On Friday, July 20th, Cameron Laurendeau, represented by Alexis Briggs, and Franklin “Angel” Alcantara, represented by Jesse Ruben, went before Judge John Salazar in department 3 of the Santa Cruz Courthouse. There were about a dozen people, including four codefendants, supporting them in court. Alcantara and Laurendeau are among the eleven people known as the “Santa Cruz Eleven” who were each charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors in association with the Fall 2011 occupation of the vacant Wells Fargo Bank building located at 75 River Street in downtown Santa Cruz.
Six of the Santa Cruz Eleven have had all charges against them dismissed by Santa Cruz Judge Paul Burdick in pre-trial hearings on April 25th and May 14th, however the District Attorney refiled all charges against Alcantara and Laurendeau. Their new preliminary hearing had been scheduled for July 23rd before Judge Ariadne Symons, but now their hearing will be joined with the five other remaining Santa Cruz Eleven defendants.
The seven remaining defendants in the 75 River Street case — Cameron Laurendeau, Franklin “Angel” Alcantara, Brent Adams, Desiree Foster, Becky Johnson, Robert Norse, and Gabriella Ripley-Phipps — will have a preliminary hearing before Judge Burdick. Their confirmation hearing is scheduled for Friday, August 17th, with a preliminary hearing set for Monday, August 20th.
About the Santa Cruz Eleven
The Santa Cruz Eleven are local community members who have been charged with an unprecedented variety of offenses arising from their alleged involvement with the occupation of a long-time vacant bank building late last fall, 2011.
These defendants are either journalists, members of our local press, and/or activists supportive of the Occupy movement.
The Santa Cruz Eleven defendants were participating in constitutionally protected activities either as news gatherers, observers, or as supporters, including a mediator between police and activists inside the occupied building.
Each of these defendants has been charged with the following four charges: (1) felony conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, (2) felony vandalism, (3) misdemeanor trespass by entering and occupying, and (4) misdemeanor trespass by refusing to leave private property.
Hundreds of individuals, if not more, entered and exited the bank building during the 75-hour occupation, including local elected officials, corporate press and “citizen journalist” bloggers. Only the Santa Cruz Eleven have been charged.
The Santa Cruz Eleven are being selectively prosecuted because of their past activism relating to independent media publishing, adversarial relationships with law enforcement and prior public direct actions on issues of social justice that have been critical of the local police department, local government, and the District Attorney’s office for over a decade.
Bradley Stuart Allen is a photographer, Indymedia volunteer and website developer living in Santa Cruz, California. Allen, a longtime volunteer photojournalist and editor for Indybay.org, is one of the Santa Cruz Eleven. The charges against him were politically motivated, but legally unjustified. All charges against Allen were dismissed on May 14th, 2012, thanks to legal support and organizations including the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ NorCal), and the American Civil Liberties Union (Santa Cruz County and Northern California ACLU).