[UPDATED] Irvine 11 Charged With Misdemeanors, Face Jail, Probation, Community Service if Convicted


Erwin-Chemerinsky_publisher-150.jpg
Chemerinsky
UPDATED, FEB. 7, 12:01 P.M.: A Jewish-rights group will hand deliver to the Orange County district attorney's office petitions stating they, too, should be charged with crimes--as they have engaged in the same form of protests as the Irvine 11--as well as a letter signed by rabbis around the country blasting the prosecution of the Muslims.

Meanwhile, Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of UC Irvine's law school and a constitutional-law expert, tells the Weekly he does not believe the Irvine 11 would prevail in a constitutional challenge of the case against them.

Saying he has "looked at the statutes" District Attorney Tony Rackauckas cited as the basis for filing criminal misdemeanor charges against the protesters from UCI and UC Riverside, Chemerinsky writes in an e-mail this morning, "I think that the students are very unlikely to prevail in a constitutional challenge."

He continued: "Their disruptive behavior is not protected by the First Amendment. However, I do not believe that criminal prosecution here is wise or necessary. The university imposed discipline, and that should be deemed sufficient here."

This is coming from a legal expert who immediately chastised the students for disrupting the Feb. 8, 2010, speech on campus by Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States.

The national group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), 
which bills itself as "America's largest Jewish grassroots peace group dedicated to reaching a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on the principles of equality and international human-rights law," also sent the Weekly a statement this morning saying it "is appalled by the Orange County district attorney's unprecedented decision."

Noting the students were specifically protesting Israel's actions during Operation Cast Lead, a three-week military operation on Gaza that resulted in the deaths of 1,400 Palestinians and eight Israelis, the Oakland-based group says, "Our own members have engaged in similar protests in the past without being charged and stand by it as a form of legitimate expression in an open and democratic society. . . .

"The targeting of a group of Muslim American students, who were already sanctioned and whose organization was already suspended by their university as punishment, is unacceptable and will only strengthen Islamophobia and attempts to stifle political speech in this country," the communique continues.

To further show its displeasure, Estee Roberts, the JVP chapter leader in Los Angeles, and Rachel Roberts, who was part of a group of young Jews who interrupted a speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November,  will go to the district attorney's Santa Ana office Wednesday to hand deliver petitions "that, in just two days, [were] signed by more than 5,000 supporters admitting that they, too, had committed the similar crime of once interrupting a speaker or event to make a political point." Signers call on Rackauckas to also charge them "if interrupting injustice is now considered a crime."

"A team of young Jews from the Jewish Voice for Peace Young Leadership Institute similarly interrupted a speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the Jewish Federations General Assembly in November," explains Cecilie Surasky, the JVP's deputy director. "Like the students at Irvine, they were protesting Israeli policies that violate international law,  and like the Muslim students, they offered no resistance when being escorted out of the room. The consequences? They received international news coverage and were hailed as heroes by many Jewish editorial writers. In stark contrast, these Muslim students, who heckled the ambassador in a much smaller venue, are being criminally charged and could potentially face prison time. This is shocking."

More about this on the JVP blog.

A statement from the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council follows:


Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of his own family and does not do so is held responsible and liable for the transgressions of his family. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the people of his community and does not do so is liable for the transgressions of his community. Whoever is able to protest against the transgressions of the entire world and does not do so is liable for the transgressions of the entire world.
- Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 54b

We, the rabbis of Jewish Voice for Peace, stand in solidarity with the Irvine 11's right to engage in civil disobedience, one of America's most sacred democratic principles. We urge the District Attorney's office of Orange County to immediately stop efforts to criminalize the actions of these Muslim students who, in the long-standing tradition of non-violent activism for social justice, protested the speech of the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Oren.

It is clear that there are double standards for protest in the United States. Last November, the members of Young, Jewish and Proud, the young activist arm of Jewish Voice for Peace, were let go after similarly disrupting a speech by the Israeli Prime Minister in front of a much larger audience in New Orleans. Instead of facing sanctions or criminal charges, their actions were lauded by many writers in Israeli and Jewish papers and news outlets across the world. In stark contrast, 11 Muslim students faced unprecedented sanctions  both at the University of California and now from the office of the District Attorney which has empaneled a grand jury.

Apart from being deeply concerned by the actions of the Orange County District Attorney's Office, we want to express our support for the message of those who interrupted Ambassador Oren. We believe that four decades of the Israeli Occupation of Palestine calls us to interrupt business as usual. Students that stood in public and voiced their passionate concern over policies of siege, home demolition, targeted destruction of infrastructure and ongoing dispossession of people from their land had a right to confront Ambassador Oren, and hold him and his government accountable for actions that were deemed as war crimes by the Goldstone Report. We believe we have an obligation, according to the dictates of our tradition, to raise our voices in protest of policies that violate international and humanitarian law, especially when they are carried out in our name.
Signed:
Rabbi Haim Beliak, Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer, Pomona, CA
Rabbi Alissa Wise, San Francisco, CA
Rabbi Margaret Holub, Mendocino, CA
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Stony Point, NY
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Chicago, IL
Rabbi Rebecca T. Alpert, Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi David Mivasair, Vancouver, BC
Rabbi Shai Gluskin, Philadephia, PA
Rabbi Brian Walt, West Tisbury, MA
Rabbi Michael Feinberg, NY, NY
Rabbi Joseph Berman, Jamaica Plain, MA
Rabbi Eyal Levinson, Givataim, Israel
Susie Schwartz, Rabbinical Student, Boston, MA
David Basior, Rabbinical Student, Philadelphia, PA


UPDATE, FEB. 5, 11:52 A.M.: The incoming director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California accuses Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas of taking unprecedented action to silence students from protesting and engaging in controversial speech with his decision to seek criminal charges against the Irvine 11.

Calling the ACLU "deeply troubled" by the filing of misdemeanor charges against the students, Hector Villagra says, "We are unaware of any case where a district attorney pressed criminal charges over this type of  nonviolent student protest."

He continues, "The district attorney's action will undoubtedly intimidate students in Orange County and across the state and discourage them from engaging in any controversial speech or protest for fear of criminal charges. The prosecution is unnecessary and unwarranted. University officials have already addressed the issue through the discipline system. Seeking convictions, jail time and criminal records against these students is misguided.  The substantial resources required for a prosecution and the grand jury that reportedly convened would be better used to fight crimes that endanger the residents of Orange County."

Villagra's chapter has called on Rackauckas "to dismiss the charges immediately."

The ACLU of Southern California is also battling the DA over his use of gang injunctions. Could an ACLU suit on behalf of the Irvine 11 be in the works? Stay tuned.
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57 comments
PeaceMindEdu
PeaceMindEdu

Student jewish groups who protested Netanyahu, were never arrested, were never reprimanded. Yet Muslims who do the same are being prosecuted now...Racism is ugly.

Remember the group of young Jewish Voice for Peace activists who protested Israeli policy during Netanyahu’s speech in NOLA last November? You might recall that the young protesters were forcibly removed from the auditorium but faced no legal sanctions. (You may also recall that they were hailed as heroes by many Jewish editorial writers.)

If you don't remember, well here is the video in all its glory. WATCH IT!:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

This DA is out of touch and is looking for future higher office. He will make his first trip to Israel next year probbaly, paid by the OC office of AIPAC.

Rockstar_refi
Rockstar_refi

Muslims should not be allowed in America.. if they dont like the way we live then they should LEAVE>.. Dont they get it, Americans DONT like muslims.

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toryburchsale32

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Adina Hemley
Adina Hemley

Thanks so much for covering this issue. As the director of UCR's Hillel, I was glad to be present so that I could listen to the discussion between Rabbi Aron Hier and the OC DA's office. At this time, however, I am still grappling with what the ramifications should be in this case.

 Orange County Jail
Orange County Jail

If convicted, they could be fined and/or sentenced to probation with community service or six months in jail.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Why dont we try them according to Sharia law ... Then we can cut their tounges out or chop off a hand... Or the ever popular death by stoning. Unfortuntely us "White Devils" have laws requiring you to be judged by a jury of your peers (Not Radical Clerics). And we have laws against cruel and anusual punishment (Unlike the supposed religion of peace)

Earlerich
Earlerich

Wouldn't the common sense solution be to remove them from the forum. Arrest them only if they resist removal. Our nation was founded on protests against the British. It is almost an American thing to do within limits. They are college students not terrorists. The DA is totally misguided in his approach to this.

jgavona
jgavona

Looked pretty clear in the embarrassing video that thats free speech violation and added with their premeditative communication seems to have broken law. As a middle eastern I agree with some msu viewpoints on injustices and human rights violations in respect to Israel, and its good to bring some of those to light. Except they steer clear of all the blatant intolerance and repression that is so widespread in arab countries, most of it justified by islamic law. Around campus they pretend they are better than others because of their constant activism and the fact we don't join their prayers or because we like to have a beer or two on weekends and chase girls. I should note thats my subjective opinion based on my experiences as a student at UCI, so i'm sure others may not see it that way. In fact as a student, all the israel-palestine crap (on both sides) is very annoying

johnl
johnl

"Rabbi Aron Hier's got juice." Careful Matt!

you smell like a jew
you smell like a jew

well, i guess this blows up the myth that jews control this country (sarcasm)

Todd
Todd

Good article.

I share Hier's views. If controversial speakers cannot give a lecture at a lecture hall at a university without planned repeated disruptions, something is wrong. The boorish behavior should not be tolerated at a university. Protest outside the lecture hall if you don't like a speaker's viewpoint. Let everyone hear what they want to hear and decide for themselves which viewpoint they determine is the most reasonable.

steveleche
steveleche

Will these UCI students, in the video I posted below, be prosecuted from shouting down and blocking an invited guest from delivering his speech? They are the Republican and Jewish student organizations at UCI.

Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Where is Tony and his charges against them? Oh, that's right they are not Muslim. Selective prosecution in order to garner some future political favors from the wealthy Israeli- Firsters.

Islamophobia and racism at play here

BACKSTABBINGFCK
BACKSTABBINGFCK

first you let em live here

then they want their minarets so the whole neighborhood could hear when THEY need to pray; b/c allah forbid them to set an alarm clock.

Then they want Islamic Banking

Then they want Shariah Law

If you give em an inch they'll suicide bomb your life away

I say if you want to come to America to escape the repressive regime you had to suffer under, thats fine.

But when you come over to our land and start telling US how YOU are going to do things, I hope shit like this happens to you.

We are not France. We are Not England.

MUSLIMS, GO HOME!

Mary
Mary

ps. It's as if prosecutors are trying to make an huge mountain out of a mole hill regarding the 11 students as they continue to try to make a tiny mole hill out of the tip of a huge iceberg of conspired sex crimes by church officials in the Catholic Church.

Mary
Mary

I'm no law expert or understand the dynamics surrounding this event/alleged crimes by 11 students who protested and are accused of conspiracy to disrupt a meeting.

What I do know is that it feels very hypocritical and suspect to me what the DA is doing.

I guess charging the group's protesters could be yet another one of many ways prosecutors could allegedly deter attention from their giving deference to many Catholic Church officials' decades of conspiracy in their alleged deliberate, organized, repetitive and collective effort to cover-up horrific sex crimes by their molesting clerics. The evidence is overwhelming, in my opinion, yet it appears the DA and other prosecutors ignore that.

Go ahead complicit Catholic officials, keep on conspiring, protecting and shuffling molesting/raping/sodomizing clerics around--that seems to be the message criminal prosecutors' are sending out.

So far, no prosecutor has stop those crimes to protect others by enforcing the Rico Statute laws against that organization's bosses.

It's a horrific travesty of justice that government authorities appear to be turning a blind eye and giving free passes to complicit Catholic officials' organized cover-ups of child sex abuse. Not one bishop or cardinal in the US has been prosecuted. Gee, that's odd. The word unconsiounable comes to mind.

And ironically and coincidentally, that's the church Rackaucas and LA DA Cooley also belongs to?

AskAPaisa
AskAPaisa

I'm a guy, my name is Gustavo Gutierrez. I'm half Mexican and 1/4 Afghan Persian, my grandfather immigrated to this country in the 1960s from Kabul, he was a member of the Royal Afghan Air Force. He married my Christian grandmother, who is still an active member of the Southern Baptist Convention. My Shia Muslim grandfather died of alcohol-induced cirrhosis, committed adultery against my grandmother, and married his Iranian Kurdish mistress.

Talk about a Muslim "Bollywood" soap opera.

I'm aware of the cultural misogyny practiced among some Muslims.

When I attended UCLA, I never joined MSA. They were too "conservative" for me and other fellow Afghan and Iranian Americans I knew.

However, these students did nothing criminal. Their actions, although ill-advised, are no different from what Chicano activists do all the time at Chicano academic conferences.

I minored in Chicana,-o studies at UCLA. Every time I attended an academic conference, mechistas (members of MEChA) would disrupt the proceedings with theatrics. This is a common practice among "progressive students of color" at UCLA.

Such tactics are not uncommon even among college students studying on the Orange coast.

cook
cook

If someone gets talked into the crime of disrupting other people education, then they should pay the price of their crime, or turn states evidence and turn in the real criminals.

Students pay thousands of dollars to get a quality higher education at these name brand universities. It is such a shame to that “time of their life” spoiled by selfless malcontents, who for the most part, don’t even know what they are protesting.

Shark lips
Shark lips

Ladies and gentlemen the DA and entire OCDA is corrupt as hell- dont fool yourselves to think otherwise

AskAPaisa
AskAPaisa

Gustavo Arellano,

Shouldn't you also be criticizing those who make inflammatory statements against all Muslims as "being this or that."

I'm a Latino Muslim, I still on occasion drink a Corona, love carnitas (pork product), and live with dogs.

Criticizing Israeli policies should not come down to making derogatory statements against all Jews.

In this case, I think the DA is making a flawed decision. These students were disruptive, but what college activists aren't?

AskAPaisa
AskAPaisa

Israeli policy towards the Palestinians should not be immune from criticism.

I agree that the students were rude and inappropriate, however, they should not be facing a misdemeanor with a possible fine or even jail time.

In this age of crushing government deficits, this is a waste of money.

Js1272
Js1272

F the aclu and Muslim sympathisers!!! Send EVERY MUSLIM and I MEAN EVERY MUSLIM packin and QUIT funding the aclu with TAXPAYER MONEY!!!!

Ziggy
Ziggy

Also lets not forget that the radical zionist, Daniel Pipes, started Campus Watch. THey are a modern day brownshirt PC gestapo of radical terroristic zionists who patrol colleges and make huge scenes if a teacher dares to tell the truth about Israeli history or discuss the suffering of Palestinians and the various plights they've suffered for over 70 yrs. CAMPUS WATCH is made up of Jews of course so there's no way they would ever be prosecuted. They could murder a professor and 5 weeks later be "deported" to Israel. Remember every jew is automatically a dual citizen and israel is the only country in the world who won't validate or honor extradition treaties. Even for mass murder, child trafficking, and organ theft.

Does anyone know why these examples weren't established in court? Anyone who's got links to the day to day of the trial coming from a non-biased perspective, please post links.. Thanks.

Ziggy
Ziggy

Under this type of "law", you could put every member of Congress and the Senate on trial. I have seen politicians, who are supposed to be representatives of the people, get their microphones shut off by opposing parties, lights turned off, whole parties leaving the conference room, etc. I too have seen this at Peace Conferences, like the time Jews disrupted the damn President of Iran! Yet nothing happened to them. They were way more disruptive.

Our courts are a joke. Unless you're Jewish, you will be framed and jailed. If you're jewish, you can do anything and get away with it. Have sex with 100's of 13 yr old girls like the billionaire jew in Boca Raton, FL. You can spit on priests, attack pregnant mothers and the elderly, get caught with grenades and rocket launchers, commit espionage, even help in making 9-11 happen or at the very least not stop it or report it. The list is huge.

I ask you 1 favor. Go on YouTube and type in "Irvine 11" and just watch the taped video of the event. There were 100's of jews there attacking anyone who looked Muslim. Two Muslim girls were harrassed for over an hour by jews behind her. And I'm talking not about students, but local jews from the area that were in their 50's and 60's. The amount of hate and vitriol is not coming from any Muslim, but from local OC jews who went completely ballistic. This judgement by the courts proves just how deeply corrupt our court system is.

Donrickles
Donrickles

The D.A. is a political whore trying to score points with folks that don't like Muslims (most of Orange County). The fact is, University punishment for their actions is sufficient.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Larry Flynt: If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you.

Raymundo Garcia
Raymundo Garcia

Tony Rackauckass is a freaking Jew what do you expect of-course his going to try and jail the protesters. Personally I do not like any religion and I think of the followers of any religion as extremely weak minded.

Stinkyleche
Stinkyleche

Hi Bigot. You are obviously not very intelligent, but I know you watch hours of Television. so here is an easy one; ALL those Arabs and Muslims you have been viewing on the streets, the past month demanding freedom from the US Puppet Dictators, simply didn't register in that thick head of yours? You still believe they hate freedom, and that Americans hate Muslims? Well here is some shocking news for you, Arabs and Muslims love freedom, want to be free, and don't want your puppet dictators force fed down their damn throats.

There are over 20 Million Muslims Americans in this country. So yes, that's 20 million Americans that do like Muslims.

Get a clue.

Michelle
Michelle

Those are completely unnecessary, boisterous charges. It should have been left at the university level. This is an abuse of authority.

CHS
CHS

I watched a video of the episode and it appeared that, once a student would shout what he had to say, he would then allow himself to be escorted out without any incident.

smh
smh

amen! zot zot.

limped
limped

well said.

The MSU does a disservice to the Muslim community. The MSU fits right into angry Muslim stereotype. If people do not have interactions with the majority of Muslims in Orange County who are mellow, they might think that a lot of Muslims think and act like the MSU. The MSU is a very small minority group that gets in the newspapers and that is the only information some people have of the Muslim community.

My guess is that most Jews and Muslims in Orange County would agree on what would be required for a peaceful two state solution, which it appears the MSU does not support. It is sad the radicals who yell the loudest get the most attention.

Todd
Todd

Just curious, how do you know there were Jewish organizations involved in this incident?

I believe the statue of limitations for charges has long expired from this incident. It looks to be about 10 years old. The College Republicans were wrong here. They should have received some penalty since they did violate the speaker’s right to speak. The lack of leadership from the university for allowing a group a heckers veto has long been long term problem.

CHS
CHS

Who are these people who apparently are such a big threat to the American way of life? The vast majority of the Muslims I know are pretty assimilated. The others are devout in their religion and violence is not their way.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Um, you're not a good Muslim if you're eating pork or drinking alcohol...

Todd
Todd

Dude, you don't get it.

People like me aren't upset that the students were critical of Israel. I am upset with their actions because they (and it looks like you) do not understand the basic principals of freedom of speech or civil discourse.

The students were free to be as critical as they wanted to be outside the lecture. They could have handed out flyers presenting their point of view. They had no right to repeatedly disrupt it a speaker given a presentation in a lecture hall. That is not an exercise of free speech. They need to be taught that this was not acceptable behavior at a university.

Todd
Todd

People like you justify why Israel needs to continue to exist.

ZIGGY
ZIGGY

Flynt is a jew. All in porn that are successful are jews. I had many friends in that business both behind and in front of the camera. There's a few exceptions, but for the most part the power in porn is jewish all the way.

limp
limp

The DA is not charging them with terrorism.

If you take the time to go to a university to listen to a lecture, do you want to have to deal with boorish students who plan to repeatedly disrupt the speaker?

According to prosecutors, students circulated e-mails and held multiple meetings to plan the disruption of the speech.

If the kids admit that they made a mistake, give them community service and wipe this off their record. If the kids think they didn't do anything wroing, maybe they will learn something from this experience.

AskAPaisa
AskAPaisa

Just like you have Christmas/Easter Catholics, I'm a Ramadan Muslim, only observant for part of the year!

smh
smh

But the university *did* take action. THAT is how you teach students to behave, not tossing disproportionate punishments of a criminal nature around. I've been at several lectures at UCI as a student and seen both sides behave in extremely rude ways to each other. These actions never resulted in criminal charges. And personally as a non-Jewish, non-Muslim person who has friends of both faiths I would LOVE seeing the "religious weeks" removed from the campus. They are divisive and I did not feel any more educated, simply more disgusted at the hatred spewed from all sides. Instead, why don't you have a required course in world religions for everyone? Or maybe just the Judeo-Christian ones, since those seem to be the least willing to learn about each other in a non-judgmental way (I'm still waiting for the Buddhist invasion... I will only be sad to see the BBQ go...). There's a reason that so many professors and lecturers- many of whom are Jewish- signed that petition to drop the criminal charges, and it's not because they are stupid or don't understand free speech, etc, etc...

AskAPaisa
AskAPaisa

In Mexico, many pornographers are of Lebanese Christian descent.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

I think you took a wrong turn to spew your anti-Semitic drivel—the American Third Position discussion boards are thataway, just next to the slugs.

AskAPaisa
AskAPaisa

A fellow UCLA alum!

Me llamo Gustavo, tambien! You're the infamous "Ask a Mexican!"

Shoogi
Shoogi

Ah, a Mexican Muslim, wouldn't that make you too lazy to blow yourself up?

Shoogi
Shoogi

And many of the whores are Mexicans.

lz4evermore
lz4evermore

He's basing this comment on the impressive size of their members and the fact that they are circumcised. More jealousy and inferiority than overt racist commentary. Maybe there is a need for an Ask a Jewish Porn Star column in the Weekly....

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