Judge: Treesitting activist not liable for deputies’ wages
Treesitter Carson McCann, who disrupted logging for two days in September at a Sierra Pacific Industries clear-cut, doesn’t have to pay the wages of Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies who waited around the clock for the Yuba Nation activist to climb down.
Nevada County Superior Court Judge M. Kathleen Butz’s two-page ruling was received Friday by McCann’s attorney.
His arrest was part of the Sheriff Office’s normal operating expenses, the judge decided.
“Under the general law, absent authorizing legislation, a public entity bears the cost of capture, detention and prosecution of persons charged with a crime,” Butz wrote, citing various cases. “A law enforcement agency is not considered a direct victim entitled to restitution for its operating expenses.”
McCann’s attorney, Kevin Hoeke, hailed the decision as a victory. But Nevada County District Attorney Mike Ferguson said he may still seek restitution in future civil disobedience cases in which the Sheriff’s Office has extraordinary costs.
“I think it still leaves the door open … where there are … extraordinary costs,” Ferguson said. For example, “If they had to go out and hire more people.”
Hoeke said, “The judge made the right decision, and it is apparent that she did not have a difficult time doing so.”
“It is absurd and disturbing that the District Attorney’s office was putting an extraordinary effort into seeking the repayment of cops’ salaries for arresting a person engaged in a traditional means of political expression,” Hoeke said.
McCann pleaded guilty to trespassing and resisting arrest for perching 90 feet high in a Douglas fir Sept. 10-11 at an SPI clear-cut near the Middle Yuba River.
Ferguson sought $1,053 from McCann to cover deputies’ wages and benefits.
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