Redwood Summer Justice Project
November 30, 1999
Dear Activists and Supporters,
Great news for all of you who have supported our eight-year fight for justice in the 1990 car bombing of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney! Court victories in the federal civil rights case, upcoming hearing dates, our newly formed team of trial attorneys -- you name it, we’ve got it! So please take a few minutes to read this over now. This landmark case is about to take off like a rocket, and we need you with us today more than ever.
Victory in the Court of Appeals!On September 24, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Oakland police defendants’ claims of immunity from prosecution for their false arrest and illegal searches of Judi and Darryl in the wake of the bombing. And in a huge win for our side, the three-judge panel went even further, reinstating charges that Oakland conspired with the FBI to violate the activists’ First Amendment Rights, reversing a 1997 District Court decision. (The full text of the ruling is on the net at www.ce9.uscourts.gov -- then click on "opinions.")
At the core of the ruling is evidence of Oakland’s role in falsely arresting Judi and Darryl within hours of the blast and in concocting two separate search warrant affidavits, both of which grossly misrepresented key facts about the bomb and about the nature of Earth First!’s political activities. The court ruled that Oakland police (OPD) had no right to rely on obviously false FBI information that the bomb had been visible on the back seat floorboard and thus the activists must have known they were carrying it. The court states: "[The OPD] had been at the scene and had personally observed the location of the hole caused by the explosion ... underneath the driver’s seat."
The court also points to the OPD’s failure to mention the deaths threats against Judi -- clear indicators that she and Darryl were targets of a politically-motivated assassination attempt. Finally, the judges ruled that Bari and Cherney, "have presented sufficient circumstantial evidence that [the Oakland police] intended to inhibit their First Amendment activities, and that they entered a conspiracy to further this goal."
This COINTELPRO-style operation included providing inaccurate information to the media (which then falsely smeared the activists as "terrorists"), monitoring Earth First! prior to the bombing and acting "in close cooperation with [FBI] ‘conspirators’" to contribute misinformation during the process of obtaining warrants to search the activists’ homes.
The victory in the appellate court brings to an end a 1½-year standstill and puts the case back on track to trial. We go back into federal district court in Oakland on December 10th, when we expect Judge Claudia Wilken will set a date for trial. Please come to our rally, then march to the court for the hearing on December 10th.
"The Dream Team"We are excited to announce that Marvin Stender and Tony Serra have joined the case as trial attorneys. Bill Goodman, Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights, joins us as consulting attorney. All are long-time federal court gladiators well-known for their civil rights, prisoners’ rights and police misconduct cases, as well as criminal defense.
Marvin Stender is a highly respected litigator, judicial arbitrator and a long-standing mentor in the National Lawyers Guild. Tony Serra is well-known for his successful criminal defense in high-profile political cases, including Black Panther Huey Newton and more recently Bear Lincoln, a Wailaki and Concow Indian man framed for a murder he did not commit.
"Solidarity Forever" -- Report-Back from the RAID Activist ConferenceBesides the battle for justice in the courts, Redwood Summer Justice Project has also been active in the frontline battle for our treasured ecosystems. Continuing our effort to ensure that environmentalists can carry on their work in defense of wilderness and of sustainable communities, we recently co-sponsored a weekend conference for eco-activists who have been targeted with violence and disruption. The conference strengthened our network and our understanding of the sources and techniques of repression nationwide. Our report, "Solidarity Forever: Standing Up to Attacks on Environmental Movements," is a must-read for activists everywhere, filled with accounts of alarming repression, inspiring courage, and techniques for defusing the attacks. (The report is available for download; see main page for link.)
We need your helpAs you can see, we’ve been busy. And with a trial date in the offing, we are gearing up for the final stretch, moving this case -- with its revealing window into the dark recesses of America’s secret police -- to a jury.
To do that, we need your help. With the appeal behind us, we now resume the lawsuit’s final discovery phase, taking sworn testimony and battling in court for documents so far suppressed by the FBI. Sworn depositions cost $700 a day for transcripts alone. A half-time legal researcher will cost well over $1,000 per month. Building the necessary political support by reaching thousands of new people with word of the case will cost dearly in labor, printing and postage costs.
Your generous contribution of $35 ... $50 ... $100 ... will keep us on the road to justice --justice for Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, and for all those targeted by the FBI because of their determined struggles for truth and liberation. Please make your check payable to Redwood Justice Fund and mail to the address shown below. Thank you.
Justice for Judi and Darryl!
Tanya Brannan Alicia Littletree