ALERT: Homeless Activist Busted - Support Steve Argue in Santa

Tom Boland (
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 20:19:29 -0700 (PDT)

FWD Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 04:28:08 -0700 (MST)
BOUNCED POST via HPN listmember Tom Cagle <>

Off of ADAPT-CA list

From: Marta Russell <>

This is off topic so get your delete
buttons ready if not interested.  I am
posting this for Deb who lives in Santa
Cruz and may want to know about this --
because I lost her private email
address.  Santa Cruz seems like it is
becoming more and more like Los Angeles.


Marta Russell

October 12, 1999

Dear supporters of labor and democratic

As you may know, Santa Cruz homeless
rights and
antiwar activist Steve Argue was
recently convicted of
a felony assault on a police officer.
Steve intervened
when an officer of the Santa Cruz Police
physically attacked a woman and her
4-year-old child
at a peaceful antiwar demonstration on
May 22, 1999,
risking his life to successfully protect
them from
further violence. The police then turned
attention to him, thus allowing the
mother and child
to leave safely. Though Steve was
unarmed and did
not physically resist arrest, he was
brutally beaten
and kicked and had pepper spray forced
down his
throat and into his eyes. He was then
denied medical
treatment for his injuries. Use of
pepper spray in this
manner is potentially lethal.

Unfortunately, the attorney who
represented Steve at
his trial failed to object to motions
that prevented
admitting evidence that would have
supported Steve's
defense. The vicious nature of the
attack on the
woman and child was minimized. Evidence
of a
pattern of police brutality in Santa
Cruz was not
presented. Past, ongoing police
harassment of Steve
for totally legal and peaceful activism
in defense of
homeless people, was not mentioned. The
took an apologetic tone, rather than
defending Steve
for what, in most other circumstances,
would have
been considered a courageous and
honorable act.

Steve is planning to appeal his
conviction. His
supporters are also calling for a
lenient sentence that
would avoid any incarceration.

There are three things you can do to
help Steve:

1. Write a letter to the judge who will
be presiding over
Steve's sentencing hearing. This must be
immediately as his sentencing is
scheduled for
November 3. A sample letter is attached,
but please
use your own words if you have the time.
Please send
your letter to Honorable Judge Atack,
Superior Court
of California, County of Santa Cruz, 701
Ocean St.,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Please send a copy
to the Steve
Argue Defense, 234 High St. #3, Santa
Cruz, CA

You can also send your letter via email
to Tracie De
Angelis at and she
will forward your
letter to Judge Atack. (Make sure you
list your full
name, address and phone number on your

2. Make a contribution to Steve's
defense fund.
Appeals are expensive. The Steve Argue
Defense Fund
needs $2000 as soon as possible to
secure legal
representation for the appeal! Please
write checks or
money orders to the Steve Argue Defense
Fund and
mail them to 234 High St. #3, Santa
Cruz, CA 95060.

3. Get organizations and individuals you
know to do

Steve Argue faces a sentence of up to
four years in
state prison! We must not let that

In Solidarity,

Tracie De Angelis, Millie Phillips and
Alan Benjamin
For the Steve Argue Defense Committee


(sample letter to Judge Atack)

The Honorable Judge Atack
Superior Court of California
County of Santa Cruz
701 Ocean St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Dear Judge Atack:

I (we) was (were) shocked to learn of
the recent
conviction of homeless rights and
anti-war activist
Steve Argue. I (we) hope you will
consider granting
him a very lenient sentence that
incarceration of any kind.

Steve was convicted of defending a woman
and her
small child from a physical assault,
something, that in
most cases, we would consider a brave
and honorable
deed, not a crime. Unfortunately for
Steve, the
attacker was a police officer.

In his trial, his attorney failed to
object to motions
that prevented mitigating evidence from
admitted. Jurors were not made aware
that a police
review board has documented a pattern of
violence in Santa Cruz, including the
recent killing of
a homeless man. They were not informed
that Steve
was subsequently beaten and
pepper-sprayed in his
throat and eyes, and then denied medical
for his injuries. They did not know that
Steve had
been the victim of ongoing police
harassment for his
vocal, and totally legal and peaceful,
advocacy of the
rights of homeless people. They were not
evidence documenting the brutal nature
of the attack
on the woman and her small child, an act
that any
reasonable person would have wanted to

Steve acted as any compassionate and
person would in an emergency. He
without considering probable injury to
himself and
future legal complications, to
successfully protect a
mother and child who were being attacked
at a
peaceful anti-war demonstration while
their constitutional right to protest
acts of violence.

Steve Argue is essentially a non-violent
person, an
outspoken crusader against the violence
homelessness and war. He is not a threat
to society.
He should not go to jail.

Please consider his sentence in the
context of his
activism and beliefs, and in the context
of mitigating


(list your full name, address and phone