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Surprise move by Defense Attorneys – Post hearing update

 

“The show must go on” and on and on and on.

Never failing to be surprising the Santa Cruz 11 case saw yet another interesting turn of events. With Judge Burdick still in place presiding over the case after the DA’s office attempt to recuse him, it seemed that the hearing on Tuesday would leave us with a new trail date. However the defense attorneys have been busy and filed a motion to recuse the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s office from the case based on bias stemming from DA Bob Lee’s financial relationship to the “victim” of the case Wells Fargo.

The motion casts doubt as to whether or not it is fair for the DA’s office to be hearing the case and delays the trial again as the motion is dealt with. It is likely that the DA’s office will request a specific hearing challenging the validity of the claim as it would look pretty darn bad on mister Bob Lee’s report card to have this claim on public record. Perhaps this move will motivate him to either get involved with the case and authorize a reasonable solution, or at the very least detach himself from the case and give prosecutor Greg Peinado the ability to move the case along.

Due to the lack of clarity as to who will be trying to the case in trial, a trial date was not set.

A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for August 27th where the motions will be heard. There was also an earlier date or two scheduled to address motions filed by individual attorneys. Besides the main recusal motion aforementioned there are numerous other motions on the table from the defense including a separate motion to recuse the DA’s office for their poor handling of the case.

Judge Burdick made a number of public remarks regarding his opinion and is clearly trying to find a way to end the case. He said it was “too old” and it was clearly in everyone’s best interest (the court, the defendants, the DAs office and the public) for a resolution to be found. He also said that the only way the four defendants could be help responsible for the total amount of alleged damages (above or around $20,000) would be if they were proven to be the leaders who directly enabled unnamed others to enter the building and subsequently damage it. Defense attorney Jesse Ruben responded by acknowledging that the Occupy movement from which this case comes from (Burdick actually called the case “the occupy case”) clearly identifies itself as leaderless.

The topic of restitution was a big one and the subject of at least one pending defense motion. The DA’s office argues that the total damages should be split between the four defendants while the defense attorneys site the police department’s estimate that there were 150-200 people involved and argue that the total should be divided by that number. The different being thousands or hundreds of dollars. Burdick seems somewhere in the middle. Attorneys and the Judge met off record to discuss a potential deal that would involve a misdemeanor plea, three years informal probation and a cap of restitution at $1,250 each. This has not been offered yet and it remains to be seen what, if any, deal defendants would take.

It is worth mentioning again how absurd this whole process is. Hundreds of people took over an unused and ostensibly empty bank building, occupied it for a few days then cleaned up and left peaceably. Wells Fargo, the most profitable bank in the US, hired out of town businesses to drive in from over the hill to clean up and encouraged them to boost their costs. They claim over $25,000 of damages. The City of Santa Cruz asked for public help to identify participants in the occupation and eventually charged 11 people with the four original offenses including felony conspiracy. Over two and half years later there are 4 defendants facing two charges and the tax payers of Santa Cruz have funded a case that has cost well over $100,000. The DA’s office has already been sanctioned for failing to follow court orders and now Bob Lee’s relationship to Wells Fargo casts clarity as to why things are where they are at.

drop-all-charges-now_2-11-14

Over and over we’ll say it. Enough is enough. DROP THE CHARGES!

 

 

 

 

Court tomorrow the ball gets rolling again

Join us tomorrow in Department 6 at 8:15 as the remaining four of the SC11 appear in court again.suport banner on steps

Recently the prosecution’s motion to recuse Judge Burdick was denied and with that block to proceeding gone the lawyers are once again preparing to schedule a trial date. We hope that tomorrow we’ll have a clear idea (again) when trial will be.

Come show your support and see first hand what happens.

A minor update from the Sentinel

Ruling against Santa Cruz County DA’s office upheld in bank takeover case

While not big news, Judge Burdick’s sanction against the DA’s office is upheld and they will have to pay the $500 fine. It is interesting that Bob Lee’s office was able to timely appeal this ruling and yet couldn’t present evidence in this case within court ordered time frame. The District Attorney’s Office has mishandled this case from the beginning, from the moment they filed the charges against the eleven, and they continue to do so as we wait to the outcome of their motion to dismiss Burdick.

The following is the article from the Sentinel:

By Stephen Baxter

sbaxter@santacruzsentinel.com

Posted: 04/15/2014 05:29:05 PM PDT

Santa Cruz >> An appellate court has upheld a judge’s decision to levy a $500 fine against the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office for not promptly sharing evidence with defense attorneys in a bank takeover case from 2011.

Eleven defendants involved with Occupy Santa Cruz initially were charged in a takeover of a vacant bank building at 75 River St. in Santa Cruz. In February 2012, defense attorneys asked prosecutors for “all reports, photographs and videos” related to the takeover, according to judges in the Sixth District Court of Appeals.

Prosecutors supplied some of the material, but in May 2012 it was revealed that there was additional police surveillance footage that was not released, according to court records.

Prosecutors blamed technical problems for not providing the footage later that year and a preliminary hearing again was delayed. Santa Cruz County Superior Judge Paul Burdick imposed a $500 sanction against the District Attorney’s Office for not providing the material.

District Attorney Bob Lee filed for an appeal of the ruling and fine in March 2013, but appellate judges upheld the decision in an April 4 ruling.

Yesterday’s court date

Not much happened in court yesterday.  The decision on Judge Burdick’s disqualification is still pending.  The next court date is June 3rd at 8:15 in the morning and there will probably be a decision on that day.  If there is a decision, a trial date will probably be chosen.  The waiting game continues!  We’ll keep you posted.

Hearing this Wednesday, May 7th at 8:15 in Department 6!

Hello friends and supporters! We’ve got another check-in with Judge Burdick in department 6 this coming Wednesday at 8:15!  Come see all your favorite courtroom faces!  There may be a decision from the Santa Clara district about whether or not Judge Burdick is biased.  If there is no decision yet, the waiting game continues!  Hope to see you there!

Also, stayed tuned for what’s happening on this month’s coming 11th!

Supporters’ Dinner, April 11th from the 11

grilled_chicken_pasta_1The Santa Cruz 11 would like to thank our supports on Friday, April 11th with a delicious pasta dinner. We appreciate you coming out to the court dates, wearing the T-shirts and for all the millions ways you support us and show you care.

Are you a Santa Cruz 11 Supporter? Probably, if you are here. Want to know the dinner details? Want to help? Contact us at: santacruzeleven@riseup.net

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