8/27 A Rough Day In Court

As we approach 3 years of dealing with this case we had been hoping to see an end in the near future. Going in to today’s hearing many of us felt somewhat optimistic and curious to see how the defense attorneys’ motions would be heard. I write now with weight and frustration and some indignation.

Under Department 6’s new Judge, Stephen Seigel, SC11 defense attorney’s saw each of their motions denied and then were met with the reality that the soonest possible trial date for all parties is next July. With other cases, out of town trips, and prosecutor Greg Peinado going on paternity leave early next year, the next court date the remaining 4 have is trial readiness on July 22nd, 2015, with trial set to begin on the 27th. This will be over 3 and a half years after the occupation of 75 River St. 

There were a lot of things said in court and a more involved update will be written soon. There are a lot of things that feel wrong about this case and the length of time it is taking, the cumulative toll on the defendants as well as the cost to tax payers are sitting heavy today. 

If you are a friend to any of the defendants you may want to reach out and show some personal support. They may or may not specifically need or ask for it, and all the better to receive a gift when not in need. Our heads are high and our sights are on what feels right and true: the ending of this case; not forgetting that Wells Fargo is one of the most disgusting companies in this country and does not deserve money from our community; that Bob Lee is politically and economically motivated in this biased prosecution; that no matter what happens the courts and cops cannot touch out hearts. We will continue to support each other, to dream of better, healthier ways to live, and to try to put those dreams on the ground here in our lives and communities. heart moss

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Come out in Support tomorrow in court!

Here we go again! The remaining defendants of the SC11 are back in court tomrrow, Wendesday morning at 9 am in Department 6 (though you may have heard 8:15am).

This hearing will focus on the defense motions against Bob Lee and the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s office accusing bias in this case. There are multiple motions for recusal arguing different perspectives. It seemed likely that a new trial date would be chosen depending on the outcome of the motions. All of this is exciting stuff is happening under a new Judge! Judge Stephen Siegel is now presiding over the SC11 case as the Santa Cruz County Court system underwent it’s usual Department shift (link to the Sentinel article about the hearing with Wells Fargo regarding Bob Lee’s finances). 

Judge Stephen Siegel

Judge Siegel is rumored to be good and if his first remarks regarding this case are a taste of what is to come, we can’t feel too bad for the change. We imagine Paul Burdick is happy to be rid of this mess.

Let’s show Judge Siegel the community is watching and show our friends they are not alone!

Join us on the 22nd as we Parade for the SC 11!

aug 27th parade2It’s that time again, time to come out and play! SC 11 Parade number 2!

August 22nd at 4pm meet us in the parking lot behind the Saturn Cafe as we Follow the Money from Wells Fargo to Bob Lee!

Dress in green and made up dollar costumes, wear your “I was in the building” shirts, bring noise makers and props, the more theatrical the better. We’ll have fliers to hand out as we play in the streets spreading the word about the case. Come show your support as we continue to call out DROP THE CHARGES!

DROP THE CHARGES! the joy of the parade!

https://www.facebook.com/SantaCruzEleven

Bob Lee says one thing and does another

Bob-Lee2-104x150 Santa Cruz District Attorney Bob Lee’s office has been accused by Santa Cruz attorneys of bias based on his financial relationship to Wells Fargo, the plaintiff in the SC 11 case. This comes in stark contrast to his statement to the Mercury News (below) regarding the influence of money and private relationships in court proceedings. Bob hasn’t come out and shared his relationship to Wells Fargo, or made any public comment on the Santa Cruz 11 case as the years and cost to taxpayers add up.

“The last thing I want is the appearance of influence or bias, so I would never give consideration or a break to a donor or a friend,” said Santa Cruz County District Attorney Bob Lee. “We just firewall it. If someone has a problem, they should go to the prosecutor’s supervisor like everyone else.”

http://www.mercurynews.com/search/ci_13665332?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

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!

 

 

 

 

Join us in calling Bob Lee!

The 11th for the 11!

Call Bob Lee! Coffee for Free!

Join us in calling Bob Lee’s office and telling him what we think about his handling of the Santa Cruz 11 case, and urging him to drop the charges. His office is open from 8 to 12, and 1 to 5 and can be reached at (831)454-2400. It is the duty of the District Attorney’s office to uphold the well being of the citizens of Santa Cruz county, let’s let him know continuing to prosecute the 4 defendants in this case is not in the best interests of our communities.

Friends of the SC11 will be out around town today handing out fliers with information about the case, inviting people to call in, and giving out free coffee!

Come hangout with us:

  • 9:30am to noon in front of the Humanities building above Cowell College UCSC
  • 1 to 4 in front of the clock tower downtown

March 11th for the 11!

Let’s Keep The Pressure On!

Keep the Pressure OnAs Bob Lee’s office continues to make decisions that draw out this case and cost the taxpayers of Santa Cruz thousands upon thousands of dollars, it is time for us to let them know what we think!

This coming Tuesday, March 11th join us in calling in to Bob Lee’s office and telling them to Drop The Charges! From 8-12 and 1-5 call the District Attorneys office at (831) 454-2400 and let them know their actions aren’t representing you. The DAs office exists to act on behalf of the residents of Santa Cruz County and has a duty to respond to our opinion.

Some talking points you might use are:

  • The overly high and mounting expense of the case (more than $100,000 of taxpayer money in efforts to reimburse $20-25,000 to Wells Fargo)
  • The fact that Wells Fargo inflated clean up costs and is a giant corporation with billions of dollars in profit every year
  • The toll on the community – the case is already 2 years old and the impact on the defendants and the community as been detrimental and tangible
  • The fact of that these charges have “chilled free speech” – negatively affecting our communities right to express our opinions and organize
  • The fact that they are pursuing 4 individuals for an action that involved over 100 people (and the fact that judges have already dropped the charges on 7 of the original 11 shows lack of substantial evidence)
  • The fact that there is no evidence that any of the defendants caused or supported vandalism
  • The fact that in court hearings prosecuting assistant district attorney Greg Peinado has not been empowered to make decisions, or offer reasonable deals, because of pressure from those higher up in the DAs office (perhaps due to Wells Fargo’s financial relationship to Bob Lee’s election campaign)

Thank you for your support and for taking the time to follow this case as it continues its long and twisting course. It is often a strategy of the court to draw things out and strain defendants to the point of taking whatever is offered, and we see vocal and on going support as important not only to the defendants but in highlighting the poor state of our justice system.

Thank you for calling in on the 11th, please help spread the word. Also feel empowered and encouraged to pick up the phone and call Bob Lee’s office anytime, all the time, and remind them that we are watching and to Drop The Charges!