Irvine 11 Trial: 'Put a Straitjacket and Muzzle on Them?'

Categories: School Daze
irvine-11-arraignment-200.jpg
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
​Was there an explicit rule against the Irvine 11's act of protest at the Israeli Ambassador event?  

The defense argues there was not, and witnesses have testified that at such controversial events, it may be impossible to enforce one.  

Sociologist Steven Clayman took the stand on Thursday, the final day of testimony. He is an expert in "speaker-audience interaction," and has written a scholarly article titled, "Booing: The Anatomy of a Disaffiliative Response," which examines environments such as presidential debates, TV talk shows and British Parliament. He believes audience participation cannot be prevented because members of the crowd are "free agents," able to express approval or disapproval of what a speaker is saying. 

Having watched a video of the Irvine 11 incident, Clayman affirmed that the audience response seemed to be a "normal and unavoidable" part of Ambassador Michael Oren's speech. 

Lead prosecutor Dan Wagner then fired, "It's unavoidable that 10 people would stand up with planned statements that have nothing to do with what the speaker is saying? . . . Are you saying that the only way to prevent [protests] is to put a straitjacket and muzzle on them?" The questions were stricken by the judge. 

Ten UC Irvine and UC Riverside students have been charged with misdemeanor conspiracy to commit a crime and misdemeanor disruption of a meeting. To be convicted of the latter, one must commit an act that violates the "implicit customs" or "explicit rules" for the event. The defense team claims the defendants did neither, arguing that they were merely following the norms and customs of protests on college campuses.

Dozens of people filled the courtroom, mostly family members and supporters of the Irvine 11. Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, said the situation is "extremely alarming." 

"When dissent is questioned in a court of law, one may argue it's the beginning of the death of democracy," he said. "I would be just as concerned if they were to prosecute one of any faith or ethnicity in this manner."   

Syed believes there should be rules. "If dissent is going to harm somebody or if there is imminent danger--there is a line, undoubtedly," he said. "But that wasn't the case here. There was no harm, no imminent danger. It was a mere passionate expression of disagreement."

Rabbi David Eliezrie thinks otherwise. He is the president of the Rabbinical Council of Orange County, and attended the Israeli Ambassador event last year. 

"If they wanted to go outside and walk around with signs, that's their right," he said. 

As for the way the students protested, he said, "It was intimidation. It was disruption. It was everything just short of violence."  

Closing arguments are scheduled to be heard on Monday. 


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34 comments
sickofittoo
sickofittoo

Ergo, there is a difference between heckling and harassing, with the intent being the determining factor.Radicals within a faith are scary.  They start in small steps and accelerate when they feel their message is not being heard.  It goes from radical Christians bombing Planned Parenthood clinics to radical Muslims terrorizing public speakers and bombing public places as well.  This was nothing more than fanaticism.  "Hail to the Jury"!

Thomas Sullivan
Thomas Sullivan

They just don't get it -- they should be spending more time in class getting educated, because they continue to show a lack of any understanding of the 1st Amendment and the rights in America that they seek to trample upon. As Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine's law school, so aptly stated, "There's no free speech right to disrupt an event. ... It's not a matter of free speech because there's no free speech right to shut someone down." That is the fact none of these people can comprehend as they blindly and hate filled shout that their 1st Amendment Rights are somehow violated. The simple concept that they cannot comprehend is that while they had every right to hold a peaceful protest outside the event (but that is not the type of people they are), they had no right to enter in order to disrupt and prevent the event. They showed they are actually opposed to free speech, not faslely claimed supporters of free speech. Democracy and free speech live, not die, by the correct verdict. If they held an event to spout their rhetoric, and it was interrupted by a planned conspiracy to prevent their event and speech, they would want to have those responsible arrested. These Muslims did not "st[and] up against the face of oppression" as they spout -- they are seeking to oppress rights of others.

Thomas Sullivan
Thomas Sullivan

They just don't get it -- they should be spending more time in class getting educated, because they continue to show a lack of any understanding of the 1st Amendment and the rights in America that they seek to trample upon. As Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of UC Irvine's law school, so aptly stated, "There's no free speech right to disrupt an event. ... It's not a matter of free speech because there's no free speech right to shut someone down." That is the fact none of these people can comprehend as they blindly and hate filled shout that their 1st Amendment Rights are somehow violated. The simple concept that they cannot comprehend is that while they had every right to hold a peaceful protest outside the event (but that is not the type of people they are), they had no right to enter in order to disrupt and prevent the event. They showed they are actually opposed to free speech, not faslely claimed supporters of free speech. Democracy and free speech live, not die, by the correct verdict. If they held an event to spout their rhetoric, and it was interrupted by a planned conspiracy to prevent their event and speech, they would want to have those responsible arrested. These Muslims did not "st[and] up against the face of oppression" as they spout -- they are seeking to oppress rights of others.

Ergo
Ergo

Apparently, for too many here interrupting Hitler's speech would have been a violation of his rghts.Please! If it's a crime for American citizens to disrupt a speech of a representative of a FOREIGN country which is the only country in the world left occupying and denying basic human rights to a people, then something is seriously wrong with the office of OCDA, sworn to protect the constitution of THIS country, USA.

Or in plain English: Fuck yourself Rackaukas and all your office stooges, you are slimy sleazeballs serving the moneyed interests and putting a foreign country above our own.

Zissa Ramani
Zissa Ramani

Rabbi David Eliezrie---- your full of hazerime.  What gives you the right to act like a GESTPO in denying others the right to express them selves.  In Occupied Austria during WW2  I can remember my family telling me of what occurred at the University of Vienna.A racist is a racist just because you have the title of Rabbi does not give you the right to be involved in others rights after 50 years of-hate crimes being committed on them.The Palestinian people have been persecuted way to long. Longer than any camp or GHETTO every in the history of the world.All the CONVERTS not even born Jewish  causing conflict moving to the Occupied Territories. Kicking Palestinians out of homes where they lived longer than any CONVERT every did in the Middle East. HUMANITARIAN NO WAY-Michael Oren is an American who did not serve the United Armed Forces that says he is a TRAITOR to me and many others as I born into United States Armed Forces families.

Chipper
Chipper

Last night I watched the lecture Oren gave right after this mess.   It was on US/Israel relations.

http://www.ucsd.tv/search-deta...

It looks like it would have been the talk he gave at UC Irvine if it weren't for the MSU antics.

CHS
CHS

Love these folks who want to characterize the Irvine 11's acts/speech as having "criminal intent" and "physically disrupt[ing] the meeting."  The videos of their acts/speech show a very orderly (dare I say organized) disruption followed by immediate compliance with law enforcement's requests to leave the room.

PatrickR
PatrickR

Forget the rationalization of the conduct of these students by liberal academic types.  The bottom line here is that each of them, individuals participated in an orchestrated attempt to disrupt a public meeting.  That is a violation of the law and has nothing to do with their freedom of speech.  If I did the same thing at a meeting where someone I disagreed with was speaking, I would be arrested, prosecuted and rightfully so.  If it is good enough for me, why not theses students.  If convicted, the Judge should sentence them to meaningful community service work that would help their education of how things are done in this country.   

Rcriceinc
Rcriceinc

This is barely worth the time needed to discuss and is a clear case of criminal intent and action. They planned in advance to attend the meeting and to physically disrupt the meeting. A normal planned demonstration process would involve the visual aid of signs and walking the sidewalk outside the meeting to express your view, not an opposing view to a speech you have not heard but specific opposition to a specific facet(s) of life related to the speaker or organizer of the meeting. Rather than perform the normal socially aceptable process these individuals, in secret, organized, prepared and carried out a planned set of actions whose effect was to deny amendment rights to others and violated the officially planned event. These individuals wish to hide behind amendment protections while involved in the action of denying amendment rights to others. If you believe in what you do you should also be ready to pay the price for defending your beliefs. This is a criminal organization and conspiracy case and should be prosecuted under anti-gang laws. Since the conspirators are muslim and the target was jewish I believe there are grounds for hate crime laws to be invoked as well. I salute you individuals for standing up for your belief and view, I applaud you for sacrificing for your belief and views, but In denounce and ridicule you for insulting all Americian citizens by attempting to hide your secret activities and views behind the rights all Americans are provided while you conspired, prepared and carried out actions that deny the same rights to others. Did you get the ideal from the Iranian school of government policy?

James
James

The Irvine 10 have the same rights as anyone else on US territory, and the same responsibility to enjoy those rights within the rules of law.

They are not the first to engage in disruptive conduct aimed at silencing, or intimidating into silence, another person's right to free speech.  They are only some of the few to ever be held accountable in court for allegedly doing so.

A court test over whose right to free speech should trump another's same right is needed.  Imagine a person in every classroom or every city council meeting shouting down teachers and mayors in a persistent and prolonged manner that essentially would forever prevent teachers from teaching or mayors from governing.  Surely, the hecklers would claim it is their free speech "right" to stop another person's free speech...indefinitely.

The Orange County District Attorney should be commended for testing in the courts the conundrum of whose "rights" should prevail in the battle over the meaning of free speech. To do nothing would be to grant carte blanche privilege to anyone, at any time, under any venue, to literally suppress the rights of another under the reason  "It's my right to free speech!”

We all have the same precious rights.  We just have to be sure not to suppress another's equally precious rights when we exercise our rights.

If the defendants are found guilty, I hope any punitive sentences will be suspended.  They have already endured enough emotional stress and humiliation, regardless of the outcome. 

Jim Gilchrist, President, Minuteman Project

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

These students and Syed seems to care a lot about freedom of speech.  I'm just wondering how many of them would pick up a rifle to defend that right.

Chipper
Chipper

"Apparently, for too many here interrupting Hitler's speech would have been a violation of his rghts."

Can you clarify you comments. Do you think Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren should not have been allowed to be speak on the UC Irvine campus?     

Chipper
Chipper

I am not sure where you are going with the convert thing.

Do you think Michael Oren should not have been allowed to be speak on the UC Irvine campus?

democracy?
democracy?

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

at least the MSU were peacful and left afterwards unlike the one on this vid, double standards as usual and thats the point you don't see those people getting a criminal record when they did far worse, can't you question yourself and see why that seems wrong?!

XM
XM

How did the UCI College Republicans get away with it. Pure and simple...double standards because there are muslims involved.

Twinmilll
Twinmilll

Your an idiot, If a yell at a cop they hit me with a disturbing the peace violation and techincally thats not even listed in the penal code. These 11 are just babies with money, If you do a crime then do the time and stop complaining

XM
XM

How come the DA did not indict the UCI College Republicans for disrupting a Muslim students assoc speech ? Oh wait because they are muslim.

Zissa Ramani
Zissa Ramani

Maybe you should inform us who profited from the war arms that were used on Americans, Muslims, Arabs and others?

Look at the names on the real traitors blood hungry.

Senator LiebermanRep. Shelley BerkleyMore human rights abusers for blood profits

151 Congressmen Derive Financial Profit_134www.americanfreepres...... - Cached151 Congressmen Derive Financial Profit From War ... the Department of Defense (DoD) that profit from the death and destruction in ... Shelley Berkley (D-Nev. ...

Zissa Ramani
Zissa Ramani

Yelling at an authority blue code figure is different. A University is a place of activism for hundred of years that is part of our American system.  Not a GESTAPO resign as Israel is and the bigots who want to control our system of free speech.

I support the Irvin students and so do the Veterans of USA.  I'M talking about real VETS not those running around claiming they are Vets and are not.

After all WHO PROFITED FROM THE WAR? Many of those blocking our American rights.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

None of them. They just come here and take!.....

Ergo
Ergo

What is unclear about my post? It talks about disrupting a speech, not banning it.

US constitution protects your right to speak, but it does not protect your speech from being heckled by opponents. Because heckling is also protected by the 1st Amendement.

In this case a representative of a modern day Nazi state was heckled.So, the hecklers not only had the legal right to disrupt the speech, they had a moral duty to obstruct political propaganda BS spouted by a representative of a foreign terrorist state.

Chipper
Chipper

I already condemned the students in the 2001 video.   See above. 

Are you willing to condemn these students?   Are you willing to say these students were wrong to prevent a Israeli Ambasador Michael Oren from speaking and being heard?  And do you think the MSU acted honorable when they lied to the Unversity officials and denied they planned it?

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

This is what I've been saying all along...double standard. Prejudicial application of the law because these students are on the "wrong" side of a political debate. We all know darn well if the shoe was on the other foot there would have been no charges filed and no trial.

Zissa Ramani
Zissa Ramani

Yelling at an authority blue code figure is different. A University is a place of activism for hundred of years that is part of our American system.  Not a GESTAPO resign as Israel is and the bigots who want to control our system of free speech.

I support the Irvin students and so do the Veterans of USA.  I'M talking about real VETS not those running around claiming they are Vets and are not.

After all WHO PROFITED FROM THE WAR? Many of those blocking our American rights.

Chipper
Chipper

After watching the 2001 video, I have no problem saying those students were wrong.

Are you willing to say these students were wrong?

Newportflu65
Newportflu65

WTF? Make claims without any type of reason or belief. 

The people who liked your post are obviously under a strong case of confirmation bias. Seriously, stating somebody's "a joke" when he has stated, on the record, who he is and what he believes.

Talk about a joke, you fkn' coward.

sickofittoo
sickofittoo

Zissa.....Irvine not Irvin students.  Where the hell did you come from and did you take Lit and Comp in school?  Doesn't look like it.

XM
XM

You mean like yourself....

Ergo
Ergo

See my reply above.

Ergo
Ergo

Not surprised that Chemerinsky, yet another Israeli patriot, argues that Israeli reps should not be heckled. He, of course, did not express same opinion when opponents of Israel policies were similarly heckled.

Heckling is clearly protected by the constitution.The 1st Amendment does NOT limit opposition to only certain forms and place, so your lame suggestion to restict free speech to "handing out leaflets" and "demonstrate elsewhere" is pathetic indeed.

JeffKlives
JeffKlives

Note the message the students want to send is not at issue.  

For the record;  I'd listen to those students discuss the Middle East conflict as seriously as I'd listen to the Westboro Church discuss their problems with homosexuality.

My disregard for these student is not because they are Muslim.  It is because they are extremists.  Both the Westboro Church and the MSU at UCI are religious extremists.  

When the MSU year after year invites people like Malik Ali who openly supports Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah - three groups the US State Dept recognizes as terrorist organizations - year after year it tells me all I need to know about the group.  They are a bunch of wannabe rebels.   If there was a Jewish group on the campus  that repeatedly invited someone to speak on the campus who supported the Kach Party, I would disregard that group as a serious group too.

These students are free to have whatever beliefs they want to hold.   They can protest against Israel all they want in the free speech designated area.   They can carry picket signs with whatever they want in the free speech area.  They do not have the right to interfere with other groups right to hold a lawful assembly in a lecture hall.

All told I don't think anything positive is going to come out of this criminal case.  All it has done for me is show me that a lot of people do not understand that the 1st Admnt. has time, place, and manner restrictions.   I guess that is not taught in schools these days.     

JeffKlives
JeffKlives

I disagree and a leading expert on the 1st Admendment disagrees with you too.

Erwin Chemerinsky is dean of the UC Irvine School of Law wrote:

"The government, including public universities, always can impose time, place and manner restrictions on speech. A person who comes into my classroom and shouts so that I cannot teach surely can be punished without offending the 1st Amendment.

Likewise, those who yelled to keep the ambassador from being heard were not engaged in constitutionally protected behavior. Freedom of speech, on campuses and elsewhere, is rendered meaningless if speakers can be shouted down by those who disagree.

The law is well established that the government can act to prevent a heckler's veto -- to prevent the reaction of the audience from silencing the speaker.

There is simply no 1st Amendment right to go into an auditorium and prevent a speaker from being heard, no matter who the speaker is or how strongly one disagrees with his or her message. The remedy for those who disagreed with the ambassador was to engage in speech of their own, but in a way that was not disruptive. They could have handed out leaflets, stood with picket signs, spoken during the question-and-answer session, held a demonstration elsewhere on campus or invited their own speakers."

http://articles.latimes.com/20...

geoff kl
geoff kl

the diff between the two events is that malik ali set up to speak near a parking lot

much more informal setting

however, the law is clear and those campus republicans should have been cited...unless the event was not sanctioned by the university 

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