.

Lawyer Who Camped Outside the Courthouse in Protest Faces Jail Sentence

Dozens turned up Tuesday to support outspoken attorney Ed Frey, who was sent home with an ankle bracelet that lets him go to his office to work.

 

Ed Frey can't sleep anywhere he wants.

That's the case the County of Santa Cruz has made against the 72-year-old lawyer and activist. Friends of Frey assembled on the steps of the County Courthouse Tuesday night to sleep in protest of the court's decision.

 Frey was arrested in 2010 during a protest that organizers called "Peace Camp 2010." Dozens of protesters set up camp on the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse and City Hall from July 4 to Oct. 2 that year to protest sleeping and blanket bans within the county. During the protest, Frey was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for publicly sleeping. He was later convicted of violating California Penal Code 647E:

 

Every person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor: (e) Who lodges in any building, structure, vehicle, or place, whether public or private, without the permission of the owner or person entitled to the possession or in control of it.

Frey was released from a jail sentence and sent to home confinement which allows him to report to his office, his physical therapist and the courthouse to continue working.

More than 35 people, including a number who had last been out protesting as part of Occupy Santa Cruz, gathered on the courthouse steps to protest the sentencing and the law they call unfair and compassionless. The group planned to stay at the county building the morning when Frey would be taken into custody. 

“I'm here out of concern,” said protestor Grant Wilson.  “I think it's a way to try to sweep problems out of town. It's not addressing the root of the problem.” 

Wilson carried a large paper mache figure of the Statue of Liberty to the steps of the courthouse.

“I brought Lady Liberty because this is about our liberties," he said trying to keep her arm held up. "She looked a lot better when Obama was elected.” 

Another protestor, Anthony Messer is a 28-year-old Army Sergeant and a war veteran. He moved to Santa Cruz a year ago from Florida after deciding he preferred to take a stance of peace.

“This is a peaceful protest,” he said. "This is a legitimate local protest. Most of the people here are local. They pay taxes.” 

Late in the afternoon, Frey arrived at the site, surprised at the show of support. Frey said he had nothing to do with organizing the event, but, “I sure do appreciate it.”

“They're trying to pretend the homeless don't exist,” he added, saying that the sleeping ban is “a reversal of our most basic values and exercising our fundamental rights.”

Part of the problem, Fry said, is that there is communication lacking between local lawmakers and the public. “We need to open up their offices,” he said.

Around 8:45 p.m., a meeting was called and speakers began making announcements to the group. 

Some thanked Frey and spoke passionately about the “compassionless” laws. One woman shouted “Just in a practical sense, do we have the money to be throwing people in jail for sleeping?...We are the public! They're not the public. They're our servants!”

Others made announcements of future Occupy meetings and a beach party, open mic nights, and all sang happy birthday to a man who had turned 83 that day. 

A single police car sat facing the courthouse on the opposite side of Water Street in a driveway; only its fog lights were glowing while the group carried on as if at a family reunion.

After an hour or more, the car turned out of the driveway and disappeared. Protesters had been told that officers would arrive at 9:30 p.m. to clear them out and issue citations. At midnight Sheriff's Deputies gave dispersal orders, but didn't arrest or cite anyone.

northstar August 09, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Ed, you are a great man! Knock the biggest guy out in your POD, and all will be ok. In all seriousness, please read my book at JAIL101.COM and be prepared. Available in e-book form for those with time constraints.
FROP August 10, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Here is some video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paGET8ACIwE&feature=youtube_gdata_player http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inf3cCHVkjY&feature=youtube_gdata_player
FROP August 11, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Frey is a Real American - Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_SAb5AfF0M
corrine bridges January 02, 2013 at 05:08 AM
Way to go Ed! That's my lawyer! so proud!

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »