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Outspoken Homeless Sleepseeker Faces Six Months Jail...Again

Friday, August 24, 2012
8:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Event Type:
Court Date
Robert Norse
309 Cedar PMB #14B Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Location Details:
701 Ocean St. County Courthouse Dept. 2 Judge John Gallagher

Support Gary Johnson in Judge "No right to sleep" Gallagher's court.

Johnson has already been sentenced to six months for "sleep crime" (PC 647e). He was one of the most undaunted and persistent activists asserting the rights of homeless people during PeaceCamp2010 from July to October of that year.

His attorney Ed Frey will be present representing him--though Ed is under House Arrest for his nightly support and presence at the protest.

Both have been sentenced to 6 months in jail.

Gary was again arrested, jailed, tried, and convicted for sleeping on a bench with a "Sleep is Not a Crime/Legacy of Cruelty" sign outside the courthouse in a protest this winter independent of Occupy Santa Cruz, for which he received a suspended 2 year sentence, also by Judge Gallagher. Gary doesn't know if Gallagher will take this opportunity to send Gary to jail for the full 2 1/2 years.

The Santa Cruz police blog reports that the second highest number of citations given out last week was for being in a "forbidden zone"--that is, areas where homeless people sleep such as the levee, the Pogonip, and the parks. To avoid the appearance of torturing the homeless population in Santa cruz (which has no legal shelter--95% of them), authorities have taken to using other ordinances to criminallize being asleep at night.

There will be coffee and cocoa available at 8 AM in front of the courthouse.

Gary himself has no particular interest in seeing people come to court--since he feels the whole process is illegitimate. However other activists feel that the ongoing harassment of homeless people requires a public protest.

Check for Gary's blog on the subject.

The public can donate money to Gary at the county jail as Gary is a vegetarian and needs $25 a week to buy beans and rice from the commissary.

Another Persecution Needs Community Support
Linda Lemaster is seeking funds to enable her attorney Jonathan Gettleman to take a writ to District Court to challenge the constitutionality of Santa Cruz deputies and prosecutors using the same "anti-lodging" law (647e) to crush political protest against the inhumane laws used against socio-economically challenged citizens (and Occupy Santa Cruz activists).

Linda covered the broader SleepCrime prosecutions against PeaceCamp2010 at .

Her current legal fight is chronicled at"Appeals Judge Upholds Anti-Homeless "Lodging" Law Against "Lighthouse" Linda Lemaster").

See also:
Added to the calendar on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 2:33PM
§Johnson is One of Many Under Attack
by Robert Norse
Jail for Gary Johnson?

Homeless activist Johnson has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for peaceful political protest in front of the Santa Cruz courthouse in August 2010 and again last winter. He was shining a spotlight of shame on Santa Cruz's criminalization of homeless people and persecution of homeless activists. A vegetarian, Johnson needs money to pay for food there.

“Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.
--Henry David Thoreau

“It is the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your time that there will be any fruit, but that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
-Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi

“When, in the course of human development, existing institutions prove inadequate to the needs of humanity, when they serve mainly to enslave, rob, and oppress humanity, the people have the right to rebel against and overthrow those institutions. The mere fact that these forces—inimical to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—are legalized by statute laws...and enforced by political power in no way justifies their continued existence.”
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings, irrespective of race, color, wealth, or sex, are born with the equal right to share at the table of life; that to secure this right, there must be established among us economic, social, and political freedom; we hold further that present government exists but to maintain special privilege and property rights; that it coerces us into submission and therefore robs us of dignity, self-respect, and life.”
“A vast country, rich enough to supply all her children with all possible comforts, and insure well-being to all, is in the hands of a few, while the nameless millions are at the mercy of ruthless wealth gatherers, unscrupulous lawmakers, and corrupt politicians.”
---with thanks and apologies to Emma Goldman

“Amid the debates about 'political prisoners' in the United States, one can distinguish between those engaged in civil disobedience who identify as 'loyal opposition'--and by their very 'dissent' affirm the institutions of the American plutocracy—and those so alienated by state violence and government betrayals of humanitarian and democratic ideals that their dissent chronicles their dissatisfaction, and at times insurrection. Such insurrection may at times become (proto-) revolutionary.”
--in the spirit and using many of the words of Joy James Imprisoned Intellectuals (2003)

The Santa Cruz Police Department is now bragging openly about the destruction of homeless camps and the creation of homeless refugees on its website . In its sixth week of open “search and destroy” operations the SCPD is using a “snitch line” encouraging community members to direct goon-squads to uproot homeless people with no shelter, It brags of 275 citations issued for survival camping, 108 arrests, 159 campsites tagged & 54 campsites destroyed.

Document and Post Any Abuses You Observe. Stand Up for Those Under Attack.
Act to Restore Regular Use of Public Spaces Arbitrarily Closed to Repress Protest.
Refuse to Cooperate With the Campaign to Scapegoat and Sweep Away the Poor.

Flier by Norse of HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) 423-4833 309 Cedar PMB #14B S.C 8-23-12
§Vigil for Gary Johnson at 1 PM Today
by Sleepless
Folks plan to gather at the Occudome Plaza aka Water Street Courthouse steps, from 1-3 today to continue the protest of anti-sleeping and anti-"lodging" laws as enforced in Santa Cruz and California.

I plan to nap in solidarity with Gary (I have a place to stay inside, so I'm not at risk of arrest for "lodging" at the Courthouse). Be careful out there, brothers and sisters. Good luck to you, G.
§Gary is to turn himself in to serve his jail sentence at 3 PM today
by Sleepless... Still
Folks may choose to accompany him across the street to jail at that time.
With Sleep Crime Activist Lawyer Ed Frey by his side, Gary Johnson is ordered by judge gallagher to jail at 3pm today.
While video taping Gary Johnson, Ed Frey and others in the hallway a deputy forced me (Brent Adams) to leave the courthouse with my camera insisting that I didn't have permission to videotape; while many other video cameras were rolling and exposed. I was threatened to have my camera taken.

The county jail refused to accept Gary, ordering him to return Monday 8am.
Gary was frustrated with this and returned to the Courthouse. I asked the deputy at the entrance for permission to follow Gary in with my camera and it was granted.

Gary Johnson was immediately arrested by a sheriff's deputy who shouted that my camera be confiscated.
I explained that I'd received permission at the entrance. The deputy rushed to me as I quickly back-stepped to the doorway.
I was allowed to exit with my camera.

The last visual report of Gary Johnson is that he was seen being handcuffed and led down the hallway.
It is unclear why he was being detained.

I left the building under threat of having my camera taken.
I'm still unaware of any rules prohibiting videoing or audioing in the corridors of the courthouse. That sounds concocted. Ed Frey was going to investigate that when some deputy tried to shut down audio recording 2 years ago, but the issue subsided.

A special salute to Brent Adams, whose documentation of these abuses, is done under threat of jailing--particularly since he faces false charges in the Santa Cruz Eleven case, which will be hanging over his head until January.

I'm hoping to see the video, and also salute Brent for posting the first full story on the Police "Snitch, Search, and Destroy" operations against homeless survival encampments at . I've added Don Lane's e-mail to me, and my response to him today, for those who want to keep updated.

Gary is a courageous guy, but what the people being persecuted that his case points to---both political activists and homeless people trying to sleep at night--is even more important.

Gary called me from jail a few hours ago from the holding cell. He noted that the jail hadn't known how much time to give him--but ended up--at his suggestion--giving him an out date of Saturday, November 17th. He seemed in his usual good spirits when he spoke with me.

To be able to receive collect calls from Gary, you need to get on a special account which I tried unsuccessfully to do earlier this year when Gary was in jail before. If anyone succeeds, let me know.
§Gary Johnson Denied Entrance to Santa Cruz County Jail
by Bradley Stuart Allen (bradley [at]
On August 24th, Gary Johnson was ordered by Judge Gallagher to report to the Santa Cruz County Jail at 3 p.m. The jail refused to accept Johnson, and ordered him to return on Monday at 8 a.m.

Without having a legal place to sleep, Johnson was frustrated and returned to the Santa Cruz Courthouse. Upon entering the courthouse, he was quickly arrested by a sheriff's deputy.
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