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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Police State and Prisons

Attorney Arguments Around the Santa Cruz Eleven Case To Be Heard August 13 and 27.
by Robert Norse
Sunday Aug 10th, 2014 1:57 AM
D.A. Bob Lee failed to disqualify Judge Paul Burdick for bias in a motion filed this last spring in the case of the Santa Cruz Eleven. [See "Assistant D.A. Files Motion to Recuse Judge Burdick--Again" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/03/04/18751905.php & "A Week Later The Sentinel Does Drive-By Coverage of the Santa Cruz Eleven" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/06/10/18757167.php?show_comments=1#18757189 & "Santa Cruz Eleven Trial Postponed Indefinitely" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/03/01/18751723.php?show_comments=1#18751906. defense lawyers for the Final Four of SC-11 have responded with a motion to disqualify Bob Lee. Hopefully this will avert a felony trial that will cost taxpayers $100,000 or more and write an end to a political prosecution that has cooked up felony charges against activist reporters and local leftists.

Attorney Alexis Briggs has informed me of the following:

On Wednesday August 13th at 8:15 AM in Dept. 6 she will be appearing with her client Cameron Laurendeau to discuss whether Wells Fargo and/or Bob Lee are producing documents regarding their financial relationship. Wells Fargo reportedly contributed a substantial sum of money to Lee's re-election campaign--as did former Mayor Katherine Beiers (who admitted being in the building but was never charged).

On Wednesday August 27th at 8:15 AM in Dept 6, all four attorneys and the Final Four of the Santa Cruz Eleven will appear for a judgment on the earlier motion by all four that D.A. Bob Lee be removed from the case because of his financial interest or the appearance of impropriety (as I understand the issue). If he is, the matter willl be referred to the state attorney general to see if they chose to prosecute. Judge Burdick will decide that day or issue a ruling later.

Additioonally Jesse Rubin, Frank "Angel" Alcantara's attorney will argue other motions--which I'm still trying to secure a copy of.

In a videoed exchange from two years ago, Lee acknowledged he wanted the Santa Cruz Eleven to "pay back" the money that Wells Fargo claimed that other (uncharged and unnamed) activists created by "vandalism" in the bank. [See "Impromptu Conversation Between DA Bob Lee and Two of the Santa Cruz Eleven" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/07/18/18717774.php .] "Vandalism" is in quotes because while the bank was grafittied and some furniture damaged, the padding of the "costs" was rather obvious as was the political nature of the vandalism. In addition the disproportionate destruction wrought by Wells Fargo both locally and nationally was ignored.
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by Robert Norse Sunday Aug 10th, 2014 1:57 AM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by G
Sunday Aug 10th, 2014 12:40 PM
"a motion to disqualify Bob Lee"

"discuss whether Wells Fargo and/or Bob Lee are producing documents regarding their financial relationship"

"motion by all four that D.A. Bob Lee be removed from the case because of his financial interest or the appearance of impropriety"

Now THAT is some toothsome lawyering!!!

#FireBobLee
by Robert Norse
Sunday Aug 10th, 2014 5:38 PM
Attorney Alexis Briggs e-mailed me this morning that the DA filed a motion to continue the 8-13 hearing (perhaps also the 8-27 hearing--it's not entirely clear). That motion will be heard 8-12. The county counsel apparently wants time to evaluate Briggs' subpoena for documents around the Wells Fargo connection. She writes she received notice yesterday. So she'll not know until 8-12 if the 8-13 hearing (and perhaps the 8-27 one) is on track.
by Robert Norse
Sunday Aug 10th, 2014 5:46 PM
Alexis notes it's only the 7-13 hearing date that is in question and she'll have more info on that the day before.
by Robert Norse
Monday Aug 11th, 2014 9:58 PM
According to Alexis, attorney Jesse Rubin's has filed a Motion on behalf of Frank "Angel" Alcantero which all for dismissal due to discriminatory prosecution; dismissal due to vindictive prosecution; recusal of the prosecutor (for reasons different than Alexis's). In addition Rubin has filed other motions requesting a pre-trial hearing on the restitution amount being demanded.

Presumably these motions can be viewed at the Superior Court Clerk's window on the first floor of the County building for those interested. Rubin has not made them available by e-mail, if I understand correctly.
by G
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2014 10:33 AM
I'm not a lawyer. My non-lawyer impression is that 'vindictive prosecution' is an 'actionable offense'. A serious offense.

All of these motions are beautiful things! Dangerous things. So the judge will probably avoid doing anything that would put collegues at risk for sanctions, disbarment, or prosecution (reminds me of some 'defense' attorneys).

A guess: feeble judge responses, the DA dropping the cases as quietly as possible, perhaps with an attempt to make a 'no counter-suits' deal.
by Trip Weir
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2014 12:31 PM
In my experience, clerks pull case files around a week before a hearing and send them to the judge and it usually takes a few days after the hearing for the file to make its way back to the clerk's office. So it's easier to look at a case file outside that interval. At least once, I went to the judges' chambers and the staff let me see something in a file.
by John Cohen
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2014 7:04 PM
If I was one of the SC 11, I would sue Bob Lee for violating my civil rights under color of law.
by --
Tuesday Aug 12th, 2014 10:06 PM
Is there more information about the 7/13 hearing? Is this still happening:

"On Wednesday August 13th at 8:15 AM in Dept. 6 she will be appearing with her client Cameron Laurendeau to discuss whether Wells Fargo and/or Bob Lee are producing documents regarding their financial relationship."
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2014 9:48 AM
As mentioned above under Further Update, Alexis won't know if the August 13th hearing is going until she appears on August 12th on a Motion by the D.A. apparently to give them more time to respond to the Wells Fargo connection. So, as I understand it, there will be an 8:15 AM hearing on the 12th to determine if there'll be an 8:15 AM hearing on the 13th. Giving her a chance to drive down from San Francisco twice on successive days. Sounds like the SC-11 case, all right. Endless hearings, endless delay, exhaustion and expense for the defense. And, salaries as usual for the D.A. and courts.
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2014 10:30 PM
I didn't make it to court this morning or yesterday, but attorney Alexis Briggs e-mailed me this brief comment:

"We are back next Wednesday the 20th for county counsel to respond up the subpoena for records from bob lee and for the court to review documents from Wells Fargo (they were ordered to bring documents for any loans in the last 5 years. It was confirmed the DA's mortgage is with Wells Fargo but may not be recent enough to get an order for release from the judge)."

Apparently there was only one recognizable supporter for the SC-11 and video-journalist Brent Adams were present other than attorneys and court staff. Brent is also a defendant in the case--one of the Final Four It was delayed until 10 AM. This is not disheartening because the hearing was largely procedural with any decisions delayed a week and the main hearing delayed two weeks.

Reportedly Judge Steve Siegel has replaced Paul Burdick on the case--or did for this hearing. SC-11 defendant Gabriella Ripply-Phipps was positive about this development. I found Siegel better than most judges when he was a Commissioner in the early 90's, but haven't followed his career lately.

The sole SC-11 supporter reported that the issue seemed to be Briggs' desire to get Bob Lee's personal banking records, as well banking records surrounding the campaign loan. The hearing on the 13th as to whether to grant the subpoena was delayed until the 20th because County Counsel, representing Bob Lee (who was reportedly not present), claimed there was not enough time to respond.

The supporter also noted that Siegel seemed to "bend over backwards" to "be impartial."

A parade is slated for Friday August 22nd at 4 PM to begin behind the Saturn Cafe in downtown Santa Cruz. See http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/08/08/18759810.php.
by Robert Norse
Wednesday Aug 13th, 2014 10:31 PM
Those who wish to distribute flyers or post posters can pick them up at the Sub Rosa Cafe at 703 Pacific Ave.

Supporters are encouraged to wear "I was in the building" t-shirts and pins.
by J. York (posted by Norse)
Thursday Aug 14th, 2014 7:39 AM
Occupy Santa Cruz case targets county DA for alleged conflict
Judge orders release of bank loan documentation
By Jessica A. York
jyork [at] santacruzsentinel.com @ReporterJess on Twitter
Posted:   08/13/2014 03:35:03 PM


SANTA CRUZ >> A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge ordered a Wells Fargo bank attorney on Wednesday to turn over by next week any loan documents created in the past five years with Santa Cruz District Attorney Bob Lee.

Judge Stephen Siegel's order came after an attorney representing an Occupy Santa Cruz defendant subpoenaed records of all Lee's financial dealings with the bank. Wells Fargo is considered a victim of an extended illegal encampment of a vacant Wells Fargo bank building in 2011.

The bank is seeking restitution of an estimated $25,000. Four defendants of 11 originally charged in the case remain to shoulder the potential restitution burden, including Cameron Laurendeau, Brent Adams, Frank Alcantara and Gabriella Ripley Phipps.

Attorney Alexis Briggs, representing Laurendeau, is seeking to have Lee and his office recused from the case due to alleged conflict of interest for having financial dealings with Wells Fargo.

Reached in June, when the conflict of interest allegation initially arose, Lee described the argument as "kind of silly," saying if it were successful, he would have to recuse himself from most every Santa Cruz County due to private dealings. Lee was not present at Wednesday's hearing.

Briggs has primarily sought documentation of an alleged $34,000 interest-free loan from Wells Fargo to Lee and his wife while he was campaigning for office. However, "any financial relationship between the victim and the prosecuting attorney is relevant," Briggs said in court.

Wells Fargo attorney Hani Ganji said the bank had no documentation of such a campaign loan. Ganji went on to say that Wells Fargo "was not in the business of giving up the private information of its clients," when it came to the requested mortgage loan information.

Siegel responded that what Wells Fargo is in the business of doing or not doing does not speak to the legality of its actions. Lee's loan information from the bank will be due by Wednesday, when Siegel will review it for relevance to the case.

NOTE BY NORSE: The article can currently be found at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/santacruz/ci_26331601/occupy-santa-cruz-case-targets-county-da-alleged . But since the Sentinel no longer will retrieve articles more than a year old--even for those who have e-subscriptions, I thought it best to present the whole text. Those seeking to follow older Sentinel links from indybay stories will find themselves frustrated in trying to view the original stories unless they want to pay $3 or somesuch per particle.
by Joe Landon
Friday Aug 15th, 2014 8:57 PM
Toast the end of Bob Lee's tyranny.
by Robert Norse
Monday Aug 18th, 2014 11:55 AM
Latest from Attorney Alexis Briggs:

Jude Siegel has taken over Burdick's department. No judge assigned yet for trial. It will depend on when it is scheduled.
by #FireBobLee
Thursday Aug 21st, 2014 8:30 AM

There is a conflict of interest if Bob Lee is prosecuting for Wells Fargo. Why is he using our tax dollars to prosecute instead of Wells Fargo? It's our tax dollars that are being used to help the corrupted bank that has done illegal foreclosures, and other illegal practices causing people to lose everything they own, and in some cases the victims even committed suicide. In fact, one of these suicides occurred in Aptos.

Here is some of the paperwork indicating there was a loan. It's interesting that Wells Fargo can't find it yet the public can easily find it!

http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/ele/jun10/lee32210.pdf