Sunday, July 3, 2011


"YOU CAN SLEEP IN JAIL," Said the Judge to the Homeless Man's Question: "Where Can I Legally Sleep?"

These are pictures taken on the last day of the "Lodging Five Trial." That's me, top photo, in the basement restaurant under the Santa Cruz County Building, which adjoins Superior Court, at 701 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz.

The bottom shot shows a reporter from the Santa Cruz Sentinel, local daily paper, interviewing Gary Johnson and attorney Ed Frey, right after the jurors left, post trial. Frey was attorney for four homeless defendants as well as for himself. He said he remains convinced that awakening sleeping homeless people to criminalize them is "cruel and unusual punishment."

Gary and Ed ended up jailed when they came back, early June, for sentencing. They had planned to talk with the judge about jury irregularities, but were not permitted to bring it up. The judge went overboard on their sentencing (see earlier reports on this blog or Indybay Santa Cruz for more details). So they were stuck directly into jail because the sentence was so extreme.

Our judicial system -- indeed, our Constitution -- provides that the punishment needs to fit the crime, but apparently there is no mechanism to appeal same when there's such a breakdown. It appears to me to be a system that can be manipulated by those with extra money, yet for those who must work to survive, it grinds them up more than it seeks justice, or even seeks information.

After a few weeks, attorney Frey was released from jail, with the help of longtime, reknown criminal-law attorney Peter Leeming ~ but still no mea culpa from Judge Gallagher. The judge lowered their bail from $50,000 to $110, the latter a figure "from the schedule?" said the judge.

The day after he was released, Ed hooked up with the DA to get Gary released as well. Frey said later, "I told her (the DA on this case) it's only fair."

I believe this reporter's name is Katherine Kelly, will double-check and correct here if not. So far the Sentinel's reportage has been heavily biased to reflect the D.A. perspective and thus ignoring the needs and rights of both demonstrators and homeless folks.

Ed and Gary will be allowed to present their request for appeal on August first. My trial, for getting similar ticket for "lodging 647(e)" almost a year ago, on August 7, at PeaceCamp2010, is set for either trial or another hearing about a week into August.

We are hoping to collaborate in an event to promote support for the attorneys involved, at the new India Joze restaurant on Front Street in Santa Cruz, by then. Want to help?

1 comment:

  1. I have seen Kathy Kelly a couple time and that picture doesn't look like her...if you were wondering.



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