On June 5, 2012 Carlos Montes’ criminal court prosecution ended in a victory for Carlos and the movement.
Carlos Montes’ home was raided on May 17, 2011, by the combined forces of the LA County Sheriff’s Swat Team and the FBI, by crashing his door down at 5:00 a.m., with automatic assault rifles drawn, almost killing him. He was charged with 6 serious felonies with a possible jail time of up to 18 years.
With local and national support, via solidarity protests, call-in campaigns to President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Holder, local rallies and protests, and an offensive legal strategy, two felonies were dropped - this was a first partial victory. However the District Attorney still stated that they wanted Montes to do at least 5 years in state prison for the 4 felony charges remaining.
The local and national Committees to Stop FBI Repression launched a petition drive and a “Call the D.A.” campaign, with phone banking and a robo call by Carlos to over 4 000 supporters, urging folks to call District Attorney Steve Cooley. The D.A.’s office was flooded with calls and letters.
Montes’ attorney made several motions to get charges dropped on various grounds, but the Los Angeles Superior Court judge rejected them. Preparations were made for a trial, knowing well the state judicial system is not ‘fair and impartial.’ Montes and his attorney Jorge Gonzalez got widespread support and media coverage including in the Democracy Now! TV show, La Opinion and the Guardian UK newspaper.
The local D.A. on the case then sought for a resolution and proposed to drop three additional felonies, if Carlos pled “no contest” to one count of perjury. This proposal included no jail time, three years of probation and community service. Under advice from supporters, friends and his attorney Montes moved forward with this proposal.
This is a victory for Carlos Montes and the movement against police political repression. A trial had the danger of him being convicted of four felonies with jail time and the additional old felony - a total of 5 felonies. At this point Carlos is out of jail, will continue to organize against repression, for public education, against U.S.-led wars and for immigrant rights. He is already planning to attend the protest at the Republican National Convention on August 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.
Next steps: The local committee with supporters and rank-and-file members of SEIU 721 will hold a victory party to thank everyone who worked on this campaign and to help pay off legal expenses. It is set for Saturday, June 23, 7:00 p.m. Details will follow.
Carlos wants to thank all the people, organizations, unions and community people who worked and supported him in this struggle against police/political repression.