Conviction in Occupy Protest from Last November
Press Release District Attorney’s Office: On Thursday, March 29, 2012, a Humboldt County jury found Michael Herbert Emke, 39, guilty of unauthorized lodging for illegally camping on county property.
On November 14, 2011, officers from four local law enforcement agencies – Eureka Police Department, Arcata Police Department, California Highway Patrol, and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office – cited individuals sleeping in tents on the lawn on the Fifth Street side of the Humboldt County Courthouse. Responding officers found Emke on the northwest corner of the lawn, lying down on a bed inside a tent with personal belongings and garbage inside and around the tent.
Officers cited Mr. Emke for a misdemeanor violation of the California Penal Code and he was booked and released the same day by the Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Officers from all four agencies then had to collect, document, and collect for safekeeping, or in some instances, as evidence, all property on scene. Officers also had to dispose of hazardous material such as urine, left by the campers and/or protestors. Campers and/or protestors on the courthouse lawn had been advised on November 7 they could not continue to camp on public property in violation of the penal and municipal codes. Emke had been personally warned by an
officer on November 9 and was issued an infraction ticket for doing so on that date.
Emke was sentenced to two years of court (unsupervised) probation, fines and court fees by the Honorable Judge Timothy Cissna. He is also required to do fifty hours of community service.
“While many individuals associated with the recent protests have acted responsibly, unfortunately others have not, leaving the task of cleaning up garbage, debris, feces and other waste on the shoulders of county employees and the taxpayers,” noted Assistant District Attorney Kelly Neel.
“I would like to thank the law enforcement officers that have been working so hard to keep the protests outside the courthouse lawful, peaceful, and safe,” said prosecuting Deputy District Attorney David Nims. “I’m also grateful to the jury and I think their verdict reflects the community’s support for the law and these officers’ efforts to enforce the law.” Emke was represented by Christina Allbright.