Hearing today on bizarre Occupy Oakland stay-away order case

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Oakland City Hall- now off limits?

The first Occupy Oakland protester to allegedly be in violation of a stay-away order has a hearing today.

Joseph Briones, 30, was arrested along with 408 others at an Occupy Oakland protest Jan. 28. He is one of 12 who were apparently issued the restraining orders, and is therefore barred from being within 300 yards of Oakland City Hall, potentially for the next three years, according to Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick.

But based on a Feb. 8 hearing, Briones and his lawyer understood that he did not have a stay-away order against him, said Occupy Oakland media committee member Omar Yassin.

“That’s why he was at the plaza, carefree, on Wednesday,” said Yassin. That’s when Briones was arrested.

In a Feb. 9 press release, Officer Johnna Watson of Oakland Police media relations said that “Joseph Briones is one of four individuals charged with a violent felony offense stemming from the Jan. 28 protest.” But according to records at the District Attorney’s office, that’s incorrect; Briones is charged with three misdemeanors.

While everyone scrambles to get their story straight, Briones is still in jail. He has a hearing at 2 o’ clock today. If found to have violated a stay-away order, he could face six months in prison.

So far, Briones is legally innocent of any crime; he has not been convicted of any of the charges leveled on him in connection with Jan. 28. None of the other 11 who are prohibited from going near City Hall have been convicted of anything either.

Besides all that, the stay-away orders may be entirely illegal.

According to Jivaka Candappa, one of the attorneys working on the stay-away order cases, “the orders are unconstitutional and unreasonable.”

Most of the charges on the twelve are as benign as blocking the sidewalk and remaining at the scene of a riot (the latter is the same charge that was placed on  hundreds who were cited and released with no bail, and whose charges will likely be dropped—including me.) Even the felony charges, such as assault of a police officer, are common charges leveled on protesters that are usually dismissed. It is highly unusual to ban individuals from any public place, for any reason, let alone City Hall and a public plaza so obviously necessary for access to First Amendment rights, under any circumstances.

“This is legitimate action in, for example, a domestic violence situation. Here, protesters have not attacked anybody and they’re not a physical threat,” said attorney Mike Flynn, president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.

Candappa says that he and his colleagues may file motions in the Alameda County Superior Court challenging constitutionality of the stay-away orders.

Said Candappa, “preventing someone from exercising their First Amendment rights doesn’t promote public safety. Courts are very reluctant to restrain someone’s expressive rights, because its really a cornerstone of any democracy and if you want to be able to participate in democracy you’ve got to have a right to express yourself. To take away that fundamental right to express yourself is something courts are very reluctant to do, especially when those conditions are applied against someone who has not yet been convicted.”

 

Comments

Let him rot in jail.

The law applies to everyone, there is no reason this person should be able to flaunt it openly.

OW$ is a joke

Posted by Guest on Feb. 10, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

It's odd that Oakland is taking legal action with only a dozen individuals. They got the goods on 10 times that many.

So why only a few? They got a plan of some kind?

Fishing for a test-case, maybe? And then what?

Posted by Ted Clayton on Feb. 10, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

Hey dumb guest up there. The article states he clearly didn't break the law. Not only that, I have a right to travel freely. I don't have to move off the sidewalk especially when someone can walk right around me. The 4th Amendment doesn't say I can travel freely until someone else wants to travel to the exact location that I am in, and then I have to move. Read the Constitution & the Supreme Court rulings on them before making ignorant assessments on such thoughtful writing. Not only that, there is no law that can be made to encroach on the 1st Amendment rights to address your elected representatives for a redress of grievances. Stop being judgmental because you obviously don't have a grip on the reality that is the world we live in.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 10, 2012 @ 6:28 pm

IF THE POOR GUY HAD A FEW BUCKS HE COULD JUST BUY HIS WAY OUT .. NOT THAT IT'S HIS OBLIGATION TO DO SO .. I'D SAY OAKLAND HAS ITS HANDS FULL TRYING TOI OUTWIT AMERICAN LAW .. THE LAWSUITS WILL EASILY BANKRUPT THAT DIRTY LITTLE TOWN .. LOL

Posted by Guest on Feb. 10, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

Bizarre is a loaded word. Is this an editorial or news story?

Posted by Sunset District on Feb. 11, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

Bizarre (adj.) strikingly out of the ordinary: as
a : odd, extravagant, or eccentric in style or mode
b : involving sensational contrasts or incongruities

The article clearly supports with sources and facts that these stay-away orders are strikingly out of the ordinary and involve sensational contrasts or incongruities.

Posted by Justin on Feb. 12, 2012 @ 11:33 am

yes .. we know OWS is a joke on the corporation .. which we will demolish

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

Haven't heard anthing about it for weeks. Months, maybe.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 12, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

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