On the morning of April 24, an Occupy San Diego activist was sentenced to an overly harsh 90 days in jail and stiff probation conditions that have nothing to do with his protests. And in doing so, the judge took it upon himself to throw down the gauntlet at the feet of the Occupy Wall Street movement in San Diego.
The activism of Andrew Fisher – nicknamed “Fish” – arrested and convicted of violating California Penal Code section 148 (a)(1) – obstruction of a peace officer, was not appreciated by Judge Richard Whitney, a San Diego County Superior Court judge. Judge Whitney took it upon himself to single-handedly punish Fish and all other potential demonstrators with the Occupy movement. Whitney sentenced him to the 90 days, and with time off for time already served, with overcrowding and good behavior, he’s potentially looking at 43 days.
Whitney stepped out of his role as neutral arbiter and ordered Fish to enroll in a number of programs upon his release into 3 years of probation that have nothing to do with public protest and first amendment rights. Fisher was ordered to have no alcohol or drugs in his system for that time – even though neither alcohol or drugs were an issue in his arrest, in fact, he was sober at the time of the incident.
Supporters in court that morning reported that the judge told Fiser that unless he was real lucky and completed a number of programs and got a full time job, or full time education or combination thereof, that he was looking at time in state prison. The sentence was over and above what the prosecutors asked for, with the absurd conditions of his probation.
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