TWO COURTS AT 9 AM
Preliminary Hearings for two of the Santa Cruz Eleven are scheduled for July 23rd.
There is a readiness hearing, however, on Friday July 20th.
It's at 9 AM for both of them, but in two different courts. Courts other than courtroom 6--where 95% of the hearings have been held before Judge Paul Burdick. Burdick has repeatedly dismissed these prosecutions as unsupported by the evidence and violating First Amendment rights.
The readiness hearings will be held in Courtroom 3 for Franklin ("Angel") Alcantara and Courtroom 7 for Cameron Laurendau.
HISTORY OF HARASSMENT
D.A. Young has repeatedly and unsuccessfully tried to eliminate Burdick from the hearing process--making untimely actions & dragging defense attorneys to court on frivolous motions. She has also refiled the same discredited charges against two of these defendants (the two slated for readiness hearings on July 20th) in a continuing campaign of harassment.
It's my understanding that the defense attorneys will move for a continuance to postpone the Preliminary Hearings.
It's also possible the court or D.A. may want to combine these cases with those of the remaining five SC-11 defendants currently charged: Becky Johnson, Gabriella Rippleyphipps, Desiree Foster, Brent Adams, and Robert Norse.
These five have a joint Preliminary Hearing scheduled for August 20th in Dept. 6.
Come and find out--and provide solidarity with the defendants.
However this is not a key hearing. If the Preliminary Hearings go ahead on July 23rd at 9 AM in those two courts, that would be a more substantial and informative event.
The D.A. is proceeding with these charges in spite of having been unable to persuade Judge Burdick that the "vandalism", "felony vandalism", and "conspiracy" charges have enough merit even to reach trial.
Defendants encourage the community to provide support by going to the http://www.santacruzeleven.org
These are the most serious charges yet issued against any Occupy defendants or homeless advocates in Santa Cruz. Together seven defendants are still charged with 14 felonies and 14 misdemeanors each--which has a maximum sentence of 7 years apiece.
The attacks on these defendants is happening at the same time as a massive crackdown on homeless people in Santa Cruz and their survival encampments. See http://santacruzpolice.blogspot.com/2012/07/illegal-campsite-enforcement-efforts.html
The charges stem from the fact that police and D.A. seem to want to make a frightening example of eleven defendants who were supporters and reporters of the attempt last year by a much larger group of people (none of whom are charged) to create a Community Center at the 3 1/2 years vacant Wells Fargo Bank-leased property at 75 River St.
That action ended peacefully with no arrests, but two months later deputies went to the homes of high-profile activists in the community generally with only peripheral involvement in the occupation and took them away in handcuffs with high bail.
Whether this is election year antics, an opportunistic attack on Santa Cruz gadfly activists that police dislike, or a coordinated national effort to crush Occupy nationally and locally is hard to say. But it has all three effects.
So far a councilwoman (Katherine Beiers) who--among hundreds of others--came and went in the vacant bank building without being warned, cited, or arrested, has cancelled her City Council re-election run. Beiers was recommended for prosecution by the Santa Cruz police.
So the conspiracy by police and D.A.s to single out and scapegoat the SC-11 may also have broader political purposes. Beiers, though far less outspoken in recent years, has in the past verbally criticized police department abuses, supported a civilian police review board, and initiated human rights legislation for the homeless.