). The text of Lee's costly appeal is at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/08/27/18742198.php as mentioned in my earlier comment.

Though the new SC-11 website is still somewhat under-developed and is more cryptic in its accessibility, it can be found at http://66.147.242.176/~santacv5/santacruzelevencom/ . It can also be found by google-ing "home Santa Cruz Eleven" .

BAIL RUNAROUND
Gabriella was inaccurately advised by her attorney to post $500 bond for the $5000 bail way back in February 2012. This was done at a time when sheriffs had already physically arrested three of the defendants (all later dropped for lack of evidence, but never compensated for time in jail, job loss, and medical damage). However, the other 7 of us were able to get released in our own recognizance without posting bail, by simply appearing at the Superior Court clerk's and promising to appear in court.

Due to the delays caused by D.A. Bob Lee's incompetent and mendacious assistant D.A. Rebekah Young, the bail for Gabriella had expired, and now the new Persecutor-in-Charge Greg Peinard was demanding another $500 be posted (non-refundable) to assure that Gabriella did not "flee". At the 9-3 hearing, Burdick finally allowed release without bail, but demanded Gabriella avoid "occupations" and "trespassing" on the property of the still-vacant Wells
Fargo-leased bank. I had improperly understood that he had demanded she "avoid protests', but Gabriella advised advised me that the word Burdick used was "occupations".

FIGHTING THE TOXIC FALLOUT
I'm particularly concerned that these prosecutions have chilled the prospects of political protest in Santa Cruz (though Obomba's obdurate insistence on going to war at his own pleasure in Syria may be altering this). Now the City is buying into the myth of focusing on Sleepcrime, Sitcrime, and Needle Hysteria using the new Public Safety Task Force as the spearhead in this rebranding effort--moving to defund the very limited homeless services that exist, encourage massive police crackdowns against people who have no legal place to be, and rouse the community into a spirit of vengeful suspicion against the homeless (see the indybay-buried story "Update on Santa Cruz CruzioWorks Discriminatory Treatment of Dan Madison" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/09/02/18742587.php).

A new Culture of Cruelty seems to have descended on Santa Cruz with the routine denial of basic services and rights to those who look poor and raggedy (ranging from exclusion from coffee shops for having a backpack to 3 AM wake-up's of folks in their vans). I encourage folks to post and document these incidents--with video on You-Tube whereever possible.

Needless to say, end the prosecution of the Santa Cruz Eleven! Fire Bob Lee.