Trial starting for Santa Cruz woman charged in 2010 Peace Camp demonstration
Linda Lemaster is charged with misdemeanor illegal lodging for sleeping outside as part of the so-called Peace Camp 2010 protest.
The demonstration began July 4, 2010, as a protest against a city law that makes it an infraction to sleep outside in public spaces from 11 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. The protest began on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Superior Court before moving to Santa Cruz City Hall and ultimately ended on Oct. 2 of that year.
After issuing warnings to those sleeping at the courthouse, sheriff's deputies cited sleeping people using a state law that makes lodging outside a misdemeanor.
Lemaster was among several people arrested in the protest, along with defense attorney Ed Frey and self-proclaimed homeless hacker Christopher Doyon. Frey was sentenced in July to six months in jail on an illegal lodging conviction stemming from the case. Another man, Gary Johnson, was sentenced last year to six months in jail for illegal lodging. Johnson was convicted of the same offense earlier this year after sleeping outside several times in December as a protest against the law.
Lemaster, a longtime advocate for the homeless, is projects facilitator for the Santa Cruz group Housing Now!
Her attorney, Jonathan Che Gettleman, has argued that the illegal lodging law was misused to put an end to the protest and that it violated the constitutional right to assemble peacefully.
Prosecutor Alex Byers was not immediately available for comment Monday.