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Indybay Feature
View other events for the week of 4/27/2010
Another Musician in the Sinister Sidewalk Songfest Goes to Trial
Date Tuesday April 27
Time 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Location Details
Dept. 10, the basement courtroom in the 5-story county building adjacent to the San Lorenzo River at 701 Ocean (Ocean & Water Sts.)
Event Type Court Date
Organizer/AuthorRobert Norse
Emailrnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone831-423-4833
Address309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz 95060
THE CRIMINAL AND THE CRIME
Robert "Blindbear" Facer, a gentle drummer in his sixties plays regularly with the Wednesday Drum Circle and also performs on Pacific Avenue. He was given at $445 citation by Officer Schonfield and Sean Reilly for "unreasonably disturbing noises" in the homeless HUFF sing-a-long on January 6. Reilly complained Facer was part of a group disturbing his sleep at 3 PM on a Wednesday afternoon.

The defendant's side of the tale is told at http://beckyjohnsononewomantalking.blogspot.com/2010/01/sing-song-go-to-jail.html (Sing a Song, Go to Jail"0 &
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/01/20/18635743.php
("Sinister Street Singers Cited on Sidewalk")

An account of the last trial is posted at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/04/22/18645414.php ("Notes on A Sinister Sidewalk Singing Trial")

DOCUMENTATION: CHECK OUT THE GRIM FACTS YOURSELF
The police report can be found at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/04/12/1

Nearly continuous audio of the arrests can be found at The audio tape (http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100117.mp3 about five hours and twenty five minutes into the audio file. It continues at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100121.mp3 about one hour and three minutes into the audio file) documents Becky's repeated and ignored requests.

THE TRIAL
Attorney Ed Frey has taken on Facer's case pro bono, though he is currently in the midst of a time and energy-demanding jury trial.

Frey asks all witnesses to be at court at 1:20 PM in the basement of the County building.

The community is invited to come and watch the city spend more money backing up the SCPD's misuse of the "unreasonably disturbing noises" law in the hands of a cranky and dishonest resident, who reportedly regularly harasses musicians who play on the sidewalk nearby.

THE LAW
The law itself--in effect between 8 AM and 10 PM reads:
"No person shall make, cause, suffer, or permit to be made any noises or sounds (a) which are unreasonably disturbing or physically annoying to people of ordinary sensitiveness or which are so harsh or so prolonged or unnatural or unusual in their use, time or place as to cause physical discomfort to any person, and (b) which are not necessary in connection with an activity which is otherwise lawfully conducted."

RADIO DISCUSSION
Street Performers Guild activist Tom Noddy, traveler Carolyn Kennedy, and I discuss the law and the arrest at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100418.mp3 .

Kennedy reports in detail on Officer Azua's 4-10 retaliatory assault and arrest because she refused to "move along" on Pacific Avenue at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100415.mp3 . Azua reportedly "broke up" a gathering of people listening to street performers on Pacific.

Noddy and I will be continuing our discussion tomorrow at 11:30 AM at 101.1 FM (http://www.freakradio.org). Call-in at 427-3772 if you're interested. The show will be archived at http://www.radiolibre.org/brb/brb100425.mp3

PRIOR AND FUTURE SINISTER SONGSTER TRIALS
Four were falsely charged under this law in the January 6th incident which halted a peaceful protest against the homeless death rate in front of the Bookshop Santa Cruz.

One was of an innocent passerby. Michelle Doyka went to court three times, was falsely convicted at an unannounced court date, and on her final appearance found no one showed up and the case was dismissed.

The second was a full-scale attack on homeless activist Becky Johnson (whose trial is described in the link above) involving thousands of bucks and the intervention of the City Attorney as illegitimate prosecuting agency.

The third will be Robert Facer's case.

Robert Norse will be arraigned on April 29th in Dept. 10 with his trial sometime in May.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Call the City Attorney at 831-420-6200 to demand charges be dropped and the SCPD directed to enforce the law as written and stop using it as a heckler's device to "move along"
musicians and activists. Also ask why the city attorney's office is showing up to prosecute musicians and activists in the case of private person complaints 9supposedly to be pursued by the complainants themselves.

Contact HUFF [Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom] (423-4833) if you have experienced or witnessed police or citizen harassment of street performers downtown. You can also e-mail rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com .

Come to the Wednesday Drum Circle 3 PM at its new location at Cedar and Pacific in the parking lot across from Jack's Restaurant to ensure police and their right-wing pals don't move to crush it.

Call in to Free Radio Santa Cruz at 427-3772 with reports on police misconduct downtown. I do a twice weekly show Thursday nights 6-8 PM and Sunday mornings 9:30 AM to 1 PM. But there are other DJ's interested in these issues at other times.

Contact the Santa Cruz City Council (420-5020) and the City Manager's office (420-5010) to demand the City restore the Voluntary Street Performers Guidelines and stop using city resources to attack musicians and activists.

Support the Street Performers Guild. Contact Brent with info or assistance at 421-0316 or e-mail him at compassionman [at] hotmail.com .
Added to the calendar on Saturday Apr 24th, 2010 10:22 AM
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