Uploaded: Tue, Jun 5, 2012, 8:05 am
Congressional candidate Carol Brouillet arrested
Palo Altan failed to attend court hearing after April civil disobedience arrest
Congressional candidate Carol Brouillet was arrested Saturday, June 2, after failing to show up for a court appearance, which stemmed from a civil-disobedience action outside Lockheed Martin, according to Palo Alto police.
Brouillet, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 14th District, was taken into custody outside her Palo Alto home on June 2 at about 8:47 p.m., she confirmed.
The Green Party candidate, who has run on a freedom-of-speech and corporate-accountability platform, said City of Sunnyvale police first arrested her and four other people on April 6. The group was arrested for blocking the street in front of defense-systems corporation Lockheed Martin, located at 1111 Lockheed Martin Way in Sunnyvale. They were protesting nuclear weapons production, she said.
Brouillet has taken part in civil disobedience since the 1990s, and has been arrested during passive protests numerous times in Berkeley and Livermore, including with anti-war activist Daniel Ellsberg, she said. But in most other instances, she and others were given citations and sent on their way.
"I have never been through what I went through before," she said of her experience in Santa Clara County's correctional facility. She hadn't intended to miss her court date, she said.
On the day of her Sunnyvale arrest, Brouillet said she had been precinct walking for her campaign when she learned that an old friend was taking part in the protest at Lockheed.
"I just couldn't resist doing civil disobedience," she said.
After their arrest, Brouillet and friends were given a May 18 court-appearance date, but she sought to have the date changed. She was supposed to appear in court on May 30, but when she didn't show up the judge issued a bench warrant.
"I was so busy campaigning that I forgot and missed the court date," she said.
Brouillet said she went to the court after receiving the bench warrant, and a clerk gave her another date to appear on June 15. But when she came home on Saturday night, the police drove past her home. The officer made a U-turn and then arrested her, she said.
"We had the most delightful conversation on the way to jail," she said, adding the officer said she was the nicest person he had ever arrested.
"I think he might vote for me."
This was the first time Brouillet has sat in a cell at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas, she said. The experience was also an eye opener.
"It was really awful," she said, adding that it took 14 hours to process her. She posted $10,000 bail. "I didn't realize that Sunnyvale was so harsh on exercising First Amendment rights," she said.
Her personal experience was an example of why she is running for office, she said of the importance of exercising free speech. She now has three court dates in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto.
But there is a bright side.
"The nice thing about doing this in Palo Alto is I can bicycle there," she said.
Posted by Carol Brouillet
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 5, 2012 at 10:47 am
Carol Brouillet is a registered user.
Sue Dremann interviewed me yesterday morning, before I had a chance to update anyone who had been arrested with me on Good Friday at Lockheed Martin about the turn of events, and I think she sincerely tried to get the facts right in her article, but she did make some mistakes which I think that I should clarify here.
On the day of my arrest in Sunnyvale, I don't recall precinct walking, I was simply protesting at Lockheed Martin. However, I was precinct walking in Palo Alto last Saturday for many hours and just returning to my home when I was arrested and taken to San Jose to be processed.
I was not involved with the planning of the action on Good Friday, which was organized by the Pacific Life Community (See Web Link) but I went in solidarity to be supportive of their efforts, aimed at ending nuclear weapons and war making through non-violent action. When I arrived in Sunnyvale, I was very impressed with the people who had gathered there, including Bob and Janet Aldridge. I was familiar with Bob's extensive work exposing the Trident weapon systems. My decision to join the action was spontaneous, but I was heartened by the participation of another friend, a Stanford professor, who very eloquently read a powerful statement before we were arrested.
When we were processed in Sunnyvale and given the May 18th court date, we all agreed that that was a difficult date for us and wanted to push it back until June. My friend knew that he would be in Europe giving a lecture and performing in a play, ironically about Gorbachev and Reagan at a summit in 1986 discussing the reduction of nuclear weapons, in which my friend played Reagan. Due to a miscommunication, we didn't get our paperwork to the guy who went to court on May 18th asking for the date change. The date was changed to May 30th for three of the five who were arrested, but my friend and I were stunned to receive Bench Warrants for $10,000 on Saturday, May 26th. We couldn't do much about it over Memorial Day weekend, but four of us were at the clerk's office that Monday to ask the clerk for a date to surrender to the court and ask the judge to waive the bench warrant. We were given a new court date (June 15th) and given a phone number to call the Sunnyvale Police Department. We called Sunnyvale and the Santa Clara County Sherrif's Department to call off the Bench Warrant, but they couldn't do so because the bail amount was so high and could only be called off by the judge. A lawyer told me that it is rare for people to be picked up on a bench warrant, unless they commit a traffic violation and they come into the police's radar. I was also advised to surrender directly to the Sunnyvale police, to avoid any danger of being arrested. I almost did (late Wednesday, June 29th), but on the way to Sunnyvale with a friend and with the bail money, my friend convinced me that I was too "invisible" for them to come after me, and that the processing could take hours and that if I turned myself in I should do so early in the morning rather than risk being stuck in the system after hours, which is what eventually happened to me. My husband drove twice to San Jose while they did the paperwork, processing. Only when I was released, and called him on the cell phone my son had loaned to me, was he able to locate me and pick me up on his third trip to San Jose.
I also went to court on May 30th, in solidarity with my friends, hoping that the judge might allow us to be heard and arraigned on the same date. The judge was aware of my presence, but didn't have my paperwork handy and indicated that the dates could be resolved at my scheduled hearing on June 15th. Now I have another court date hearing on July 18th, in addition to the new court date of July 12th, and I will probably have to go to all of them, unless the judge kindly agrees to consolidate our cases and the court date hearings.
We do believe the National Lawyers Guild will provide us help and support with our case, but we haven't yet had time to get lawyers to help us through the labyrinth of the "criminal" Justice System.
When we see the Supreme Court judging in favor of money and major corporations, when we see the media gloss and fawn over Presidential participation in assassination squads, when we see Congress go along with the institutionalization of torture, the shredding of our Constitutional rights, when we see powerful financial entities get away with fraud and the largest heist in human history, when we see the legalization of murder, theft, war, torture, than I think it is time for "we the people" to stand up for what is right, moral and identify the criminality of systems which serve a few and threaten the many.
My original reason for running for Congress in 2006 was to raise the taboo issues. I believed that Bush and Cheney should have been impeached back then, and that Congress failed to defend our Constitution when it passed the PATRIOT Act. Now more than ever, I think the job of Congress should be to defend people and rein in corporate power which has rampantly corrupted the courts, the legislature, and makes it exceedingly challenging for those of us who challenge it.
I hope that anyone who believes that we need to strengthen people power over corporate power will find the time and energy to support my Congressional campaign today by voting for the only party that doesn't accept corporate contributions, the Green Party. Under the new rules, unless I come in second today, my voice will be eliminated from the November election.