Home > Uncategorized > Jury Acquits Arrested Courthouse Protesters

Jury Acquits Arrested Courthouse Protesters

After more than a dozen hours of deliberation, a Humboldt County jury has acquitted the three people who were on trial for remaining present on courthouse grounds after 9:30 PM.  The three are Peter Camacho, Kim Starr, and Amanda Tierney.

The report comes from Janelle Egger, who has sued the county in federal court over its “urgency ordinance”, which created the curfew under which the three were arrested, and which bans signs that touch the precious, precious courthouse grass.

  1. Carla Baku
    July 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Outstanding news! Congrats to Janelle and all!

  2. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    July 11, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    “With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day…..

    ….And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

  3. tra
    July 11, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Given the amount of time the jury deliberated, it looks like they considered the issues very carefully. I’ll be interested to hear more details about how they reached their decision.

    This should be a wake-up call to the Board of Supervisors. Perhaps they shouldn’t have ignored all the warnings about how they were overstepping their authority as rushed this “urgency ordinance” through.

  4. Mitch
    July 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    The “urgency ordinance” accomplished its job, albeit by violating the United States constitution and the principles that make America worth defending. The homeless and the mentally ill have been pushed out of the view of the courthouse workers and the supervisors, and the hideously ugly building housing our hideously ugly government once again looks tidy at a superficial glance.

  5. Just Middle Class
    July 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    This ruling is a disaster to the authority of our elected government. These people never obtained the proper permits to petition their government for redress. How will we get our economy rolling without social order? Freedom of Commerce, our most cherished amendment, has taken a back seat to freedom to dissent. What we need is order. Only then will we be truly free, to conduct business.

  6. Just Middle Finance
    July 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    opps, wrong name

  7. Mitch
    July 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I wonder if the acquitted protesters can now sue the County for false arrest? I sure hope so.

  8. Amy Breighton
    July 11, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    This episode confirms that our supervisors can, in fact, get “urgent” over something….while every measurable indicator of our local economy, environment and society continues its rapid decline.

    It’s going to take some unparalleled rhetoric for these developer-hacks to return to the agenda dictated by their largest campaign donors.

    “We must move forward and protect the God-given rights of the propertied-class to build as they see fit….or are you against jobs and growth???”

  9. HUUFC
    July 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Your glee at the prospect of suing the county will just waste more time and money. What have the occutards accomplished anyways? People that can sit around the courthouse for hours and days on end have mental problems. Go to work instead it’s more fullfilling.

  10. Felix
    July 11, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    The kudos go to Kim Starr, Amanda Tierney and Peter Comacho. Janelle’s lawsuit is pending. It is a victory for all of us though, I’m sure she would agree. THANK YOU!
    Yes, the supervisors should riscind the ordinance now! Not just modify it, rescind!

  11. July 11, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    There has been a change in the Board of Supes. I doubt that any more “urgency ordinances” will pass. Existing laws are adequate if you are not to lazy to look them up. I’m glad that the protesters won.

  12. July 11, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    The Constitutionally guaranteed right to demonstrate and to protest is NO right when permission (permits) is required from the very ones being protested. It’s nice to see that some people have a little backbone in Humboldt County.

  13. Amy Breighton
    July 11, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    If not for the persistipants exercising our Constitutional right to protest throughout history, women would still be chattel working alongside their children in textile mills…among the multitude of other injustices and repression, (recent and old), consistently ignored by media, academia, and government.

  14. What Now
    July 11, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    The Best of the U.S. Constitution is reaffirmed against faccist roaders and social troglodytes.
    THANK YOU Kim, Peter, Amanda and Janelle!

  15. Not A Native
    July 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I was anticipating a hung jury. Its surprising and much better news.

    Now, I just wonder how the Right wingers will react. I believe they engineered this emergency ordinance to discredit Gallegos and obtain his ouster. They created a crisis by getting the Sheriff to refuse responsibility to enforce existing laws. Will they now attribute the verdict to incompetence by Gallegos? I wouldn’t put that deceitful lie past them.

  16. What Now
    July 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Good points, NAN.
    A sheriff abdicates his reponsibilities and suddenly it’s everyone else’s problem.
    Passing the buck is a great reichwing tradition.

  17. Anonymous
    July 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    A sheriff who abdicates his responsibilities as a political stunt should be unemployed.

  18. Walt
    July 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    “If not for the persistipants exercising our Constitutional right. . .” nice combination of adjective and noun: persistent participants. Guess that’s what it takes. . .

  19. High Finance
    July 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    WTF, the slime of Eureka wins by the courts again.

    The decent people of Eureka may as well move out.

  20. July 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    What are you saying there HF, that juries are bought like judges and politicians?

  21. Sunny
    July 11, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    High Finance appears to disagree with the 1st Amendment to our Constitution. He could work to rescind it using a process outlined in same. If enough people agree, it will happen. Luckily, he and the Humboldt Board of Supervisors don’t get to make that call for the rest of us.

  22. Anonymous
    July 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out High Slime….

  23. July 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya’ there hi fi…

  24. tra
    July 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    The law ain’t fit, so the jury did acquit.

  25. Mitch
    July 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm


    I think a barnyard epithet would make your couplet scan better.

  26. Gil Yule
    July 12, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Wow! Justice…I’m amazed.

  27. Mitch
    July 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I would love to know what went on in the jury room. Given the length of the deliberations, they certainly didn’t start with any unanimity. It would be interesting to know whether they started out closer to 11-1, 1-11, or 6-6.

    This is the brilliant potential of the jury system — the government has to convince a panel of twelve if it wants a conviction. It’s one potential way that the government can be forced to conform to the will of the citizens, even when the wealthiest have bought the politicians and elections.

  28. anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

    That would be interesting. Perhaps a local version of the movie “Twelve Angry Men”.

  29. July 12, 2012 at 10:14 am

    The report is that they carefully and deliberately went through a process. They watched the video several times, asked many questions, of each other and the judge. Sounds like there may have been some who wanted to quit last Friday, and I remember one day when several appeared to be uncomfortably as they came out of deliberations for a break. Word is that with friendly persuasion (this is important, we’ll bring food) they agreed to continue. Though most wanted to simply get on with their lives, all appeared comfortable and confident in the decision.

    IMHO, Part of the process was easy. Answering the question, did the defendants do something the laws prohibits? The second part was harder and is harder to understand. I think it might have involved the question of whether what they did was criminal. In other words did they intend to harm, or did their actions actually do harm? In this case the jury found that the defendants intended to exercise their first amendment rights and that they did no harm as they did that. They were simply exercising the right to free speech in the form of a vigil and the right to peacefully assemble to do that.

  30. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    “WTF, the slime of Eureka wins by the courts again. The decent people of Eureka may as well move out.wins by the courts again.” – Hi Fi

    What is so hard for Hi Fi to comprehend is that contrary to his assertions, a jury selected from a cross section of the population found the action to be consistent with people exercising their right of free speech.
    If you’ve ever gone through jury selection and sat on a jury then you know it truly is a cross section and typically includes a broad range of ages, gender, education, professions, and economic status. In other words, “the decent people”.
    The ordinance is an unnecessary overreach (considering the existing laws for civil behavior) and a representative cross section of our citizens (the decent people) recognized that fact.

  31. High Finance
    July 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    A jury acquitted OJ also.

  32. Fact Checker
    July 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    “Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants,[2] whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and were not U.S. citizens.[3] Since passage of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the decision has not been a precedent case, but retains historical significance as perhaps the worst decision ever made by the Supreme Court.[4]”

  33. Not A Native
    July 12, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Fi, why do you hate democracy and impartial justice? Oh yeah, I get it, you welcome other people’s opinions to count only if they agree with yours.

    A fundamental principle in this country is that justice is imperfect but its more just for a guilty person to be exonerated than an innocent person to be convicted.

    I’ve written it before and you need to hear it daily: You’re a traitor to the US. Your self-centered opinions denigrate everyone who has willingly given up something for the sole benefit of others while expecting nothing in return.

  34. July 12, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    YE HAVE THE POOR ALWAYS WITH YOU”whether we like it or not

  35. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Sour grapes Mr Hi Fi?
    Apparently juries and judges are “the decent people” as long as they agree with Hi Fi’s preferences, otherwise they’re dupes.

  36. What Now
    July 12, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Highly Fried and delusional has issues with “the commoners” insisting that their “rights” are real, tangible, and avaialble for use and not merely nice arcane words to placate and salve the aspirations, hopes, and dreams of the distatsteful “unwashed masses”.

  37. High Finance
    July 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    NAN, are you really that dumb or are you pretending ?

    The “Commoners” you profess to love What Now, hate those addicts, bums and assorted freaks that hung out at the Courthouse even more than I did What Now.

  38. Eric Kirk
    July 12, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Congratulations to the defendants! The jury obviously didn’t take it lightly. I would like to hear from some of them if possible.

    A jury acquitted OJ also.

    That’s because the LAPD showed itself to be so incompetent that they couldn’t frame a guilty man.

  39. Not A Native
    July 13, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Hi Fi so what you’re writing is that it’s if I abhor someone’s beliefs or lifestyle it is inconsistent for me to adocate for them to receive impartial justice. Are you actually so self centered and unable to discern the difference between having a negative opinion or criticism of another person and imposing that opinion on them by subverting the principles of this nation?

    What makes you a traitor isn’t that you’re arrogant and despise people who are different from you. What makes you a traitor is that in pursuit of your selfish and mean agendas you knowingly deny and oppose the ethic embodied in democratically established legal justice.

  40. July 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Eric Kirk: “That’s because the LAPD showed itself to be so incompetent that they couldn’t frame a guilty man.”

    This is what you get from lawyers. We certainly DO NOT have that problem in Humboldt County, or should I say Eureka. The Spoken Word of unbiased justice and impartial representation.

  41. High Finance
    July 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    NAN, you are guilty of the cheap debating trick of exaggerating your opponents views. I want to assume your college graduation certificate proves you are capable of understanding what I am really saying but my confidence in your reasoning abilities is rapidly decreasing.

    When you post like an adult I will respond.

  42. Eric Kirk
    July 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    This is what you get from lawyers. We certainly DO NOT have that problem in Humboldt County, or should I say Eureka. The Spoken Word of unbiased justice and impartial representation.

    Are you saying the Sheriff’s Department can’t frame a guilty man?

  43. Fact Checker
    July 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    High Finance said: July 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    “When you post like an adult I will respond.”

    Pot, kettle, black.

  44. July 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    we are castigating eachother about the messengers–how about the messege- what ever happen4d to Free Speech—-

  45. Coney Island Geek
    July 14, 2012 at 6:11 am

    Wow. All these comments, based on a blurb that three people were acquitted. No reporting on why they were acquitted, or what the reasoning of the jurors was. No details about anything. None of you have any idea on what grounds these people were acquitted, yet, you’re all either claiming victory or defeat. Quoting MLK, and the Dred Scott decision? You people are hysterical.

    BTW, Mitch, there are some mighty fine, hard-working folks inside that Courthouse, from janitors, to Assistant District Attorneys, Public Defenders, Victims Rights Advocates, clerks, paralegals, veteran reps, secretaries, investigators, counsellors, cops, and many, many, more, working for your “hideously ugly government,” trying to make a broken system work for all of us. I’ve been reading your posts. You’re an ideologue. Fuck off, wanker.

  46. Mitch
    July 14, 2012 at 7:33 am


    I don’t suggest otherwise. There are many fine people working for a broken, ugly system. It’s always been that way.

    When a collection of low level pols trashes the United States Constitution because a low level Sheriff abdicates his responsibilities, that’s hideously ugly. Sorry you’re a geek.

  47. High Finance
    July 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

    From what a juror told me, the instructions the Judge gave was that if the Jury thinks the defendents believed they were exercising their Constitutional rights then they must acquit.

    If that was the instruction then the Judge needs to go back to school.

  48. Joel Mielke
    July 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Yes, the judge couldn’t possibly have HiFi’s profound understanding of constitutional law.

  49. Not A Native
    July 14, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Simply another confirmation of Hi Fi being a traitor to the US.

    In the late 18th century, open US traitors were eventually compelled to emigrate. Mainly to Canada, England and the Caribbean where their Royalist sympathies were still fashionable.

    Today, we’re more Liberal and tolerate traitors like Hi Fi in our midst. But we shouldn’t be confused and not know him for what he is: Poster child for an undemocratic US.

  50. Eric Kirk
    July 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    That was reported on another blog. I guess that means they were charged with a “specific intent” crime which requires a particular state of mind to determine guilt. It sounds like something’s missing in translation however. I would appreciate it if anyone could get the specific wording of the jury instruction.

    I would much rather the jury decision was based on a finding that the ordinance itself was unduly burdensome on the right to assemble and speak. That would send a clearer message.

  51. Mitch
    July 20, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Someone who I believe to be in the know has forwarded me a version of the jury instruction used in the trial, CalCrim 3406. Here is a “fill in the blanks” version of the instruction, not the actual words used by the trial judge:

    The defendant is not guilty of if (he/she) did not have the intent or mental state required to commit the crime because (he/she) [reasonably] did not know a fact or [reasonably and] mistakenly believed a fact. [] If the defendants conduct would have been lawful under the facts as (he/she) [reasonably] believed them to be, (he/she) did not commit [insert crime[s]]. [] If you find that the defendant believed that [and if you find that belief was reasonable], (he/she) did not have the specific intent or mental state required for . [] If you have a reasonable doubt about whether the defendant had the specific intent or mental state required for , you must find (him/her) not guilty of (that crime/those crimes).

    I’ve got to add that I find this jury instruction truly remarkable and wonderful; it strikes me as an invitation to jury nullification of laws which the government passes but which jurors find to be unconstitutional. That is, if conduct would have been lawful on the reasonable belief that a law is itself unconstitutional, that conduct does not constitute the commission of a crime.

    I’d be interested to hear more about this from any lawyers.

  52. Mitch
    July 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

    From the person who provided information about the jury instruction:

    “I feel a need to clarify further.

    “I don’t think the intent of this instruction is to nullify LAWS that the jury believes are not reasonable.

    “This instruction speaks to the issue of specific criminal intent.
    I believe the basic idea is that if the jury believes the defendant was NOT “out to break a law” — but may have ended up breaking a law — then a “not guilty” verdict may be appropriate.

    “For example, if one parent picked up a child after school and genuinely believed s/he had legal custody that day (perhaps for a weekend visit), but did not (in actuality) have legal custody that day (maybe it was an “off” weekend and there was a mixup in communication) — then a jury should not find that person guilty of kidnapping — for instance…. This does not mean that the jury believes that kidnapping laws themselves are not good laws — but it speaks to the genuine intent of the defendant — as the jury sees it.”

    Back to me. I don’t know about the intent of the instruction, but I can at least state how it makes me think.

    If I were on a jury given this instruction, and…

    * the defendant had done something that I believed was protected by the American constitution, and;

    * the defendant also asserted that their action was protected by the American constitution, and;

    * the defendant had clearly broken a law that I believed to be unconstitutional

    I would vote to acquit the defendant, and I would do so with complete comfort that I was following the judge’s instructions as well as my own conscience. In the absence of such an instruction, I would still vote to acquit, but in such a case I would be acting in contempt of what our legal system has become.

  53. July 20, 2012 at 10:53 am

    High Finance :
    From what a juror told me, the instructions the Judge gave was that if the Jury thinks the defendents believed they were exercising their Constitutional rights then they must acquit.

    If that was the instruction then the Judge needs to go back to school.

    Ask your juror if he remembers talking about whether or not that belief was reasonable.

    The instruction given in this case is part of the record in Eureka, for those who wish to discuss facts. I am not in Eureka so, based on my recollection– I don’t remember the phrase “reasonably did not know a fact or reasonably and mistakenly believed a fact.” PERHAPS because in this case the unconstitutionality of the “urgency ordinance” was the fact the defendants were found to reasonably believe to be true.

    The jury also asked for the wording of the First Amendment. As I remember, the judge changed “Congress” to “Government” to reflect the impact of a later Amendment (14?) and left out the freedom of religion clause to avoid discussions not relevant to their deliberation.

  54. Eric Kirk
    July 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Oh. That may have been a misapplication of the instruction, but fortunately the prosecution can’t appeal. Basically, a mistake of fact is a defense. A mistake of law is not.

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