State of California v. Kevin Olliff Historic Case

At a Glance

Current Status 

In Spring 2010, Olliff entered a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Date Filed: 

December 9, 2009

Co-Counsel 

Matthew Strugar, as cooperating counsel

Client 

Kevin Olliff

Case Description 

Kevin Olliff is an animal rights activist who was arrested April 18, 2009 on three year-old protest charges and, soon after, had 10 felony counts added to his charges: multiple counts of: stalking, conspiracy, conspiracy to stalk, and threatening of a public servant.  The case arose out of the long-running campaign against primate research in the University of California system, and all charges stemmed from Olliff’s speech and expressive activity—namely, chants at residential pickets.  The case was similar to other Green Scare cases, such as the SHAC 7 case and the AETA 4 prosecution, in that it targeted above-ground activists in an attempt to hold them responsible for underground, illegal activity by unidentified activists.

The indictment accused Olliff of associating with the underground Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which the State labeled a “gang” in the indictment.  The ALF took credit acts of vandalism against vivisectors in the course of efforts to end primate research at California universities.  The indictment against Olliff alleged these acts were carried out by unnamed coconspirators and that Olliff’s speech constituted overt acts in furtherance of that activity.  It did not allege that Olliff participated in or planned illegal activity himself.

Case Timeline

Spring 2010

Olliff enters a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.  He serves approximately 18 months in prison.

Spring 2010

Olliff enters a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.  He serves approximately 18 months in prison.

January 26, 2010
Judge rules, at pre-trial hearing, that the ALF is not a “gang” and dismisses the gang allegations but denies the motion to dismiss as to the rest of the indictment.
January 26, 2010
Judge rules, at pre-trial hearing, that the ALF is not a “gang” and dismisses the gang allegations but denies the motion to dismiss as to the rest of the indictment.
December 9, 2009
CCR files 995 Motion to Set Aside the Indictment
December 9, 2009
CCR files 995 Motion to Set Aside the Indictment

The motion argues that all of Olliff’s conduct was protected by the First Amendment and that the grand jury testimony was insufficient to support the gang allegations.

March 27, 2009
Kevin Olliff is indicted on multiple felonies stemming from his protest activity
March 27, 2009
Kevin Olliff is indicted on multiple felonies stemming from his protest activity