Two more of the six protesters arrested or cited during the Aug. 20 anti-military recruitment protest in Oakland walked out of court without a trial or any further punishment than time served.
"It frees us up to keep doing counter recruitment," says De'Anna Caligiuri, who prior to taking the city's plea bargain had faced one misdemeanor count of obstruction of the administration of justice. She had been accused of trying to keep another arrestee from the grasp of police that day. She was pepper-sprayed and hit with a stun gun during her arrest, and is a plaintiff in a civil suit set to hit the city over the arrests.
During a brief May 8 appearance before Court of Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus, she pled guilty to summary disorderly conduct. So did Justin Krane, who had previously faced a misdemeanor charge for resisting arrest. He was arrested after he was allegedly among a group of protesters whose sign, attached to orange plastic construction-type fencing material, fell or was pushed toward police, who confiscated it.
The plea is worth taking, Caligiuri says, because it does not place either protester on probation. Given "[t]he frequency that we are outside the recruiting station, there's always a possibility that we will be arrested" again, she says ... and getting arrested while on probation leads more readily to jail time.
The next bi-weekly counter-recruitment protest, called by Pittsburgh Organizing Group, is 5 p.m. on May 11 in front of their frequent target, the Armed Forces Career Center in Oakland.
"I think the offer is kind of telling about the prosecution's case," says Krane.
"They had no case," Caligiuri adds.
Both could have gotten 90 days in jail and $300 fines. From the bench, Nauhaus read legal language asserting that the prosecution believed it could prove its case anyway. But the judge, a former public defender, seemed satisfied with the results of the pleas.
"There's a price to civil disobedience," he volunteered from the bench. "I learned that 40 years ago." When he learned Caligiuri had already paid the price of 12 hours in jail, he decided her sentence quickly: "That's enough."