For Immediate Release
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Carol Sobel,
co-chairs, NLG Mass Defense Committee
(202) 232-1180 ext. 202, (310) 922-7001
NLG Keeps Pressure Against Occupy Clampdowns Nationwide
NEW YORK - As city officials move to shut down Occupy camps around the country, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is continuing its fight to preserve the First Amendment rights of occupiers.
Recent NLG litigation on behalf of Occupy encampments includes:
Boston: A temporary restraining order (TRO) obtained by Boston Guild members two weeks ago has so far prevented an eviction of Occupy Boston. In a hearing today, NLG attorneys will argue to maintain the boundaries set by the TRO in a longer-lasting injunction.
Los Angeles: Local police moved in and dismantled Occupy L.A. early Wednesday in a surprise raid, as an L.A. court prepared to hear the NLG’s TRO against such an eviction. As of this morning, LAPD continues to hold many of the nearly 300 arrested protesters on $5,000 bail for misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse, in clear violation of California state law which requires their release with a notice to appear. The NLG-L.A. demands the immediate release of all Occupy L.A. protesters arrested in the raid.
Augusta, Maine: On November 28, Guild members filed a TRO which a judge upheld, granting a one-week order protecting Occupy Augusta from eviction. Another hearing is scheduled for Monday, December 5.
Nashville, Tennessee: Guild members were victorious in convincing a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction after filing a TRO. Further, the judge found that no probable cause existed in 55 protest arrests and ordered that all the charges be dropped and all records relating to the arrests expunged.
Throughout the country local authorities are claiming health and safety concerns and invoking obscure municipal codes as pretexts for what are ultimately political crackdowns.
In response, hundreds of lawyers, legal workers and law students have mobilized through the NLG’s Mass Defense Committee for the largest outpouring of protest legal support in decades.
In addition to affirmative constitutional rights challenges, the NLG is coordinating legal activists nationwide to provide Occupy protests with Legal Observers®, criminal defense, legal briefing, legal research, and often, around-clock legal advice.
The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.