Guilty Verdict, But Minimal Sentence Reflects Truth of Political Message
[Please direct press inquiries to Ray Valentine, 440-2204-8284. More press materials and information to follow.]
All six defendants in the Franklin Shelter case were found guilty today of one count of entering without authority.
Despite this disappointing verdict, the sentence reflected the noncriminal and pro-comunity nature of their actions. The prosecution requested a $1000 fine and* a year of community service. The judge replied, "Most of what they do is community service," which affirmed the nature of their work.
The sentence itself was: 5 days suspended sentence, 3 months unsupervised probation which may be cut in half at the judge's discretion, and the absolute minimum contribution to the victims of violent crime fund. This is not a fine, but a fund into which all those convicted in DC must pay some amount; $50 is the minimum. During probation, defendants must stay away from the shelter--but may be across the street.
In the meantime, the city remains guilty of allowing public building to sit unused while people literally sleep outside of them. The people of DC need action on this far more pressing issue.
* Correction: The prosecution asked for a year of community service, but not a $1000 fine. This mistake grew out of the retelling of a side comment the prosecutor had made. The confusion grew from a fast-paced and emotional moment, but we sincerely apologize for the error.