Thursday, January 20, 2011
Peace Camp 2010 goes to court
by Becky Johnson
Jan 20 2011
Santa Cruz, Ca. --- While dozens of campers from Peace Camp 2010 still have not seen their charges see light of day on any court calendar, there have been a few exceptions. Peace Camp 2010 founder and lead counsel, Ed Frey, will be challenging the state anti-lodging charges used to arrest and harass protesters on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse and later, at Santa Cruz City Hall.
Protesters suffered arrests for illegal 'lodging', had Klieg lights shined on them all night long, were spied on by hired First Alarm security guards, locked off the property of the Public Library, and arrested for real and imagined 'crimes' such as using a blanket, smoking a cigarette, or for lying on a sidewalk. The HUFF table was seized by police along with signs and literature as 'unclaimed' property, even though protesters were right there, willing to take charge of the table and signs. When HUFF member, Robert Norse finally retrieved the HUFF table, he found that all property had been stored outside in the rain and weather, rather than locked safely in storage.
This Friday, following a flurry of briefs filed back and forth between the City and the District Attorney's office, the first major court hearing will be held this Friday, January 21st, 2011 at 1:30 PM in Department 2. The State anti-lodging law makes it illegal to "lodge" anywhere within the state boundaries absent a deed, a mortgage, a lease, a rental agreement, or a receipt for a local motel room. This is a misdemeanor which allows for immediate arrest and jailing.
Peace Camp 2o1o had been protesting the City of Santa Cruz' MC 6.36.010 section a also known as the Sleeping Ban, which is an infraction, when sheriff's surprised them by making arrests under the more serious, anti-lodging law.
Frey, representing himself, along with six other defendants including Gary Johnson and Collette Connally, two of Peace Camp 2010's most courageous protesters. Both are protesting the law which makes it a crime to sleep out of doors anywhere within the city limits outside of a home or motel room, outdoors or in a legally parked vehicle. A separate provision outlaws the use of a blanket at night even if the person remains wide awake.
Friday is also the day when PeaceCamp2010 goes to court with Ed Frey challenging they "lodging" charges with constitutional arguments. 1:30 PM in Dept. 2.