Journalist Yasha Levine was arraigned late last week on “failure to disperse” charges for attempting to cover the police crackdown on OccupyLA. He was sent home with “no charges filed.” But that doesn’t mean his case was dismissed.
According to my attorney, “no charges filed” was shorthand for “no charges filed today.” Which means that there is no reason that charges couldn’t—and wouldn’t—be filed a little while later, like next week or next month. And judging by the threatening letter I received from the City Attorney’s office, that looks like a definite possibility.
So far, according to Levine, two occupiers, Jason Brodsky, 35, and Justin Fragosa, 19, have been found guilty of the same charge Levine faces. Brodsky was given 20 days of community service and 18 months probation while Fragosa received a $1,000 fine and a year of probation. Levine says despite the threat of similar–or worse–punishment, he plans to fight the charges.
As I understand it, the city can add, subtract and/or substitute any charge the City Attorney damn well feels like—as long he thinks the charges can be made to stick.
Whatever they end up charging me with, I’m grateful as hell that I got a great defense attorney and we plan on fighting it all the way.