The Davis Dozen, 11 students and one professor who allegedly instigated the closing of the U.S. Bank in the Memorial Union, pled ‘not guilty’ at their second arraignment, Thursday, May 10.
A trial date will be set during a trial setting conference on Friday, June 1. The case was assigned to Judge Reed in Department 6 at 1:30 p.m. at Yolo Superior Court, said Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney, Michael Cabral.
The Davis Dozen were offered a plea deal of 80 hours of community service, should they have pled guilty.
Over 20 counts of obstructing movement in a public place and one count of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor were charged against them on March 30.
“I think that the DA’s office knows it has a weak case and that is why they floated a plea deal, leaking it to the media well in advance of the court date. I think they wish this case would go away, but that they are being pressured by [Linda P.B. Katehi’s] administration to prosecute the dozen,” said Jonathan Dettman, a UC Davis Ph.D. Candidate in Spanish and Portuguese. Dettman has been in active opposition to UC privatization since the 2009 student-faculty walkout and runs a blog that often comments on the Occupy movement and student protests.
Dettman said that the District Attorney’s decision to continue charge the Dozen is upsetting.
“It’s disappointing that the District Attorney’s office has chosen to continue to press charges at the request of UC Davis administrators who have made many poor decisions regarding the law and its application to protesters,” Dettman said. “In three years of intense political dissent on campus, not a single protester has ever been convicted of a crime, while Katehi and the police have made many mistakes that have injured students and/or caused them to suffer other kinds of hardship, both legal and academic.”
Supporters of the Davis Dozen have been raising money for their legal funds on campus by asking for donations and selling t-shirts.
MUNA SADEK can be reached at email@example.com.
[…] update: new court date in June (As someone who studies social movements, the delay tactics here are fairly familiar. constant delays make it hard for everyone, even passive supporters, to keep track of what is happening, especially as the end of the quarter approaches). […]
Unfortunately it is not a weak case. It is in fact an open-and-shut case for the prosecution and it was a dumb move by the Davis Dozen to not consider a community service plea. I understand why they would not want to plea, as many of those 12 were the ones who sat down in front of the officers in November.
However, they have no defense for their behavior. They violated the law, pure and simple. And free speech does not protect illegal protesting, whether it is “peaceful” or not.
Everything is on video. They were repeatedly warned for days after days. The officers politely asked them to move 2 feet to the side so people can move in and out of the US Bank. Those 2 feet were the difference between a lawful and an unlawful protest.
The officer did not arrest the protesters at any point. They did not touch them. They did not even attempt to illicit a statement from the protesters. In other words, the officers did nothing, and understandably too, because of the negative sentiments toward them.
I’m not sure how any competent jury would find them not guilty given the evidence if they were to follow the letter of the law.
Take the deal. Don’t be stupid.
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