Sunday, January 13, 2008

Appeal to Support the San Francisco 8: Legal Update

The San Francisco 8 need our help!

Let's do our part in freeing them!

Everyone is out on bail except for political prisoners Jalil Muntaqim and Herman Bell, two of the NY3. The third member, Albert Nuh Washington, died in prison.

Jan. 10, 2008: SF8 Court Update

Judge Moscone officially accepted an amended complaint by the prosecution in the San Francisco 8 trial today, in effect completely dropping charges against Richard O'Neal, who was only charged with conspiracy. While he faces no further legal prosecution in the case, Richard was immediately served with a subpoena to testify at the preliminary hearing scheduled for April.

Conspiracy charges dropped due to statute of limitations
Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Harold Taylor are now only accused of the alleged murder in 1971 of SF Police Sergeant John Young. The conspiracy counts were dropped against all five brothers when defense motions correctly challenged them on the grounds that the statute of limitations on charges of conspiracy in California (three years) had expired. The conspiracy allegations include several acts alleged to take place from 1968-1973.

Next court date February 7

A new court date was scheduled for Thursday, February 7th, when arguments will be made to drop the remaining conspiracy charges against Herman Bell, Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom) and Francisco Torres. The prosecution claims that because the three men were not in California the statute of limitations does not apply. This “ridiculous technicality” will be vigorously challenged by defense attorneys as Herman and Jalil have been political prisoners for 34 and 36 years and Francisco was residing in New York. All three have been consistently available to California state prosecutors.

Formal Pleas a year later

Almost a year after they were charged and arrested, all eight of the brothers formally entered NOT GUILTY pleas to all of the charges.

This same case dropped in 1975

Former San Francisco District Attorney Thomas Norman was not available to testify today due to health issues. He was originally sought to explain why this same case was dropped in 1975 when he decided that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the case. So-called “confessions” made when several brothers were arrested, tortured and forced to sign police-scripted statements were deemed inadmissible in the 1970s. Attempts to secure Norman's complete notes and files will be made in time for the February hearing.

Harold Taylor remains free on bail

California prosecutors re-raised a request to increase bail for Harold Taylor. Florida prosecutors filed charges in December against Taylor for the alleged purchase of a controlled substance. Judge Moscone was clear that, although this was the case, the dropping of the conspiracy charges against him in San Francisco cancelled out the seriousness of the Florida matter, so bail will remain the same.

Growing support

A large crowd of San Francisco 8 supporters had to wait outside in the hallway of the San Francisco Courthouse today after police officers were given early access to seats in Judge Philip Moscone's court. The courtroom was nevertheless overwhelmingly packed with supporters and high energy as this major unraveling of the prosecution's case unfolded. All of the brothers felt positive about the legal developments and the growing level of public support for them.

Committee for the Defense of Human Rights
P.O. Box 90221 Pasadena, CA 91109 (415) 226-1120
E-mail: freethesf8 [at] riseup [dot] net

Joint Statement from the San Francisco 8 just received by mail on May 19, 2007. Click here to read the statement.

Write to the San Francisco 8!

To write to the two who are now being held in the San Francisco County Jail, address letters with each man's name and number and this address: 850 Bryant St., San Francisco CA 94103. Their names and numbers follow:

Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), 2311826;
Herman Bell, 2318931

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