[Hpn] Charges dropped against 3 Camp Paradise Defendants

Becky Johnson Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net
Tue, 20 Nov 2001 10:08:18 -0800


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Published Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001, in the San Jose Mercury News=20

Judge dismisses charges against 3 of 7 campers

BY DAVID L. BECK
Mercury News=20

After their first half-day of trial on charges of violating the Santa =
Cruz anti-camping law, the Camp Paradise Seven was reduced to four.=20

Trial Commissioner Irwin Joseph on Monday tossed out the charges against =
three defendants who were cited in August for camping at Camp Paradise, =
a much-debated and illegal homeless encampment along the banks of the =
San Lorenzo River.=20

Defense Attorney Paul Sanford said he was ``thrilled'' with the outcome. =
Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Pousho said she was ``pleased that the =
court denied the motions to dismiss'' on behalf of the other four =
defendants.=20

The trial began 4 1/2 months after police issued and then let pass a =
deadline for campers to abandon the site they had cleaned up and =
occupied. On Aug. 3, they strolled through the camp early one morning =
and issued 33 tickets.=20

Since then the city and the campers have been seeking a political =
solution to the impasse over the campers' fate, and trading offers =
regarding the campers' tickets.=20

Some campers left and had their tickets wiped out. Eight others, =
however, still had $54 tickets outstanding. One of them, Brian Robbins, =
did not appear; Joseph issued a bench warrant for him.=20

The prosecution put two witnesses on the stand, both police officers, =
and rested. Joseph then dismissed charges against Eugene Painter for =
lack of evidence, and against David Paff and Sean Keys because the =
officers were unable to positively identify them.=20

``We anticipated that,'' Pousho said. Because so many tickets were =
issued, ``We knew that identity would be a problem.''=20

Sanford argued that all the tickets should be dismissed because the =
city, fearing that its ``sleeping ban'' is both unpopular and =
unconstitutional, decided to charge them under a different section of =
the camping law, one that he said specifically concerns the erection and =
maintenance of a campsite.=20

He said the evidence showed only that defendants were at the campground, =
not that they set it up. Joseph said he read that section of the =
ordinance differently and denied the motion.=20

The sleeping ban, which is particularly disliked by homeless activists, =
makes it illegal to sleep outside or in vehicles in Santa Cruz between =
11 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. Police were at Camp Paradise by 7:30 a.m. on Aug. =
3.=20

Sanford and Matthew Williamson, who is representing camp founder Larry =
Templeton, will be arguing that the campers had no choice but to break =
the law when they slept at the campground. Defendant Kathryn Phillips, =
for example, testified that she had neither income nor assets when the =
officers found her there.=20

The case continues today against Templeton, Phillips, Jeffery Jeppeson =
and Randy Sue Winchell.=20

Templeton faced not only an illegal camping charge but also potentially =
ruinous California Fish and Game charges. But those charges were dropped =
Friday and Templeton agreed to plead no contest to two other counts, =
including the mutilation of plant life. Templeton was fined $140 and =
given until May to pay.=20

Phillips, arthritic and diabetic, was testifying from her wheelchair =
when time ran out Monday.=20

``Three down, four to go,'' Sanford said. ``I'm thrilled. I think it's =
going exactly according to our fondest hopes.''=20



Contact David L. Beck at dbeck@sjmercury.com =
<mailto:dbeck@sjmercury.com> or at (831) 423-0960.


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<DIV><I><FONT size=3D2>
<P>Published Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2001, in the San Jose Mercury News=20
</P></I></FONT><B><FONT size=3D6>
<P>Judge dismisses charges against 3 of 7 campers</P></B></FONT><FONT =
size=3D4>
<P>B</FONT><FONT size=3D2>Y</FONT><FONT size=3D4> D</FONT><FONT=20
size=3D2>AVID</FONT><FONT size=3D4> L</FONT><FONT size=3D2>.</FONT><FONT =
size=3D4>=20
B</FONT><FONT size=3D2>ECK</FONT><BR><FONT size=3D2>Mercury News</FONT> =
</P>
<P>After their first half-day of trial on charges of violating the Santa =
Cruz=20
anti-camping law, the Camp Paradise Seven was reduced to four. </P>
<P>Trial Commissioner Irwin Joseph on Monday tossed out the charges =
against=20
three defendants who were cited in August for camping at Camp Paradise, =
a=20
much-debated and illegal homeless encampment along the banks of the San =
Lorenzo=20
River. </P>
<P>Defense Attorney Paul Sanford said he was ``thrilled'' with the =
outcome.=20
Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Pousho said she was ``pleased that the =
court=20
denied the motions to dismiss'' on behalf of the other four defendants. =
</P>
<P>The trial began 4 1/2 months after police issued and then let pass a =
deadline=20
for campers to abandon the site they had cleaned up and occupied. On =
Aug. 3,=20
they strolled through the camp early one morning and issued 33 tickets. =
</P>
<P>Since then the city and the campers have been seeking a political =
solution to=20
the impasse over the campers' fate, and trading offers regarding the =
campers'=20
tickets. </P>
<P>Some campers left and had their tickets wiped out. Eight others, =
however,=20
still had $54 tickets outstanding. One of them, Brian Robbins, did not =
appear;=20
Joseph issued a bench warrant for him. </P>
<P>The prosecution put two witnesses on the stand, both police officers, =
and=20
rested. Joseph then dismissed charges against Eugene Painter for lack of =

evidence, and against David Paff and Sean Keys because the officers were =
unable=20
to positively identify them. </P>
<P>``We anticipated that,'' Pousho said. Because so many tickets were =
issued,=20
``We knew that identity would be a problem.'' </P>
<P>Sanford argued that all the tickets should be dismissed because the =
city,=20
fearing that its ``sleeping ban'' is both unpopular and =
unconstitutional,=20
decided to charge them under a different section of the camping law, one =
that he=20
said specifically concerns the erection and maintenance of a campsite. =
</P>
<P>He said the evidence showed only that defendants were at the =
campground, not=20
that they set it up. Joseph said he read that section of the ordinance=20
differently and denied the motion. </P>
<P>The sleeping ban, which is particularly disliked by homeless =
activists, makes=20
it illegal to sleep outside or in vehicles in Santa Cruz between 11 p.m. =
and=20
8:30 a.m. Police were at Camp Paradise by 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 3. </P>
<P>Sanford and Matthew Williamson, who is representing camp founder =
Larry=20
Templeton, will be arguing that the campers had no choice but to break =
the law=20
when they slept at the campground. Defendant Kathryn Phillips, for =
example,=20
testified that she had neither income nor assets when the officers found =
her=20
there. </P>
<P>The case continues today against Templeton, Phillips, Jeffery =
Jeppeson and=20
Randy Sue Winchell. </P>
<P>Templeton faced not only an illegal camping charge but also =
potentially=20
ruinous California Fish and Game charges. But those charges were dropped =
Friday=20
and Templeton agreed to plead no contest to two other counts, including =
the=20
mutilation of plant life. Templeton was fined $140 and given until May =
to pay.=20
</P>
<P>Phillips, arthritic and diabetic, was testifying from her wheelchair =
when=20
time ran out Monday. </P>
<P>``Three down, four to go,'' Sanford said. ``I'm thrilled. I think =
it's going=20
exactly according to our fondest hopes.'' </P>
<P>&nbsp;</P><I>
<P>Contact David L. Beck at <U><FONT color=3D#0000ff>dbeck@sjmercury.com =

&lt;mailto:dbeck@sjmercury.com&gt;</U></FONT> or at (831) =
423-0960.</P></I><FONT=20
face=3D"Times New Roman" size=3D2></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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