Tuesday, January 10, 2012

City of Sacramento finds Occupy defendants guilty without trial

Saturday Jan 7th, 2012 Indybay.org

by Dan Bacher

In the latest episode in the wave of police repression by the City of
Sacramento against the Occupy Movement, Occupy Sacramento lawyers say that
the City is using a "grudge vendetta" to find defendants guilty without
trial, violating due process rights that are guaranteed under the U.S.

Lawyers for Occupy defendants – who had criminal charges dismissed in
December – on January 5 made public a new, unconstitutional scheme by the
City of Sacramento to penalize the same defendants without a trial and due
process rights. This has NEVER been done before, according to the dozens
of Occupy lawyers who specialize in criminal, civil and constitutional

The City is using "administrative penalties" to "convict" the same
defendants whose misdemeanor criminal charges were dismissed "in the
interest of justice" by the City the day before criminal trials were set
to begin in December. Now the City is finding them guilty without a trial,
according to Cres Vellucci, Occupy Sacramento spokesman.

The pro bono lawyers for Occupy said that it is not only "double jeopardy"
under the U.S. and California Constitutions, but the City's actions to
find Occupy defendants guilty by "tribunal" deny them their 5th Amendment
Due Process rights.

Jeff Kravitz, a Sacramento civil rights lawyer, said the City is engaging
in a "grudge vendetta."

"The City is wasting taxpayer money in a grudge vendetta against veterans,
single mothers, homeowners and struggling middle class families who are
guilty of nothing but expressing their concerns about our nation," said
Kravitz, who represents an Iraq veteran. "First, the City violates the
First Amendment rights of these people, and now the City violates their
Fifth Amendment rights of due process."

"There have been 110 arrests since October 6 at Cesar Chavez Park for a
misdemeanor violation of a curfew ordinance – free speech ends at 11 p.m.
weekdays and 12 midnight, according to city code," said Vellucci. "The
City has failed to convict any of those arrested. About 27 cases remain in
the courts."

There is no doubt that Mayor Kevin Johnson, the Sacramento City Council,
the City Manager and the Sacramento Police Department only represent Wall
Street and the 1 percent, not the 99 percent. Their illegal campaign of
repression against Occupy Sacramento demonstrates that they regard the
First Amendment, Bill of Rights and U.S. Constitution with complete and
utter contempt.

Rather than allowing the protesters to exercise their First Amendment
Rights, the City has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and thousands
of hours on arresting and harassing protesters in a time of slashed
budgets for programs and services.

"Dozens of officers have spent 6,577 hours on the Occupy protests, which
represents a total payroll impact of about $408,000, said police spokesman
Sgt. Andrew Pettit. Included in that figure is $52,200 in overtime paid to
police officers," according to the Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Police, like the UC Davis police and other law enforcement
agencies throughout the nation, have waged a campaign against the Occupy
movement in what appears to be a coordinated strategy of repression in
conjunction with Department of Homeland Security and other federal law
enforcement agencies. The violent police assaults across the US are no
coincidence, according to Naomi Wolfe in her groundbreaking investigative
piece in the U.K. Guardian on November 25, 2011

"So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this
week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now,
only one side is choosing violence," said Wolfe. "It is a battle in which
members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent
violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to
represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional
profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the
implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of
their dreams of reform are not."

The ultimate irony is that while the City of Sacramento and the
"leadership" of other cities across the country continue to wage their war
against the Occupy movement, the Wall Street criminals continue to profit
off their bailouts by the Obama and Bush regimes after having violated a
plethora of state and federal laws.

In this unjust oligarchy, defenders of the Constitution are arrested and
brutalized for standing up for the law while the real criminals not only
go free, but are rewarded for their criminal behavior. The police agencies
are effectively serving as the private security forces for the Wall Street
banksters who should be locked up in federal prison.

Considering the wave of repression by city, state and federal law
enforcement agencies and the 1 percent's stooges in the courts, it's
urgent that people show solidarity with the Occupy Movement and attend an
upcoming major protest. Occupy Sacramento will be Marching from Cesar
Chavez Park, 9th and I Streets, to the Federal Courthouse, 501 I Street,
on Friday, January 20 at 10:30 am as part of an "Occupy the Courts"
National Day of Action.

For more information about Occupy Sacramento, contact: Cres Vellucci,
916-996-9170, news0058 [at] comcast.net, http://www.occupysac.org.

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