[Hpn] No Necessity for Homeless People

Becky Johnson Becky_Johnson@sbcglobal.net
Mon, 26 Nov 2001 22:18:05 -0800


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Camp Paradise Verdict Issued

Commissioner Irwin Joseph sees=20

No Necessity for Homeless People

by Becky Johnson

November 26, 2001



Santa Cruz, Ca. --  Four Camp Paradise residents ticketed on August 3rd =
used a necessity defense at trial on November 19th and 20th.  Today,  =
Commissioner Irwin Joseph issued his 5-page ruling in writing, but he =
read it for the public in court. He outlined the 6 prongs of a necessity =
defense as gathered from the State Supreme Court Eichorn Decision which =
requires the court to allow a necessity defense in camping cases.  =
Successfully using that defense involves admitting the defendants broke =
the law but showing by a preponderance of the evidence (51%) that they =
did so:

1. To prevent a significant evil

2. With no adequate alternative

3. Without creating a greater danger than the one avoided

4. With good faith belief in the necessity

5. With such belief being objectively reasonable

6. Under circumstances in which he/she did not substantially contribute =
to the emergency

In his findings Joseph writes: The court finds that establishment of a =
campsite, relatively permanent in nature, is not a "necessity-justified" =
response to the homeless condition in Santa Cruz.. If the defendants had =
been charged with sleeping in a public place (as opposed to erecting and =
maintaining a campsite) the result might be different.

In so finding, Joseph essentially dismissed defense expert testimony =
from CAB Shelter Project Director Paul Brindel.  That and Homeless =
Services Center Director, Ken Cole that there were no places for these =
defendants to legally sleep that night.  Santa Cruz has emergency =
shelter space for 39 people during the non-winter months and 114 spaces =
when the Armory opens November 15th (for those with State picture ID =
only).  Since Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Pousho presented no =
evidence that there were any legal places to sleep on August 3rd, many =
were baffled as to what evidence Joseph was relying on to refute the =
defense's case.

Joseph agreed there was no housing the defendants could afford.   He =
wrote "As of now there are no solutions provided by the City or County." =


Brindel also testified that Police Chief Steve Belcher's own data in =
1999 found that homeless people were 3 to 5 times as likely to be the =
victim of a violent assault than someone indoors.  This statistic gives =
strong credence to the need to camp together for safety, and was ignored =
completely by both the prosecution and the judge.

He chastised Pro bono Attorney Paul Sanford for his closing arguments. =
"The final arguments of counsel ran the gamut from quoting 17th Century =
philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679) to exhortations worthy of a =
protestor's placard ("This case is about the criminalization of =
poverty!") Neither characterization is appropriate for these =
proceedings.

Joseph also concluded that legal options existed for the campers, but =
did not specify what they were.

"What options were in Joseph's mind?" asked an angry journalist. =
"Suicide, wandering around all night every night, banishment to another =
city or breaking another law such as tresspassing?"  Many dismissed =
Joseph's ruling as politically motivated.  Despite the fact the =
defendants had admitted they broke the law by camping, presented =
evidence supported by the court that there was no alternative, showed =
they left the environment in better condition than they found it in, =
believed they had no other choice, were supported by expert testimony =
that there was no legal alternative available, and that they were not =
"homeless by choice", Joseph ignored both the letter of the law and the =
spirit of the defense of necessity.  Brutal violent acts regularly =
committed against homeless people, did not excuse them for gathering =
together for their own safety. There were 41 deaths in 2000, according =
to HSC director Ken Cole.

The City was obviously hard pressed to win this case. To prosecute the 8 =
defendants for a $54 maximum fine, attorneys estimated the City spent an =
estimated $10,000 in legal expenses.  Eight convictions with the maximum =
fine charged would only be $432.  Such are the courts of the rich and =
priviledged. Commissioner Joseph has proven that no matter how hard a =
homeless person tries to be a good member of his community, the law will =
make sure he cannot succeed. Camp Paradise Founder Larry Templeton =
announced the four "campcriminals" would return to their tents tonight.  =
"We have no other choice."



For more information contact HUFF, Homeless United for Friendship & =
Freedom  (831)423-4833

Those wishing a full description of the trial, send your request by =
e-mail to becky_johnson@sbcglobal.net

UPCOMING:  Celebration for the New Mayor of Santa Cruz, Tuesday, =
November 27, the Civic Auditorium 7:30 PM.  This event is free, open to =
the public and food will be served.  Come and let the council know how =
you feel about the Sleeping Ban!




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<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV>&nbsp;</DIV><FONT size=3D2>
<P align=3Dcenter><FONT face=3DArial size=3D4>Camp Paradise Verdict =
Issued</FONT></P>
<P align=3Dcenter><STRONG><FONT face=3DArial size=3D5>Commissioner Irwin =
Joseph sees=20
</FONT></STRONG></P>
<P align=3Dcenter><FONT face=3DArial size=3D5><STRONG>No Necessity for =
Homeless=20
People</STRONG></FONT></P>
<P align=3Dcenter><FONT face=3DArial>by Becky Johnson</FONT></P>
<P align=3Dcenter><FONT face=3DArial>November 26, 2001</FONT></P>
<P>&nbsp;</P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>Santa Cruz, Ca. --&nbsp; Four <EM>Camp Paradise =
</EM>residents=20
ticketed on August 3rd used a necessity defense at trial on November =
19th and=20
20th.&nbsp; Today,&nbsp; <STRONG>Commissioner Irwin Joseph =
</STRONG>issued his=20
5-page ruling in writing, but he read it for the public in court. He =
outlined=20
the 6 prongs of a necessity defense as gathered from the State Supreme =
Court=20
<EM>Eichorn Decision </EM>which requires the court to allow a necessity =
defense=20
in camping cases.&nbsp; Successfully using that defense involves =
admitting the=20
defendants broke the law but showing by a preponderance of the evidence =
(51%)=20
that they did so:</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>1. To prevent a significant evil</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>2. With no adequate alternative</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>3. Without creating a greater danger than the one=20
avoided</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>4. With good faith belief in the necessity</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>5. With such belief being objectively =
reasonable</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>6. Under circumstances in which he/she did not =
substantially=20
contribute to the emergency</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>In his findings Joseph writes: The court finds that=20
establishment of a campsite, relatively permanent in nature, is not a=20
"necessity-justified" response to the homeless condition in Santa Cruz.. =
If the=20
defendants had been charged with sleeping in a public place (as opposed =
to=20
erecting and maintaining a campsite) the result might be =
different.</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>In so finding, Joseph essentially dismissed defense =
expert=20
testimony from <STRONG>CAB Shelter Project Director Paul =
Brindel</STRONG>.&nbsp;=20
That and <EM>Homeless Services Center </EM>Director,&nbsp;<STRONG>Ken =
Cole=20
</STRONG>that there were no places for these defendants to legally sleep =
that=20
night.&nbsp; Santa Cruz has emergency shelter space for 39 people during =
the=20
non-winter months and 114 spaces when the Armory opens November 15th =
(for those=20
with State picture ID only).&nbsp; Since <STRONG>Assistant City Attorney =

Jennifer Pousho </STRONG>presented no evidence that there were any legal =
places=20
to sleep on August 3rd, many&nbsp;were baffled as to what evidence =
Joseph was=20
relying on to refute the defense's case.</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3><STRONG>Joseph </STRONG>agreed there was no housing =
the=20
defendants could afford.&nbsp;&nbsp; He wrote "As of now there are no =
solutions=20
provided by the City or County." </FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3><STRONG>Brindel</STRONG> also testified that =
<STRONG>Police=20
Chief Steve Belcher</STRONG>'s own data in 1999 found that homeless =
people were=20
3 to 5 times as likely to be the victim of a violent assault than =
someone=20
indoors.&nbsp; This statistic gives strong credence to the need to camp =
together=20
for safety, and was ignored completely by both the prosecution and the=20
judge.</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>He chastised <STRONG>Pro bono Attorney Paul Sanford =
</STRONG>for=20
his closing arguments. "The final arguments of counsel ran the gamut =
from=20
quoting 17th Century philosopher <STRONG>Thomas Hobbes </STRONG>(1588 - =
1679) to=20
exhortations worthy of a protestor's placard ("This case is about the=20
criminalization of poverty!") Neither characterization is appropriate =
for these=20
proceedings.</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>Joseph also concluded that legal options existed for =
the=20
campers, but did not specify what they were.</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=3D3>"What options were in Joseph's mind?" asked an angry =
journalist.=20
"Suicide, wandering around all night every night, banishment to another =
city or=20
breaking another law such as tresspassing?"&nbsp; <FONT size=3D3>Many =
dismissed=20
Joseph's ruling as politically motivated.&nbsp; </FONT>Despite the fact =
the=20
defendants had admitted they broke the law by camping, presented =
evidence=20
supported by the court that there was no alternative, showed they left =
the=20
environment in better condition than they found it in, believed they had =
no=20
other choice, were supported by expert testimony that there was no legal =

alternative available, and that they were not "homeless by choice", =
Joseph=20
ignored both the letter of the law and the spirit of the defense of=20
necessity.&nbsp; Brutal violent acts regularly committed against =
homeless=20
people, did not excuse them for gathering together for their own safety. =
There=20
were 41 deaths in 2000, according to <STRONG>HSC director Ken=20
Cole</STRONG>.</FONT><FONT size=3D3></P></FONT>
<P><FONT size=3D3>The City was obviously hard pressed to win this case. =
To=20
prosecute the 8 defendants for a $54 maximum fine, attorneys estimated =
the City=20
spent an estimated $10,000 in legal expenses.&nbsp; Eight convictions =
with the=20
maximum fine charged would only be $432.&nbsp; Such are the courts of =
the rich=20
and priviledged. <STRONG>Commissioner Joseph </STRONG>has proven that no =
matter=20
how hard a homeless person tries to be a good member of his community, =
the law=20
will make sure he cannot succeed. <EM>Camp Paradise </EM><STRONG>Founder =
Larry=20
Templeton </STRONG>announced the four "campcriminals" would return to =
their=20
tents tonight.&nbsp; "We have no other choice."<BR><BR></FONT></P>
<P align=3Dcenter><FONT size=3D3><EM>For more information contact HUFF, =
Homeless=20
United for Friendship &amp; Freedom&nbsp; (831)423-4833</EM></FONT></P>
<P align=3Dcenter><FONT size=3D3><EM>Those wishing a full description of =
the trial,=20
send your request by e-mail to <A=20
href=3D"mailto:becky_johnson@sbcglobal.net">becky_johnson@sbcglobal.net</=
A></EM></FONT></P>
<P align=3Dleft><FONT face=3DDavid size=3D4>UPCOMING:&nbsp; Celebration =
for the New=20
Mayor of Santa Cruz, Tuesday, November 27, the Civic =
Auditorium&nbsp;7:30=20
PM.&nbsp; This event is free,&nbsp;open to the public and food will be=20
served.&nbsp; Come and let the council know how you feel about the =
Sleeping=20
Ban!</FONT></P>
<P align=3Dcenter>&nbsp;</P></FONT></BODY></HTML>

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