Irvine 11 Trial: Defense Compares Protest to Comedy Club Heckling--'Rude, Not Illegal'

Categories: School Daze
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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
​"Of course it was planned," said defense attorney Jacqueline Goodman in her opening arguments today, addressing the charge that the so-called Irvine 11 (now 10) conspired to disrupt a public speech.    
 
"They conspired to obey the law, which is the opposite of a criminal conspiracy," she said.  

The defense team referred to the same protest-planning emails brought forth by prosecutors yesterday. They argued that those emails showed that the defendants had sought legal advice to ensure they would be staying within the bounds of the law. A criminal conspiracy, Goodman said, "requires that the goal be a crime." 

Context is key in looking at the case, the defense argued. Attorney Lisa Holder told jurors that the students were speaking out against violence, and that they "modeled their behavior after revered leaders that they had studied at UC Irvine," including Martin Luther King Jr.Gandhi and Nelson Mandela

Attorneys attempted to give jurors a quick history lesson on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by bringing to the witness stand Saree Makdisi, a professor of english and comparative literature at UCLA and author of Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation

At the time of the incident, UC Irvine's Muslim Student Union, which most of the defendants were a part of, put out a statement which said that Israel had "massacred" 1,400 people in Gaza. It added that "Oren is an outspoken supporter of the recent war on Gaza and stands in the way of international law by refusing to cooperate with the United Nation's Goldstone Report, a fact-finding mission endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council." Makdisi testified that there is legitimacy to the statements. 

The defense also brought up Sanah Yassin, who protested a speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the University of Chicago in 2009. It was discovered through the emails that Irvine 11 modeled its demonstration after this incident, where about 30 student activists stood up, one by one, in a crowded auditorium, and shouted statements opposing Olmert's views and actions. Attorneys said no protestor was arrested. 

"Similar protests had happened throughout history, and I was trying to exercise my right to free speech," Yassin explained. 

Goodman also wanted jurors to understand the "context of heckling" and compared the Irvine 11 to hecklers at a comedy club. It's "rude, not illegal," she said.  

Holder added, "A lack of courtesy is not a crime." 

The 10 UCI and UC Riverside students face misdemeanor charges of disrupting and/or conspiring to disrupt a public speech. If convicted, they face up to six months in jail. 

The trial continues on Wednesday.  


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20 comments
Donkeyballbreath
Donkeyballbreath

So you are against laws that require people to be civil at at a lecture at a college university? If the students wanted to protest, they could have done so outside. These students did nothing but reinforce the sterotype that Muslim men are angry and unreasonable.   The truth is that these students do not represent most Muslims.  They are a small minority of Muslims but they are a very loud group that are laughed at by most everyone I know.   They like to puff out their chest and pretend they are rightous rebels to make themselves feel like good.  Anyone paying attention knows they do more harm than good.

UCI campus individual
UCI campus individual

LOL...what an ACT by their appointed BUSINESS transaction reps...it's all about painting a false imagination to the jurors, like if they're dumb and have to be expalined an EXCUSE for their malcontent PLANNED actions.

Viewing other LOUD court protests resulted in the individuals serving JAIL time.

These malcontents use their religion as a base. SHUT UP! Serve your time...and your GLORY-HOUND SEEKING served nothing for you.

AGAIN, Everyone...LOOK at the VIDEO. They owe an APOLOGY to UCI, the TAX PAYER, and the Ambassador of Israel.

blueline99
blueline99

Disruption of public events in this matter is not a crime.  If it was a crime, hundreds of tea party activists should have been arrested for shouting "Kill The Bill" at townhalls across the country.

The first amendment doesn't guarantee us the right to speak in public, it only guarantees that no agent of the government can prevent me from speaking.  If another private party wants to shut me down, they can do so in any lawful way.  What these kids did was distasteful to many and people are upset at its efficacy... but it wasn't a crime.

And btw... the Ambassador finished his speech but didn't do a scheduled Q&A session afterwards because he went  to a Laker game..

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

If you believe their crap, you will believe anything!......

geoff kl
geoff kl

today i went 85 in a 55 mph zone...did not get a ticket

IT IS NOW LEGAL TO SPEED IN CALIFORNIA

FORGET THAT...IT IS NOW LEGAL TO DRIVE OVER THE LIMIT IN EVERY STATE OF THE UNION

these attys should all be disbarred...and all should be placed on terror watch lists...everyone, an mb and hamas supporter

geoff kl
geoff kl

Every person who, without authority of law, willfully disturbs or breaks up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character, other than an assembly or meeting referred to in Section 302 of the Penal Code or Section 18340 of the Elections Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Excellent points. May I also mention a certain Preacher Phelps who's freedom to harass and bully people with his hatred of gays at military funerals is apparently "protected speech" according to the Supreme Court. So a non-violent, albeit "conspired", interruption of a public speaker is a criminal act but aggressiveness and hatred towards our deceased soldiers and their families (and gays) is not? And if the case at hand is strictly about enforcing the law, why do a lot of you seem to take every opportunity to mention these students/defendants are Muslim and generally in the most derogatory ways possible? It's as if some of you believe they should be punished just for being Muslims...ones who dared to challenge the word of the the Israeli Ambassador. Justice? Hardly.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Ignorance of the law is no excuse... The DA cant just make up laws to charge people with crimes.  The students are charged with misdemeanor charges of disrupting and/or conspiring to disrupt a public speech.  Its a law and a willfull violation of said law will land you in front of a judge.  I just wish they would hurry up and quit wasting taxpayer money with what is most likely going to end up in a conviction with community service.

blueline99
blueline99

You are creating a nice straw man argument, but it doesn't apply here.What they are citing is the 14th amendment.  

But to use your example, if nobody is cited for speeding in a certain state or area except for a certain class of people.  Well, that would be a misapplication of the law and those people who were cited would have a valid case.

But in this case, they did not break the law. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

Sweet I have to go to El Segundo tomorrow so Ill make sure to remind the cops of this new law when im doing 110 on the 91.

Brooke
Brooke

Morality should not be judged by laws.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Sometimes what "the law" states and what is "right" are not always the same thing. Segregation was legal in this country at one time. It wasn't "right" but it was "the law" wasn't it? I've heard that "we're only enforcing the law" argument before...when Arizona passed some of the most hateful, anti-immigrant legislation in recent history. We can go around and around about how "the law is the law" but I still strongly believe this is a case of selective enforcement of said law...and that's NOT right. Enforce it equally or do away with it.

Jeff Klives
Jeff Klives

Good point about the Westboro Church freaks.  I do see a similarity here.  The Westboro Church are a group of religious extremist nutjobs who justify their protests because they think they opinions needs to be heard...just like the MSU nutters who are religious extremist Muslims who think they need to be heard.   Just like the Westboro freaks do not represent most Christians...these students don't represent most Muslims in OC. The difference, of course between the Westboro freaks funeral protests is that they protest outside the funerals and in the court case they were 1000 feet from the church.  

These students could have protested legally outside the lecture hall.  No one is saying they didn't have that right.   They could have handed out leaflets outside or held signs saying "We hate Israel" or "Zionist suck" or whatever else they felt the public needed to know.

It is fine to be critical of Israel.   Israel is an imperfect democray and like any other nation has its faults.  

But I cannot take these students opinions seriously when they have repeatedly and for years invited a Malik Ali on the campus to give lectures.  Malik Ali openly supports Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah – three groups the US State Department considers terrorist organizations.   Hamas clearly and openly stated goal is to destruction of Israel.  

I don’t agree with these students opinions but they are free to have them.  At the stame time, the students should let others hear opinions that differ from their own. 

Snyder v. Phelps ruling still permits governments to reasonably regulate the time, place and manner of public speech.

geoff kl
geoff kl

http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/ca...

Every person who, without authority of law, willfully disturbs or breaks up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character, other than an assembly or meeting referred to in Section 302 of the Penal Code or Section 18340 of the Elections Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

geoff kl
geoff kl

just make sure to hire one of the above attys when you are fighting the ticket, and you are home free

see, the law doesnt matter...only if everyone who has committed a crime is charged and convicted of said crime...matters

btw, not really sure if comedy clubs serve as lawful assemblies...but what the hell...every pol must now hire a comic to deal with hecklers...its the law

gonna hire myself out...ive got great comebacks

here is one

hey muzzie, do i bother you when you are burning haram meat at mickey d's?

heres another

hey muzzie, you dont see me screaming at you when you are busy banging that mutah wife of the hour

thank you...ill be here all week

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

That's fair. I don't mean to claim that the civil rights struggles of this country are exactly comparable to the plight of these students...you're absolutely correct, it's not the same thing. My point was to combat all this "it's just about enforcing the law" chatter. But I can see you have your own doubts that this trial is only about "the law" as well. Good enough. :-)

ZOT!
ZOT!

Not exactly comparable, civil rights protesters were protesting an unjust system. Irvine 11 and not protesting the Section 302 of the penal code but what is happening in another Sovereign Nation. That said, in my memory of events of the time, those who fought against unjust segregation using civil disobedience as a tool did so nonviolently in the face of violent repression (water hoses, dogs,truncheons, fire bombings and lynchings) and generally accepted the punishment meted out but the justice system(jail time). Not that they did not  present a defense in court, but when they planned to practice civil disobedience, they were willing to accept the consequences of their actions in order to force the changes they were seeking. I have a hard time equating these individuals actions to MLK and SDLC.

Not saying Tony Rakakateer is right either.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

I appreciate your respectfulresponse. You make good points.I have no love for Hamas, nor any organization thatadvocates killing as a viable solution to political/religious conflict. Ibelieve Hamas is a tragic symptom of years of marginalizing or outrightignoring the plight of the Palestinians…much of my sympathy for the students ontrial stems directly from the fact that many people have this ludicrous beliefthat Palestine has no legitimate grievances, that all the Palestinian people(especially in occupied Gaza) should bear the blame for the despicable acts ofa few militants and that to be critical of Israel is analogous to being ananti-Semite (and supporting terrorists). This is the rhetoric I grew up hearingand it often seems not much has changed. And whether they support terroristorganizations (Hamas) or not, I don’t think there was ever a chance thesestudents could receive a fair trial. And I still seriously doubt any supporterof Israel, had they disrupted a Palestinian speaker would be facing legalproceedings, much less any jail time. I believe they law is being prejudiciallyapplied to persons who are on the “wrong” side of a political/religiousstruggle.

geoff kl
geoff kl

not trying to be credible....dealing with hecklers

just like michael richards

Criticalthought27
Criticalthought27

your racist remarks hurt your credibility, geoff klein.  assuming you are someone of the jewish faith, given your last name, you should know better.

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