Wednesday, August 27, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Bank protesters plead not guilty

UC Davis English professor Joshua Clover, one of the 12 protesters facing criminal charges for their roles in the blockade of the U.S. Bank branch at UCD, addresses Commissioner Janene Beronio in Yolo Superior Court in late April. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise file photo

By
From page A1 | May 11, 2012 |

WOODLAND — The so-called “Banker’s Dozen” crowded into Yolo County Superior Court on Thursday with five attorneys in tow — well-known San Francisco defense attorney J. Tony Serra among them — then pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges stemming from their blockade of a bank branch.

The 11 UC Davis students and one professor will next appear before Judge David Reed for a pre-trial conference on June 1, with the case likely to receive a July trial date.

The protesters face 20 counts each of obstructing movement on a street or in a public place and one count each of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. Obstruction, also a misdemeanor, carries a penalty of up to six months in jail.

They also could be ordered to pay more than $1 million to compensate U.S. Bank for its losses.

Michael Cabral, Yolo County assistant chief deputy district attorney, had said he would offer a plea deal of 80 hours of community service. On Friday, however, the defendants made it clear they wanted the matter set for trial.

Tim Kreiner, a spokesman for the protesters, said they would have rejected any deal “on the grounds that any continuance of prosecution is a wrongful attempt to prosecute political speech on campus.”

“The fact that there are charges at all is a bit of a sham,” Kreiner said. “It’s unfortunate that the university administration feels compelled to try to … refer its own students for prosecution for political dissent on campus.”

UCD spokesman Barry Shiller said in an email message that “the last thing in the world you want to see is 11 students and a faculty member facing charges.”

“It’s vital to remember that the charges were filed only after campus police received multiple complaints from students and others alleging that they had been prevented from entering or leaving the campus U.S. Bank branch,” Shiller said.

“And the blockades continued despite 12 attempts — six in writing — by campus staff to educate protesters about the risks of continuing their actions.”

The ponytail-wearing Serra is an intriguing addition to the case. He has represented the likes of Black Panther Huey Newton, as well as Hells Angels and members of the environmental group Earth First! More recently, he defended Greg Anderson, trainer for baseball slugger Barry Bonds, during the BALCO steroids conspiracy case.

Serra declined comment after the arraignment.

Among the protesters he is representing is Thomas Matzat. He has separately been charged with five felony counts of vandalism over $400 — which carries a maximum of three years in prison — as well as 14 misdemeanor counts of vandalism under $400, and possession of tools with intent to commit vandalism, a misdemeanor, for graffiti painted on campus.

Matzat appeared briefly in court on Tuesday. He is due back for arraignment on June 6.

The protesters began blocking the bank branch daily on Jan. 2, singling it out as a symbol of the privatization of the university and corporate greed.

On March 1, U.S. Bank, having complained repeatedly that UCD wasn’t doing enough to end the protest, halted its 10-year deal with the campus. (UCD has since filed suit, alleging breach of contract.)

The DA’s Office announced on March 30 that it would file charges against the protesters, who have been active with Occupy UC Davis but who chose to take the bank action on their own.

More than 5,300 people have signed a petition at http://davisdozen.org, calling for the charges to be dropped, and more than 80 faculty members have signed letters asking the UCD administration to urge the same.

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    City, plaintiffs settle suit over water rates

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Scrap the MRAP, council says, but wants a talk with cops

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Yolo grows sunflower seeds for the world

    By Margaret Burns | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    True Blue Devil Arnold gave back starting in high school

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Gaza cease-fire holds as sides weigh gains

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    California beach town sees flooding from hurricane

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Assembly passes campus sexual-assault bill

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    American militant reportedly killed in Syria

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Sunder campaign distributes signs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Farmworkers’ son wins prestigious NIH scholarship

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Interested in Portuguese? Drop by I-House

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Play groups offered by Center for Families

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Give blood and get a free movie ticket

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Chat with Poppenga at coffee shop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Raley’s pays $1.6 million to settle hazardous-waste lawsuit

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Back-to-school party benefits Archer campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Breast cancer program examines surgery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Crisis nursery bill on governor’s desk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Global warming on group’s agenda

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    A sweet reward for turning in cash

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4

     
    Yolo Federal to hold photo contest

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Try yoga, meditation at Holistic Health Center

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Troops get ‘Hugs From Home’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Documentary reveals ‘The Village Under the Forest’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    UCD West Village gets an electric Zipcar

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Little Rock hero featured at reunion

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    UCD ranks No. 16 for serving the public interest

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Wolk’s infrastructure bill clears state Senate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    Parents could use a hand at home

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Obama risks alienating Latinos

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A6

    A water plan for all of California

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    MRAP sends the wrong message

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Play structure idea endorsed

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Thanks for firearms info

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Buschman, Cats mute the Sounds

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    New coach eager to see his Aggie charges hit the courses

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Shaw respects Aggies, while Gould is happy to get a shot at Stanford

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils prep for tough 2014 volleyball schedule

    By Chris Saur | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Bumgarner deals as Giants blank Rockies

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Carter’s blast send Astros past A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Sports briefs: Online registration ends Friday for Labor Day Races

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Field to fork: Play catch-up with summer’s produce

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Franco M. Navazio, M.D.

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6