Support the Santa Cruz 11!

Short Notice Court Date TOMORROW Tuesday 7/14!

Tomorrow morning, Tuesday 7/14, at 8:15 am in Department 6 of the Santa Cruz Courthouse defense attorneys for the remaining 4 of the SC11 will be discussing possible pre-trial outcomes of the case with prosecutor Greg Peinado.

This is the first court date of the month that may prove to be a big one for the remaining defendants. With trial potentially starting in just two weeks, let’s show up in support! Just being there can really make a difference to those charged, especially as it has been years since the occupation that led to all of this. Court can be really isolating and uncomfortable, let’s make sure our friends know they are cared for!

This is also an opportunity to show the City that we are still paying attention and care about what is happening.

Tomorrow, there seems to be the possibility of attorneys coming to a pre-trial settlement (plea bargain or deal), or at least making steps in that direction. As of yet, Peinado has not offered anything to the defendants, and has often said he has to consult with his “higher ups” in before making or responding to offers of settlement. This is a continued practice after being criticized in court for coming to hearings without the power to do anything, therefor wasting the time of the judge and defense attorneys as well as tax payer money.

It seems that the defendants are preparing to go to trial while also being open to resolving the case beforehand if the City were to offer something they could agree to. The prosecution has pushed for a large restitution in this case and held on to the felony charges despite having the power to resolve this case by dropping or lowering the charges and restitution.

It has been a question throughout this case of where the motivation and power lie in the prosecution. Bob Lee and his ties to Wells Fargo were influential, but now he is no longer with us. Who is in charge? Who is asking for the continued prosecution and seeking of restitution? Is it Wells Fargo? Or City of Santa Cruz officials?

Regardless of the answers to these questions it is up to us to show each other that we care when the City and State repress activists and members of our community. It is up to us to find what is inspiring about this situation, or create that inspiration for ourselves.

See you tomorrow friends!suport banner on steps

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!

 

 

 

 

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.