We have just received information that the DA has not dropped the charges for the “Mrak 51”. He has announced publicly that he will not be pressing charges at this time, i.e. discharging the cases but not dismissing the cases. This means that the DA has up to one year to press charges for the misdemeanors. In most cases, the DA will not bring these charges back up. However, the DA (and the University) may use these charges (and the possibility that these charges could be pressed in the next year) to discipline and regulate the behavior of the Mrak 51 in future protests. In other words, if any of the Mrak 51 was re-arrested in a future demonstration in the next year, there could be 2 misdemeanor charges instead of 1. Especially as the DA is quoted in the Sacramento Bee: “While criminal charges may be filed for up to one year after the date of the alleged violation, it is our hope that future student demonstrations will comply with the law and eliminate the need for the district attorney’s involvement at all.” On a positive note, if the DA were to bring these charges back up, his case would probably be weakened as there is a public record of him stating he would not press charges.
So to re-cap with a little analysis from a lawyer/supporter of the Mrak 51:
(1) the DA, the University, and the Police want to make it look like they have been benevolent but they have not given up any powers of prosecution in this situation.
(2) What they did do, in their attempts to both threaten student protesters (the Mrak 51) and seem benevolent, was weaken their actual case for bringing those original misdemeanors should they make the absolutely ridiculous and rare decision to bring charges back after discharge, and
(3) showed us another technique that they use when confronted with the embarrassment of arresting a bunch of their students.
Furthermore, this calls into question the spirit our negotiations with Janet Gong on Tuesday November 24.
(1) The charges of the Mrak 51, while not being pressed at this time, could be pressed in the future as a means to regulate our behavior in future protests and demonstrations.
(2) Not only has there been no public apology to the one student facing assault charges, she is still being charged.
Let’s not let the DA, the university, and the police get away with this.