Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Discovery Issues in Dec. 17 Hearing

Update from SF 8 hearing of Dec. 17

In the matter of discovery, there is still no resolution to defense demands for complete discovery – not that anything new has been produced by the prosecution after over 37 years. Now that we are approaching the 2-year anniversary of the "new" charges (charges that were dismissed in the 1970s by San Francisco prosecutors), the prosecutors are still reluctant to turn over "non-discoverable" evidence, information about FBI wiretaps, contact information for potential key witnesses, forensic tests about weapons (some weapons were destroyed or sold by New Orleans police), and the names of agents and examiners whose fingerprint analysis exonerates all the men charged in the SF 8 case. [Note: results of the weapons tests were finally released in January and they show no match between the alleged weapon and the scene. See court updated from January 23 above.]

To listen to the prosecution explain it, evidence is not being withheld with intent. Yet some of these very requests for information (discovery) were raised in court in 2007 and have still not been met.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

International Human Rights Day Vigil: SF 8 Delegation to Jerry Brown

SF 8 supporters joined some three to four dozen spirited demonstrators participated in the Ecumenical Peace Institute's weekly anti-war vigil at the Oakland Federal Building December 9 in an expanded International Human Rights Day event. Demonstrators celebrated this day by projecting international human rights issues from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Haitian political prisoners (in particular Ronald Dauphin) to the SF 8. Participants included, in addition to the Committee to Free the San Francisco 8: the Ecumenical Peace Institute, the Haiti Action Committee, Gabriela Network, Global Women's Strike, Bay Area Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, Peace & Freedom Party, Women for Peace Mustardseed Affinity Group, and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.

Open Letter to the California Attorney General

A delegation consisting of members from the SF 8 Committee, Haiti Action, and a legal observer then went to Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office at the Oakland State Office Building to provide him with the Open Letter calling for dropping the charges against the SF 8. According to the delegation, “On the floor where the AG’s office is located, there was absolutely no one there. No one, not even a secretary. Talk about hollow government! Eventually we found a receptionist on another floor who made multiple phone calls about what to do with us, and ultimately agreed to take our packet and to give it to the Attorney General.

Ecumenical Peace Institute, Women in Black, and other groups maintain a weekly vigil each Tuesday noon at the Oakland Federal Building calling for an end to the occupation of Iraq.

Haiti Action Committee highlighted the issue of political prisoners in Haiti, focusing on the case of Ronald Dauphin. Dauphin is a Lavalas political prisoner who has been held in nightmarish conditions since the 2004 coup that overthrew the democratic government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The vigil also raised the continuing demand for the safe return of Haitian human rights activist, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, who was disappeared on August 12, 2007.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Update from SF 8 hearing of Dec. 5

In a brief court hearing today (December 5) for the San Francisco 8, nothing was decided. Everything was carried over.
The purpose of this hearing was to schedule the start of the preliminary hearing to establish whether there is probable cause to bring the case to trial; Judge Philip Moscone had previously stated his intention to start that hearing in early January. However, the prosecutor, David Druliner of the California Attorney General's office, announced that his office was still preparing thousands more pages of discovery yet to be turned over to the defense, and suggested a mid-April start. He has already given the defense 150,000 pages.

Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim (aka Anthony Bottom) requested, through their lawyers Stuart Hanlon and Mark Goldrosen, that the judge impose a cut-off date for discovery and set the preliminary hearing date for January 5, 2009, as they are anxious to move the case forward and the continual delay by the prosecution is unreasonable by established legal standards.

Defense counsel raised the possibility of severing one or more of the defendants and proceeding to separate trials. When Judge Moscone asked whether severance would impact the case, Mr. Druliner responded that the case would then "fragment like a grenade through the court system," tying up his staff as well as court and jail staff. The judge acknowledged the logistical implications of severance, but noted that it might be necessary anyway. He also noted that if the case does proceed beyond the preliminary hearing, there would be an evidentiary hearing on the defense's motion to dismiss the charges. All of this before a possible actual trial.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Targeting Dissent - The SF Eight (new article)

Op Ed News summarizes the case as of October 29, 2008. See the article by Stephen Lendman. And don't forget the vigil in Oakland Dec. 9 -- see post below.

SF 8 in D.C. Saturday Dec. 6

December 6 the Black Memorabilia and Collectible Show in Washington, D.C. featured "The Black Panther Party Exhibit ... facilitated by former members of the organization with a special presentation by former Panther Political Prisoners now known internationally as The San Francisco 8." Details of the show can be found at Black News.