The good Bus(c)h wins one for us

By C.V. Beck

On February 20, after several hours of deliberation, the jury in the People vs. David Busch case in the downtown Metro Courthouse found him not guilty of trespassing, interfering with a business, and intimidation.

David Busch had entered the lobby of the Standard Hotel downtown to use a pay phone in the public lobby and had been prevented from doing so by a manager, hotel security guards, the “BID” (Business Improvement District) security (the mayor’s Goon Squad) and finally, the LAPD.

The judge in this trial was Lawrence H. Cho, the attorney for the “People” was City Attorney Gizelle Fernandez and for the defendant, Public Defender Teri Yun. I had requested an assistive listening device so I could hear the trial and at first was met by what I thought was a very hostile attitude on the part of the bailiff and the judge’s clerk. When I mentioned that this was an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirement, they seemed finally to get it and I received the device within about 15 minutes. It helped a lot. I don’t understand why the acoustics in the Los Angeles courtrooms are not good and why the amplification systems are not adequate. Seems like hearing what is going on would be paramount in a trial.

I was so glad to see and hear some common sense at last on Monday morning. I had been at the trial on Friday last, but had missed the morning session. That Friday afternoon’s prosecutorial case had been full of “nice,” as in “this is a nice hotel, with nice clients,” this is “nice,” that is “nice” (but not David Busch, apparently he wasn't nice enough...) and I found myself, after hearing the prosecution’s case, wondering why this had even been brought to trial.

The man wanted to use a pay phone...this is not a crime...and I found myself feeling that his civil rights had been violated and that mine could be next. However, thanks to Mr. Busch’s clear understanding that he has rights, (even though he is a homeless person), thanks to his vigilance in insisting on his rights under the law, (even attempting a citizen’s arrest of the people seeking his arrest), an injustice has been addressed and now rectified.

I feel so much better now...and so do thousands of homeless people all over Los Angeles, that the next time they might need to use a pay phone, that they might even be able to do so without having to jump through hoops or end up in jail...just like a regular, normal “nice” person is able to use a pay phone, a public phone in a public place...

Posted: Thu - March 1, 2007 at 06:32 AM