Occupy Walden update--Bend 8's first court appearance
UPDATE Provided by Betsy Lamb, 23.12.2011 03:21
Bend, Oregon 12/21/11- We felt we had a good experience in the courtroom, with a fair judge, and after the holidays will be planning ahead for January 26, hoping that we can "rally the troops" to be present on that date, both inside and outside the courthouse, to continue our occupation of Congressional District 2.
Hi all... Here's an update on the latest from the Bend 8. Thanks to all for your presence and support!
The "Bend 8", the eight individuals arrested at the end of an 8-hour occupation of U.S. Congressman Greg Walden's District 2 Bend office, went to their first court appearance this afternoon (December 21). Their charge of Misdemeanor Criminal Trespass II had been reduced to a Criminal Trespass Class "A" Violation (which we thought carried the same maximum penalties as our Class "C" Misdemeanor charge would have, i.e., up to $1250 fine, 30 days in jail). Judge Alta Brady--the soon-to-be presiding judge for the Deschutes County Circuit Court--presided over the arraignment.
Before we arrived in court, there had been considerable confusion about whether or not our case would be heard, especially after we learned that the DA's office was apparently no longer involved, so it wasn't until Wednesday morning that we were really sure we were on the docket. Even so, a number of supporters were present, including Margret and Steve Ball from Powell Butte; and Sue Bastian, Meg and Bob Brookover, Bruce Morris, Pat Donnelly and a number of others from Occupy Bend.
Before calling any of us forward, she explained that we would have the option of pleading "not guilty" and having a trial date set, or we could plea "guilty" or "no contest" and conclude the proceedings today.
Foster Fell was the first in our list of defendants (alphabetically by last name), so by default he was our spokesperson and did an admirable job of it. He explained that there were eight of us issued the same charge at the same time and place for the same reason, that two of us wanted to plea no contest to hasten the ending of their involvement with the court, and that the other six wished to plea "not guilty" and--respecting the time constraints of the court--have our cases combined. He presented the court with a signed motion for the joining of our cases.
Judge Brady then called the other five to stand with Foster as she explained next steps and arranged a follow-up court date on Thursday, January 26, 2012, at 3:00 pm, for the six wishing to join their cases. That date and time are now set for Foster Fell, Barb Fontaine, Becca Ince, Ann Havill, Betsy ("Frances") Lamb, and Emilie Marlinghaus. We will have to view the courthouse monitors to determine the courtroom assigned for us on that date.
She said that as a Class "C" Misdemeanor, the charge would have carried a maximum of up to a year in the county jail, but as a Violation it carries no possible jail time. Like a traffic ticket, we are not eligible for court-appointed attorneys, but are welcome to hire an attorney if we wish. She asked that if we do hire an attorney that we inform the court and the DA's office, since they will want to be represented as well (which would otherwise be very unlikely. She also said that all the documentation the DA's office presently had on our cases was copies of our citations, and recommended that we ask the Police Department for any documentation they had relative to the issuance of our citations. (She didn't think further requests on discovery were necessary.)
Judge Brady then called Susan Parks forward to enter her "no contest" plea. Susan spoke eloquently about feeling she needed to be the voice for so many clients she works with at St. Vincent de Paul, people who are in such desperate straits, and so dependent on WICC and other services for families and children in many areas--healthcare, nutritions, housing, etc.,--programs that have all consistently been voted against by Congressman Walden.
When Chris Lawler was called forward, and entered his "no contest" plea, he spoke forthrightly about how we were exercising our constitutional rights of free speech, and that what we did was peaceful--how we and Walden's staff consistently treated one another respectfully and did not give the police officers who arrested us any trouble.
In both cases, Judge Brady said she cut the fine to the minimum of $100, with a $45 "surcharge" (for court costs), and gave Susan and Chris both 30 days to pay.
We felt we had a good experience in the courtroom, with a fair judge, and after the holidays will be planning ahead for January 26, hoping that we can "rally the troops" to be present on that date, both inside and outside the courthouse, to continue our occupation of Congressional District 2.
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KTVZ (television) coverage at time of arrests
23.12.2011 - 03:52
Posted on December 6, 2011 at 9:05
BEND -- Police say eight out of a dozen protesters seeking more town hall meetings with U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon have been cited for criminal trespass after refusing to leave the congressman's Bend office.
Police say those cited Monday evening ranged in age from 22 to 73.
KTVZ reports that members of the Occupy Congressional District 2 movement are pressing their demand that Walden schedule at least five town halls by next April.
Walden's staff told the demonstrators the congressman was not at the office Monday. KTVZ says a Walden staffer told protesters that the Republican will have town halls in Rufus and Fossil.
Bend protest organizer Kathleen Paterno told the station that demonstrators want Walden to schedule a town hall meeting in a larger city.
Walden spokesman Andrew Whelan said recently the congressman is always available for his constituents.
Local TV Video>