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DC: MAYDAY activists face minimum 2 years in jail, maximum 15

4 MAYDAY DC activists face a minimum of 2 years in jail, maximum 15, for alleged burglary, 2nd degree.

More background on today's building occupations at:

MAYDAY activists face minimum 2 years in jail, maximum 15
by Vickie 9:08pm Fri Aug 9 '02 (Modified on 9:10pm Fri Aug 9 '02)

4 MAYDAY DC activists face a minimum of 2 years in jail, maximum 15, for
alleged burglary, 2nd degree.

The DC Code, D. IV, T. 22, Subt. I, Ch. 8 - Burglary, states:

(b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, whoever shall,
either in the night or in the daytime, break and enter, or enter without
breaking, any dwelling, bank, store, warehouse, shop, stable, or other
building or any apartment or room, whether at the time occupied or not, or
any steamboat, canalboat, vessel, or other watercraft, or railroad car, or
any yard where any lumber, coal, or other goods or chattels are deposited
and kept for the purpose of trade, with intent to break and carry away any
part thereof or any fixture or other thing attached to or connected with
the same, or to commit any criminal offense, shall be guilty of burglary
in the second degree. Burglary in the second degree shall be punished by
imprisonment for not less than 2 years nor more than 15 years.

It's pretty clear that the 4 activists did not break into the abandoned
building to carry away any property. So the part of the code that states
"to commit any criminal offense" (inside the building) is absolutely
critical. What criminal offence the 4 are accused of committing in the
building is unclear at this time. It is also important to note that the
alleged criminal offence in question does not need to have been committed
(notice the language "with intent to... "). So the prosecution can/will
allege that the 4 broke into the building and intended to commit some
criminal offence inside.

The important thing to remember is that burglary is classified as a "crime
of violence" and the penalty of 2 to 15 years in jail is no joke.

This is very serious shit.

It is possible that the charges will be reduced due to lack of evidence
that burglary took place.

On the other side, the Olive Branch has recently been evicted by edict of
the mayor. And even before that, the place was under constant
surveillance. The activists in question have come to the attention of the
authorities well before this latest action. It is quite possible that this
time the book will be thrown at then - hence the
ridiculous charge of Burglary 2nd degree.

The following will now happen:

- The 4 will be appear in court tomorrow for presentment (not
arraignment). They will be told what the preliminary charges are. They may
or may not be released. A preliminary hearing date will be set (for within
20 days).

- There will be a Grand Jury (mandatory in DC for all felony cases).

- The 4 will be arraigned.

- A trial date will be set.

- A trial will take place.


Please come and pack the courtroom tomorrow. 500 Indiana Avenue NW,
Courtroom C-10.

[Many thanks to John Sample Esq. for clarifying these legal issues. If
something is reported incorrectly, it's Vickie taking bad notes and not
John Sample being mistaken about the law.]

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