Cres Vellucci is a hometown boy who stayed in place while having moved mountains. As the founder/owner of Information in the Public Interest, his work with the National Lawyers Guild, Veterans for Peace Sacramento, and his devotion to social justice for human rights, animal rights and environmental rights, Vellucci has had his battles with the status quo.
A longtime daily newspaper reporter and editor, and eventually a wire service political reporter at the State Capitol, Vellucci attended law school and became an assistant law school dean. He helped re-establish the ACLU of Sacramento and is now co-coordinator of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of Sacramento.
“I find pro bono (free) legal assistance for demonstrators arrested at political protests so they can competently defend themselves. We don’t really have the free speech rights everyone believes we do in this country…these so-called ‘rights’ are largely a myth. The state employs many laws to restrict or limit those rights, and punishes those who violate them – from suffrage activists a century ago to anti-war, civil rights and anti-police brutality protestors today.”
Vellucci’s formal credentials began with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Government and Journalism from California State University- Sacramento, after having been drafted into the Army and being sent to Vietnam. He also attended Lincoln Law School of Sacramento.
These credentials were his springboard into becoming the reporter that would lead to learning more about social change he felt was needed and to question what were the best ways to make these societal transformations. The NLG is one of those ways. The NLG provides training to legal workers, lawyers or law students by having them attend a “Legal Observer” training to qualify to be a legal observer at demonstrations and other political events.
“Today’s criminal justice system is anything but ‘just,’” Vellucci counsels. “About 98 percent of the cases are resolved through plea bargaining, crushing most people, as we see in the Justice Department’s report about Ferguson, because they don’t have the financial resources to retain good lawyers, to defend themselves. We need more public interest lawyers, more legal workers and more people to work for justice for everyone.”
Karen Hansen M.S. Earth Sciences, has been an educator and consultant who is currently an analyst regarding land and other public information records. She lives and works in Sacramento, CA. She has been writing about earth and the environmental sciences for Examiner.com since May of 2010. Find her work in several sections of the publication. You can find her work at SF Solar Energy Examiner, SF Environmental News Examiner and Environmental News Examiner