Hearing postponed for UC Berkeley professor charged in Nov. 9 Occupy Cal

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Thursday’s preliminary hearing for UC Berkeley associate professor of English Celeste Langan, who has been issued criminal charges for her involvement in the Nov. 9 Occupy Cal protest, was postponed until next month.

The newly scheduled May 4 date will be almost six months after Langan’s initial arrest at the protest in November and nearly two months after Langan was arraigned at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

At the news, Langan raised her arms in exasperation, and left the courtroom.

“It feels like harassment,” she said afterwards. “I was arrested four months ago, and the D.A. hasn’t yet decided what to do.”

Last month, in the same courthouse, Langan pleaded not guilty to one charge of resisting arrest, one charge of remaining at the scene of a riot and one charge of obstructing a person’s free movement in a public place.

Thirteen protesters — including Langan — have been criminally charged, and eight have stay-away orders barring them from the UC Berkeley campus.

“Quite frankly, the case should be dismissed,” said Kellin Cooper, Langan’s lawyer. “That did not happen today, and there will be further discussions. Mrs. Langan did not do anything wrong.”

Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick said the court case is in the process of preliminary hearings to discuss possible resolutions.

“It just got continued … (This is) not at all an unusual happening,” she said.

Cooper said that if the case is not dismissed and continues to drag on, he plans on going straight to trial.

“I would expect that if this case goes to trial, the jurors would appreciate that (Langan) was only exercising her constitutional rights … and vote to acquit,” he said.

Though Cooper was not present in court Thursday, Dustin Gordon — a partner from Cooper Law Offices — represented Langan in front of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan.

“American court proceedings are interminable,” said Vice-Chair of the Berkeley Faculty Association Richard Walker, in an email. “But the whole thing is a joke — charging Prof. Langan for getting beaten up by the police. With any luck, the D.A. will wise up and drop the charges. No one wants this.”

Since March, the UC Berkeley Faculty Association has garnered more than 360 signatures for their petition asking UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to request that the district attorney drop the charges.

In a letter sent Mar. 14 to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Birgeneau and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer linked to the online petition but did not take a definitive position on whether they would like the charges dropped.

“I’m frustrated that they are delaying the dismissal,” Langan said.

Weiru Fang covers Berkeley communities.