Saturday, July 10, 2010

Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment Should Protect Us From Discriminating Against Political Belief Systems

Ruminations about Consumerism versus Anarchy,
Howcome There's No Longer Any Room
For Our Civil Liberties and
Personal Rights?

Linda's Hearth

I have seen this style of harrassment, stalking and discrimination before, when a friend, Mike Zacharakis, now deceased, was an active local Wobblie (IWW) and was running for political office. Sure learned a lot, long ago.

This latest assault, and apparently ongoing campaign ~~ to my mind, attacking people for appearing different from a keep-moving-goldcard-carrying-consumer, or else for using a word that has been demonized by the commercial media (or both?!) ~~ has all the earmarks of being driven by downtown merchant sensitivity to the economic meltdown in our Nation.

Yet it is also clear to me that the police have intensified their focus on the few Anarchists who are visible in the City of Santa Cruz. Of course I speculate regarding political and economic motives. Because I'm not out there in the streets with others as much as in the past.

So I'm sharing the news brief below, to balance out my "opinions" a bit!
Despite the money-related disparity in California's Justice System, it is good news that the Nation's (and maybe California's?) Constitution may get a chance to 'enter stage left.'

I am fundamentally disturbed at the degree to which the police department does not appear to have any relevant level of policy direction on such important matters. it was a concern of most appontees to the Homeless Issues Task Force when I chaired HITF, and there was no response at all then. On top of this limitation, the Police Chief's boss, the City Council, is still apparently unwilling to offer any clarity to the top cop.

Thus, again, the courts are being miss-spent because governance is not being carried out in an adequate and competent manner. Upstanding citizens are being destroyed and overburdened because of what they believe. In our town, this cycle keep re-occurring.

The City sometimes seems to have ZERO institutional memory, and has in recent years created policies to LIMIT the public record, rather than figuring out how to track it's decisions, direction, and it's thinking processes.
How can those who cause the distress be better held accountable for the wreckage left in other people's lives?

Linda Ellen Lemaster
PS The article below is also on WWW'S Indybay Santa Cruz


On Friday, attorney Jonathan Gettleman filed a Murgia discovery motion against the city on behalf of Wes Modes. This is the first step in proving discriminatory prosecution based on the "invidious criteria" of Modes involvement in anarchist projects.

Among other things, the motion includes a chronology of over 50 incidents showing the obsessive focus of SCPD and city officials on Modes and anarchist projects he is involved in since he outed police infiltrators in 2005.

Modes returns to court on July 16th for the next phase of the recent series of high-profile infraction case, claimed by supporters as harassment of Modes, a well-known anarchist activist. In the July 16th hearing for his alleged participation in the DIY New Year's parade, defense will demonstrate a pattern of discriminatory prosecution based on Modes political affiliation.

Background: According to Last Night participants, the parade infraction is the latest in a series of police harassment that Wes has received since outing police infiltrators in 2005.

"Wes is being unjustly targeted for being an outspoken critic of the Santa Cruz Police Department. He's being singled out from a crowd of community organizers, facilitators and participants. It goes completely against the community spirit of this Santa Cruz celebration," said parade participant Grant Wilson. Now Modes "is being harrassed with a minor code violation for participating in a parade celebrated by the entire Santa Cruz community."

Here's more on Friday's motion:

Wikipedia on Murgia: A Murgia motion is a common motion in California criminal law based on California Supreme Court rulings (Murgia v. Municipal Court (1975) 15 Cal.3d 286) that establish that defendant may be entitled to a dismissal of criminal charges upon a showing of selective prosecution for improper purposes, amounting to a violation of right to equal protection of law.

Wikipedia on Selective prosecution:

In jurisprudence, selective prosecution is a procedural defense in which a defendant argues that they should not be held criminally liable for breaking the law, as the criminal justice system discriminated against them by choosing to prosecute. In a claim of selective prosecution, a defendant essentially argues that it is irrelevant whether they are guilty of violating a law, but that the fact of being prosecuted is based upon forbidden reasons.

Such a claim might, for example, entail an argument that persons of different age, race, religion, or gender, were engaged in the same illegal actions for which the defendant is being tried and were not prosecuted, and that the defendant is only being prosecuted because of a bias. In the US, this defense is based upon the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, which requires that "nor shall any state deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Since this is an infraction case, Modes is not entitled to a public defender and so must foot the bill for a defense lawyer. To donate to the support of Wes Modes' case, go to the Red Hill Legal Support website:

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