Up to $18,000 per protester arrested during mass arrests at IMF / World Bank protests

I thought I wasn’t seeing right when I got an email with the subject “Deadline nears to claim millions of dollars in mass arrest case.

The Partnership for Civil Justice litigated for 10 years to finally achieve this victory.  It’s great to see the payments, but it’s even more important that changes were made to DC police procedures and they defended the 1st Amendment and our right to free speech.

The deadline to file a claim is 5/17/2010.

There is a second settlement at http://www.justiceonline.org for the September 27, 2002 Pershing Park Mass Arrest Settlement.

Here is the email I received today:

Ten years ago this month (April 15, 2000) nearly 700 people were illegally arrested in Washington D.C., while protesting against the brutality, racism and exploitation that are institutionalized in the vast Prison-Industrial Complex in the United States.

While we were trapped and detained on 20th St., we announced over a bullhorn that the police action was illegal and that we would seek to file a class-action lawsuit against the D.C. police and government.

After 10 long years of litigation filed by the attorneys from the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund on behalf of those of us who were arrested, a huge civil liberties victory has been achieved, resulting in the largest protest arrest settlement in U.S. history.

This victory was due to the amazing diligence and expertise of the Partnership for Civil Justice, who worked pro bono for a decade, and the steadfastness of those who had been arrested.

Everyone who was arrested at 20th St., NW between I and K st, on April 15, 2000, is now eligible to collect $18,000, but they must file their claim by May 17, 2010.

Below is the urgent email from the Partnership for Civil Justice on how people who were illegally arrested on April 15, 2000, can collect their $18,000. If people do not file the claim by May 17, 2010, that money will revert back to the government.

We need your help to circulate this email to as many friends, progressive lists serves and social networking sites so those who are entitled to collect $18,000 can do so.

For my part, I am donating the settlement money to the ANSWER Coalition so that the movement against war and for social justice can continue to organize. We hope others will consider doing the same, or donating a part of their settlement money. The ANSWER Coalition has a fiscal sponsor, the Progress Unity Fund, that allows for tax-deductible contributions. Checks may be sent to 167 Anderson St, San Francisco, CA 94110 and made out to Progress Unity Fund.

Spread the word,

Brian Becker signature

Brian Becker
ANSWER Coalition, National Coordinator

A letter from the Parnership for Civil Justice Fund

Ten years ago, the police swept nearly 700 people off the streets of Washington, D.C., in an illegal mass arrest during IMF/World Bank demonstrations. Now, in the largest class action settlement of protestor claims in U.S. history, totalling nearly $14 million dollars, those arrestees are each entitled to up to $18,000. This case has been litigated for the past decade by the attorneys at the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund.

Claim forms must be filed by May 17, 2010! The time period for filing claims opened on February 12, 2010, and time is running out. Millions of dollars are available, but arrestees must file their claim forms—unclaimed funds will revert to the government. Please post this as widely as possible and help get the word out to everyone you know.

In addition to monetary payments, the arrest of class members will be expunged; each arrestee who participates in the settlement will receive a court order declaring his or her arrest to be legally null and void. There is also substantial equitable relief, changes in the law and to police policies and practices that have been achieved in the course of the litigation.

Click here to view the Notice to Class Members, which describes the litigation and settlement and answers questions that potential claimants may have.

Click here to download the Proof of Claim form, which must be filled out and timely submitted by potential claimants to the Class Administrator.

Please re-post this email to e-mail lists, web sites, Facebook pages or organizations where it may be viewed by potential class members. You can use the buttons below to forward this email or post it to Facebook or Twitter. There have been notices mailed to those listed as having been arrested and follow-up communications as well as additional publication in various media outlets notifying potential class members. However, we want to do as much as possible to get the word out.

The class is “all persons who were detained and arrested on April 15, 2000 near the area of 20th Street, NW and I and K Streets, Washington D.C., in connection with the protest against the Prison Industrial Complex during the IMF/World Bank demonstrations.”

The official website, established by the Class Administrator, is at www.BeckerSettlement.com. Additional materials are available there, and answers to frequently asked questions will be posted there as questions are presented to the Administrator. If you have questions, please first read the Notice to Class Members, which is in Q & A format and answers many important questions about the settlement and the process. The Class Administrator has also set up a toll free number, 1-877-567-4780, in case you have questions that are not answered in the notice or on the web site.

Send this to everyone you know—get it on as many lists and facebook pages as possible. Time is running out—get those claim forms in now!

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) is a not-for-profit legal and educational organization which, among other things, seeks to ensure constitutional accountability within police practices. It has litigated class action lawsuits against the District of Columbia for the mass false arrests of more than 1,000 persons during First Amendment protected demonstrations. The PCJF won a unanimous ruling at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals finding the MPD’s unprecedented military-style police checkpoint program unconstitutional. The PCJ previously uncovered and disclosed that the D.C. police employed an unlawful domestic spying and agent provocateur program in which officers were sent on long-term assignments posing as political activists and infiltrated lawful and peaceful groups. For more information go to: www.JusticeOnline.org.

I’m glad to see the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals finding these practices unconstitutional.  What about the OTHER courts?

The Public Participation Project – Working to protect First Amendment Rights

It looks like a number of states are taking action to protect free speech.  Of course CALIFORNIA is the place to be.

Your State’s Free Speech Protections

Pertinent free speech and judicial decisions are listed according to state. These include anti-SLAPP laws, SLAPPBAck provisions, libel tourism laws and others. Also included are laws that chill free speech, such as veggie libel laws. If you know of additional laws that affect speech in your state, please contact Samantha Brown, legislative director, at sb[at]anti-slapp[dot]org.


Read more…

Wiki: SLAPP suits defined and major cases

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation

Strategic lawsuit against public participation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

History

The acronym was coined in the 1980s by University of Denver professors Penelope Canan and George W. Pring. The term was originally defined as “a lawsuit involving communications made to influence a governmental action or outcome, which resulted in a civil complaint or counterclaim filed against nongovernment individuals or organizations on a substantive issue of some public interest or social significance.”[1] It has since been defined more broadly to include suits about speech on any public issue.[2]

The original concept is closely related to freedom of speech and the right to petition, entrenched in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

According to New York Supreme Court Judge J. Nicholas Colabella, “Short of a gun to the head, a greater threat to First Amendment expression can scarcely be imagined.” A number of jurisdictions have made such suits illegal, provided that the appropriate standards of journalistic responsibility have been met by the critic.

US

  • Barbra Streisand, as plaintiff, lost an anti-SLAPP motion after she sued an aerial photographer involved in the California Coastal Records Project. Streisand v. Adelman et al., in California Superior Court; Case SC077257 [7][8] See Streisand effect
  • Nationally syndicated talk radio host Tom Martino prevailed in an anti-SLAPP motion after he was sued for libel by a watercraft retailer. The case received national attention for its suggestion that no one reasonably expects objective facts from a typical talk show host.[9][10] Gardner v. Martino
  • Kim Shewalter and other neighborhood activists, as defendants, won an anti-SLAPP motion against apartment building owners because of the defendants’ protest activities. v. Shewalter.html Coltrain v. Shewalter
  • Barry King and another Internet poster, as defendants, won an anti-SLAPP motion against corporate plaintiffs based on critical posts on an Internet financial message board. Global Telemedia v. Does
  • Kathi Mills won an anti-SLAPP motion against the Atlanta Humane Society, Atlanta Humane Society v. Mills, in Gwinnett County (Georgia) Superior Court; case 01-A-13269-1 [11]
  • Karen Winner, the author of “Divorced From Justice,” published in 1996 by ReganBooks/Harper Collins, is recognized as “[the] catalyst for the changes that we adopted,” said Leo Milonas, a retired justice with the Appellate Division of the New York state courts who chaired a special commission that recommended the changes adopted by Chief Judge Judith Kaye.[12] But in 1999, Winner, along with a psychologist/whistleblower, and several citizens were SLAPPed for criticizing the guardian ad litem system and a former judge in South Carolina. Winner’s report, “Findings on Judicial Practices & Court-appointed Personnel In The Family Courts In Dorchester, Charleston & Berkeley Counties, South Carolina” and citizen demonstrations led to the very first laws in South Carolina to establish minimum standards and licensing requirements for guardians ad litem — who represent the interests of children in court cases.[13] The retaliatory SLAPP suits have been dragging on for nearly 10 years, with judgments totaling more than $11 million against the co-defendants collectively. Reflecting the retaliatory nature of these suits, at least one of the co-defendants is still waiting to find out from the judges, which particular statements if any he made were actually false.[14]
  • 1981-1986 Pacific Legal Foundation and San Luis Obispo filed a suit attempting to obtain the mailing list of the Abalone Alliance to get the group to pay for the police costs of the largest anti-nuclear civil-disobedience act in U.S. history at the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility. The Pacific Legal Foundation lost at every court level and withdrew the suit the day before it was due to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Food, Inc — it's not only about food

I just watched Food, Inc. (the NY Times review) on Netflix and it’s about a lot more than just food.

We all know about the food industry abuse and torture of animals and workers and we all know about the recalls of contaminated food.

This film documents how Monsanto and the big food producers operate and ERASE the TRUTH through harassment lawsuits.

They’ve got the money and they can hire thousands of corrupt lawyers who’ll do anything for a buck.

I’ve been buying organic food whenever it is affordable.  I also stopped buying meat and we’re growing as much food as possible.   If you eat GM and toxic food, that’s YOUR problem and I really don’t care — pick your poison.

I DO care that I can publicly state what I eat or don’t eat.

Oprah spent YEARS in court because she dared to speak up about hamburger.

There’s nothing we can do about farmers who cheerfully grow Monsanto’s genetically modified food because they worship the dollar.  It’s a shame that the corrupt government ALLOWS toxic foods to be grown and distributed.

The buck really stops when farmers cannot talk about the truth anymore and they are sued out of business because they refuse to torture and pollute.

It bites to see how honest people are forced to settle lawsuits and are silenced because they can’t pay the lawyers.