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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: South Bay | Police State and Prisons
San Jose Copwatcher has charges dismissed, community members speak out
Today's press conference featured:
-Brian Helmle whose charges from his arrest on Cinco de Mayo 2006 for copwatching were dropped on Monday
-Marilu Custodio who goes on trial with her two sons on Monday May 19th
-Raj Jayadev from Silicon Valley DeBug http://www.siliconvalleydebug.org who hosts a Complaint Center for police and judicial misconduct cases on Sundays at 2:30p at DeBug, located at 701 Lenzen Ave in San Jose.
Brian expressed his appreciation for the support of his co-defendants and from other copwatchers in the area as well as the DeBug Community Intake Center that offered encouragement and resources during the two years of court dates. He also stated that while he had been able to afford to hire Matthew Siroka who is a private attorney who did a great job thanks to economic help from his family, the other Eastside 6 defendants had been very poorly represented by their public defenders and had been bullied into settling for charges that they knew they were innocent of. 95% of all cases in California courts are handled by public defenders whose case loads run at 120-150 cases at any one time compared to 40-60 cases for a private attorney, so they are eager to convince their clients to settle rather than go to trial.
Marilu was beaten and one of her sons was tased when they responded to a call for help from one of her other sons who had been stopped by police, beaten, and tased near their home in the Evergreen neighborhood of San Jose in February 2007.
Marilu spoke about the need for people who are arrested to demand their right to a trial and not just settle because their public defender says trial would be risky.
Marilu, Marlo and Romel are seeking support from the community at their trial starting next Monday 5/19/07 at 9:00a in Dept. 24 at the Santa Clara County Superior Courthouse at 190 West Hedding Street, San Jose.
Raj spoke about the successes that the movement for police accountability has been making in San Jose recently, especially getting Joshua Herrera's "gang enhancement" life sentence dropped to 14 years in prison and now helping Brian Helmle get his charges dropped in the Cinco de Mayo 2006 Eastside 6 copwatch case. Raj called for people who are caught up in the criminal justice system and their families to not give up and to keep fighting since it is possible through collective actions in defense of each of them. Raj also invited people with police and judicial concerns to come to the DeBug Intake Center on Sundays at DeBug's office. http://www.siliconvalleydebug.org/