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Jewish Journal

‘Irvine 11’ attorneys appeal conviction

by Kelsey Duckett, Contributing Writer

Posted on Oct. 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Eight of the ten Muslim college students from Southern California convicted of unlawfully disrupting a speech by Israel's ambassador to the U.S. last year, listen to the judge during sentencing at a court in Santa Ana, California on Sept. 23. Photo by REUTERS/Alex Gallardo

Eight of the ten Muslim college students from Southern California convicted of unlawfully disrupting a speech by Israel's ambassador to the U.S. last year, listen to the judge during sentencing at a court in Santa Ana, California on Sept. 23. Photo by REUTERS/Alex Gallardo

Attorneys for 10 Muslim students convicted of disrupting a speech given by Israeli ambassador at UC Irvine last year, filed a notice of appeal Wednesday, arguing that the law used to convict the students was “vague and unconstitutional.”

The students — three from UC Riverside and seven from UCI — were found guilty of conspiring to and then disrupting a speech given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Feb. 8, 2010.

The high-profile case garnered national debate over free speech rights and has divided Jews and Muslims as well as some within the Jewish community for more than a year.

On Sept. 23, Superior Court Judge Peter J. Wilson handed down his sentence of three years probation, which would be cut to a year if the students complete 56 hours of community service by Jan. 31 and pay $270 in fines. Charges against an 11th co-defendant have been tentatively dropped.

In the courtroom, Orange County Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner argued that Oren was “shut down” and “censored.” But the defendants’ six defense attorneys argued that the students acted within the law and were exercising their right to free speech

Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for Wagner, said the notice of appeal was expected.

“They were defiant of the jury’s verdict from the start and said they would be filing an appeal,” she said. “We will for sure file an objection. We believe the defendants got more than a fair trial.”

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