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|11/29 Westminster, CA: Deputy DA hits Theresa Dang with new criminal charge
Released 30 November 2005  By Duane Roberts
Deputy DA hits Theresa Dang with new criminal charge; Judge says jury trial to cost $22K per day
Date: 11/29/2005 8:54:00 P.M. Pacific Standard Time
I'm sending out this new email to keep people informed
about the latest developments in Theresa Dang's
pending trial on bogus flashlight theft charges. And
yes, I said *charges*, because the Orange County
District Attorney's Office today accused her of
committing yet another criminal offense! Yup, they
pulled a wand out of their magic hat and *proof*
accused Ms. Dang for "theft of lost property" -- with
no new evidence!
Here are the details, plus a couple of other points
that were raised at today's hearing:
* Shortly after lunch, Erik Petersen, the Deputy
District Attorney handling this case, amended the
original criminal complaint that was filed against Ms.
Dang back in June, adding a new charge. She is now
being accused of violating Section 485 of the
California Penal Code which states that "one who finds
lost property under circumstances which give him
knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner,
and who appropriates such property to his own use, or
to the use of another person not entitled thereto,
without first making reasonable and just efforts to
find the owner and to restore the property to him, is
guilty of theft." In the words of Deputy District
Attorney Petersen himself, his office is now charging
her for "theft of lost property" -- this is on top of
the misdemeanor petty theft charge they originally
filed against her! According to Petersen, the new
charge was filed not because they had any new evidence
against her, but because they [his colleagues] had a
"new legal theory" to try out!
* Judge Erick L. Larsh, the judicial officer who is
overseeing the trial in Department W10, told everybody
present that jury services believes this case is going
to last about two days, most likely ending on
Thursday. However, he said that it's quite possible
jury deliberations regarding Ms. Dang's fate may take
place on Friday.
* In another comment, Judge Larsh publicly estimated
that a jury trial like this one is going to cost
California taxpapers about $22,000 per day. If this
trial lasts until Friday, then it will cost you and I
somewhere in the neighborhood of $66,000. [my comment:
put into perspective, this money could have bought 700
police officers a brand new Maglite flashlight of the
exact same make, model, and quality that Dang is
alleged to have stolen, especially if purchased in
bulk. Of course, it could have paid college tuition
for a lot of young people, too.]
* The twelve jurors that were selected for the trial
are predominately white, with a wide range of ages.
There are almost an equal number of males to females.
Many of the people on this jury appear to be college
* Opening arguments in this case will begin tommorrow
morning [November 30th] at 9:15 am sharp, with the
Deputy District Attorney laying out his case, followed
by a response from B. Kwaku Duren, Ms. Dang's defense
attorney. It's expected that at least one Garden Grove
Police officer will be called to testify, along with
another possible witnesses -- including Ms. Dang
* One issue of contention will be the interpretation
of images on a videotape that was taken by a Minuteman
supporter at the May 25th counterdemonstration against
Jim Gilchrist at the Garden Grove Civic Woman's
Center. The Orange County District Attorney's Office
is using this videotape as the basis for charging Ms.
Dang with two misdemeanor criminal offenses. A portion
of this videotape was broadcast in court today and a
motion was granted by Judge Larsh to omit the audio on
the part that was aired for fear that it could
prejudice the jury. [author comment: I've seen the
videotape in question months ago and can tell you
right now that Ms. Dang committed none of the criminal
acts that she's been accused of; the facts
establishing all of this will come out during the
trial. When the facts are brought out into the open,
I'll say more about this publicly.]
That's all I have to report for now! However, please
see the following appeal I make below! Please take the
time to read it!
Thank you! :)
Duane J. Roberts
SUPPORT THERESA DANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I strongly urge that as many people as possible come
to Westminster to support Theresa Dang in her fight
against both the Garden Grove Police Department and
the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
You don't have to attend these trials every day, or be
there every hour. But commit yourself to three hours
(or even one) and watch what has to be one of the
biggest farces in the history of the criminal justice
system here in Orange County.
Although Friday is still uncertain, here are the days
and hours you could attend:
Wednesday 9:00 am - 12 noon
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Thursday 9:00 am - 12 noon
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Friday 9:00 am - 12 noon
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Department W10, like every courtroom, will be closed
from 12 noon - 1:30 pm for lunch.
If you yourself cannot attend, please call or email
friends and let them know about this case; ask if they
can commit themselves to attending this trial either
all day long or for just a few hours.
YOUR PRESENCE WILL HAVE A HUGE IMPACT UPON THE JURY.
IN ADDITION TO THAT, YOU'LL SEND A MESSAGE TO THE
ORANGE COUNTY DA AND THE GARDEN GROVE POLICE THAT WE
THE PEOPLE WILL NOT TOLERATE THE HARASSMENT OF
ACTIVISTS EXERCISING THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TRIAL POLITICALLY, CULTURALLY,
AND HISTORICALLY. IT IS AT THE CONJUNCTURE OF
IMPORTANT STRUGGLES AGAINST RACISM, SEXISM, CLASSISM,
AND STATE REPRESSION!
Address for Theresa Dang's trial:
West Justice Center
Orange County Superior Court
8131 W. 13th Street
See http://www.occourts.org/locations/westmap.asp for
a map of where the courthouse is located.
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