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Santa Cruz Eleven Update: Judge Burdick Says It Is "Doubtful We're Going to Proceed"

by Bradley Stuart Allen (bradley [at]
The August 17 readiness hearing for seven of the Santa Cruz Eleven drew to a close with optimism for the defendants, and a weekend of work for District Attorney Rebekah Young. Judge Burdick issued an order that DA Young produce a detailed inventory of all evidence in the case, when it was, or was not, provided to each of the defense attorneys, and the methodology used to transmit the evidence, particularly the videos.
Photo: Co-defendants Desiree Foster and Becky Johnson hug after their readiness hearing at the Santa Cruz Courthouse.

Alexis Briggs, representing Cameron Laurendeau, immediately and authoritatively detailed inappropriate procedures by DA Young, including Young's failure to provide a full discovery of evidence, and tainting witness testimony by bringing SCPD officers into court at the wrong time. Furthermore, Briggs and Jesse Ruben, the attorney for Franklin Alcantara, were not notified by DA Young that charges were refilled against their clients and a new arraignment had been scheduled on May 25. Briggs also talked about DA Young's untimely 170.6 motion, which amounted to "judge shopping" since Young did not like the rulings issued by Judge Burdick in previous Santa Cruz Eleven hearings.

Defense attorneys stated that, despite making request after request, and receiving excuse after excuse, they still had not obtained a full discovery of videos and photos being used in the case by police and the district attorney's office. DA Young retorted that the district attorney's office set up a YouTube channel with raw video, and that they think they copied and provided all the DVDs, but she's not sure, because the process is difficult and confusing.

Law enforcement have been using video to confirm who was where, and when, during the occupation of the vacant Wells Fargo bank at 75 River Street in downtown Santa Cruz. Judge Burdick, who appeared irritated with DA Young, stated that he did not know why all the defense attorneys did not have the videos.

DA Young replied that she did provide the videos. Alex Briggs quickly responded that the DA's assertion is simply false, and that she keeps asking for video and photo evidence allegedly showing her client, which the DA planned to introduce into the preliminary hearing on Monday August 20 as part of SCPD witness testimony.

At this point in the readiness hearing, Judge Burdick intervened saying it was no longer necessary for the defense attorneys to continue asking the district attorney to provide evidence, because he was issuing an order that the DA provide documentation of the differences between the videos that have been provided to the defense, and those that have not been provided.

Judge Burdick, speaking in a tone where one could visualize him throwing his arms in the air and shaking his head, stated, "Eight months into this case, and we still have not received video?!" DA Young curtly replied that she will ask Detective Gunter for more video. Burdick then said he was inclined to dismiss the case.

Defense attorney Brian Hackett, representing Gabriella Ripley-Phipps, argued that the Internet is not an adequate method for handing over discovery evidence. Other defense attorneys agreed, and asked to join the motion to dismiss the case.

Judge Burdick stated that on Monday, instead of beginning the preliminary hearing, DA Young was being ordered to show cause as to why the case should continue, as opposed to all remaining charges being dismissed. If a preliminary hearing moves forward, it would have to be held at a later date.

In addition to the failure by the district attorney's office to provide video evidence, defense attorney Dan Clymo, representing Becky Johnson, stated that the damage reports at 75 River Street have not been provided to him. Judge Burdick, still annoyed, stated that damages are an important factor in this case, and asked the DA, "Why have those not been provided?"

Judge Burdick elaborated on his order to District Attorney Rebekah Young that she provide an inventory as to what evidence has been provided, when it was provided, and the methodology used to transmit all video. Burdick concluded, "I'm really unhappy about this Ms. Young. This is inexcusable. ... It's absolutely inexcusable. It's doubtful we're going to proceed."

The defendants and their attorneys are due back in court on Monday August 20. 

For more information about the Santa Cruz Eleven, you can visit:

Seven Remaining Santa Cruz Eleven Defendants Return to Court August 17th & 20th

Bradley Stuart Allen is a photographer, Indymedia volunteer and website developer living in Santa Cruz, California. Allen, a longtime volunteer photojournalist and editor for, is one of the Santa Cruz Eleven. The charges against him were politically motivated, but legally unjustified. All charges against Allen were dismissed on May 14 2012, thanks to legal support and organizations including the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ NorCal), and the American Civil Liberties Union (Santa Cruz County and Northern California ACLU).
§Santa Cruz Eleven and Supporters
by Bradley Stuart Allen
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by John E. Colby
By consolidating all of the Santa Cruz Eleven cases into one case to be seen before one judge, DA Bob Lee and his righthand Rebekah Young didn't take into account that the judge hearing all of the cases might actually perform his judicial responsibilities. So DA Bob Lee and his righthand Rebekah Young are stuck with Judge Burdick who is inclined to dismiss all the cases. Consequently Rebekah Young has tried to shop around for other judges who will be open to giving her prosecutorial misconduct a nod and a wink.

The gist is that DA Bob Lee and his righthand Rebekah Young's cases are so weak that they should be dismissed before trial. Moreover they both should be sanctioned for prosecutorial misconduct and have color of law complaints filed against them as per the link below.
by Robert Norse
Fast and interesting coverage of some heartening developments.

A few details.

It's Brian not James Hackett as far as I know.

It was my impression that Judge Burdick didn't order an itemization of the material that SCPD and D.A. still have that hasn't been turned over (which I'd very much like to see), but rather a description of what HAS been turned over. This is what my attorney, David Beauvais, requested of Young and the other attorneys to get some idea of exactly what evidence we've all been given.

Also while it's possible and even likely that the Preliminary Hearing scheduled for Monday will be postponed to a later date, if Judge Burdick decides to proceed with the case, he didn't actually order it set for another date. This is what Franklin Angel Alcantara's attorney,esse Rubin, requested. Still that's the almost inevitable outcome if the case proceeds at all because the attorneys won't be able to go ahead without some delay to look at the discovery D.A. Rebekah Young failed to provide.

Additionally, Judge Burdick suggested the case may be dismissed "with prejudice" on Monday. Burdick, who has been annoyed by these cases from the getgo, now is saying that Young's repeated violations of discovery demands may be terminal. The Show Cause Hearing Monday will explore what Young did turn over (and hopefully what she did not), and whether that means the case is so tainted that it needs to be dumped.

Young has a history of not turning over discovery evidence in spite of repeated requests, month after month--and even judicially ordered to do so. If a case is dismissed "with prejudice", it cannot be refiled. Otherwise, I'm told, felonies can be refiled twice, and defendants put through this ordeal a second and then a third time until Young and her boss D.A. Bob Lee get the result they want. Or the defendants lose housing, health, reputation, or sanity in this continuing circus.

But, the upside for the prosecution and the police, of course, is that the defendants and plenty of other people aren't out there protesting in front of Wells Fargo and demanding that D.A. Lee go after the real criminals.

Also on the upside, I'm advised that Dennis Edler's Op-Ed piece for the Sunday Sentinel may have been accepted by Don Miller.

If anyone has a way to translate a tape recorded audio onto an audio file, let me know--I'd like to post Grant and Pleich's KZSC Wednesday Talkabout Show on the SC-11 as well as Thursday's Sub Rosa Open Mike on the subject. Contact me at rnorse3 [at]
by ~Bradley (bradley [at]
Thanks for the clarifications and added info.
by Steve Pleich
Thanks to Bradley Stuart Allen for capturing and reporting the facts and feelings of this morning's court appearance with the Santa Cruz Eleven.

Although we knew all along that District Attorney Bob Lee had overreached in the Santa Cruz Eleven prosecutions, it has still been a difficult and anxiety ridden road for all our courageous comrades. For we of the support group, it will be simple vindication when all the charges are dismissed; for our friends who have stood tall before the bar, it will be the end of a long nightmare.

We have always had and forever will have Solidarity; now give us Justice!
by brent ass
Bradley !!
Very nice report here..
by Robert Norse
"Judge indicates he may dismiss charges in 75 River case due to procedural issues: Judge has strong words for prosecutor"
at .
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