[News] Oakland - Fight Jerry Brown's curfew against parolees and probationers

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 24 14:32:21 EST 2005


Join Critical Resistance and All of Us or None as we cite Jerry Brown
for harassing and scapegoating the people of Oakland.


         9:30 P.M.

Want to help make POSTERS? Join us at 7:00PM at the Critical Resistance
office - 1904 FRANKLIN STREET (AT 19TH), ROOM 504.

Jerry Brown continues to scapegoat parolees and probationers for causing
all of Oakland's problems as he plans a run for Attorney General.  His
newest campaign scheme is to impose a curfew on probationers and
parolees -- arresting them if they leave their house after 10pm.

After serving time in torturous conditions, former prisoners are faced
with prejudice and discrimination that make their re-entry into society
difficult and, in some cases, impossible.  Prison sentences never end as
long as the discrimination against former prisoners -- like establishing
a 10pm curfew -- continues.

We need to join together to fight for real safety in Oakland.
Scapegoating and persecuting people on probation and parole will NOT
make Oakland safe. Real safety will only come when we spend our money
and time on supporting and creating opportunities for all people, not on
harassing them.

510-444-0484 or email croakland at criticalresistance.org. Or call All of
Us or None: 415-255-7036, x337.

Sitara Nieves, Organizer
Critical Resistance
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 504
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-444-0484


  Posted on Mon, Jan. 10, 2005
Adult curfew is probation's latest tactic

By Guy Ashley
OAKLAND - Curfew, the after-sundown restriction that smacks of a
crackdown on rebellious youths' Saturday-night antics, has a more
hardened group feeling the heat: adults who have past run-ins with the

In a program that may be unprecedented in California, prosecutors acting
at the urging of Oakland police are demanding 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfews
as a common probation condition for those pleading guilty to felonies in
Alameda County Superior Court.

Judges have imposed dozens of curfew orders since the demands began
reaching their courts three months ago as part of plea deals negotiated
between defense attorneys and prosecutors.

Curfews have displeased defense lawyers, who say it is the latest defeat
for defendants who in recent years have faced harsher sentencing laws,
longer probation terms and stay-away orders that have become everyday
courtroom occurrences.

Defense lawyers say their hands may be tied because the curfews have
shrewdly been offered to their clients as part of a
rock-and-a-hard-place proposition: If you would rather not stay home at
night, jail is always an option.

"It's a cowardly and scary new world," Oakland defense attorney Paul
Wolf said Friday, moments after a client was sentenced to five years'
probation in a weapons case, a term accompanied by a curfew. "But in a
more narrow context, I must admit I feel some sense of relief that my
client is not going to jail."

To hear Mayor Jerry Brown talk about it, curfews hold the promise of
stifling nighttime adult activities with established links to violent
crime -- and could be the missing piece of the puzzle in Oakland's
effort to control its notorious homicide problem.

"You have to go where the problem is," Brown said in 2003, when he first
broached the curfew idea with county law enforcement brass. "Since more
than 50 percent of the murder victims in this city are either on
probation or parole, it makes sense to try to rein in the activities of
these people in some meaningful way."

Efforts to reach Brown this week were unsuccessful. The mayor is cited
by police as the driving force behind curfews, part of an array of
criminal-justice reforms Brown has touted as he positions himself for a
run for state attorney general next year.

Though a fairly common condition of state-mandated parole, the use of
curfews in locally imposed probation appears to be a ground-breaking
concept. "We've seen curfews for teenagers, but we don't know of any
other cities where this practice is in place for adults," said Megan
Taylor, spokeswoman for the League of California Cities.

"I've never seen it," said Albert Manaster, a deputy public defender in
Los Angeles County who recently completed a book for defense attorneys
specializing in probation.

Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff said he believes curfews are
appropriate for certain convicted felons, as long as there is a clear
link between their offenses and the types of night-driven activities
that seem time and again to erupt in violence.

"We won't be prosecuting a person for petty theft at high noon and
placing them under a curfew," he said.

Penalties for violating curfew are fairly fluid, though prosecutors say
first-time violators will likely get up to 30 days in county jail.

No such violations have yet been recorded, said Ann Diem, a senior
prosecutor in Orloff's office.

While curfews so far have been confined to Oakland cases, Orloff said he
expects probationers in other county areas soon will be asked to accept
the home-at-night conditions, when warranted.

With some 20,000 people on felony probation in Alameda County, it is not
too far-fetched to say there may be thousands of people eventually
living under the stay-at-home orders if the curfew strategy proves

Precise numbers of curfew orders imposed so far were not available --
either from Orloff's staff, the county public defender's office or the
courts themselves.

"Since we're dealing with a large number of these types of crimes, I
would expect that there already is a significant number of people living
under a curfew," said Sandra Quist, a deputy district attorney who files
felony cases at the downtown Oakland courthouse.

It is possible the numbers could grow dramatically in coming months,
Quist said, because prosecutors likely will begin seeking curfews for
misdemeanor probation cases -- the number of which dwarf those involving

The curfew demands arrived in local courts on Oct. 4, after more than a
year of Oakland efforts to target the parole population with expanded
law enforcement tools including curfews and mandatory meetings with
community-based service providers.

Curfews are the latest phase in a violence-reduction strategy police
have been pushing in the last 15 months. An array of crime-fighting
approaches targeting troubled pockets of town, the new strategy grew
from studies showing disproportionate numbers of homicides occur at
night and involve people on probation or parole -- as victims,
perpetrators or both.

"The idea is that if you can keep these people off the street, or
otherwise disrupt the street-level drug dealing and other activities
that always seem to come up, you can have a real impact on violent
crime," said police Lt. Pete Sarna, a key player in developing the

Last week, police cited the $1 million annual strategy -- which includes
increased use of undercover operations targeting drug peddlers, and a
program in which minor parole and probation violators are locked up for
up to a week and provided substance-abuse treatment -- as a reason for
Oakland's 23 percent drop in its 2004 homicide rate..

Sarna said he knew curfews would be controversial. But he says the
numbers don't lie, and believes few critics -- even defense attorneys --
can challenge the need for new approaches to crime-fighting.

His point drew a surprising level of support from Tony Bergquist, 38,
who was sentenced in a weapons case Friday and learned he would have to
stay home every night for the next five years.

For years, Bergquist lived in one of West Oakland's toughest
neighborhoods, an experience he says showed him "there's a real need to
do something about the drug dealers and the violent people who are out

"I used to see these people every night in front of my house," he said.

Nevertheless, Bergquist said he was "feeling a lot of anxiety" about
living under curfew. "No late-night dinners with my girlfriend for the
next five years?" he asked, though he did not seem to direct the
question to anyone in particular.

Wolf, who represented Bergquist in court before Judge Thomas Reardon,
said the case also raised troubling questions about the link between
crime and curfew that Orloff says is necessary.

Bergquist, he notes, was arrested in his West Oakland home in July by
police chasing another suspect into his yard, and then happened to
notice a marijuana plant growing inside his home.

Police searched the house and found 31 plants, two rifles, two handguns
and four boxes of ammunition stored in lock-boxes. Because he had a
felony conviction on his record, for a 1989 kidnapping, he was
prosecuted for being an ex-felon in possession of firearms, a felony.

No charges were brought for the plants prompting the search, because he
produced a city-sanctioned card showing he has a medical necessity to
grow and use it.

"If these curfews are designed to curtail the activities of people who
are known to frequent Oakland's drug hot-spots, then why do you require
it of somebody who was arrested inside his home just because he had the
bad luck to get mixed up in somebody else's business?" Wolf asked.

Oakland Officials Hope Curfew Will Reduce Crime
Jan. 17 (AP) - Police in Oakland are hoping a curfew imposed on people
on probation will help cut down on crime in the city.

As a condition of release from jail, probationers in Oakland are now
required to stay in their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
seven days a week. The only exceptions are for work and emergencies.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown says 80 percent of homicides in the city
involve felons who are on probation and parole, and 70 percent of
homicides occur at night.

The curfew has been in place since last fall, but officials say it could
be six months to a year before they see results from the program.

Oakland Officials Use Curfew To Stem Crime

POSTED: 3:05 pm PST January 17, 2005

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Authorities in Oakland hope a curfew imposed on
people on probation will help cut down on crime.

As a condition of release from jail, probationers in Oakland are now
required to stay in their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
seven days a week. The only exceptions are for work and emergencies.

Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown said the plan has been in the works for two
years and getting it implemented, at just the county level, was "like
climbing Mount Everest."

Brown said 80 percent of homicides in the city involve felons who are on
probation and parole, and 70 percent of homicides occur at night.

"People believe there is a right to travel on probation and parole,"
Brown said. "I believe their right to roam the streets of Oakland can be
limited. I think it's very (beneficial) for these probationers and
parolees to spend time in their homes."

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris said he was "a little
disappointed" when he first heard about the curfew.

It creates another layer of law enforcement on youth and more hostility
towards police, he said.

Copyright 2005 by KTVU.com. The Associated Press contributed to this
report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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