In NYC you can go to jail for being a community gardener: La Esperanza Update
This morning I attended the pretrial motions of 26 of the 31 community
garden activists who were arrested and charged in connection with the
protests against the bulldozing of the La Esperanza Garden on Manhattan's
Lower East Side last February. Before we entered the court at 100 Center
Street, we were treated to a curbside puppet show by one of the defendants
retelling the events that led up to the bulldozing of this 20 year old
community garden for the benefit of Donald Capoccia, a Giuliani campaign
contributor and developer of luxury housing. Watching the expressions of
court officers, attorneys and passersby were priceless. Then, of course, back
These gardeners and garden activists are each facing several counts of
trespassing and obstruction of government administration which could
potentially land each of them in jail for about a year.
There is movement from the DA's office to reduce the charges for some
participants, the worst sanctions are reserved for those who climbed a tree
at a City Hall protest last March and for whom no plea bargain deal is
currently being offered.
Currently, the pre-trial motions for the 26 defendants are being handled on
a pro-bono basis by Ronald L. Kuby's law office (formerly of the law firm of
Kunstler & Kuby) and will probably be handed over at some point to Legal Aid
Should there be any need at a later date for letters/e-mails/telephone calls
of support for the gardeners to the court, elected officials and media, I
will certainly pass it on to this listserv.
Currently, there has been no legal defense fund set up for these largely
indigent defendant-gardeners. Should the need arise, I will of course let you
all know where contributions can be sent.
Clinton Community Garden
community_garden maillist - firstname.lastname@example.org