May 12, 2013
In January of 2012, the Candappa Law Firm, through the National Lawyers Guild, volunteered to provide free legal representation to four Occupy Oakland demonstrators who were wrongfully arrested and prosecuted for participating in demonstrations in the City of Oakland. The demonstrators were charged with misdemeanor crimes including battery on a police officer, resisting an officer, vandalism, and obstructing a sidewalk or street. Three of these demonstrators were also issued stay away orders by the court at the request of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.
On April 25, 2012, Jivaka Candappa won the first of four dismissals. Mr. Candappa’s client, an attorney, was charged with obstructing a street and resisting police during an Occupy Oakland demonstration on January 28, 2012. She claimed that the Oakland Police Department had lied about the incident and its officers attacked her without provocation. Mr. Candappa secured the dismissal of all charges after obtaining videos which showed a police officer forcefully pushing his client to the ground and other officers manhandling her as she attempted to get back on her feet.
On March 14, 2013, Mr. Candappa obtained a second dismissal on behalf of a client who was charged with vandalism and resisting police during the January 28th Occupy Oakland demonstration. Mr. Candappa’s investigation revealed that another demonstrator had, in fact, been arrested and convicted for the alleged vandalism. Despite the conviction of this individual, the District Attorney’s Office still pursued charges against Mr. Candappa’s client. When Mr. Candappa provided the court with irrefutable evidence that another had accepted responsibility for the alleged vandalism and that his client was a victim of mistaken identity the charges against his client were dismissed.
On April 18, 2013, Mr. Candappa secured dismissals on behalf of two more Occupy Oakland demonstrators. In one case, Mr. Candappa’s client was accused of battering and resisting a police officer during the January 28th demonstration. His client was marching peacefully when OPD officers tackled her from behind and arrested her without cause. The OPD officers who arrested Mr. Candappa’s client alleged that she had tried to grab an officer’s baton, but the officers were unable to identify the officer who was the alleged victim of this battery. The OPD also failed to produce any videos depicting the alleged battery on the officer, as required by its own crowd control policy, and refused to identify the two officers who were depicted in a CBS video (obtained by Mr. Candappa) arresting his client after she had been tackled and forced to the ground. The court dismissed the charges against Mr. Candappa’s client on due process grounds.
In the other case dismissed on April 18, 2013, Mr. Candappa’s client was charged with obstructing a street and resisting police during an Occupy Oakland demonstration on January 14, 2012. After numerous discovery motions filed by Mr. Candappa, the court dismissed the charges citing discovery violations and in the interest of justice.
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The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank that focuses on increasing public participation and fair debate on critical food and agriculture, poverty and international development issues. Our successful campaigns in the U.S. and abroad, especially on the topic of international land deals, have resulted in threats of legal action. The thoroughness, timely response, and attentiveness to every detail by our legal counsel, Jivaka Candappa, allows us to continue with our mission without operating from a place of fear. In this struggle of David vs. Goliath, Jivaka Candappa's legal support is an invaluable asset to us!- Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director
Jivaka is my colleague to whom I refer the toughest of cases. Jivaka has that rare combination of eloquence, passion and grit that reminds me of why we went to law school. It's not just that he is a skilled orator and writer. He can work through a problem with the thoughtfulness and clarity of purpose that enables him to overcome obstacles and achieve terrific results when other lawyers would throw in the towel. He is intimidated by nothing. He handles the courtroom with a tactical sophistication and skill that makes me look forward to many other cases with him.- Alanna Coopersmith, Attorney
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