[Ppnews] San Francisco 8 strong in court appearance today

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 14 15:57:44 EST 2007

San Francisco 8 strong in court appearance today
by Claude Marks

Wednesday, February 14

In a significant showing of support, family and friends of four of 
the San Francisco 8 packed the San Francisco courtroom of Judge 
Little. Many people were unable to actually get in. As the four, Ray 
Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Richard O'Neal, were brought 
into the courtroom in shackles, supporters burst into applause. The 
large showing of Sheriffs and SWAT officers cleared the courtroom. 
People gathered in the hallway outside Department 12 chanting "No 
justice, no peace." Defense attorneys objected to closing a public 
hearing and the Judge agreed to let people back into court if they 
agreed to not be noisy, but only after every individual was again 
searched by Sheriffs and was wanded with metal detectors.

Unlike their previous court appearances since the arrests in January, 
the men were shackled in court as close to a dozen sheriffs' deputies 
and SWAT officers were inside the courtroom.  The hearing opened with 
defense attorneys arguing for reduced security at the courthouse and 
the unshackling of the brothers as "they represent no threat to the 
court or the public." It was pointed out that they had appeared 
voluntarily and without need of such extensive police presence during 
the 2005 San Francisco Grand Jury, and that the shackling and heavy 
security were prejudicial - especially feeding the sensationalist 
coverage of the corporate media. The court agreed to hear security 
issues in a future meeting with the Sherriff and lawyers.

None of the men have yet entered please in the conspiracy and murder 
case stemming from the killing of a SF police Officer at the 
Ingleside Police Station in August of 1971.

Although there has yet to be a formal Bail Hearing, Judge Little did 
lower the outrageous bail for Ray Boudreaux and Hank Jones from $5 
million to $3 million (still outrageous), the same as was set for 
Richard Brown and Richard O'Neal. A formal Bail Hearing as well as 
other motions were scheduled for Tuesday, March 13th.

"Today's court appearance was significant in a number of ways," 
according to Attorney Stuart Hanlon. "The strong public support for 
the four men in court was a powerful reminder that these men are part 
of their communities and are not criminals. The Attorney Generals' 
comments made clear that they (the State Prosecutors) want to keep 
these men in jail on high bail and that they will make excuses to 
explain the 35-year delay in bringing this case.  It was made clear 
to us that this is the beginning skirmish of a legal war with high 
stakes - the freedom of these eight former Panthers and the rewriting 
of political history by the government criminalizing the Black 
Panther Party and African American freedom fighters from the sixties 
and seventies. It is a war we will win and that we have to win. And 
it is a war where the support of the community, in and out of court, 
is crucial."

The brothers seemed strong and in good spirits.

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