In a last effort to reduce Judge Denine J. Guy’s tentative restitution ruling from early July, Rosa Petterson’s lawyer, who was out of town during the previous restitution sentencing, brought UC Santa Cruz Police Department representatives back on the stand. Despite the additional testimony, the total restitution only dropped $226.59 — eight hours of overtime pay for a UCSC PD admin coordinator — for a collective price tag of $27,704.92.
“This shouldn’t be your responsibility when so many other individuals are involved, but it’s your criminal conduct,” Guy said to the students in her final statement. She said that the original restitution figures have been “dwindled down to what I think are reasonable figures, in fact more than reasonable.”
The majority of the cost — $22,108.63 — was awarded to UCSC PD, who called in over 50 police officers from other UC campuses in preparation for the “96 Hours of Action,” which began March 2. On March 3, those officers responded when the defendants blocked Highway 1 in protest of tuition increases and police brutality. The California Highway Patrol and the Santa Cruz PD will be compensated $2,301.85 and $3,294.44 respectively.
“I think it’s absurd that the court is deciding that a university that boasts being the ‘original authority on questioning authority’ should get payments from students who questioned the authority of the Board of Regents and their decision to increase tuition by 28 percent,” defendant Janine Caceres said after the ruling. “It’s hypocritical and it’s a contradiction.”
Caceres said she will appeal the restitution ruling, which could mean additional judges examine evidence and testimony to reevaluate restitution costs. In their final statements, many of the co-defendants’ lawyers argued it’s unfair to charge the students with costs not directly associated to their actions between the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. UCSC PD listed expenses like 10 to 12 hours of overtime each for various employees, along with divided transportation costs for gas for vehicles that drove from UC Irvine to UCSC and were called in days before the defendants’ actions.
“There is 1,594 miles that the cars went from Irvine, LA and Berkeley just to drive to UCSC from their respective schools,” Petterson’s attorney Ajla Husic said in her final argument. “That’s over 632 trips from UCSC to the fishhook to match that millage. Those drives would have been made anyway.”
Husic said that whether the defendants were protesting wouldn’t affect UCSC PD’s costs for the week because of the planned “96 Hours of Action” protests.
“We weren’t part of something [UCSC PD] was planning for and they’re trying to pin everything else on us because they can,” co-defendant Alexander Pearce said. “We were not the reason [the other UC police officers] were there for the week.”
The “Highway Six” will host a benefit dinner on Aug. 29 at the Louden Nelson Community Center to raise money for their restitution costs.
The students are also preparing for a civil lawsuit against UCSC, citing an unconstitutional student judicial process. Four of them are eligible to return to the university this fall, with the other two postponed until winter 2015.