by O’S News Service   January 10     Federal Judge William Shubb pulled one of those emotional switcheroos that some judges find amusing, sternly cutting off Tony Serra as he pleaded for leniency for Jose Gutierrez, and then imposing a sentence that most of Jose’s well-wishers considered lenient: 300 hours of community service. Gutierrez will be on probation for five years, during which time he will be drug tested frequently (at his own expense).  He must also abstain from alcohol (at least for now).

Some 70 well-wishers attended the hearing, including Jose’s parents, his brother and sister, his wife Sarah Shrader, and one of his children —daughter Alisia, age three. Brother Arcado said a few heartfelt words to the judge, starting with “I’m not an activist, I’m a general contractor…”   Jose was devoted to his family, said Arcado; they would suffer if he was incarcerated. Serra and co-counsel Edie Lerman also emphasized Jose’s commitment to his wife and kids, and the respect and affection that members of his community felt towards him. 

Gutierrez had been protesting the federal takedown of Oaksterdam University and allied businesses when he was arrested on April 2, 2012.  He’d been positioned in front of Coffeeshop Blue Sky when federal agents surged towards it.  Read O’Shaughnessy’s coverage here. 

As he explained his reasoning, Shubb expressed cynicism about “anger management” programs and made some right-on comments about the inappropriateness of a halfway house for a pro-cannabis activist. He said, snidely, that Gutierrez might think that “running a medical marijuana store” amounted to community service. He was assigning Gutierrez to work for a specific agency in Oakland, Shubb said, because it was the law abiding citizens of Oakland who had been injured by his actions on April 2, 2012. 

Gutierrez faced a maximum of eight years of federal time. His probation officer had recommended six months of incarceration, and six months in a halfway house. Only Oaksterdam University’s Cecile NAME was heard to say the simple truth: Jose was not guilty and deserved no punishment whatsoever. 



Arcadio Fogal