10/7/08 Update: The RNC arrestees survey is still available, and we need YOU to fill it out! Even if you have not been formally charged, your response is extremely important! There are only 10 questions, so please take 3 minutes and fill it out TODAY if you haven’t already!
An Update from the Arrestee Support Network:
Besides kicking our asses, one of the most effective weapons the state has against us is the legal system. By overcharging people in order to make them plead guilty to a lesser charge, the state is able to: prevent people from suing them (if you plead guilty to ANYTHING in criminal court, you’ll have a very difficult time winning in civil court); put something on your criminal record for your political organizing and activities; put you on probation to prevent you from organizing in the future and keep you on a leash; cost you money.
While we understand not everyone will be in a position to fight their charges, we’ve put together a survey to assess our strengths and weaknesses as we move forward. Take a minute to answer 10 questions and make sure other people you were arrested with know that we’d like to get their feedback.
If you were arrested during the RNC, please take a moment to fill out the survey at the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=WQXX7jwnuDjmcVGYJu5Wow_3d_3d.
Please respond by this Friday, October 3rd if possible. This is very time-sensitive information that will allow us to assess our collective strength and move forward as quickly as possible!
Following is some more information about our next steps and further resources:
STEP 1 – Bargaining
By bargaining collectively with other people arrested during the RNC, we intend to: get a plea agreement that would protect everyone, including people from vulnerable communities and with higher charges; protect everyone’s right to sue the police and the city; prevent people from getting criminal charges or probation; prevent people from paying fines.
STEP 2 – Fighting Charges
If we aren’t able to get an acceptable collective plea bargain the next step would be to fight all charges. By demanding our right to a public defender and a jury trial we put pressure on the court system, making life difficult for the prosecution. People with petty misdemeanors who aren’t eligible for a public defender could represent themselves (pro se), or a group arrested together could have one person get a private attorney so they had the benefit of legal council, while the rest go pro se. People with misdemeanors could get public defenders and people with felonies could get public defenders or private attorneys. People may also want to collectively demand the right to a speedy trial.
In the event that the prosecution is unwilling to give us an acceptable deal, the more people fight their cases, the harder it will make things for the prosecution. The resources we have available for people who are fighting their case are: people to make court displays, investigators and researchers to help locate evidence (video, witnesses, photographs), a fund to help people pay travel expenses, a locally-based legal support group consisting of a hospitality working group, a fundraising working group, a political pressure working group, a court watch working group, a felony/high risk support working group, an outreach/community organizing working group, a working group to document our process for future use, and a media working group. Spokes from each of these working groups have formed an arrestee support steering committee.
Also see http://rnc08arrestees.wordpress.com/ for more info, or contact rnc08arrestees(at)riseup.net