Update on the Cleveland 5

  • Posted on: 18 June 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>After almost two months of imprisonment, repression and an intense campaign of media demonization, the Cleveland five remain strong and solid in their refusal to cooperate with the FBI.

They also remain in desperate need of our support. They are getting very little contact from the outside world and four of the five defendants are being represented by public defenders. Although right now these four say they are happy with their lawyers, they also have no access to the funds necessary to offer them the legal options they so desperately need right now. We all know that “justice” basically means how much money you have.</td><td><img title="This is where the critique of living 'outside' falls apart. Stay strong!" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/fuckthesystem.jpg"></td></t...
Their support crew has been working hard to hustle the funds necessary to hire a lawyer for Connor, the defendant who was most unhappy with his legal representation. The lawyer, who is taking on the case at a reduced cost, also plans to hire an investigative team to work on the case. As of now, initial legal costs exceed $30,000 and are expected to be much more than that.

Even though these costs are huge and may seem insurmountable, the future of the five is riding on the efforts of small autonomous groups of people contributing to the struggle for their freedom. There will be no knights in shining armor in this case, just us and the support we are able to muster.

The five also need encouragement, expressions of solidarity with their refusal to cooperate, and letters of support. So far, responses along these lines have been disappointing. It’s not news that the five are mostly inexperienced and are not well known within our networks of affinity. And it’s possible that this is why they were targeted. But we cannot let these be the reasons we do not support them. They may not be a friend of a friend, maybe no one you know can vouch for them, but so far they have stood up to the State with courage and integrity—one of them, Connor, has even gone on hunger strike to protest the conditions of his imprisonment—and it’s time they get some unambiguous expressions of solidarity in return.

We know the risks of not supporting fringe anarchists in moments of intense repression—when people feel alone they are more likely to snitch or to look to reactionary belief systems for solace. While they are remaining uncooperative with the government at this point, the future is very uncertain if they do not get more support than they are getting.

Please see the legal update and the individual updates below and take a minute to send a book or a zine or to drop a line on these comrades.

Legal update:

The five are being charged with “Use or Attempted Use of Explosive Materials” and “Conspiracy.”

They have been incarcerated since May 1st and four of them are being held in a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio. The fifth, Doug Wright, is being held at the county jail in Trumbull County in Warren, Ohio.

On June 15th, a “motion for detention” was signed by the judge in the case, preventing supporters from bonding them out before trial.

The judge in their case seems to be tough and unsympathetic and is refusing requests for continuance by the lawyers. Although they have not had nearly enough time to prepare an adequate defense, the judge continues to insist that the trial will begin in early September. Although it is extremely unlikely to happen, it demonstrates the added pressure the five and their lawyers are under.

As of now, Connor, Brandon, Anthony and Josh are being held at a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio called the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center http://www.NOCC.com/facility/northeast-ohio-correctional-center/, run by the Corrections Corporation of America. Doug is currently being held the Trumbull County Jail http://www.co.trumbull.oh.us/tc_sheriff.html in Warren, Ohio.

The four being held at NOCC are in solitary confinement (23 hours of lock down a day with one hour of “recreation” in a small outdoor cage), can make phone calls only once every fifteen days and are permitted one legal call per day. Despite these rules, no one has been consistently able to make calls as their requests are repeatedly ignored. They are allowed two visits per week, but they are only twenty minutes long and visitors have to check in by 7am.

Individual updates:

Brandon is incarcerated at NOCC where he is cell mates with his co-defendant Tony. Because the two are together, they seem to be doing well emotionally. He is in need of a decent legal dictionary, any criminal defense books, and would like to be sent news articles that are being printed about the five. He’s spending time documenting the case and doing legal research as much as possible given the restrictions. He really wants letters and visitors.

Tony is doing well emotionally and wants letters and visits. He is cellmates with Brandon at NOCC. He is working hard doing research to prepare for his case and has really offered a lot of emotional support to Brandon and Connor, helping them stay strong.

Josh’s situation is potentially the most urgent. He is having a very hard time mentally and emotionally and is getting very little support or outside contact. He is also, for unknown reasons, not allowed to have any contact whatsoever with the other three comrades at NOCC. He has a history of mental health issues that have already been made public in the case, and which are not be effectively addressed by his captors. He is not getting adequate nutrition, is losing weight and feels constantly hungry. He usually does not take the hour of rec. available to him because he is too physically weak. He is in urgent need of support and letters.

Connor is in high spirits and is looking forward to working with the new lawyer. He continues to be frustrated with the limitations of visitation and phone use and, sometime in June, went on hunger strike to protest these conditions. He is clear in his commitment to not cooperating with the government. He is also incarcerated at NOCC where he can sometimes have contact with Brandon and Tony.

Doug is being held at Trumbull County Jail in Warren, Ohio where his lawyer requested he be transferred in hopes of improving his conditions. Like Josh, he is totally disconnected from any contact with his co-defendants and feels very isolated. His lawyer has been urging him to take a plea, but so far he’s remaining strong. He’s getting very little support or outside contact and has no support from his family. He is usually out of touch because of the conditions of his incarceration and lack of support and usually has no idea what’s going on about the case, when court dates are, etc. He is also suffering from lack of sufficient food and is also dealing with harassment from guards.

Please write to them at:

Last Name, First Name
2240 Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

Here are their ID numbers:

Stevens, Connor # 57978060
Baxter, Brandon #57972060
Hayne, Anthony #57975060f
Stafford, Joshua #57976060

You can write to Doug at:

Douglas L. Wright**
150 High Street
Warren, OH 44481

*Letters must be in pre-stamped envelopes from the Post Office. No glitter/sparkles/confetti/stickers/etc. Plain lined or unlined paper is acceptable. Photos are okay.

**Please be sure to include Doug's middle initial, L., when addressing letters to him as there are two Douglas Wrights at Trumbull County Jail in Warren.

A note on security: As we know, all our letters to these comrades will be read, photocopied, and maybe even mailed to the FBI field office in our city. Therefore, we should be aware of what we write, the address we write from, and the name we use. Please, do not mention the facts of the case, anything at all illegal, or anything you do not want the FBI to know. Please write to them simply to show them they are not alone, and that you are thinking about them. Send them an article you think they might like, or a poem, picture, drawing, etc. We should know the risks, but not let them deter us from supporting our friends.

Donations to Legal Fund

If you would like to make donations via check or money order, please make the check out to
Conveyor Belt Collective, who is handling our donations.

Send checks to:
Cleveland 5 Justice
P.O. Box 602117
Cleveland, OH 44102

Please separate any donations over $3000 into multiple contributions.

Your identity will be kept confidential unless you would prefer otherwise. Thanks so much, your help is greatly appreciated!

For more info and updates about their case, check out their support group’s site at http://www.cleveland5justice.org
To read the affidavit in the case check out http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/05/01-4


>the Cleveland five remain strong and solid in their refusal to cooperate with the FBI


As much as I personally felt these people fell into an obvious trap, they deserve our unconditional support. Solidarity.

Folks really should take a minute to write them a letter, I heard that some of them have only gotten one or two letters (ie there only form of contact with non-guards) the entire time they've been in there. :(

It's amazing that folks who haven't been around very long aren't taking pleas or turning on each other. I can't imagine what it would have been like within the first 6 months or so of me becoming an anarchist to find myself in solitary confinement, with terrorism charges, facing the rest of my life in prison.

Seriously, send a letter, send there support team some $$$.

:( I regret not writing to them sooner.

It was actually really hard to find out where they were being held, as someone who's been trying to find them in databases since their arrests. Thanks to whoever put this shit up, I'd be happy to write to them now.

According to the media, 4 of them are signalling Doug Wright as the ringleader. Is this true or media misinformation?

From the way the pro-defendant information is presented, if this is true, it might be a cooperative strategy. We might not know until after court has finished what the situation actually is. Doug is definitely attempting a separate strategy from the rest and seems to have his own lawyer rather than a public defender. This could be a result of attempting to concentrate the fundraising mostly into one person, who if found not guilty, would result in the rest having better odds. Don't quote me on it though.

Yeah, I'd like to know more information about this development.

Doug has a court-appointed lawyer, Anthony Vegh; as the post above says, Connor is the only defendant who has hired a lawyer (with fundraising help by family and supporters).

Vegh is filing for a separate trial because he believes the other four defendants implicated Doug when they were interrogated by the FBI, a process that took 48 hours. As Vegh's motion states, "On the day of their arrest (May 1, 2012), all the Defendants were interviewed by the F.B.I. In these interviews each Co-Defendant made statements implicating Defendant Wright in the crimes charged in the Indictment." Vegh did not allege that any defendants were cooperating with the FBI, merely that they had spoken under the stress of interrogation. All five defendants are adamantly not cooperating.

Which one was a juggalo?

so your trying to find out which one is the true prol. not just some mixed up middle class youth.

up the juggalo!! i'll take insane clowns over radical one any day!!

I wanted to write to him.

"His lawyer has been urging him to take a plea, but so far he’s remaining strong."

He should fire this lawyer immediately. These kids are facing shit from all sides. The one place they should not be receiving pressure to cooperate with the government should be from their own lawyers. Your lawyer should be ideally politically sympathetic, but if this isn't possible they need to accept right from the beginning that you don't intend to cooperate and then not be pressuring you on this at all. These kids are for the most part young and impressionable and a shitbag lawyer who's job it is to make good argument could theoretically easily manipulate someone into misunderstanding what it means to cooperate and having them sign various statements without reading them. As support people, part of support means fighting against those who do not sympathize with the people you're supporting and trying to make the prisoners lives as stress-free as possible. A good lawyer fights for your ideals whether or not they believe in them.


However, what we all need to understand is that what's quite likely is that there are simply no funds available right now to get this kid a better lawyer or not enough effort has been made to find a pro bono lawyer (unlikely). This is what happens when we fail to support comrades, they have no resources to mount an adequate defense and they end up with shit lawyers and go to prison forever. We need to get these kids money ASAP so that shit like this doesn't happen. We need solidarity attacks and other forms of defense of them.

For all those apprehensive about supporting them because of their alleged act, you don't know shit about what happened because none of us were there. Don't believe the media or the government. They routinely lie and deceive to make anarchists look like mass murderers. They did this EXACT same thing with Eric McDavid, portrayed him as a terrorist looking to carry out attacks that would lead to many people dying. We all know that's bullshit and you know why? Because he has many people supporting him who have communicated that to everyone and shown how much the government misrepresented him. This is a VERY similar situation. Do not dismiss these comrades because you don't know them and you think what the government says sounds bad. This is bullshit. I don't know ANY of the victims of the Green Scare, not a single one of them and all of them have had their acts or alleged acts greatly misrepresented by the media and government.


It's not like their lawyers are anarchists, their goal is simply to ensure that their client sees as little time as possible, fuck everyone else, which is in turn secondary to the goal getting paid.

Well shit, why didn't we think of this sooner! brb.

Yo thanks a ton for the post! Please write to Doug if you can, he needs to know that people like you are out there and supporting him.

Umm, how can they be cellmates and in solitary confinement at the same time? Which is it?

solitary confinement typically means being held away from general population, and no access to things like the library/rec area/etc. but you could still have cellmates, depending on the prison.

In the good ol' days solitary was in total darkness like a sensory deprivation environment which basically broke or drove to insanity anyone foolish enough to have an identity. That RLY sorted out the nihilists from the general population.
Confinement is proportional to the degree of resistance to authority, and sooo, these days, if someone says they are in solitary with a TV and companion,,,well, they've just really been grounded for a while from prison society.

how would you know? personal experience? I doubt it.

Well a personal account from a friend who told me that a fly kept him sane, or focused for want of a better word. He caught it and pulled its wings off, and then released it, and every 4 or 10 or whatever hrs or days later the fly would in its travels in the pitch black confinement walk onto his foot or hand, and he would remember where he was, because up till these momentary relationships, he was in a void of nothingness, on a verge of personal fragmentation.

wut happens if you mention something illegal?

Try it, you'll like it. Asshole.


What is the current status of these folks?

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