Freedom Sleeper “No Assembly at City Hall Grounds at Night” cases Go to Court

Date Friday June 24
Time 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Location Details
County Courthouse Superior Court 1
Event Type Court Date
Organizer/Author Robert Norse
Email rnorse3 [at]
Phone 831-423-4833
In an attack on peaceful protest against the City’s anti-homeless Sleeping Ban outside City Hall each Tuesday night, police have forced activists off the grounds and ticketed many.In a court trial before Judge Sam Stevens, attorney Kate Wells will argue that two citations given to Robert Norse were invalid.She will argue that (a) closing the City Hall Courtyard at night illegally denied access to the City agendas, posted just outside City Council; (b) Norse was on a pathway through the area–an exception to the “no access” order; and (c) banning peaceful public assembly at the seat of government in the absence of some kind of emergency is unconstitutional.

At a hearing last week, Judge Paul Marigonda has already refused to order the police to present video and audio of the incidents. City Attorney Gallogly claims that police have advised him that they were just “pretending” to video/photo and/or the evidence was destroyed. None of this prompted any objection from Marigonda.

More background: “Freedom Sleeper Case Demands Police Release Video Records ” at .


One thought on “Freedom Sleeper “No Assembly at City Hall Grounds at Night” cases Go to Court

  1. Robert and all,
    Isn’t this just a bit disingenuous?
    First of all, the campouts were an effort to bring people who experience homeless together with other community members to make a statement about the over-night sleeping ban and that there’s no-longer an emergency drop-in shelter. It was expected that this would bring law enforcement action, although those joining who normally sleep outside were not warned about that fact. What’s true is that police tailed the very first march to city hall and visited on the very first night and then for the following 15-20 weeks security guards, flood lights and law enforcement officials made descended on the scene. Robert, your citation was the result of a provocation, not a limitation of rights.

    Secondly, several dozen people who normally sleep outside were cited or arrested and some were issued 24hr stay-away orders. Nearly all of these were promptly forgotten, despite candidate for City Council, Steve Pleich’s “Homeless Person’s Legal Assistance Project” not offering legal aid to even one person (which calls into question the validity of that “project”). No court support or community awareness has been raised for the real victims of this planned civil-disobedience camping action. While it’s true that several other activists who had organized the event had also received citations, it was to be expected. I personally witnessed Pleich running to the sidewalk several weeks in a row (for a total of 9 weeks), as many homeless people who were sleeping, had been cited and even arrested. When finally on week ten, after being called out on it, he finally stood his ground and received his token citation.

    I find it most strange, Robert, that your defense isn’t about the ability to sleep outside in Santa Cruz or even the lack of a drop-in homeless shelter. You’re focusing on after-hours access to the agenda bulletin board and to the courtyard in general; a time limitation which has been in place for several years to this point.

    I don’t like seeing activists using people who sleep outside as a device for their political, anti-authoritarian agendas but what’s worse is that you’re using the entire ‘Freedom Sleeper’ campout as a shield for your very thin legal argument that has nothing to with homelessness. The real victims have long been forgotten by you and other activists. It’s true that there is a real problem in our community regarding people who sleep outside and the lack of proper shelter or legal right for them to rest at night, but this case has nothing to do with it. This isn’t a “freedom sleeper” case, this is an activist ever-using the very poor as a cloak for his personal anti-authoritarian agenda.

    This was ostensibly a civil-disobedience action to bring attention to the plight of people who sleep outside; those people you claim to support were lured in and given citations as they tried to sleep. Where is their court case press release?

    Brent Adams
    Community member

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