SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A federal magistrate in San Jose is expected to rule later this month whether it’s legal for police to take down Occupy encampments. Although the decision is about a former Santa Cruz encampment, the ruling could have widespread implications.

One of the interesting aspects about this case is that such arguments are usually heard in local or state courts, but Ed Frey, who represents Occupy Santa Cruz, had it moved to federal court, contending that it’s a constitutional rights question.

”The right to camp as a form of protest has been approved by the United States Supreme Court,” said Frey. “That’s why it makes it a federal question.”

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

However, Santa Cruz Deputy City Attorney Caio Arellano argued that the case doesn’t belong in federal court because the encampment in San Lorenzo Park was taken down because it was a public nuisance, and had nothing to do with the First Amendment.

”The protest, as they described it, was a 24 hour a day, seven day a week camp out in San Lorenzo Park located next to the Santa Cruz courthouse,” said Arellano.

The Occupy Santa Cruz attorney was given a week to come up with a case law supporting his argument.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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