The headline reads: “Defender rips car camp ban …says criminalization of the homeless is not the answer”
The defender in question is: Santa Clara County Public Defender Molly O’Neal.
Although… I am sure most … if not all of us…would have preferred ….that our Public Defender…who earns $241,455 per year….have stepped to the plate sooner…to voice her opposition to this hate law (the vehicle habitation ordinance)…. passed by the Palo Alto City Council.. by a 7-2 vote… on August 5…. I still believe her… late to the game.. opposition to the ban ….should be acknowledged, applauded and encouraged.
Our support for Molly O’Neal is..in my mind…particularly important… since upward of 90% of those individuals cited under the VHO are likely to be represented by members of the public defenders office.
We should encourage the office… I spent almost my entire career with…to zealously.. and with an undivided loyalty to each member of the unhoused community…who calls on the public defenders office to represent them… to represent them to the fullest…raising each and every meritorious defense to the charges.
The reality is…the public defenders office labors under large/huge case loads …and… as the old saying goes…the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
In other words… each and every time a member of the unhoused community is cited for a violation of the VHO, the StopTheBan Coalition…needs to support that individual… and let the public defenders office know that we are tracking the case…. and supporting the public defenders office to provide/guarantee the best possible legal defense in each and every case.
When ever possible members of the StopTheBan Coalition should pack the courtroom in support of each and every unhoused person charged under the VHO…. and the latest ordinance…. that prohibits members of the public from being in Palo Alto Parks… or on the property of public facilities …between 10:30 p.m and sunrise.
For any of you who wish to let Santa Clara County Public Defender Molly O’Neal know…. how you feel about her now very public stand against the VHO …and the criminalization of the homeless generally …here is her e-mail address: molly.o’firstname.lastname@example.org.