From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Related Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia | Health, Housing & Public Services | Police State & PrisonsView other events for the week of 9/ 9/2010
|Sinister Singsong Two Trial: The Defense Case|
|Date||Thursday September 09|
|Time||10:00 AM - 12:00 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
|701 Ocean St. in the basement of the 5-story County Building in Department 10, the court of Commissioner Kim Baskett|
|Event Type||Court Date|
|rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com|
|Address||309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 95060|
Conclusion of the Trial of Robert Norse and Robert 'Blindbear' Facer which began on September 2nd.
For more info see "Sour Song of Suppression: Snuffing Out Political Music on Pacific Avenue" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/08/30/18657154.php
"Drop the Charges Against Robert Norse and Robert Facer!" at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/09/02/18657434.php
Sean Reilly--a day sleeper on the second floor of the St.. George Hotel above the Bookshop Santa Cruz on Pacific Avenue is making the complaint.
He claimed that the occasional songs from a homeless demonstration on the sidewalk prevented him from going to sleep between 11 AM and 3 PM. Since we actually arrived at 1:30 PM, and the singing was not particularly loud or unusual, we found his and the City's claim that we were doing something illegal unpersuasive.
Additionally, Reilly did not at any time personally warn us that he had any problem with the music or speech below. When Officer Schonfield arrived, those who were singing stopped singing and didn't start again (not necessarily a good thing) because Schonfield refused to say how loud was too loud.
A second citation within 48 hours is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or $1000 fine. The first citation has a $445 bail
Reilly testified that though he would sometimes wear earplugs to keep out the noises of the street, he declined to do so on this occasion. They would seem to be standard equipment for day sleeper against the frequent noise on Pacific Avenue.
The only other witness was Officer Laurel Schonfield, who heard us for a period of five minutes. When she first passed by, Officer Schonfield declined to ticket or even warn.
Her reason for this was that she had "other priorities".
However five minutes later, on complaint from Reilly, she came up, and spent 20 minutes giving out citations. She also refused to tell us whether she found the singing there too loud, and wouldn't say what volume level would be legal.
Instead she "conveyed" Reilly's citation and refused to take my citation against Reilly for "making a false police report."
The SCPD Policy Manual requires "reasonable cause" before writing a citation based on a citizen's arrest/complaint.
THE CITY PUTS ITS THUMB ON THE SCALES
Reilly had the official help of the City Attorney's office, though there were no other complaints from nearby businesses, passersby, residents, etc. A woman in Sean Reilly's room, Ann Funk, did engage in a shouting match denouncing us from her window, however.
The HUFF demonstration was to gather signatures and pass on information as well as publicly raise the issue of the city's anti-homeless laws and high homeless death rate.
We were also concerned about police using the Unreasonably Disturbing Noise ordinance to silence performers on Pacific Avenue in violation of constitutional rights.
Only a cop and a day sleeper claiming that the occasional political song was "unreasonably disturbing."
THE JUDGE LEANS TOWARDS GUILTY
Nonetheless, Commissioner Kim Basket refused to accept a standard mid-trial written motion that charges be dismissed for failure to prove the elements of the crime, vagueness in the ordinance, and other defects.
Instead she berated attorney Frey and required attorney him to spend half an hour reading the entire motion aloud before dismissing it summarily.
So apparently Baskett felt the case was proved, unless the defense can show otherwise.
So we will be presenting our defense by cross-examining Reilly and Schonfield, presenting our own witnesses, and playing some audio tape selections showing bias by the two, the reasonable volume of the music, and the absurdity of the prosecution.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We believe this is a political prosecution supporting the City, the SCPD, and the Downtown Association's policy of misusing local laws and ignoring the state and federal constitutions to give any resident or merchant a "heckler's veto" on the behavior of performers, poor people, and political activists on the street.
Come and watch. Help stand up to the fear and silence that this police activity and subsequent city attorney collusion produce.