Monday, March 3, 2014

Santa Cruz Eleven Trial Postponed Indefinitely

According to the Santa Cruz Eleven website, the trial for the remaining four defendants has been postponed indefinitely as the prosecution has entered a new motion to disqualify Judge Burdick.

Statement posted on the Santa Cruz Eleven website:

"Today the 4 remaining members of the SC11 were in Department 6 for the continuation of their readiness hearing and were met with a surprising and frustrating twist. The prosecution entered a 170.1 motion to Disqualify Judge Burdick which essentially halts all proceedings while that motion is dealt with. A next date of March 26th was set to revisit things, but as it is trial is unlikely to be any time before June, and may be out as far as next fall. We friends and supporters of the 11 are frustrated and motivated. This is an important time to continue our support, and increase the presence of public opinion saying “enough is enough, drop the charges!” Stay tuned for upcoming events and more information."

The Santa Cruz Eleven comprises eleven individuals who were charged with crimes in association with the 2011 occupation of the vacant bank building located at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz. According to the prosecution, approximately $20,000 in damages were caused to the building as a result of the occupation, and the defendants were being prosecuted to pay for those damages even though none of them were directly responsible for any of it. Arrest warrants were issued and eleven individuals (including this reporter) were charged with three separate felony counts in February of 2012. After dozens of pre-trial hearings, Santa Cruz Judge Paul Burdick dismissed the charges against all but four of those charged by early 2013.

Judge Burdick has questioned the prosecution's need to go forward with the case at least twice during court hearings.

On August 17, 2012, Judge Burdick chastised the prosecution for taking too long to hand over the police video evidence, complaining, "eight months into this case, and we still have not received video?!" Burdick concluded in that hearing, "I'm really unhappy about this Ms. Young. This is inexcusable. ... It's absolutely inexcusable. It's doubtful we're going to proceed."

At that time the prosecution had filed motions to make their first attempt at getting rid of Burdick, which was unsuccessful. One of the defense attorneys called it "judge shopping".

On August 16, 2013 Judge Burdick asked the DA at a hearing if they thought it necessary to go forward with the cases given the profound expense it would cost the people considering the damage amount was only $20,000. The prosecution stated that they were hearing from the "community" that they wanted the trial to continue.

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