Friday, May 31, 2013

NUDIST ACTIVIST TRIAL SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 4, 2013


You can help the nudist activists by contributing to the legal fund here:
https://rally.org/stopthesanfrancisconudityban

REMINDER: The trial for the three defendants, (Miller, Taub and Davis), who were arrested and received citations at the February 27, 2013 dance performance is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at 1:30pm in Department A at the SF Hall of Justice located at 850 Bryant Street in San Francisco.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thong Parade Draws Nudist Crowd and Clothed Supporters

Above: Scantily clad men and women gather in Jane Warner Plaza for the first annual THONG PARADE.

Thong Parade Draws Nudist Crowd and Clothed Supporters

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The first annual THONG PARADE took place on Saturday, May 18, 2013, the day before the famous Bay to Breakers foot race event.  This date allowed race attendees from out-of-town to attend and show their support for body freedom.

The event began in JANE WARNER PLAZA at noon.  A group of about twenty-five scantily clad men and women gathered along with a crowd of clothed supporters.  The group “hung out” in the plaza to make a statement that body freedom is not dead just because of some gymnophobic ordinance.

All four plaintiffs in the nudity ban lawsuit were present, including activists Gypsy Taub, who brought a collection of pro-nudity signs for the crowd to carry; George Davis, who carried a sign advertising his candidacy for Supervisor of District Eight; Rusty Mills, who was busy handing out body freedom informational flyers; and Mitch Hightower, the organizer of the event.

The group had applied for a parade permit, which would have put the parade within the “blanket exemption” where nudity would have been legal.  Subsequent to submitting the parade permit application the group was stonewalled by the city and as a result no permit was issued.  While this made exposing your genitals illegal, it did not stop the pro-nudity group from spreading their message throughout the neighborhood.

And the neighborhood reacted.  A large group of clothed people also gathered in Jane Warner Plaza, many posing for pictures with the men and women wearing thongs or jock straps and little else.  As the group left the plaza for the parade along Castro Street, the crowd clapped and cheered the nudists.

The parade took the group up Castro Street to Eighteenth Street where they stopped at “Hibernia Beach” to celebrate the popular nudist hang out of the nineteen seventies.  The group then continued their trek around the Castro neighborhood, stopping at iconic locations including outside of Harvey’s restaurant and also at the Edge bar.

The group ended up in Harvey Milk Plaza under the Pride flag.  The crowd of nearly nude people garnished lots of attention and many clothed tourists and others took pictures of the afternoon spectacle while uniformed police officers on bicycles lurked nearby.

REMINDER: Enlarge the images by clicking on them.


Above: The THONG PARADE crosses at Castro and Eighteenth Streets.

Above: A cock sock with a printed message.

Above: The group stops for a break outside of the EDGE bar.

Above: At the end of the parade, the group poses for photos in HARVEY MILK PLAZA.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

NUDITY BAN LAWSUIT MOVES INTO DISCOVERY PHASE


LAWSUIT MOVES INTO “DISCOVERY” PHASE

The plaintiffs in the Federal lawsuit challenging the San Francisco nudity ban recently met with their attorney Christina DiEdoardo for a planning session as the lawsuit moves ahead. The next phase is what is called discovery. This is where the attorneys from each side request evidence and disclosures from each other. It’s also the stage of the case where depositions are taken. So we’ll soon have several city officials on the hot seat and they’ll have to answer questions under oath. This is also the portion of the case where the expenses start to mount quickly. If you can help us on our mission to overturn the nudity ban we sure would appreciate your donation! Thank you for your continued support!

Donate online here: https://rally.org/stopthesanfrancisconudityban

Friday, May 3, 2013

HELP THE NUDIST ACTIVISTS CONTINUE TO FIGHT

Above: Activist Trey Allen wrapped in a blue blanket the police forced him to wear when they dumped him and other activists from a police van on the street following sketchy arrests.

You can help the nudists fight the bogus nudity ban law and assist them with appealing the convictions by making a donation online. Any amount will help! Thank you.
https://rally.org/stopthesanfrancisconudityban

Monday, April 29, 2013

ADA Beams Outside Courtroom Following Conviction of Three Nudist Activists

Above: ABC 7 News reporter Carolyn Johnson interviews activist Gypsy Taub outside the courtroom prior to the trial on April 23, 2013.

ADA Beams Outside Courtroom Following Conviction of Three Nudist Activists

The San Francisco District Attorney’s office dispatched two staff members to prosecute a trio of nudist activists who were cited for violating San Francisco Police Code 154.  Since the matter is regarding basic citations the “trial” took place in Department B, which is traffic court.  It is highly unusual for the District Attorney to have any personnel appear to prosecute infraction cases in this courtroom.

Those in attendance that hadn’t been to this courtroom before could easily see the primary purpose of Department B, which is to generate cash for the city via fines and fees.  During the hour before the nudist case came before the court, Department B issued demands for fines and fees to a courtroom full of traffic scofflaws that totaled thousands of dollars.  This may explain why the Judge seemed perturbed from the start of the proceedings.  The nudists weren’t going to generate much revenue and the case was likely going to take a lot of time.

The activists on trial included George Davis, Gypsy Taub and Trey Allen.  The trio was arrested and later cited because they were nude in public at a permitted protest on the steps of San Francisco City Hall on February 1, 2013.  This was the first day the nudity ban went into effect.  Attorney Christina DiEdoardo represented the three activists.

Attorney DiEdoardo had submitted a courtesy brief to the court in advance of the trial.  She made objections over the arrests of the activists because the citations are an infraction offense, not a misdemeanor or felony.  DiEdoardo called the arrests, “kidnapping under color of law”. 

The case got underway at 2:30pm.  The duo of ADA’s made their own case regarding the legality of the arrests.  Ultimately the Judge refused to dismiss the case on the grounds that the arrests and detention of the activists was illegal.

One notable difference from a typical courtroom is that there is no court reporter.  There are microphones placed around the room and the proceedings are recorded on audiotape.  However, it was quite noticeable that the Judge was typing on her keyboard during the entire trial.  She also frequently referred back to her computer screen to review what she had typed.

The District Attorney presented evidence that included nude images of the trio taken at the police station following the arrests.  DiEdoardo objected stating that these images were no indication of what her clients looked like at the protest.  The Judge allowed the images to be submitted as evidence.

San Francisco Police Officer Perez signed the citations and as is standard protocol he was present in the courtroom to give sworn testimony.  Officer Perez stated that he had been a SFPD officer since January 26, 2013.  So at the February 1 protest he had been on the job for less than a week.  Officer Perez went on to say that he was being trained and that is why he filled out and signed all three citations.

The assistant district attorney turned the questioning over to his female “clerk”.  ADA Nguyen then repeatedly talked over his clerk and presented questions she hadn’t asked.  DiEdoardo objected and asked the court, “Who is trying this case anyway”?  The Judge ordered that only one person from the District Attorneys office do the talking.  From then on the clerk asked questions after ADA Nguyen would whisper in her ear.

Attorney DiEdoardo asked Officer Perez if he had asked the trio to provide their ID and sign the citations prior to handcuffing them and placing them inside a police van.  Officer Perez stated that the activists refused to provide their ID or otherwise were not asked for it at the scene because, “the situation had become unsafe”.  Attorney DiEdoardo then introduced an image as evidence that clearly showed Taub offering her California Driver License to another uniformed SFPD officer.  DiEdoardo from then on referred to Officer Perez’s testimony as “impeached”.

The proceeding continued with a lot of argument over the admission of evidence, primarily photographs.  The evidence from the District Attorney was allowed, most of the evidence from the defense was not allowed.

DiEdoardo questioned Taub about when and how she obtained the permit for the steps, however Taub was not able to produce a copy of the permit.  The judge said it didn’t matter anyway, because the nudity ban only exempts, “permitted fairs, festivals and parades”.  The Judge went on to say that a protest is not a parade.

Seated against the wall in the courtroom gallery was Assistant City Attorney Tara Smiley.  Smiley is the city attorney assigned to the case in Federal Court where the three defendants and two others are suing the city regarding the legality of the nudity ban.

At about 4:10pm DiEdoardo called activist Mitch Hightower to the podium and he produced a DVD that he said contained unedited video taken at the protest.  The District Attorney conceded that they had already reviewed the video as it had been provided during the discovery phase of the case.  They were satisfied that Hightower had authenticated the video.

The Judge asked how long the video was and Hightower answered, “fifty two minutes”.  The Judge gasped and then balked at being asked to view such a lengthy video.  She asked Hightower in what timeframe he took the video and when the timeframe he gave her was not exactly fifty-two minutes she seemed even more exasperated.  The Judge announced, “We’re only here until four thirty”, as she looked at the clock on the wall.  She refused to allow the video to be entered as evidence.

Following brief closing arguments from both sides the Judge made an immediate ruling.  She stated that the First Amendment issues about the nudity ban are, “another case, for another courtroom”.  She found the trio “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”, issued the maximum fine of $100 for the first offense and added on $92 in court fees for each defendant.

Outside the courtroom the assistant district attorney and his clerk were all smiles as they walked down the hall and disappeared into a locked office.  DiEdoardo said to the defendants, “Well, sorry guys, we lost this one”.

Later DiEdoardo informed the activists that they have the right to appeal the convictions if they choose.  Allen announced that he would prefer not to appeal, Taub plans to appeal and Davis has not made his decision public as of this writing.

Another trial for three nudists arrested and cited at an artistic dance performance on February 27 in Harvey Milk Plaza is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

Donate to the Stop the SF Nudity Ban Legal Fund here:  https://rally.org/stopthesanfrancisconudityban


Sunday, April 28, 2013

THONG PARADE RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY MAY 18, 2013

THONG PARADE RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY MAY 18, 2013

Due to permitting issues the THONG PARADE has been rescheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2013.  Meet in Jane Warner Plaza at Noon.  The sidewalk parade contingent will walk the Castro neighborhood and along Market Street.  Route maps will be provided at the event.  Parade will conclude at 2pm.