OAKLAND, Calif. – Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods will host a press conference Thursday, June 29, to announce a coalition opposing plans to hold all in-custody arraignments at the new Dublin courthouse set to open in July.
The event will be on the historic steps of the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland and Woods will speak along with families of criminal defendants, formerly incarcerated and others concerned that moving arraignments from Oakland to Dublin will result in more people being held in jail while they fight their cases.
The Public Defender’s Office, which represents the majority of criminal defendants, has formed a coalition of local politicians, non-profits and activists to oppose the plan, which recently was announced by Alameda County Presiding Judge Morris Jacobson. The Dublin courthouse, officially known as the East County Hall of Justice, originally was to host only South County arraignments, including those currently at the Hayward and Pleasanton courthouses.
North County arraignments – including Oakland, Berkeley and Albany – currently are held at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland. The Dublin courthouse is approximately 30 miles away and is one mile from the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station.
Arraignment is a critical point in a criminal case because that’s when criminal charges are announced and the court sets bail or chooses to release someone on their own recognizance. It must take place at a location that is readily accessible to defendants’ families, who need to attend in person in order to provide essential information to the court, including community ties and employment.
If families are unable to travel the extra 30 miles to Dublin, more defendants will remain in custody for longer periods of time, particularly defendants with the lowest income and the least serious charges.
WHAT: Press conference
WHEN: 12:15-1:15 p.m. Thursday, June 29, 2017
WHERE: East steps of Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St, Oakland
Here is a list of coalition members:
1) American Civil Liberties Union
2) Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff
3) Oakland Vice Mayor and Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington
4) Assembly Member Rob Bonta
5) Assembly Member Tony Thurmond
6) Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan
7) Oakland City Councilmember Abel Guillen
8) Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb
9) Oakland City Councilmember Larry Reid
10) Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks
11) Oakland City Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington
12) Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney
13) Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan
14) East Bay Community Law Center
15) Ella Baker Center
16) Equal Justice Society
17) Silicon Valley De-Bug
18) Essie Justice Group
19) Bay Area Legal Aid
20) Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
21) Disability Rights Education Defense Fund
22) Urban Peace Movement
23) All of Us or None
24) The Asian Prisoner Support Committee
25) A. L. Costa Community Development
27) Participatory Defense Movement
28) Root and Rebound