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Legal Update

LEGAL UPDATE December 11 from the Free Juan Ruiz blog – Good news from the court hearing today in San Diego. The government has dropped all felony charges against Juan Ruiz, the musician who is seen in the videos dancing before he is violently thrown to the ground and beaten by several Border Patrol agents. Instead, they are charging him with a class C misdemeanor of impeding a federal officer. Juan pleaded “not guilty” to this charge…It is likely that the support shown to Juan by folks who signed the petition and wrote letters, etc, was instrumental in helping the prosecution to see Juan as the good kid that he is.

LEGAL UPDATE November 29, 2007 6:30pm Juan Esteban Ruiz, appeared in federal court in El Centro today for an indictment hearing. Juan’s attorney asked for a continuance and Juan was not indicted. A new hearing is scheduled for December 11. More info coming soon.

LEGAL UPDATE November 20, 2007 9:30pm Juan Esteban Ruiz is free! He was released on bond on Monday. Juan is a US permanent resident and faces possible deportation related to charges of felony assault on a federal officer. He will appear before a grand jury in his indictment hearing on November 29 in El Centro, CA. His friends in Wisconsin have made a call out for a letter/fax campaign to the US attorney. For more info on the campaign, click here. To donate to his legal defense fund, mail checks made payable to ‘GDC Legal Defense Fund’ to PO Box 2442, Madison, WI 53701, with memo ‘Juan Ruiz’.

LEGAL UPDATE 13 Nov 2007 – 5:46 pm: Erik Wackernagel and Steve Murphy have been released! Juan Ruiz, the musician who is seen in the videos dancing before he is violently thrown to the ground and beaten by several Border Patrol agents, was arraigned today and charged with felony assault of a federal officer. The judge has not decided on the terms of his release yet and Juan will appear before the judge again tomorrow.

15 Nov 2007 – 2:30pm: The arraignment of Juan Ruiz was concluded this afternoon before Magistrate Lewis in El Centro. Bail has been set as a $10,000 assurity with a signature of a doctor friend of Juan’s in Wisconsin, as requested by his public defender, Diane Raegan. Referring to video footage of the incident, she said, “It doens’t look like an intentional assault on anybody – except Mr. Ruiz.” The prosecutor, John Weis, attempted to enter some last-minute evidence to keep the bail higher and require more signatures which the judge took into consideration. The judge also addressed the No Borders Camp folks present in the courtroom, saying that they should not allow a person this vulnerable (Juan is a permanent legal resident) to have contact with authority – especially authority directly related to immigration. The judge told Juan that he didn’t want to see him be deported. At the end, the judge turned to Juan and said, “Good luck to you.”An indictment will be handed down in two weeks in El Centro to determine whether or not the U.S. Government will actually prosecute Juan.

14 Nov 2007 – 11:00am: Due to a court mix-up, Juan Ruiz’s appearance before Judge Lewis has been rescheduled to 1:30 pm on Thursday, November 15. Erik and Steve were able to rest in Calexico last night and begin healing from their injuries.

13 Nov 2007 – 5:20 pm: Erik Wackernagel and Steve Murphy have been released! Juan Ruiz was arraigned today and charged with felony assault of a federal officer. The judge has not decided on the terms of his release yet and Juan will appear before the judge again tomorrow.

12 Nov 2007 – 8:42 pm: If you would like to donate to the legal fund, use the PayPal link provided on this page and make sure to specify that you want your donation to go toward legal costs. We expect that Steve, Erik and Juan will be appointed public defenders and will appear before a federal magistrate judge in the afternoon. We will post an update as soon as we have specific information regarding charges and conditions of release.

12 Nov 2007 – 4:47 pm: The three arrestees are being held in the Imperial County Jail in El Centro, California. According to the records office, they have tentative charges of impeding a federal officer. Their arraignment is expected tomorrow afternoon. Several phone calls and a jail visit were made with two of the arrestees, Steve Murphy and Erik Wackernagel. Juan Ruiz is a US permanent resident and faces possible deportation related to these charges. Two arrestees have requested and been refused medical attention. Call the warden at Imperial County Jail at 760.339.6367 to pressure them to provide Steve and Erik with vegan/vegetarian food, immediate medical attention for the arrestees, and to allow visitors for all three arrestees.

12 Nov 2007 – 8:17am: Phone contact was made with the three brutalized No Borders Camp prisoners early this morning from jail in El Centro. Much information came to light, including the fact that they were refused medical treatment after repeated requests…this being contrary to what was told to the Legal Support Team by Border Patrol agents at Border Patrol station at around 11pm, who said “They (the prisoners) have refused further medical treatment.” However, one of the prisoners may have immigration status hurdles to overcome. The charges might likely be assault against a federal agent.

11 Nov 2007 – 11pm: Jail support team went to border patrol station: 1) FBI is interviewing 3 people. 2) FBI refuses to give the names, thus preventing friends/family from getting them their personal attorneys despite repeated requests from legal team. 3) The individuals were examined by an EMT and BP says they have refused further treatment though video footage and eyewitness accounts confirm beatings by approximately 10 BP agents at one time. 4) They will be moved to central jail after the interview and will not be arraigned until Tuesday due to Federal Holiday on Monday.

11 Nov 2007 – 9pm
At the end of a bi-national march from the site of the No Borders Camp and rally at the Mexicali/Calexico port of entry, around 100 Border Patrol officers and attacked a group of about 30 demonstrators on the u.s. side and with pepper gas pellets, tazers, and batons. 2-3 people were severely beaten and more suffered from the use of chamical weapons. At the moment 3 people are confirmed to be detained. When people dispersed the border patrol chased some people on foot and detained groups of people, forcing them to sit on the sidewalk with their hands on their heads until letting them go five at a time. In one case, a person badly injured by pepper pellets shot at close range was pursued away from the conflict, pulled away from a companion wanting to treat his wounds, surrounded and beaten in the head with batons by up to 15 border patrol agents. All who were temporarily detained on the street have now been released. Two people have been taken into a border patrol vehicle. The two people who have been detained are in urgent need of medical attention. It is reported that many Border Patrol officers are in the parking lot where people’s cars were parked. Further information forthcoming…

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