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View other events for the week of 6/24/2016
Freedom Sleeper "No Assembly at City Hall Grounds at Night" cases Go to Court
Date Friday June 24
Time 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Location Details
County Courthouse Superior Court 1
Event Type Court Date
Organizer/AuthorRobert Norse
Emailrnorse3 [at] hotmail.com
Phone831-423-4833
In an attack on peaceful protest against the City's anti-homeless Sleeping Ban outside City Hall each Tuesday night, police have forced activists off the grounds and ticketed many.

In a court trial before Judge Sam Stevens, attorney Kate Wells will argue that two citations given to Robert Norse were invalid.

She will argue that (a) closing the City Hall Courtyard at night illegally denied access to the City agendas, posted just outside City Council; (b) Norse was on a pathway through the area--an exception to the "no access" order; and (c) banning peaceful public assembly at the seat of government in the absence of some kind of emergency is unconstitutional.

At a hearing last week, Judge Paul Marigonda has already refused to order the police to present video and audio of the incidents. City Attorney Gallogly claims that police have advised him that they were just "pretending" to video/photo and/or the evidence was destroyed. None of this prompted any objection from Marigonda.

More background: "Freedom Sleeper Case Demands Police Release Video Records " at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/16/18787630.php .
Added to the calendar on Wednesday Jun 22nd, 2016 11:25 PM
§1:30 PM is the Correct Time !
by Robert Norse Thursday Jun 23rd, 2016 10:33 AM
Thanks to James Brown! I just checked with a live person at the Superior Court and he is correct.

Though Marigonda (henceforth to be called Muddybrained Marigonda) told all of us that the Friday trial was at 10 AM on June 24, it's indeed scheduled for 1:30 PM instead. Interestingly enough, neither the Court nor the City Attorney advised us of the time change.

Folks should be aware that this is a non-jury trial before a judge--as is the case in all Infraction cases. Judge-not-jury Infraction trials deny the indigent defendant the free advice of a Public Pretender, er, Defender, and also eliminate the requirement for a jury trial.

An infraction trial does provide the benefit of denying the judge the option of sentencing the defendant to jail if found guilty. (However the SCPD has found a "repeated infraction" a good pretext for jailing someone pre-trial) Instead the defendant may have to pay an exorbitant fine or a lesser "fee" to do "Community Service" (more properly known as Community Slavery).

My apologies for any confusion--though it's a pity. Salinas activists from the Union of the Homeless were going to truck over and video the proceedings were the trial to be held earlier as scheduled by Marigonda.

Salinas activist Wes White will be giving an update on the nightly Salinas City Hall Sleep-Out tonight on Free Radio Santa Cruz 6-6:30 PM at 101.3 FM (freakradio.org).

Free Radio has restored call-in capability (831-427-3772) so feel free to call in with your thoughts. Folks should also call that number with breaking news at any time--though you may not find someone in the studio.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by James Brown
Thursday Jun 23rd, 2016 7:28 AM
on cases S0140653 and S0144038.
gmail_-_public_records_request_response_videos_and_photos_of_freedom_sleepers.pdf_600_.jpg
City of Santa Cruz Records Custodian Nydia Patiño responded to my California Public Records Act (CPRA) request for all videos and photographs of the Freedom Sleepers that they existed but were not disclosable because they were investigatory records exempt from disclosure under California Government Code section 6254(f).

This means either the SCPD is lying or the City Attorney perjured himself to Judge Paul Marigonda.

August 26, 2015
john.roncohen.colby [at] gmail.com

Mr. Colby:

This email is in response to your public records request addressed to City Clerk Administrator, Bren Lehr, requesting information from the City of Santa Cruz as detailed below. Your request was received by the City via email on August 24, 2015.

Requested records:

“Dear Ms. Lehr and Attorney General Lynch:

Although the Homeless Services Center (HSC) of Santa Cruz shutdown all its emergency housing, the City of Santa Cruz still cruelly applies an array of ordinances criminalizing homelessness and the act of sleeping outside. The City and the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) continue this although the U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a legal brief arguing that sleep is a civil right and criminalizing homelessness is unconstitutional.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-files-brief-address-criminalization-homelessness

Santa Cruz, even as far back as 2002, was known as one of the meanest American cities towards homeless people. It has gotten much worse since the anti-homeless hate group Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) infiltrated the City Council, the SCPD and City staff.

From this hypocrisy the Freedom Sleeper protest was born at the Santa Cruz City Hall. The SCPD has harassed and abused the Freedom Sleepers, many who are disabled. These resources could have gone to removing the Westside gang and other criminals from the Mission Gardens Apartments (whose residents the SCPD has apparently abandoned to protect your planning commissioner Mari Tustin who manages it).

Please reference the following links:

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/21/18776461.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/16/18776253.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/12/18776095.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/12/18776058.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/07/31/18775606.php

Some of the SCPD officers present were recording the Freedom Sleepers, for an unknown purpose.

To ascertain that purpose, I am submitting a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request for: all photographs, images and audio/video recordings taken by the SCPD at the Santa Cruz City Hall from July 1, 2015 to today, August 22, 2015.”

We have no disclosable public records that are responsive to your request.

Under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) you are entitled to copies of identifiable, non-exempt public records (Govt. Code section 6253). Please note that the CPRA requires the City to provide access to, or copies of, records responsive to your request which are in its possession, subject to certain exceptions. The CPRA does not require the City to provide information, answer questions, or create records which do not exist.

To the extent that any of the records you seek are attorney-client communications under the attorney-client privilege or are otherwise attorney-client privileged records, such records are exempt from disclosure under the CPRA pursuant to Government Code section 6254(k).

In addition, to the extent that any of the records you seek are drafts and notes that are not kept in the ordinary course of business for the City and which the City has determined that the public interest in withholding the record clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure due to the particular details and nature of the records, such records are exempt from disclosure under the CPRA pursuant to Government Code section 6254(a). Also given the particular details and nature of certain records that you seek, to the extent that such records involve communications to decision makers within the City for which final decisions have not yet been made and final actions have not yet been taken and/or the City has determined that the public interest in withholding the record clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure, such records are exempt from disclosure under the CPRA pursuant to Government Code section 6255.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Nydia Patiño
Records Coordinator
City of Santa Cruz
(831) 420-5034


Nydia Patino
8/26/15

to me, Bren
August 26, 2015
john.roncohen.colby [at] gmail.com

Mr. Colby:

This email is in response to your public records request addressed to City Clerk Administrator, Bren Lehr, requesting information from the City of Santa Cruz as detailed below. Your request was received by the City via email on August 24, 2015.

Requested records:

“Dear Ms. Lehr and Attorney General Lynch:

Although the Homeless Services Center (HSC) of Santa Cruz shutdown all its emergency housing, the City of Santa Cruz still cruelly applies an array of ordinances criminalizing homelessness and the act of sleeping outside. The City and the Santa Cruz Police Department (SCPD) continue this although the U.S. Department of Justice recently filed a legal brief arguing that sleep is a civil right and criminalizing homelessness is unconstitutional.

http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-files-brief-address-criminalization-homelessness

Santa Cruz, even as far back as 2002, was known as one of the meanest American cities towards homeless people. It has gotten much worse since the anti-homeless hate group Take Back Santa Cruz (TBSC) infiltrated the City Council, the SCPD and City staff.

From this hypocrisy the Freedom Sleeper protest was born at the Santa Cruz City Hall. The SCPD has harassed and abused the Freedom Sleepers, many who are disabled. These resources could have gone to removing the Westside gang and other criminals from the Mission Gardens Apartments (whose residents the SCPD has apparently abandoned to protect your planning commissioner Mari Tustin who manages it).

Please reference the following links:

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/21/18776461.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/16/18776253.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/12/18776095.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/08/12/18776058.php

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2015/07/31/18775606.php

Some of the SCPD officers present were recording the Freedom Sleepers, for an unknown purpose.

To ascertain that purpose, I am submitting a California Public Records Act (CPRA) request for: all photographs, images and audio/video recordings taken by the SCPD at the Santa Cruz City Hall from July 1, 2015 to today, August 22, 2015.”

The documents you are seeking are exempt under Government Code section 6254(f).
by HT
Thursday Jun 23rd, 2016 5:13 PM
I was going to offer you good luck but that doesn't fit. May Justice Prevail sounds better. It sounds you'll get charges dismissed. But it sure sounds like harassment to me, although I'm no lawyer.
Thanks to you for all of your good work, and to Kate for same.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Jun 25th, 2016 3:45 PM
After an hour and a quarter trial, retired Judge Sam Stevens found me guilty. Chatty and friendly, Stevens initially gave the impression that his ruling would favor the defense, praising the legal work done by attorney Kate Wells in preparing the brief prior to trial (some of the work was done by Steve Pleich).

The only witnesses were Norse and the two police officers who cited him, first on July 5th, and again on August 12th late at night. Stevens stated that the time of the citations was key. It is legal to be around City Hall during the day, but forbidden to be in the city hall courtyard after 10 PM.

The law allows you to be "on the access paths through the area". We presented photos of me on the pathways. City attorney Gallogly countered with testimony that I'd been off the pathway at different points making audio recordings of arrests. Stevens found that irrelevant, noting it was the "agenda access" argument that was key.

This principal defense was that the City had to allow the public 24 hour access to the agendas that were posted inside the "forbidden" area for a period of 72-hours before any agendaized meeting. Hence, the defense argued, police could not site members of the public for going there if any such meetings were scheduled.

Stevens seemed to wrestle with this argument for a time, but ultimately upheld Gallogly's response that the proper remedy for a Brown Act violation was a civil lawsuit. Stevens agreed that the City's violation of the Brown Act was not in and of itself a defense against "trespass" on City Hall grounds at night.

Both ignored the basic fact that City Hall is the seat of government where the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is most important. Denial of the right to be present there to petition for a redress of grievances would seem a classic violation of the First Amendment of both the state and federal Constitutions. I am unaware of any other City Hall grounds that have been permanently closed at night.

It is a highly unusual and outrageous restriction on public access. In Santa Cruz it was done in a backroom maneuver in 2010 to exclude a peaceful homeless protest (PeaceCamp 2010) protesting the same Sleeping Ban issue. A year later this Ban on being around government buildings was extended to a 7 PM -7AM ban at the County Building to drive away the Occupy Santa Cruz movement.

Stevens later made some comments about "making the police job easier to prevent vandalism at City Hall", but no instances of vandalism were cited justifying such a severe nighttime ban on all public assembly there. Ironically, Stevens himself had turned back Mayor Rotkin's 1996 attempt to shut down still another homeless protest at City Hall with such a ban.

Gallogly and Stevens both ultimately hinged their decision on a fallacious analogy. "You wouldn't let someone break into a closed building to read agendas, even if the City should have posted them outside, right? So here you're not allowed to 'trespass' even though the agendas should have been posted in an accessible place."

Equating access to a public area with destroying property is, of course, ridiculous.
Forced entry into closed buildings at night in a considerably different matter than walking up to a display case to see what City bureaucrats are cooking up. Such access was accepted as a matter of right until 2010, when it was denied the entire community to discourage activists from embarrassing the City about its treatment of homeless people.

The job of the police would be made easier by requiring everyone to answer police questions and submit to searches. But is that what we want to tolerate in a democratic society?

When asked why he has retreated to this new reactionary repressive position, Stevens replied with a smile "times have changed."

Stevens made much of the fact that police were friendly, gave me a chance to leave, and were acting under orders. Using this line of logic, basic rights can be swept aside by if police are friendly, coach us to give up our rights voluntarily, and are "just following orders"? A sad conclusion--particularly for a judge once a defender of the rights of protesters and the public.

Indeed, the new mythos of the city Staff and the Take Back Santa Cruz crowd sees danger in folks sleeping in their cars. They have removed the grass lawns of the City Hall grounds apparently to discourage daytime resting there. Chillingly the City's ban on handicraft artists downtown selling their handicraft artwork downtown under the mew Commercial Vending ordinance went into effect on Friday, June 24th.

As the bumper sticker says, "Ignore your rights and they'll go away".

I was sentenced to 20 hours of Community Service over the objections of City Attorney Gallogly who wanted me to pay $198. The second citation was dropped.


by James Brown
Saturday Jun 25th, 2016 6:03 PM
Judge Stevens was right that your point would've been better made in civil court.

You're right, Robert, that it was a fallacious analogy -- you didn't break in, so the right analogy would be the door was open and you were inside reading an agenda after hours. Under those circumstances, some (most?) judges would still convict you of trespassing.

But your civil disobedience led to the City constructing a new place to post agendas at the perimeter of the courtyard, so folks can read them 24-7 without entering. Judge Stevens should've dismissed both cases in the interest of justice. Your attorney made that point, right? She's the one who wanted Sam for this, right?
by brent adams
Saturday Jun 25th, 2016 10:30 PM
This nearly year-long weekly campout has been established to call attention to the illegality of sleep - known as the sleeping ban. In the first 20 weeks a handful of activists and dozens of people who normally sleep outside were cited and some were arrested. Why don't these activists focus attention on those people who experience homelessness and who've been cited while supporting this civil disobedience? Usually, protest actions keep a list and even offer court and fine support for people who get arrested while engaged in an action.
Ironically, the very people who this action is meant to protect, have been forgotten, while we see court support actions for activists. I think this is a fair question.
by John Cohen-Colby
Saturday Jun 25th, 2016 10:50 PM
I strongly agree with Brent. The activists involved in the Freedom Sleepers protest movement let the unhoused protesters down by not funding legal counsel for their trials. It's great that Robert can hire an attorney for his case. But it's a fair question why he and others failed to hire legal counsel for the unhoused protestors who received citations. I'm not writing this as criticism, just pointing something out for housed people in the Freedom Sleepers protest movement to heed and learn from. If you want the support and involvement of unhoused people, then you must support them as much as you would support yourself. No Freedom Sleeper should have faced trial without legal counsel, housed or unhoused.
by Truth seeker
Saturday Jun 25th, 2016 11:24 PM
Brent claims dozens of houseless people have been cited at the campouts but he hasn't told us how many of them he has supported in court. I'm guessing that number is zero.

Brent is also one of the activists/poverty pimps who has tried to personally profit off of these protests. He has been to the campouts and he even filmed houseless people getting cited.

Why didn't you follow through with the story, Brent, and support those people you filmed?

Do the houseless people you filmed exist only to be part of your personal video collection?

Now here's a fair question for Brent.

Why was the Santa Cruz Warming Center only open for a couple of weeks this winter when Warming Centers in other cities stay open every day, all winter long, and some into the spring?

I'll answer that question myself.

It's because you run the Warming Center here, and you aren't fit for the job.
by Razer Ray
Sunday Jun 26th, 2016 7:09 AM
...and you can't make it about him. I've lived here for forty years, more than 1/2 of that time outdoors now, and that question is not only pertinent but exactly the problem with local 'organizers'. They're in it for the face time with the media and paparazzi but disappear as soon as the media vans or onlookers go away.

I bailed on Freedom Sleepers after a few months due to the utter lack of democratic process and failure to seem interested in attracting new people to the action, leaving the same... old... housed... HUFF faces, that have abandoned and diverted, and disrupted actions so many times before.
Norse and the rest of HUFF (and their legal resources) can not claim ignorance. For at least five years they have been warned about leading yet more soon-to-be-abandoned 'cannon fodder' into harms way, for yet more of their 'naughty kicks'. Before this protest they were warned. During this protest they were warned. And yet HUFF pulled the same old shit?!

Did HUFF warn their cannon fodder, ahead of time, this time?

In related news; there are growing, serious questions about Chris (now Commander X) and his very similar habit of getting others busted for similar naughty kicks/street cred. I'd guess X would be wise to avoid travel to #Ferguson, because people are talking, and they are sick and tired of X's shit.

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