San Luis Obispo BLM protesters want to sack judge, refuse diversion

March 4, 2021

Patrick Fisher and Tianna Arata walking to the courthouse, photo by Richard Bastian


Attorneys for several Black Lives Matter protesters expressed interest on March 3 in disqualifying San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Rita Federman from the case, while at the same time displaying no interest in a diversion program that could lead to the charges being dropped against some defendants.

Curtis Briggs, one of Tianna Arata’s attorneys, said he wanted first to clarify Judge Federman intended to remain on the case, and then planned to file a peremptory challenge against her. Federman replaced Judge Matt Guerrero after he was reassigned to family court more than a month ago.

Attorneys can file an “affidavit of prejudice” to disqualify one judge without any showing of cause.

While Briggs did not mention his specific concerns with Judge Federman, it appears he wants to make sure she remains the judge on the case before he files his one permitted challenge. Federman is currently serving a temporary stint in the appellate court.

Deputy District Attorney Delaney Henretty then made a short statement before offering misdemeanor diversion to five of the seven defendants involved in the hearing, which means they could have their charges dismissed if they agree to attend classes or do community service.

“We are a nation of laws, not men,” Henretty said. “The right of free speech ends when you trample on the rights of others.”

Henretty then offered Sam Grocott, Amman Asfaw, Marcus Montgomery, Josh Powell, and Jerad Hill the opportunity to join the misdemeanor diversion program, noting they likely did not know they were breaking the law.

The offer did not apply to Arata, who is charged with 13 misdemeanors, or Robert Lastra, who is facing a felony charge of vandalism and a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment.

Briggs responded by asking the defendants to reject the offer. It is unclear if any of the defendants plan to accept Henretty’s offer.

The defendants are scheduled to return to the courthouse on April 9 for a hearing on a motion to compel discovery, and to hold prosecutors in contempt for allegedly withholding records they were court-ordered to provide.


The plea bargain is a double edged sword for both parties .The DA possibly gets plea bargained defendants to testify against Arata .The defense attorney loses out on the defendants gravy train of representation fees or future civil lawsuit money .The defense attorney doesn’t give a hoot about the defendants ….just money and fame


She sure looks different today….now that she is not running around intimidating innocent people…


5 defendants could have their charges dismissed! Smart! If you wish, have a ‘progressive’ orientation to your community service and classes. There are many positive avenues. Don’t cut your future short by creating a resume that reads – dead end radical.


Hey, whatever happened to Elias Bautista — the punk who kicked the SLOPD officer in the crotch, and then ran away like a coward? He must have plead out? Probably a smart move.

Any chance you could find out for us, CCN? Thanks!


Come on everyone…what these protesters did in San Luis Obispo is unacceptable…and the Mayor kicking the whole thing off in the park so resembles Trump on January 6 its laughable….


“Briggs responded by asking the defendants to reject the offer.” Of course, he is asking them to act against their own interest because he hopes it will help his star client…


Yes, possibly. But after observing the slimy moves these attorneys are employing, it is equally as likely that they are eying the still hefty GoFundMe account they can drain. Pro bono, my eye. While they may not be charging “fees”, it’s very likely they are billing expenses. 1972 Chateau Petrus?


So how do you know the defense attorney’s motives, fee and expense arrangement?


It sounds like a pretty good deal for the five violent insurgents. The charges dismissed and only community service if they attend some court ordered classes? Sounds like a no-brainer decision. The five aren’t that stupid reject the offer are they?

It also calls to question why the attorney’s advised against accepting the deal. Would it bring and end to the cash flow for the radical racist attorneys from blm? Are the attorneys really that egotistic, arrogant, self-serving and greedy for the limelight they desire to be in? Are the attorney’s using the defendants as pawns and red meat to embolden the radical extremist who support these acts of rage, violence and hate that these five were part of? Are the narcissist attorneys going to threaten our communities with violence again and pay to bus future uncivil protester’s here for the trial again if this cowards don’t get their way?

I say, screw all of them. Offer them nothing else and go for the maximum sentences, fines, and probation. Then order them all communities service, anger management classes, anti-racism classes. After that court order them to classes the teach you personal accountability, personal responsibility and respect for others and the rule of law.


The best news in this article is that slimy Guerrero is off the case.


When your clients are obviously guilty, attack the other side’s ethics. When Your clients are really, really guilty, attack the Judge.


Think the defense attorney is more worried about getting a bait and switch. “Federman is currently serving a temporary stint in the appellate court.”

Jorge Estrada

And when you have contempt for our country, you disgrace citizenship.