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ATTY. J. TONY SERRA TO REPRESENT FOREST DEFENDER“ABSTRACT” IN HUMBOLDT CO.

$200,000 & $55,000 dollar bail for tree-sitters in humboldt.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Kim Starr (707)629 -


ATTY. J. TONY SERRA TO REPRESENT FOREST DEFENDER"ABSTRACT" IN HUMBOLDT CO.



12/05/02 -- Non-violent protesters, Abstract Jane Marsh and Jamie LeRoy Harris, have been in jail for almost 3 weeks with a combined bail of $255,000 since they were brutally arrested trying to protect old growth Redwood and Doug Fir forests. A team of lawyers, including J. Tony Serra, who is known for representing such radicals as Earth First! organizers, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney in a successful civil rights lawsuit against the FBI and Black Panther, Huey Newton, has just come together to defend the non-violent protesters, particularly Abstract, who is being charged with a myriad of absurd allegations such as assault and indecent exposure. All alumni of Stanford Law School, Mr. Serra and two other talented attorneys, Omar Figueroa and local Michael Acosta have committed themselves pro bono (free of charge) because as Mr. Acosta states, "It's a righteous case."

Over a month ago, during a court-ordered stay (halt) on nearly all Maxxam/Pacific Lumber's logging activities, PL began carving in a logging road in the, already damaged, old growth redwood Freshwater area right next to 1200 year old tree, "Jerry," that activist , "Remedy," has been sitting in and protecting for the past 8 ˝ months. About 15 concerned residents, including Abstract and Jamie, showed up on the side of the public road near "Jerry" to speak out against PL's activity and make sure that the 11 treesits in the area remained safe. Abstract, in the brave tradition of non-violent civil disobedience laid her body down in the woods near the running machinery while other demonstrators dialogued with the present Sheriff's deputies, the PL road crew, and the treesitters. The machine operator, who was turning the diverse forest floor into a bare dirt road, turned off his machinery long enough for the Sheriff's deputies to grab a limp Abstract by the arms and haul her up, handcuff, and throw her into the police vehicle. Witnessed and on videotape was one officer Bolton kneeing the young activist in the head as she and Deputy Hansen (a well known purveyor of police brutality, i.e. pepper spraying peaceful protesters) painfully carried Abstract. Soon Jamie was arrested during a discussion with Hansen about the proximity of the machinery and the activists and onlookers still standing on the side of the public road.

Jailed for several days, the two forest defenders, Jamie and Abstract, were released with no charges or terms since the District Attorney failed to bring them to court in the required legal time (a common Humboldt practice).By the next week, with Maxxam/PL subcontractors clearcutting (again, against court order) the ancient Redwood and Doug Fir "Demonstration Forest" along the Avenue of the Giants, Jamie and Abstract rose 200 feet into a tree to prevent it from being cut. PL hired climbers came to freeze and starve the sitters out of the tree and were unsuccessful, yet cut down all of their food, warm gear, and water. The next day, PL subcontractor, Ed Lewis of Lewis Logging Co. and another timber worker physically attacked activists who were engaged in a nonviolent gate protest for the Demo Forest. The protesters/victims called the Sheriff's Dept.; deputies appeared after the attackers left the scene and refused to take reports on the subsequent violence. Within a couple of hours, PL climbers again went up, this time to physically evict Jamie and Abstract from 'their' threatened tree. The two sitters stripped in an attempt to protect themselves, however the male climbers strapped a harness between Abstract's naked legs, handcuffed and used pain holds on both of the protesters 200 feet up, and lowered them down, Jamie with a harness that "felt like it was crushing my chest cavity." Loggers and deputies verbally harassed the treesitters and later, in the jail and police car, deputies abused Abstract physically and emotionally.

The DA filed criminal charges against Abstract and Jamie for the prior and new protest incidents. Then, in a seemingly defensive attempt to evade the issue of the Sheriff's deputies' guilt regarding their abusive behavior and misconduct, the DA added charges of assault, indecent exposure, and false ID to Abstract's trespassing and resisting charges, typical to forest protests. In addition, Judge Timothy Cissna, who is no longer the presiding judge, due to a motion filed by Jamie's public defender, Jamie Flower, held two hearings before their announced times- resulting in the public, including many protest supporters, missing the court proceedings. Cissna also refused to release the demonstrators last week, calling Jamie a danger to society and raising Abstract's bail to a whopping $200,000.

Hopefully, an OR/bail hearing tomorrow or Monday will result in their release. With a different judge, loads of community support, and a strong legal team including J. Tony Serra, political prisoner Jamie is encouraged: "Things are going to be turning around, not just with our case but, hopefully, with civil rights and environmental law."

homepage: homepage: http://indybay.org/features/forest/

Released on OR and Bail 11.Dec.2002 10:54

humm

So Abstract and Tree were released in the evening on 12/10/02. Superior Court Judge Wilson released Abstract on her own recognizance and Tree had his bail lowered to $5000 and the 10% was posted and he's free for now. Trial is set for Febuary 3, 2003. Mr. Serra is still on board as defense trial counsel and the defendants look forward to their day in court.

On another note, Office Bolton of the PL/Humboldt Sheriff's department is now informing people that forest defenders are part of a cult and they have a particular leader. Which to say that, is riduculous. Coppers just don't get it, in a movement where people are empowered, there are only those who act and by default appear to be leaders, but really, it's a leaderless movement. Sorry Officer Bolton, try again.....

I'd be looking into government protection for slanderous statements made in the line of an investigation, cause a federal 1983 claim might be coming your way....