LESLIE STATES “NOT GUILTY”—
JUDGE CONVICTS BUT STAYS SENTENCE
Leslie Feinberg declared she/ze was “not guilty” today (2/4/13) on a charge of 3rd degree gross misdemeanor (property damage) for spray painting “Free CeCe Now” on the walls and pillars of the courthouse/jail in Minneapolis.
Based on police reports of Leslie’s actions, which were not in dispute, the judge found Leslie “guilty,” and asked if she/ze had anything to say before sentencing.
Leslie said: “I am a revolutionary journalist and member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. I am not guilty of any wrongdoing. I delivered the people’s verdict on the jailhouse walls. The real crimes are going on behind the walls where CeCe McDonald is imprisoned.”
“By sentencing CeCe McDonald to prison, Minneapolis sent a green light to neo-fascists at a time of growing racist lynching and massacres in the U.S. CeCe was attacked and survived at a time when an increasing number of transwomen of color are being assaulted and murdered.
“Racist mass incarceration is the crime, as even a former Hennepin County prosecutor admitted in an article—that Minnesota has the greatest racist disparity in sentencing of any state in the U.S.
“The world is watching CeCe McDonald’s struggle. I’m proud to add my voice to the tens of thousands of people who demand: Free CeCe!”
The judge admitted that Leslie’s action was an act of “civil disobedience.”
Then the judge stayed the imposition of sentence for 2 years. During that time, Leslie is on informal probation. This means if Leslie is not convicted of any additional “property damage” for 24 months, the 3rd degree gross misdemeanor charge will be dismissed.
The prosecutor did not pursue court expenses or a fine. Leslie walked out of the courtroom without having to perform community service or report to a probation officer.
Leslie was ordered to pay more than $1300 for the erasure of the political demand she/ze wrote on the wall. Leslie stated after court, “I refuse to pay for the censorship of the political demand Free CeCe Now!
Local Free CeCe organizers were present in the courtroom. Many CeCe supporters in the U.S. and around the world sent tweets, e-mails, faxes, and made phone calls to help deliver the people’s verdict—Free CeCe!—to the Minneapolis mayor and prosecutor.
LESLIE STATES “NOT GUILTY”—
CeCe’s latest blog entry to her community of supporters! Please share far and wide!
“Learn to be accepting and learn to love, not just others but YOURSELF! And if you think there is not one person who loves you, know that I do…”
READ CECE’S NEW BLOG POST:
On Trans Day of Remembrance: A Proposal
”..we are all worth it, worthy, beautiful, strong, more than a binary, are able to become self-actualized, can and have already succeeded as a person, and of course, leaders.” -CeCe McDonald
Trans Women in San Diego Prison Stage Hunger Strike
Filed By Tobi Hill-Meyer
Two trans women incarcerated in the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County have been on hunger strike for over a week in an attempt to be allowed to share a cell together. Because they are trans, prison officials refuse to take them off single-cell status. Presumably, they have both been restricted to being in single cells to prevent them from having to share a cell with a man, however, it’s clear that this is not for their own protection when there are two of them and they want to share a cell together.
According to a statement released yesterday, the hunger strike began on Friday September 21st and they are asking their supporters to call in and help:
Call Warden Paramo the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility: (619) 661-6500
Demand that Eva Contreraz (C-45857) and Catarine LaPre (K-67313) be take off single-cell status and be allowed to share a cell. Demand that an end to the discriminatory housing policy against trans women in the correctional facility.
Isolation has commonly been a discriminatory practice prison’s have used against trans prisoners, and many confine trans prisoners to solitary confinement in order to avoid having to place them with either men or women. Often, such solitary confinement ends up being over extended periods of time or even throughout the duration of incarceration, despite many indications that extended solitary confinement can cause lasting psychological damage and may be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
Being restricted to a single cell appears to be a different practice than solitary confinement. Nonetheless, it is a discriminatory practice where trans prisoners are subjected to additional punishment that other prisoners do not have to deal with.
Earlier this year the Prison Rape Elimination Act regulations put out by the Obama administration acknowledged the increased risk trans prisoners are at and put in place regulations to deal with the problem. Enforcing isolation for all trans prisoners against their will is not a recommended practice for reducing violence.
Update: The original posting did not include mention that both women are a part of a trans self-defense prison organization, Gender Anarky. It has been suggested that their affiliation with this political party may be part of the reason for this mistreatment. This hunger strike is both about the immediate issue of discriminatory treatment and to protest prisons in general. For more information about Gender Anarky you can visit their webpage.
Kicking off a ride out to visit Cece Mcdonald in St. Cloud. When we got to the prison, we were met with SWAT teams at every entrance. Imagine that, prison officials are terrified of solidarity. Wonder why?
Check out freecece.wordpress.com for more info.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2012
Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald Accepts Plea Agreement to Reduced Manslaughter Charge
Racism, Transphobia in Legal System Continued Assault McDonald Survived, Supporters Charge
Contact: Katie Burgess, Executive Director, Trans Youth Support Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, (612) 363-757 and Billy Navarro Jr, MN Transgender Health Coalition, email@example.com, (612) 823-1152
Minneapolis, MN — Earlier today, Ms. Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald accepted a plea agreement to a reduced charge of manslaughter in the second degree in the criminal case resulting from the racist, transphobic assault she survived last June that left one of her attackers dead. The prosecution had originally charged her with felony murder in the second degree. However, after entering into plea negotiations this morning, the defense and the prosecution settled on the reduced charge. McDonald will be sentenced on June 4th at 1:30pm under Hennepin County Judge Daniel Moreno to 41 months in prison. The executed sentence will be reduced by one third, for “good time” and credit for the time McDonald has served pending this resolution.
The plea agreement comes nearly a year after McDonald was arrested, interrogated, denied adequate medical care for a laceration she suffered during the attack and held in solitary confinement for a month for being a transgender person. During the pre-trial proceedings, supporters raised world-wide support for the charges against McDonald to be dropped. Last month, supporters delivered to Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman a petition for dropping the charges with over 15,000 signatures and dozens of letters of support for McDonald from organizations and prominent individuals from around the globe. Freeman consistently failed to exercise his professional discretion and take a stand against racism and transphobia by dropping the charges.
“Freeman’s aggressive prosecution of CeCe was a continuation of the racist, transphobic assault that led to her being charged and resulted in the tragic death of one of the assailants,” said Kris Gebhard of the CeCe McDonald Support Committee. “We’ve been proud to stand with CeCe as she fought this unjust prosecution and will continue to stand with her as she fights for justice as a trans woman of color within the prison system.”
In a press conference after the plea agreement was accepted in court, Katie Burgess of the Trans Youth Support Network addressed the crowd of supporters filling the steps outside the Hennepin County Courthouse. Burgess said:
“Over the past 10 months I have witnessed the legal system isolating and attacking another young trans woman of color in our community, CeCe McDonald. And over the past 10 months, I have also witnessed our community say very clearly, ‘You are not alone, CeCe! And we have had enough!’
“With the whole world watching, Freeman’s office consistently chose not to take the opportunity to stand up against racism and transphobia. Freeman himself said, and I quote, ‘The criminal justice system is not built for, nor is it necessarily good at, solving a lot of society’s problems.’
“We know that this system is not designed to deliver justice to young trans women of color. We are going to continue to support CeCe as she goes through this process and continue to stand for justice for all trans people and people of color so that this is the last time a young trans woman of color has to go through this.”
Supporters will pack the courtroom for the sentencing on June 4th and continue to rally support for McDonald and to demand justice for all trans people and people of color.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at the CeCe McDonald Trial…..
The whole day in court was spent on the jury selection process. Literally the WHOLE DAY, the only other thing that is new is we confirmed this morning that JUDGE MORENA HAS OFFICIALLY DENIED ADMISSION OF THE SWASTIKA TATTOO INTO EVIDENCE. Court will resume at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, and jury selection is expected to conclude in the morning. Opening arguments will likely occur in the afternoon.
This picture that was just posted out of Manhattan. Thanks supporters!
Wednesday, May 2nd at Noon on the North Steps of the Government Center we will be holding a PRESS CONFERENCE. We ask all supporters to come out and show the world CeCe’s big, supportive community!
New CeCe street Art found on the Minneapolis Greeway.
Please support CeCe McDonald, FREE CECE!
Today, Monday, April 30, 2012
at the CeCe McDonald Trial…
- -The first day of CeCe McDonald’s trial had national support from Mara Keisling, founding executive director of the National Center of Transgender Equality, and Leslie Feinberg, renowned author of Stone Butch Blues, both of whom flew out to Minneapolis to attend today’s proceedings.
- -In court, the judge ruled on several remaining motions. The defense moved to exclude a photo of the t-shirt Dean Schmitz, the deceased, was wearing June 5th on the grounds that it could unfairly prejudice the jury. This motion was denied.
- - In the discussion of this motion, the prosecution stated no weapon had been recovered from the scene. They also acknowledged it remains unclear what the weapon which caused Schmitz’s wound was.
- -The defense continued with a motion to sequester, or isolate from the proceedings, three Hennepin County Witness Coordinators during the examination of the witnesses they had interviewed because they were also potential witnesses. This motion was granted.
- -The defense moved to allow other expert witness testimony on transgender issues. The judge will make a final decision about allowing expert witness testimony after further deliberation.
- -The defense moved to allow CeCe more than the one change of clothes generally permitted. This motion was granted. (Today she wore black skinny slacks with a magenta button-down, black and grey paisley sweater and absolutely superb grey pumps.)
- -We are not aware of a decision that has been made regarding whether Dean Schmitz’s swastika tattoo will be admitted as evidence during the trial.
- -Jury selection will begin Tuesday, May 1st.
(Picture is of Rai’vyn Cross, CeCe’s sister & Leslie Feinberg, some random activist that showed up the first day of court. ;P Thanks Leslie!)