Santa Cruz Eleven Trial Delayed by the DA — Again
The public and the defendants in the Santa Cruz Eleven case were looking forward to the commencement of the trial this week. Instead, the DA in a surprise move during a readiness hearing on Friday 28Feb2014 asked for a different judge. This postpones the trial until a decision about switching judges can be made. This is not the first time that the DA has asked for a new judge and the motion denied. This latest motion is likely to be denied as well.
The Santa Cruz Eleven comprises eleven individuals who were charged with crimes in association with the 2011 occupation of the vacant bank building located at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz. According to the prosecution, approximately $20,000 in damages were caused to the building as a result of the occupation, and the defendants were being prosecuted to pay for those damages even though none of them were directly responsible for any of it. Arrest warrants were issued and eleven individuals were charged with three separate felony counts in February of 2012. After dozens of pre-trial hearings, Santa Cruz Judge Paul Burdick dismissed the charges against all but four of those charged by early 2013.
The sixth amendment states that the accused have the right to a speedy trial. These needless delays by the DA violate that right. This has gone on long enough. It is time to drop the charges or dismiss the case.