Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Signs at Metro Center Santa Cruz

by Becky Johnson
November 18, 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Robert Norse was convicted in June of "trespass" at the Metro Center in downtown Santa Cruz when he went onto the property to investigate reports that Christian religious sermons were being broadcast from the speakers there. He was convicted of trespassing when Judge Ariadne Symons ruled that he had violated a "rule" that you can't stand in front of the six foot horizontal sign in front of the Metro Center.

All photos on this page were taken November 26, 2008, shortly after Norse was cited.

And finally, here NORSE interviews on audiotape the same security guard who had him arrested previously for the same activity. The guard also did not interfere with my openly taking his photograph. Clearly, the staff had been advised of what activities can be prohibited on Metro Center property and what can't. Yet, the prosecution of Norse continuted.

He not only identified himself when asked, he showed us his id card.

Judge Ariadne Symons found Norse guilty of trespass on the public Metro Center property for blocking a sign (there are no rules prohibiting blocking the sign posted nor in any rule book governing the facility, nor did the City submit one during trial), and clearly on November 26, 2008 there was no sign posted prohibiting either standing in front of the sign, nor prohibiting making audio or video recordings at the facility.

Robert Norse through his attorney, David Beauvais attempted to appeal Norse's conviction only to have that appeal abruptly stopped when Beauvais sought a routine extension on November 17, 2009. He was denied that extension by none other than Judge Ariadne Symons who denied an appeal on her own ruling.


  1. Becky, thank you for this information, clearing up some of what seemed suppressed by the court. The pictures you provide are especially helpful for people who haven't been following this mess! The sing that's NOT there . . .

    In addition to dealing with/suffering from Norse having a judge who isn't exactly honest at work, I still have THIS question:


    I also wrote a reply to the HUFFsite, but it seems to have vanished?!

  2. All these are so compelling and delve to the heart of the to the issue. Wonderful job, Becky. I will slow down to read them more fully after friday, yeah.

  3. Fun pictures and true story.

    I don't think it was Symons who denied the time extension---though that's what Sentinel scribbler Genevieve Bookwalter told me yesterday and put in her story.

    The important thing, of course, is that we continue to wield our tape recorders and videocameras, stand our ground, and treat security guards and cops like other people--entitled to no more respect for their authority than they get as human beings.

    It's particularly important that those of us with power do it so that those without power are less likely to be hassled.


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