Ithaca is FENCES

Legal Assistance

Ithaca is FENCES is willing to provide pro bono legal assistance to anyone who is arrested while engaged in direct nonviolent action in opposition to the fences.  If you need legal assistance please send us an email at 
Leave only your name and a contact phone number.  One of our attorneys will get back to you as soon as possible. Email is not a secure means of communicating privileged information so DO NOT send details about your arrest via email.

Legal Alert

UPDATE 4/12/11
The case against the individual arrested by Cornell University police for putting a sticker on the Stewart Avenue fence is being DISMISSED.  Cornell University repeatedly interfered with the prosecution and would not agree to dismiss the case.  Cornell insisted on an outrageous amount of restitution to remove the stickers although it costs almost nothing because in practice Cornell uses spray paint to cover the stickers. The individual refused to plead guilty based on free speech grounds and the argument that the suicide fences are illegally placed on the bridge. Then the prosecutor under pressure from Cornell charged the individual with 2 Class A Misdemeanors (each punishable by up to 1 year in jail). The judge at the arraignment said "This case should have been dismissed right away. They're STICKERS." Reason not the strong-arm tactics by Cornell have prevailed - The case is being dismissed.

11/17/10 - There has been one arrest that we know of regarding the fences.  The individual was arrested by Cornell University police for putting a sticker on the Stewart Avenue fence and charged with a Class B Misdemeanor. (punishable by up to 90 days in jail).

Know Your Rights If You Have Contact With Law Enforcement

The most important thing you can do if you have contact with law enforcement is REMAIN SILENT and ask for an attorney!  Do not answer their questions.  In fact do not talk to a law enforcement officer about anything.  Ask for an attorney and REMAIN SILENT. After you do that and as long as you REMAIN SILENT law enforcement is not permitted to ask you any more questions. (Please note that if you want to be released on bail or on your own recognizance by a judge you will have to answer questions about your biographical information, including your address.)

Remaining silent can be extremely difficult.  The officer may be friendly or make promises.  Remember that law enforcement officers are trained to interrogate people and to ellicit information from you.  Keep in mind that law enforcement officers do not have to tell you the truth, they can and do lie.  You may feel that the legal penalty will be lessened or the officer may let you go if you explain yourself or answer a few questions.  That is not true.  Once you are arrested anything you say can only hurt you.  Law enforcement officers have one goal in mind and that is to get you to talk. Do yourself and your case a favor and REMAIN SILENT.

Here is a list of your rights from the ACLU website:
  • You have the right to remain silent. If you wish to exercise that right, say so out loud.
  • You have the right to refuse to consent to a search of yourself, your car or your home.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.
  • You have the right to a lawyer if you are arrested. Ask for one immediately.

Here is a link regarding your legal rights:

Beat the Heat:
Here is a link to purchase Beat the Heat: How to Handle Encounters with Law Enforcement by Katya Komisaruk. 
Ithaca is FENCES believes this illustrated, easy to read book is one that everyone should read.  
It's also available online on Google Books.