Most stay-away orders against Occupy Cal protesters lifted

Oakland Court
Rashad Sisemore/Staff

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The majority of the stay-away orders against Occupy Cal protesters — which initially elicited widespread criticism — have been overturned.

As of this week, only four of the 12 stay-away orders issued to Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protesters remain. Thirteen protesters have been presented with criminal charges in regard to the Nov. 9 protests at UC Berkeley, most of whom are students at the campus.

The protesters still face pre-trial hearings to address the various charges that have been brought against them, which include resisting arrest, battery on a police officer and obstructing a public space. One of the protesters whose stay-away order was dropped last week, Shane Boyle, had his pre-trial hearing Thursday morning.

As for the remaining stay-away orders, Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick said in an email that they would be evaluated “on a case by case basis.”

The attorneys representing the protesters are still taking a hard line, demanding that all charges be dismissed.

“We want to move for dismissing the charges because these charges are a political witch hunt,” said BAMN attorney Ronald Cruz. “(We are) going to use every legal tool at our disposal to expose the DA’s prosecution and the university’s prosecution and expose the misconduct of the police.”

While BAMN attorneys are still exploring various strategies for the upcoming hearings, Cruz said that the protesters’ constitutional right to free speech would certainly play a role.

Jaye Ryan, a defense attorney with the Maas Law Offices who represents Ricardo Gomez — one of the 13 charged — claimed that the violation of the first amendment is “really the whole crux of the case.”

In the email, Drenick said that additional hearings would take place over the course of the next month. Boyle’s hearing is set for May 18.

Although it is currently unclear whether the district attorney’s office will drop the charges against protesters, Cruz is ready to take an aggressive stand against the prosecution.

“The best defense is a good offense,” Cruz said. “We want to put the university on trial.”

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