Judge Carter Halts Clearing of SART Homeless Camp At Request of Left-Wing Attorney From Santa Monica

Last night, federal district Judge David O. Carter granted a request for a temporary injunction halting the velvet-gloved clearing of the Santa Ana River Trail encampment being conducted by the County of Orange, in coordination with Anaheim and Orange. The injunction was requested by Carol Sobel, a leftist trial attorney from Santa Monica who makes a handsome living suing public agencies.

Sobel claims the County is ramping up the eviction effort, citing this as her reason for requesting the injunction. According to the Voice of OC, Sobel wrote in her request:

“Plaintiffs file this Emergency Stay Request to block the County from citing and arresting Plaintiffs and others in the riverbed beginning tomorrow (Wednesday) morning,” Sobel wrote. “Despite the County’s prior representations to the Court that there were no imminent plans to cite or arrest the hundreds of unhoused persons in the Riverbed, the County has now decided to do so.

“In response to a query from Plaintiffs counsel, following reports that Sheriff’s Deputies and other County workers started telling people today (Feb. 6) that arrests were imminent, the County has now confirmed that it intends to cite and arrest people starting tomorrow (Wednesday) morning …,” she wrote. “Because irreparable harm will occur in just a few hours, the Court’s immediate intervention is critical.”

Another leftist attorney, Brooke Weitzman, filed a request last week asking Judge Carter to block the rolling eviction effort. Carter declined to grant a temporary injunction but set a February 13 hearing on the request to which all parties were invited.

While homeless advocates excitedly depict the eviction in terms more suited to describing a pogrom, the County’s effort has been a slow roll combination of enforcement and assistance. Predictably, as residents of the massive homeless encampment figure out the County isn’t going to peremptorily toss them out, willingness to accept help and or re-locate has dimmed. Again from the Voice of OC:

Senior Assistant County Counsel Marianne Van Riper told Weitzman, via email, Tuesday evening that sheriff’s deputies and public works employees “have observed that the rate of voluntary compliance with the District’s direction to leave the Project area have effectively stalled out, for whatever reason.

“Consequently, beginning tomorrow morning (Feb. 7), OCSD (sheriff’s) personnel will begin advising people remaining on the District Santa Ana Riverbed property that they must vacate or may be cited and/or arrested for trespassing,” reads Van Riper’s email.

The dip in the “rate of voluntary compliance” is not surprise to anyone familiar with human nature, and it will continue to diminish absent an increased willingness by authorities to enforce the law.

Who Is Carol Sobel?
Carol Sobel, the attorney who requested the temporary injunction, is a veteran of the legal Left. She was an ACLU staff attorney for 20 years, practices in Santa Monica and has earned some large fees suing the LAPD, for example. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Police Accountability Projecta project of the National Lawyers Guild, a  radical organization with a history of Soviet fellow traveling and sympathy and support for leftist revolutionary movements at home and abroad. The NLG is an active member of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, which was a Soviet-front until the collapse of its progenitor, but continues as an advocate for radical Left causes.  Sobel is a past Executive Vice President of the NLG and a current member of the executive board of the NLG-Los Angeles.

In short, the restoration of a 2-mile segment of the Santa Ana River Trail as a usable public park is being stymied by a hard-core left-wing activist from Santa Monica – thanks to Judge David O. Carter.

As reported last week, the County has kept a running tally of enforcement actions and clean-up results from 2-mile long homeless encampment. Between January 22 and January 28, the County picked up:

  • 2,290 hypodermic needles
  • 62 tons of debris
  • 400 pounds of human waste

During the same period, the County also reported making 34 arrests, bringing total arrest in the SART encampment since mid-September to more than 500 arrests have been made in the SART encampment since September 15, 2017. The offenses include: assault, robbery, rape, trespass, possession of a controlled substance, possession of weapons, and other offenses for crimes against persons and crimes against property.

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