We just learned that Luke’s Immunity hearing, which was scheduled for Tuesday May 13th, has been postponed until July. When the date approaches we will be asking people to come pack the court and share widely so we can support Luke at this important court date.
They are a few new updates to announce on Luke O’Donovan’s case as it begins to move through the legal system. At an arraignment hearing on April 15th we learned that in addition to the 5 charges Luke was already facing the state had added an attempted murder charge. Luke will still be attempting to have all charges dismissed on the grounds of self-defense. He has a self-defense immunity hearing set for May 13th, 2014 at 9am. We are strongly encouraging everyone who is able to attend this court date to come out and show support for Luke. If you want to come to court be sure to dress nice. The hearing will be held at the Fulton County Superior Court at 185 Central Ave in courtroom 5b.
In fundraising news we have raised over $13,000 dollars to cover Luke’s legal fees, bond, and other expenses. We need only $500 more to cover the rest of his legal fees for the duration of the case! Thanks so much to everyone who has donated so far, or organized a fundraiser. As Wepay no long accepts donations you can donate to Luke through the paypal linked below. Leave an address and we can send you a letter-pressed poster!
It has been over a year since Luke was arrested and charged with five felonies after being assaulted on New Year’s Eve. We apologize for the long delays between updates. Luke’s case has been moving very slowly. He has had only one minor court appearance since his release in January of 2013.
We write now to publicize Luke’s next court date, which will be a motions hearing set for Thursday, January 30th at 10am. At court, Luke’s lawyers will argue for Luke to be granted a Self-Defense Immunity Hearing, where a case would be made for Luke having acted in self-defense. If a Self-Defense Immunity Hearing finds that Luke did indeed act in self-defense, Luke would be immune from prosecution under Georgia law.
So far we have raised over $9,000 to cover Luke’s lawyer fees, bond, and other court and jail costs. There have been fundraisers across the country, and for this we are grateful. Unfortunately, we still need $4,000 to cover the rest of Luke’s legal fees from now through any potential trial. Any and all donations will be appreciated. If you can’t contribute by yourself, please consider holding an event to raise money. Previous events to raise money have included a dinner and movie, dance parties, poster sales, and shows. You can
Additionally, if you would like to show up to support Luke at his court date, your presence will be welcome. Please come dressed for court. It will be held at:
Fulton County Superior Court
136 Pryor Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
For any questions, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Fulton County Superior Court has indicted Luke. This means that the DA is pursuing prosecution. Luke’s lawyer appeared in court on the 27th of august for arraignment and submitted a not guilty plea. Because the case is going to trial Luke is going to have significantly more legal fees. It is yet unclear what those will look like but every bit helps. We are also asking that people call the DA’s office to demand the charges on Luke be dropped: (404) 612-4981. As of yet we are largely in the dark about what is happening and what will happen but we will keep you updated as we find out.
We are overjoyed. His bail was $35K and he was released very early on the morning of the 17th. He is in very high spirits and is currently resting with his friends and family. Luke has still not been indicted and there is still need for much more money to cover lawyers and legal costs.
Luke is overwhelmed and grateful for all of the support he has received so far.
Please stay tuned for more updates!
Luke’s next hearing will be held on Wednesday, January 16th at 9 am at Superior Court (185 Central Avenue SW Atlanta, GA). The hearing will, of course, have major implications on the future of Luke’s case. He has been in jail without bond since the night of the incident (the first of January), on grounds that he is a danger to society.
Everyone’s presence in court can show the broad support which Luke is receiving from all over, which could be instrumental in swaying the judge to grant bail.
Please show your love and support for Luke and for the survivors of homophobia everywhere by attending the hearing and staying for the duration! Please come dressed for court and ready to go through a metal detector.
This is an open event, designed to raise awareness about Luke’s situation and to discuss the connection that we all have with the dangers of the homophobia that is so pervasive in modern society. Please attend and spread the word. Your attendance will also help illustrate the broad support that Luke is receiving from the community and may have a direct bearing on his hearing on the 16th and on his case in general.
All (non-homophobic) community members, media, and concerned parties are encouraged to join us!
Hey all! A fundraiser in Luke’s honor was held tonight in Atlanta. Around 40 people attended, purchasing art, buttons, and literature which had been created for the event. The attendees gave generously while discussing the latest about Luke’s situation, watching an excellent documentary, and enjoying a vegan potluck.
During the event, a call was received from Luke, and he was put on speakerphone. “Luke! Luke! Luke!” and “We love you!” chants broke out. He responded, “I love you guys.” Luke was in high spirits and said he was not receiving vegan food, but that it was at least vegetarian.
After being tallied, donations reached about $850!!!!!!!!
If you would also like to donate to Luke, you can do so at:
(sorry, we accidentally put the wrong link!)
We recently heard that Luke was must moved to a new ward in Rice Street. His address has changed slightly because he now has a new housing location. Mail that was sent to his old address should still reach him though! His new address is:
Luke Patrick O’Donovan
901 Rice Street
Atlanta, GA 30318-4938
A Few Clarifying Points from the Support Committee (in Other Words: Please Get Involved!)
A few concerns have been raised thus far about the way in which the support committee has been handling Luke’s defense. People have expressed concerns about the way in which Luke’s family is being involved, on the strategy and rhetoric being used by the support committee, and about the support committee’s alleged advocacy for “vigilante justice.” We would like to take some time to respond to these concerns in online form, but we strongly encourage people to get in contact with those involved in Luke’s support team to air any disagreements, and refrain from strictly communicating over social networking sites (Facebook). We are writing as Luke’s close friends, ones he eats and sleeps with everyday, ones with whom he often speaks about his beliefs, and ones who have been in contact with him since he has been in jail. We know and love Luke deeply, and want everyone who feels similarly to get involved in his defense.
First and foremost: What is Our Purpose?
Our purpose is to support Luke materially and emotionally throughout this trial and for however long he needs us immediately following the trial. Our first priority is Luke’s release from jail. Afterword, we believe that Luke should be acquitted of all charges against him. We are fighting toward this end through contact with lawyers and, hopefully, popular mobilizations with others who desire to support Luke however they can. We are also doing our best to meet Luke’s emotional needs in light of this because we have known the torment of incarceration and the effect it can have on your spiritual and mental well-being.
While it may come to pass that Luke’s attackers receive charges for what they have done, that is not the focus of this support group. Our focus is Luke. We understand that the judicial system has legs all of its own and will act how it sees fit. Our intention, however, is to focus our energy on the person we all love and supporting them to the fullest.
On Talking to the Police
We would like to clarify our position regarding talking and interacting with police around Luke’s case. We have asked several lawyers for advice, and they have all said basically the same thing to us. At this point it is better for witnesses to go to an attorney and give their testimony together with a lawyer. Luke is already in jail, and it is not up to the police to let him out, but the legal system. We recognize that in Luke’s case it will be impossible to exonerate him without going through the legal system. After talking with lawyers from several prominent legal associations we believe that it is not in Luke’s best interests for people to immediately head to the police station and offer their testimony. We would love for as many people to come forward in Luke’s defense as possible, and to help them get their testimony done through attorneys. To be clear we are not telling people to stay away from testifying for Luke. We just want it be done in a way that best benefits his case. Once a lawyer or specific legal representation has been decided upon or assigned to Luke we will immediately release their contact information, in order to ensure that anyone who wants to help him with their testimony, eye-witness account, or character witness statement can do so in the most efficient way possible. If you have information, please write it all down now and date it so that you don’t forget what happened. Also please consider emailing the support group at email@example.com
On Lawyers and Legal Support
On the note of legal support, we have been in contact with lawyers from the NLG, the public defender’s office, the Occupy Atlanta legal team, and we are working on getting in touch with other attorneys from various legal associations of note. We are trying to secure the best possible legal team available for Luke because we know that this is very serious. At this time, the public defender seems like an efficient option because they work with the judge every day. If we need another lawyer moving forward, which we very well may, we will probably need to pay for one.
The WePay account that has been set up for Luke will collect money for several purposes. So far it has accumulated over $600 in just 24 hours. Money from the WePay can be used to pay for Luke’s bail, if it is set, for Luke’s legal defense, and to keep money in his commissary. For those who may be unsure as to how jail works, Luke’s commissary fund allows him to buy items in jail, including vegan food items and stamps to send letters. Luke’s commissary currently has a balance of 83 dollars, separate from the WePay. Luke also has an Amazon Wish List, with a list of books he would like sent to him in jail. Unfortunately, we anticipate Luke being in jail for some time, and books are a great way to pass time while imprisoned. In fact, being locked up with nothing to read leaves one in a state of extreme boredom and isolation. Luke requested books be sent when we spoke to him over the phone, and so we are working hard to fulfill this wish. Jail is a miserable place and we want to do what we can to make sure Luke is as comfortable as possible on the inside.
On Allegations of Vigilantism
Some of the language used in the initial post by the support team may have been unclear. For this we apologize. It was imperative to get a statement out ASAP to counteract the dominant media narrative that Luke went on a “stabbing rampage.” Although personally we do not believe the justice system offers justice to anyone, we recognize that it is an existing reality and that we must move through it to free Luke. WE ARE NOT CALLING FOR VIGILANTE JUSTICE. We are doing our best to respect Luke’s own beliefs and desires, as well as our own, while doing the most intensive and thorough defense work possible.
Again we would like to reiterate that for people who have concerns about how Luke’s defense is being handled, it is best to talk about it in personal conversations, not through social networking sites. We want as many people around to help defend and support Luke as possible. With that said, we plan to announce a public meeting soon. We are currently building a website that will make broad participation easier for people.
Thanks so much to everyone for their concern and strength.
-Luke’s Support Committee – firstname.lastname@example.org
Write Luke Letters:
Luke Patrick O’Donovan
901 Rice Street
Atlanta, GA 30318-4938