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JDL Leader Pleads No Contest : Charge Stemmed From Protest Against Avowed Racist

July 20, 1989|ESTHER SCHRADER | Times Staff Writer

Saying he was not bending his principles, Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge stemming from his role in a protest against a Glendale speaking engagement by avowed racist J. B. Stoner that turned violent.

Rubin, 44, of Arcadia entered his plea Tuesday to charges that he failed to disperse after an unlawful assembly had been declared.

As part of an agreement between attorneys in the case, charges against him of riot, unlawful assembly and resisting and obstructing police officers during the Nov. 22, 1987, rally were dropped.

Glendale Superior Court Judge Joseph Kalin sentenced Rubin to one year of probation and fines and court penalties totaling $772 or 64 hours of community service.

Rubin said Tuesday that he will do the community service for a Jewish organization.

'Not Bending My Principles'

"I am not bending my principles, and if J. B. Stoner came back, I would do exactly as I did," Rubin said after entering his plea. "If it weren't for the no-contest plea, I would still go forward. I was intent on fighting this thing all the way to the highest court in the land."

Rubin was among more than 250 people protesting the appearance at the Glendale Holiday Inn of Stoner, a convicted church bomber and a white supremacist.

Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner filed charges against Rubin and three other men based on analysis of a videotape made during the demonstration.

The video, the district attorney's office said, showed Rubin and three other men breaking though police lines to confront two neo-Nazi skinhead youths at the protest.

Rubin and the other men contended that they were unfairly singled out for arrest.

In pretrial hearings, Rubin's attorney, James E. Blatt, had said he would prove at trial that the videotape showed that the Jewish Defense League members arrested in the incident did not confront the skinheads.

"The videotape showed a somewhat restrained Irv Rubin," Blatt said in an interview Tuesday. "Irv Rubin did not break through any police lines or attack any skinheads. He did not participate in any riot nor did any other member of the JDL."

But after Rubin entered his plea, Blatt and Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Stone, the prosecutor in the case, said they were satisfied with the outcome.

"I think it was fair and just to have him plead to just one count given that we're talking about 5 to 10 minutes of conduct that could have been described in many different fashions," Stone said. "He was dealing with issues that are so sensitive and go to the core of what is at stake for most human beings."

Rubin's plea came a day after jury selection had begun and after he rejected at least one offer made by Stone.

"Failure to disperse is the equivalent of a traffic ticket compared with what Rubin was charged with," Blatt said. "Rather than go through the trial, we'd rather pay the ticket and move on."

The other three defendants are scheduled to go to trial in Glendale Municipal Court on Sept. 6. They are Pasadena City College professor Roger Marheine, 42, of Pasadena; Public Defender John Michael Lee, 44, of Sherman Oaks, and Jose Hernandez, 34, of Los Angeles, a member of the Los Angeles-based International Committee Against Racism.

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