mass defense

NYC Chapter Continues Massive Defense of OWS Activists

“It’s going to be a long day for you guys – they’ve already started arresting people downtown,” the senior court officer told me on the morning of November 17. Two days after the raid on Zuccotti Park, the 17th was a day of mass demonstrations confronting the injustices of global capital at its symbolic center in the Financial District. A five-minute walk from Wall Street at the Manhattan Criminal Court, it was also arraignment day for 30 of more than 700 people arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge six weeks earlier.

Montana’s Coal Export Action and the Need for an Increased Guild Presence in the Fossil Fuel Hinterlands

Montana contains over one-quarter of the coal reserves in the United States. Coal companies which are already actively mining throughout the state plan to capitalize on the growing global energy shortage by ramping up extraction, expanding rail lines to the Pacific coast, and shipping coal to Asia. The prospect of increased coal extraction and shipping has mobilized environmental activists throughout the Northwest and NLG members are supporting them every step of the way. 

NLGers Converge to Support RNC/DNC Protests

This year’s RNC and DNC presented a demanding set of circumstances for NLG protest support efforts. Both conventions were held in cities with no NLG chapter and with few or no NLG members. Drawing on the expertise, time, and passion of members across the country, as well as a phenomenal group of new student members from Charlotte Law School, Mass Defense Coordinator Abi Hassen and a team of volunteers provided Legal Observers® at every major protest and 24-hour legal support hotlines in both Tampa and



Winter 2012

Included in Volume 37, Number 4:

  • An account of NLG support for the Coal Export Action in Montana
  • A report from the national mobilization to support protests at the RNC and DNC
  • A round-up of student chapter activity nationwide
  • NLG election results
  • Photos from the 75th anniversary convention in Pasadena
  • Information about the NLG's new sexual harassment policy
  • Ward Morehouse and Gustin Reichbach remembered
  • An article about an NLG trip to monitor Venezuela's presidential election

Occupy and the police needn't be enemies

The Guardian
December 10, 2012

As Sandy showed  Many activists now appearing in court had organised relief during the storm. Hopefully NYPD officers will remember that.

Ninety-nine people arrested during Occupy Wall Street's 17 September anniversary actions had their court dates last week. They trooped into the courthouse accompanied by green-hatted legal observers and National Lawyers Guild representatives, and faced the judge. Their charges mostly boiled down to "being part of a public protest".

Was free speech on mute during the conventions?

September 9, 2012

"We are under the impression that the whole country is a free speech zone," said Michael Zytkow, a 26-year-old organizer for Occupy Charlotte. "We were bothered by the idea of any government-designated playground."

Carol Sobel, a lawyer from Santa Monica, California, who co-chairs the Mass Defense Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, asked, "Who'd want to use it? You're talking to yourself."

Her group works to push back against what it views as government attempts to stifle dissent.

Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America

New York Times Magazine
August 1, 2012

The Anti-Capitalist Brigade started gathering early on May Day at Oakland’s Snow Park. There was free coffee, oatmeal, doughnuts, fliers with the day’s agenda and plenty of pot. A “street medic” — “I just finished a wilderness first-aid course,” he told me when I asked about his training — tended to his first case of the day, a man in his 20s whose leg had been beaten to a purple hue with a metal rod in an overnight fight in the park. Nearby, an organizer reminded protesters to take down the toll-free number for the National Lawyers Guild: “This is important.

Volunteer attorneys steer Occupy protesters through the legal system

October 13, 2011

WASHINGTON — As copycat Occupy Wall Street encampments around the country confront the inevitable legal tangles that come with a nationwide sit-in style protest, a growing army of First Amendment-loving lawyers is shepherding the demonstrators through the legal system at no charge.

Growing numbers of protesters are being arrested for trespassing, failure to disperse and disobeying a lawful order, as city after city confronts the question of whether individual rights to free speech and assembly include the right to camp out on public property.


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