Santa Ana Occupier to Take Chances with Judge

Categories: Occupy OC
Kevin Liu-1.jpg
Kevin Liu
​When Occupy Santa Ana kicked off its long-term protest last October, day one ended with four activists being arrested for allegedly violating the city's no-camping ordinance. Three of those four have since accepted reduced charges from the City Attorney. But one Occupier, 24-year-old Sam Aresheh insists on taking his case before a jury.

"We're going to try to get the charges dropped on the basis that we shouldn't even be in court," Aresheh said.



Sam at Port.jpg
Brandon Ferguson
Sam Aresheh (left) at Long Beach Occupy Protest December 2011
The Cal State Fullerton Student was arrested when he and three others set up tents in the Santa Ana Civic Center. It was an act of civil disobedience--in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street--aimed at drawing attention to banking malfeasance.

The Civic Center has long been home to tribes of area homeless, many of whom sleep nightly along the brick walkway and between county-owned buildings exposed to the elements. The city ordinance, passed in 1992 prevents anyone from erecting tents or storing property in public areas.

When asked why he's insisting on taking his case before a jury, Aresheh says its a matter of free speech.

"I got into a tent to show my solidarity with the Occupy movement," said Aresheh who has also implied the case could potentially draw attention to the plight of area homeless.

Aresheh claims deputy city attorney Melissa Crosthwaite offered him the chance to accept four infractions instead of two misdemeanors, but he declined.

"She really thought the judge wasn't going to let me object to lesser charges," said Aresheh. "But the judge said, 'You want higher charges; you got them.'" 

By going to trial, Aresheh risks up to 90 days in jail versus paying a few hundred dollars in fines for the infractions. "If I had just taken the infractions, I wouldn't have had the chance to argue this in front of a jury of my peers," he said.

Tomorrow he'll appear in Orange County Superior Court for an arraignment hearing. If the charges aren't dropped, he'll face a preliminary hearing. Calls to Deputy City Attorney Crosthwaite haven't been returned.





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17 comments
David Fleischmann
David Fleischmann

Thanks for taking it all the way, Sam.  We should all be so brave to stand up to this system and call it out for the fraud that it is.  

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

It's an interesting move.  I'm betting the DA doesn't want to prosecute an unpopular case so they might let him skate free.   Worst case, he gets released early due to over-crowding. 

Piratelove02
Piratelove02

Hey dude, quit wasting the 99%'s tax money. Take your sentence and get back to the streets.

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

He just wants to be a martyr like all the other occupy losers. If he is serious about civil disobedience and showing solidarity with the movement, he would take his sentence like a big boy. I hope the jury is a bunch of republicans who hate occupy fools.

Thomas A Gordon
Thomas A Gordon

The Santa Ana City Attorney is prosecuting the case not the DA.

Ironic given that the Santa Ana City Council voted 6/1 to support Occupy~"Members of Occupy movements throughout the nation and Santa Ana community members are frustrated by the continuing economic crisis that threatens individual, family and city finances, and our community's quality of life, and are participating in Occupy protests to make their voices heard." 

Samiissa
Samiissa

@Chris neal... So u have experience on taking it in like a big boy?... Its called free speech .... Big props to sam-sami issa

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

You seem to confuse a camping trip with speech there buddy...

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

"If the commie occupoopers had their way, we'd all be eating gubment cheese."

Why is it that anyone who thinks that perhaps the wealth of this nation should be a little more evenly distributed is a communist? I suppose you can call me a "commie" then...

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

Come on, Mrs. Fish, let's keep it real here.

If the commie occupoopers had their way, we'd all be eating gubment cheese.

However, they WERE successful in pointing out what a horrible job Obama has done...

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

"I hate on people that use up billions of dollars in taxpayer money to bring attention to financial inequity."

What the hell are you talking about? Why don't you get angry at the Santa Ana City Attorney for wasting taxpayer time and money to do little more than to make an example of Sam Aresheh because of his politics. And funny how someone can be arrested for trespassing in a "public area". Sounds like more selective prosecution to me...

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

Let us look at your logic, there, Sam Issa. First, you turn my comment into reading "taking it like a big boy" but yet you accuse ME of being a homo? That's called projecting, but don't worry, there is nothing wrong with being a homo. If you were an actual homo, or even if I was, no big deal. As for my dislike of occupoopers, I hate on people that use up billions of dollars in taxpayer money to bring attention to financial inequity. They are basically robbing the rest of us. Oh, and did Sam Arisheh "have the balls to say something?" Funny, I didn't hear it? Oh, and lastly, FUCK YOU, sam! 

Samiissa
Samiissa

Lolol...homo erotic?... Your a douche bag....hating on people who have the balls to say something...stay seated homo

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

(was referring to his "taking it in like a big boy" comment is all)

Christopher Neal
Christopher Neal

Oh please, Brooke, don't get me wrong, I don't hate Sam Issa for neither his homoerotic daydreams nor his inability to determine the difference between speaking and camping--I actually find it humorous, but no hate at all, please...

Brooke
Brooke

Chris why are you so filled with hate against someone who is only trying to highlight a very real issue.

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