Wheeler 9 Free Speech Trials

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Last Wheeler 9 Trial Begins
October 11, 2011
9:00am
Wiley Manuel Courthouse Dept. 113
661 Washington St. Oakland, CA

Oakland, CA—On October 11, 2011, the three remaining students, revolutionaries and activists are beginning trial for charges related to a demonstration on March 2, 2011 at UC Berkeley to protest the recent budget cuts targeting public education.

Seventeen people were arrested during a non-violent sit-in that day, with 9 activists eventually going to trial over whether the First Amendment is valid on public university campuses. Six of those activists were acquitted last week of “Disturbing the Peace” while the remaining 3 student activists are being additionally charged with resisting arrest.

The defendants have promised to fight and defeat these charges and reject any plea deals. In a situation when public education has been under attack for years as part of a broader program of cutting educational funding while instituting a “Banking Model of Education,” these defendants have upheld education as a basic human right.

The defendants have issued a call for support in a recently released flier:

“To all those who recognize education as a basic human right, to all who believe in critical thinking, to all who dream of a better world and to all who feel that political protest against budget cuts should not be met with state repression: join in supporting the Wheeler 9. Be at all the court hearings at Wiley Courthouse to put the system on notice that these kinds of charges are ILLEGITIMATE.”

As one of the defendants said, “UC Berkeley is the historical birthplace of the free speech movement. This movement has been under a relentless attack by the powers-that-be. This cannot be allowed to continue.”

The defendants—representing Laney Community College, UC Berkeley, San Jose State University, San Jose Community College, Diablo Valley College, San Francisco State, and local high schools—have asked for anyone who stands in solidarity with affordable education, free speech and against the repression of peaceful protest to attend the trial and spread the word!

CONTACT: Graham Archer, National Lawyer’s Guild – graham@garcher.com

The Blind Willies have put together a video of their performance at the Wheeler Hall demonstration that includes a lot of footage from the actual demonstration/police action.

Blind Willies – Soon My Work Will Be Over

Solidarity amidst Repression

21 Responses to Wheeler 9 Free Speech Trials

  1. jaguarpress says:

    First day of trial: the seven protestors facing trespassing charges began jury selection today. They will be in court from 9-5 every week day except Thursday. Please come out to support them at Rm. 106 on the 4th floor of the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland off of broadway and 7th. The three facing the additional charge of resisting arrest will begin to trial on Oct. 11th in Rm. 113 of the same courthouse beginning at 9 am.

  2. jaguarpress says:

    Day 2, Friday 16th: Today during jury selection several potential jurors expessed their dismay that non-violent protesters were being persecuted so openly and called for the charges to be dropped. After an outburst in the courtroom, the judge called a recess, coming back to offer the 6 defendants a bench trial rather than a jury trial. Although this is a clear violation of our Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial before a jury of out peers, we think that we’ve shown clearly how ridiculous the charges are and are opting for the bench trial for 6 in order to bring us a speedy victory. This trial is costing the courts an estimates $400,000 per day. One more defendant has taken the plea deal in order to focus on staying in school, bring the trials down to 9 total defendants. Acquit the Wheeler 9!

  3. jaguarpress says:

    Day 3, Monday 19th: Slow day at court. The judge dismissed the jury to begin the bench trial and the defense counsel immediately put forward a Norroff Motion to dismiss the trial. The DA didn’t have the evidence prepared so the judge called a recess until 10:30 Tuesday morning. A large number of supporters showed up and we are hoping that they return to hear the verdict Tuesday.

  4. jaguarpress says:

    Day 4: All 6 protestors facing disturbing the peace charges have been found NOT GUILTY at trial! Victory to the people! Stay tuned for the last 3 defendants’ trial on Oct 11tg.

  5. jaguarpress says:

    Day 4: All 6 protestors facing disturbing the peace charges have been found NOT GUILTY at trial! Victory to the people! Stay tuned for the last 3 defendants’ trial on Oct 11th.

  6. jaguarpress says:

    The Wheeler 9 are officially supported by members and volunteers from the Diablo Valley Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, American Indian Movement, the Free Speech 8, North American Animal Liberation Press Office, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Food not Bombs, Home not Jails, Bound Together Books, the Occupy Wall Street Movement in New York, the Student Worker Action Team, Industrial Workers of the World, Greenpeace, SFSU Comparative Literature Student Association, Contra Costa County Peace and Freedom Party, and the California Green Party.

  7. jaguarpress says:

    Last 3 of the Wheeler 9 begin trial tomorrow, October 11th, in Department 113, Wiley Courthouse in Oakland. We are looking for people to come out and support us and the occupy Oakland movement that is happening just down the street at Oscar Grant Plaza. Despite the court’s attempts to buy us off with attractive plea deals, we have decided to move forward and put the system on trial for oppressing healthy dissent.

    All Power to the People!

  8. jaguarpress says:

    First day of the second trial, 10/11/11: Today we commenced jury selection for what is supposed to be a 9 day trial in Department 113 on the 6th floor of the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Downtown Oakland. All defendants are in high spirits and ready to put the system on trial for some illegitimate charges. A few supporters appeared in the audience but were asked to leave the room until jury selection is over at the end of the week. A supporter also briefed the Hella Occupy Oakland general assembly about the trial and some stickers were distributed around the camp at Oscar Grant Plaza. We stand in full solidarity will the Occupiers of Oakland, with all occupiers around the US to Egypt and beyond. Public occupation is not a crime. We will update the general assembly when we are ready for activists to pack the court room and show the justice system that we are holding it to the highest standards–All Power to the People.

  9. jaguarpress says:

    Day 2 of the 2nd trial: Our star jury has been selected and opening statements begin tomorrow morning. We are officially asking for all our supporters to come attend our first day of trial by jury in department 113, 6th floor of the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland. We are supposed to begin at 9, so if you arrive earlier we can give you some of our snazzy Wheeler 9 stickers that you may have seen around town. All out to support the last of the Wheeler 9. Occupation is not a crime, viva la revolucion siempre!

  10. jaguarpress says:

    Day 3: The witnesses for the prosecution were examined and cross examined and the prosecution’s other evidence was presented today in the first day of actual trial. I can’t tell you who the witnesses were, but I can say that none of us on the defense team were surprised by how comfortable police officers are with lying right to a person’s face. All out tomorrow!

    Occupation is not a crime,
    All power to the people!

  11. jaguarpress says:

    Day 4: Today started out with a bit of a ruckus and a jury shuffle. Because of scheduling though, court was dismissed for the day so we are going back Monday to hear the end of the prosecution’s argument and begin our defense. See you there!

    All power to the people!

  12. jaguarpress says:

    Last update: Last Wheeler 3 have been found guilty of all charges by a jury. Sentencing will take place at November 3rd, 9 a.m. in Department 113, 6th floor Wiley Manuel Courthouse. Thank you everyone for the immense support, despite the fact that what we did was morally wrong, the system has prevailed in finding a way to tag our records, single out the rabble rousers, and show the masses that making your voice heard is a second priority to maintaining profit and class division. We are left asking ourselves, what does it mean that in our era the truth is criminalized? Remember kids, austerity means fascism.

    More to come

    All Power to the People
    Solidarity, Hella Occupy Everything!

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