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Indybay Feature

Three Decisions in Court in the Wes Modes "Parading Without a Permit" Case

Monday, August 16, 2010
8:00 AM - 8:45 AM
Event Type:
Court Date
Robert Norse
Location Details:
701 Ocean St. in the Courthouse--Dept. 5, Judge Almquist's court

Community activist Wes Modes has worked to establish the Guerrrilla Drive-In, the Free Skool, the Sub Rosa Cafe, the Trash Orchestra, and the DIY Last Night New Year's Celebrations.

He is now being harassed in court by petty city officials seeking to punish him for walking in last December's DIY New Year's parade "knowing it had no permit"--along with hundreds of others (who aren't getting cited or taken to court).

The trial was held last month ("Parade Prosecution: People Versus Wes Modes" at ) with extensive coverage in the follow-up story ("People v. Wes Modes: Trying to Remove DIY from Santa Cruz" at

Subsequently, attorney Gettleman filed a motion calling the ordinance requiring a Parade Permit unconstitutional (

At this hearing Almquist will decide three issues:

1. Whether Wes is guilty of the infraction offense of walking in a parade, knowing it had no permit.

2. If he is guilty, whether his sentence for defending the Drum Circle back in September 2008, should be revoked and he should be sent to jail instead. This hearing had been scheduled according to his attorney for November, but has been unexpectedly moved up.

3. Whether the permit law is unconstitutional.

Attorney Gettleman isn't sure why Judge Almquist has moved things up.

It could be that the judge wishes the whole matter dismissed. It could be that he's decided to punish Wes by sending him to jail--on a matter that would normally be an infraction, punishable by fine or community service.

The D.A. has reportedly assured Gettleman that he too doesn't think this matter merits any jail. Gettleman hopes for the best but is unsure of the outcome

Wes writes:

I'm back in court (dept 5) at 8am Monday morning, apparently. The judge will offer his final verdict for the Parade infraction in which my lawyer challenged the constitutionality of the law.

Somewhat surprisingly , this judge also wants to give a final sentence for the unrelated drum circle misdemeanor (for the last 8 months I've had a suspended sentence in which I performed 250 hours of community service). So far, I don't know what got this ball rolling.

So if you can make it, court support is a super helpful way to support those going through the legal process....

Of course we know by now, that keeping an activist tied up in court for years is one of the best ways to keep us off the streets.

Let's see how we can support each other in the future as we work hard to make this a more interesting, more spontaneous, and more compassionate world.

Yours, Wes

I'll be trying to reach Wes and his attorney Sunday morning on my show.

Free Radio Santa Cruz still needs a transmitter site and has been off the air for the last 8 nights (help us find a site!), but it still streams at

And my shows archive at under the heading "Bathrobespierre's Broadsides".

Listen in and call in at 831-469-3119.

Come on down to the court to support a community activist who has created real community services and is clearly under attack.
Added to the calendar on Fri, Aug 13, 2010 10:18PM
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Robert Norse
Mon, Aug 16, 2010 2:20PM
Red Hill Legal Support
Mon, Aug 16, 2010 11:34AM
Kaspar Hauser
Sun, Aug 15, 2010 12:08PM
Sat, Aug 14, 2010 9:43PM
Major Domo
Sat, Aug 14, 2010 1:11PM
Sat, Aug 14, 2010 12:38PM
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