News

Another Stanford student convicted in bridge protest case

Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally on San Mateo Bridge blocked traffic, caused minor collisions

A 22-year-old Stanford man received the harshest sentence yet for blocking traffic on a bridge during a protest in January, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's office.

A San Mateo County jury found Clayton William Evans guilty of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in the Jan. 19, Martin Luther King Jr. Day protest that shut down traffic on the San Mateo Bridge. Evans is among 66 Stanford students who were arrested for blocking bridge lanes for two hours during rush hour. The shut down caused a 10-mile backup to the toll plaza on the east span of the bridge.

The students were protesting a variety of issues, including the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri shooting as well as Israeli presence in Palestine. The protestors were nonviolent, according to the DA.

Evans was the only defense witness in his case, and he testified that he did not intend to annoy or harm anyone by blocking the bridge. On cross-examination he admitted being quoted in the Stanford Daily as saying the group's plan for an earlier October protest was "to dramatically decrease the flow of traffic," the DA's office said.

He also admitted being quoted in a CBS article as saying, "The biggest thing we're trying to do right now is to let people know that we will be seen, and we will be heard, and we will continue to disrupt their everyday life until they recognize that."

The jury deliberated for 22 minutes and returned a guilty verdict of disorderly conduct. Evans received a sentence of two years probation in exchange for doing 100 hours of community service and paying $689 in fines.

Evans received a harsher sentence than other protestors based on his attitude during his testimony, Judge Jonathan Karesh told his defense attorney, Esther Aguayo. Other convicted protestors have been ordered to perform 45 hours of community service, and those who pleaded no contest received 30 hours, the DA's office noted.

Related content:

Some Stanford protestors take plea deal

Protest on San Mateo Bridge caused crashes, CHP says

MLK day student-protesters appear in court

Comments

36 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 11, 2015 at 10:27 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Behavior should have consequences - even for Stanford students.

Well done prosecutors and the jury.


20 people like this
Posted by casey
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2015 at 10:57 am

casey is a registered user.

Does illegally shutting down a freeway to deliberately inconvenience others violate Stanford's Fundamental Standard? Will these students be sanctioned by the university for this conduct?

Web Link


23 people like this
Posted by What?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 11, 2015 at 11:24 am

I just don't understand how they think they are scoring points with society by inconveniencing everyone. It seems that this would just build resentment and not help their cause at all. Perhaps it would be more productive to preach to everyone to follow the requests of police officers instead of arguing with them when they are told to do something. And don't run away from police officers when they are trying to talk to them! Police officers are human, not superheroes - it's a dangerous and scary job that most people don't have the head for - let's respect them!


18 people like this
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2015 at 11:55 am

Gethin is a registered user.

An absurd protest by people who were trying to get more attention for themselves rather than the issue. I would have given him 400 hours public service to enhance his Stanford education to understanding the concept of responsibility and to send a message to anyone else who might consider this kind of action. Protest is 100% acceptable. How you protest is another issue.


8 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm

The individual is a 22 year old man, probably older then the other undergraduate students. That raises the question as to what his status is on campus.

Stanford needs to evaluate whether he should continue his "studies" on this campus. Parents are not spending huge amounts of money to send their child to a top school which will tolerate getting their child into trouble. The type of activity will be on the child's record and in any HR search for further jobs. The fact that the demonstration was planned and took place was not an unknown fact. Older people with better judgment should have stepped in to stop the activity when it was being discussed.

The two issues on the table have no correlation and are open to a lot of misinterpretation by uninformed young people. These young people are being manipulated and used and SU should not tolerate it.


13 people like this
Posted by Respect the Law
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2015 at 12:59 pm

Great job Judge! This will set an example what is acceptable and what is not. Blocking a bridge that is used by million of commuters is definitely criminal.


4 people like this
Posted by Solong
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Did you lose wages while stuck in traffic? Car overheat?

Ar yiu the one rushing your mother to theStanford ER that maybe did not make it?

Get fired from you 60,000 year job?

Miss your SAT test, lost your scholarship?

Real everyday MATTERS!

To SUE for damages, contact personal injury lawyer of your choice, or call the sanmateo count bar association referral line at 3634000 for an appointment with a attorney to discuss your case and your damages.

Those CONVICTED of hurting you economically should PAY

This is yet another attack on civilization itself, assuming to much that the system can "take it" but it cant! Stability is a fundamental value,often overlooked.


7 people like this
Posted by doublestandards
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:09 pm

There's a governor sitting in NJ, and he's still waiting to be arrested for serious disorderly conduct on a bridge out there. I hear he's hoping to move to DC in the near future.


9 people like this
Posted by AlexDeLarge
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Next time they should protest at the corner of El Camino & Galvez. They'd get a lot of like minded honks and wouldn't pester society at large.


4 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

I am all for these people being outed and punished.
The punishment seemed to fit the crime, not draconian, but with some teeth.

But, I don't like this comment:

>> Evans received a harsher sentence than other protestors based on his attitude during his testimony

Bad attitude, eh? So, what's why the bankers that were called to Washington never got any sentence or charges at all, because they all took the browbeating the got from Congress, and sounded concerned, when in reality they told the whole country to go jump in the lake.

In a case like this it seems they all did the same thing, pushishing one person more than others seems cruel and unusual, though in this case it's not a capital crime, it still makes the law look bad, and has a chilling effect on self-expression.


11 people like this
Posted by unamused and unimpressed
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 11, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Really, I think this is all about getting one's 15 minutes of "fame" as in posting to social media and etc. and proclaiming oneself a (pretend) "hero." People, including the young, entitled, privileged, cloistered Stanford students are able to have and express their opinions on current events and political topics. That's great! But find a way to do it that is not law-breaking or grand-standing or shutting down public venues or transit (including roads and highways). They could stand to be a bit more intelligent and imaginative in their methods of protest. Again, strictly speaking, I don't object to protest but stupid and obnoxious methods that impede the public, possibly endanger the innocent, and serve no particular purpose (blocking a major transit system) and which are illegal acts, do NOT impress me at all.
Grow up.


8 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jun 11, 2015 at 4:34 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Judges can and do exercise discretion when sentencing someone who has been convicted of a crime.

Lack of remorse is ample justification for a harsher sentence.

Welcome to the world of consequences for your actions - both on the bridge and in court.


7 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm

> has a chilling effect on self-expression.

This chap lied to the court--which is clearly an opportunity for self-expression--and the court responded by increasing his sentence. Maybe it was because of his attitude .. or maybe it was because of his prevarications. Either way--self-expression in court is not really a good idea.

It's a shame he didn't get some jail time, too.


9 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

All lives matter.

Black lives.
White lives.
Hispanic lives.
Asian lives.
None-of-the-above lives.

To stop traffic simply and generically to protest a "cause" is just...misguided. If anything, it doesn't raise sympathies for your causes no matter how right or wrong they are in the protesters' eyes.


2 people like this
Posted by Terry
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2015 at 9:31 pm

If he wants to be seen, and heard... how about some real jail time?


1 person likes this
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

Sparty is a registered user.


I'd say the others got a kinder sentence. Not that some smug kid got a harsher sentence.


3 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 12, 2015 at 1:26 am

>> Evans received a harsher sentence than other protestors based on his attitude during his testimony,

>> Lack of remorse is ample justification for a harsher sentence.


It does not say because he lied, and who knows what judges do what they
do, so it doesn't matter if he did show a lack or remorse, which is not mentioned
in the story ... in fact whoever said that lied. Should you be tracked down by the
court and sentenced too for your attitude, or is that only relevant if you are in
court and the judge doesn't like you? Clearly this is a problem with a lot
of judges.

A great book to read about judge's partiality and objectivity is "Thinking:
Fast And Slow" by Daniel Kahneman. There is a section about how judges
give harsher sentences based on how much time it has been since their last
meal. When human failing are so easy to find, someone doing something like
this is an abuse of authority. And judges can do it great if they do it in
a way that makes some loud people happy ... but that doesn't make it
right.

If they guy was in contempt of court, he should have been charged and
sentenced over that.

It is not in the Constitution that people doing the same crime should be
sentenced to different sentences because of the judge's like or dislikes,
in fact the Constitution tends to stand for the exact opposite of that.

I am not supporting or defended these protestors on the bridge, in fact
if you look back and my previous posts on the subject you can see that.

However our legal system has a lot of flaws in it, and this one is relatively
minor, but that doesn't make mean we should ignore it, and some even
celebrate it.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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