Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Eric McDavid Update - 1/08/08

From: sacprisonersupport@riseup.net

Dear friends,

We just wanted to give you the latest information about Eric's upcoming
hearing dates. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control,
the hearing on the motion for a new trial has been moved to January 24,
and sentencing has been moved to February 14th. Every time a hearing gets
moved it's a frustrating and emotionally trying situation for all of us,
as this only prolongs the amount of time that Eric has to spend in
Sacramento County Main Jail (which has much worse restrictions and living
conditions than a federal facility, for which he is ultimately headed,
will have). It also prolongs the wait we have to endure before we can
start the appeals process, which can't begin until after sentencing.
Please keep writing Eric! Your letters always help him through these
difficult times. Information on writing Eric can be found on his website:

Also, if you haven't already, please consider writing a letter to Judge
England encouraging him to give Eric the lowest possible sentence. The US
Attorney is still indicating that they will be pushing for the maximum
sentence of 20 years. The judge needs to hear from Eric’s friends and
family – he needs to know that Eric is a well-respected, honest,
compassionate, non-violent person. It is important for Judge England to
know that the acts charged in the indictment are out of character for

Some things you might mention in your letter include:

-How you met Eric and how you know him (through school, work, mutual
friends, etc.); how long you have known Eric.

-What you know about Eric's character, his reputation in the community;
personal experiences you have had with him that illustrate important
aspects of his character.

-What you know about Eric's relationship with his family, his close
friends, his partner - the people who will be his personal support when he
is in prison and when he is released. Describe for the judge how these
people will assist him through these difficult times.

-How you personally will be able to help Eric get back to a normal life
when he is released from prison, whether it is through helping him to
pursue his education, remain employed, or establish a home.

-Examples, from your personal knowledge, of what Eric has done in his life
to help others, whether it is through activist work, charitable work, work
for non-profit organizations, or personally helping you or someone you
know with something. Specific examples of Eric's contributions to
charitable, community, and non-profit organizations are helpful.

-The judge may consider whether Eric is likely to commit another crime.
If you have specific reasons to share with the judge to demonstrate why
you believe that Eric is unlikely to commit another crime, please explain
those in your letter.

-The judge may consider whether to sentence Eric as a "terrorist" under
certain provisions of federal law and sentencing guidelines. While this
is largely a technical issue that Eric's lawyer will write about, you may
wish to write to the judge about how Eric's case compares to other crimes
and incidents that you are personally aware of that either have or have
not been treated as "terrorist" incidents.

-There may be other things you wish to say to the judge as well. Our
suggestions are just that - suggestions. Please make sure you write in a
polite, respectful manner to the judge.

What not to write about

Some topics are simply not helpful subjects of discussion in a letter to
the Court related to sentencing. We ask that you not justify or
rationalize the incidents Eric is accused of. We ask that you not compare
Eric to others who have already plead to a crime and who are also facing

Address your letter to:

Judge England
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California-Sacramento
501 “I” Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Please DO NOT send your letter directly to Judge England. Instead, please
send them directly to Eric’s lawyer:

Mark Reichel
555 Capitol Mall, 6th Floor - Suite 600
Sacramento, CA 95814

Please mail your letter with your original signature as soon as possible.
Again, letters should be sent to Eric’s lawyer, Mark Reichel, and not to
the judge.

Finally, we can end with some good news - Eric is still receiving two
veggie burgers a night, and has also been getting breakfast items he can
eat (such as oatmeal) and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. While this
is obviously nowhere near a "balanced" vegan diet, it is a huge
improvement over his previous nutritional situation. Thanks to everyone
for their phone calls, letters and emails to the jail! Eric couldn't have
won this victory without your help.

So thanks again for your continued support!


5 Reasons to write a letter to the Judge for Eric

1) This is the last big thing you are being asked to do before Eric's

2) You have a chance to write one page that could help save our friend
from being unfairly locked away in prison for twenty years. This is a
chance to use whatever status, privilege, or prestige you might have in
the eyes of society and put it towards supporting a targeted activist like

3) Because you don't want to live in a world in which targets of
repression are not supported by their friends and their community. Because
you don't want to see what would happen to free speech and civil liberties
if we didn't support each other.

4) The decision over how many years Eric will spend in prison will
ultimately come down to one person and you have a chance to express to him
what Eric means to you.

5) Because you would want everybody to do this if you were in Eric's

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