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Soledad Brothers in Court

The six inmates who were indicted on conspiracy and murder charges stemming from the August 21st violence at San Quentin prison appeared in a Marin County (California) Superior Court on Tuesday morning, Oct. 6.

Each of the six inmates, including Fleeta Drumgo, John Spain, Hugo Pinell, David Johnson, Louis Talamontez, and Willie Tate, were tightly chained around their mid-sections, with their hands cuffed and their feet shackled. Each of the six was brought in one at a time for separate appearances in front of Judge Warren McGuire. None of the six were represented by attorneys.

Judge McGuire heard almost identical motions introduced by each of the six including requests for a 30 day continuance of the arraignment proceedings; a request to meet in joint conferences to plan strategy; a request for a restraining order to stop alleged brutality on the part of prison guards; a motion for a court order that all legal papers, which they said had been removed from the cells, be returned to them; and a request to force prison officials to allow the six to meet with their attorneys. Most of the motions were presented in the form of memos, hand written by the prisoners.

Judge McGuire either rejected the motions, or took them under submission. The judge did continue the arraignment proceedings for 10 days, however, to allow the six to select attorneys to represent them. The defendants will appear in court again on October 15th in front of Judge McGuire.

A seventh defendant, Stephen Bingham, is stillĀ at large. Bingham is being charged with slipping a gun to Soledad Brother George Jackson shortly before the violence erupted, which resulted in Jackson's death.

Two courtrooms away from where the six San Quentin convicts were being arraigned in Marin County Courthouse Tuesday was Angela Davis, in court for her 34th appearance since she arrived at the Marin County jail last December.

Miss Davis was in court to request the court to suppress certain evidence gathered by the prosecution. Miss Davis and her attorneys claim that the evidence was gathered illegally.

The prosecution called a U. S. Customs Inspector to testify at the morning session of the hearing and the inspector introduced a new aspect of the case. He said that he stopped Miss Davis and a male companion in Miss Davis' 1959 Rambler near midnight on July 30, 1970 just a few days before the Marin County Courthouse shootout. The customs inspector was on his job at the port of entry on the Mexican border, below San Diego at Tijuana.

Robert Murrell, the inspector, said he stopped Miss Davis' car and during what he called a routine search he found what he thought "might be subversive literature" in the trunk of the car.

Under cross examination by the chief defense attorney, Howard Moore, it carne out that what Murrel questioned was a book called "The Mass Psychology of Facism", by Wilhelm Reich, a book that has been in circulation for nearly two decades.

The inspector said the word facism made him think that the material was subversive so he told the driver, the unnamed male companion, to pull the car over for further check.

The defense claims that the material, which included printed pamphlets dealing with the Soledad Brothers Defense Committee, was seized though Miss Davis and the male companion were released. The defense did not make clear what it expected the prosecution to prove by introducing the literature or the incident into the case.

The court will rule Wed. or Thurs. on the motion to suppress the evidence, and later this week a defense motion to move the trial to San Francisco is expected.

::Earth News