Santa Ana, CA — 10 of the defendants in the Irvine 11 case have been found guilty of conspiracy and disturbing the peace. Court is in recess until 1:30pm, when Judge Peter Wilson will read the sentences.
One of the defendants had previously had his charges dropped in exchange for community service after it had been found that some of his charges resulted from a confidential email between him and his attorney which was obtained by the District Attorney’s office.
The guilty verdict comes 19 months after the 11 were arrested for disrupting a speech on campus by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.
During the trial, defense attorneys pointed out that the 11 had disrupted Oren for just a few minutes, while Professor Mark Petracca and other administrators spent more time ostracizing and paternalizing students on “civility” and “appropriate behavior.” Oren himself delayed the speech by nearly a half hour, and cut the talk short in order to attend the LA Lakers game that evening. Defense attorneys also pointed to other disruptions that didn’t result in charges, including Senator Joe Wilson’s heckling of President Obama and previous disruptions of Muslim Student Union events by Zionists as the police looked on. (Occupy UCI has a similar analysis of past speaker disruptions and heckling)
We will post additional updates once the sentences are made public, but in any case this will have a serious impact on all protest in Orange County, especially the UCI 19 case which is headed to trial November 8. In a society in which one can be found guilty of conspiracy for planning a protest, then all dissent is rendered illegal.
UPDATE, 2:30pm: Because all of the defendants have clean records, they will receive NO JAIL TIME but instead will receive 3 years of informal probation and 56 hours of community service at a non-profit organization. The judge said that the actions of the 11 were political, and that they are productive members of the community.