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Home  » Legal Updates   »  Legal Updates for March 19 and 20

Legal Updates for March 19 and 20

Legal updates for the 3/19 DASW actions and the 3/20 mass arrest
April 2, 2004

Good News! One of the NLG attorneys working in these cases had a conversation with SF District Attorney Kamala Harris. The DA "noted that she is dismissing the citations against the 80 who were arrested at 5th & Market Streets. Her office is sending out the discharge notices." So it is very likely that all who were arrested in the mass round-up on Market will be receiving notices of discharge in the mail shortly. If you receive one, please contact us in the NLG office (415-285-1011) to let us know - we want to make sure no one gets lost in the system.

If you don't receive a notice before your arraignment hearing, the safest thing to do is to show up at the court. You can also try to track your case down within the court system, but be forewarned: the courts are incredibly disorganized and inefficient, so you might not get any info. For the brave and determined, try the following numbers:

SF DA Info Line: 415-553-1752

SF Criminal Division Info: 415-553-9394

SF Traffic Court Automated line: 415-553-9400

For those arrested at other times and locations, we don't know yet what the DA's plans for prosecution are, so hope for the best, but plan for the worst. This means assuming you need to show up at your arraignment hearing, or trying to wrestle info out of the bureaucracy with the numbers above.


April 1, 2004 Update
The NLG has committed to providing pro bono (free) attorneys at least through arraignment trials. (For more info on the NLG's demonstrations support plan, see http://www.nlg.org/sf/working_NLG_demos.html).
If you were arrested during the March 19 & 20th antiwar demonstrations, you likely have a court date coming up. You can find this date near the bottom of your citation (the paper you signed to be released). The NLG has assigned attorneys for each day we know people have court dates. You can find your attorney based on your court date below:
April 7th:
Mark Vermeulen
vermeulen@mindspring.com
(415) 824-7533
April 8th:
Omar Figueroa
omarfigueroa@mac.com
(415) 986-5591
April 9th:
Gordon Kaupp
gordonk@hotmail.com
(510) 821-1849
John Viola
viola@sf-homeless-coalition.org
(415) 902-5491
fax: (415) 680-1596
April 12th:
Gordon Kaupp
gordonk@hotmail.com
(510) 821-1849
The court date is for an 'arraignment hearing.’ At an arraignment, you find out what you are officially being charged with and you are asked to enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty. If you plea not guilty, it is possible that your charges may end up being reduced or dropped, or you may end up with a jury trial. Either way, we will be doing what we can to help you fight your case and stand up for your constitutional rights. You should plan on physically appearing at your arraignment at the 'Justice' Center, 850 Bryant St., on the date and time listed on your citation.
Please contact the attorney for your court date with any questions, or if you believe you will be unable to appear in court at the date and time listed on your citation. If you don't know your arraignment date please contact us at the NLG office at 415-285-1011.
Some people have received notices of 'Discharge of Citation' stating that their charges had been dropped. If you receive one of these notices, please contact us at the NLG office so that we can record your case as being dropped.


March 24, 2004 Update
On Tuesday, March 23, misdemeanor charges were dropped against all seven protesters arraigned. The next date for hearings will be Thursday, March 25, 9am at 850 Bryant, for two individuals charged with felonies.

The legal team is continuing to support arrestees and document police misconduct. If you have photo/video evidence, or if you were an eyewitness, contact Rachel Lederman at the NLG:
415-282-9300
rlederman @ 2momslaw.com


March 20, 2004 Update:
3/19 arrests:

7 arrests at the Bechtel action, 2 arrests on the march to the housing action, 11 arrests at the housing action, and 4 people arrested inside the housing action (but not charged).
Most charges are blocking traffic / disorderly conduct / failure to obey
Everyone has been released. The first arraignments are Tuesday, 3/23 at 850 Bryant.

3/20 arrests:
The march today was estimated at more that 50k people. At 2pm, a solidarity march of approx 500 people broke away from the rest of the march. At about 3:15pm, the police illegally stopped this march and surrounded the activists. As usual, police refused to allow people to comply with dispersal orders. The officer on the loudspeaker told protesters they would be subject to being beaten with batons if they failed to disperse.

Throughout the afternoon, there were arrests at several other locations, and we received reports of targetted arrests by undercover officers. At 6pm activists held a vigil outside the jail at 850 Bryant. At 7pm police began harrassing people, detaining and running IDs of anyone wearing black. They arrested one man.

Police ultimately arrested about 70 people over the course of the day.

Most arrestees were cited and released. At this time (10:15pm) there are 3 people confirmed to still be in custody. We anticipate that they will be released on Sunday, 3/22.

Call the DA's office: 415-553-1752 and demand that the remaining protesters be released, and that all charges be dropped.

There have been numerous reports of police misconduct and brutality during these illegal arrests resulting in several serious injuries. Police beat one man with batons so severely that he had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency care

Legal Observers and Witnesses:
Pictures, video and other evidence can be dropped off at the National Lawyers Guild office at 558 Capp St. during regular business hours. (If you can't make this, call 415-285-1011 to arrange another drop-off). Please be sure to label all of your evidence and keep a copy of anything you give to us.

Documenting Injuries and Police Misconduct:
You can find a police misconduct report here. If you were injured in any way, see Shooting the Wounded, a guide to documenting injuries. Fill out these forms and fax or drop off at the NLG office. The fax number is 415-285-5066.