- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. (AP) - A judge threw out a contempt-of-court conviction and ordered a new trial for a woman who was the voice of Lucy in several “Peanuts” TV specials and is accused of harassing UCLA faculty members who conduct research on animals, her lawyer said Thursday.

Pamelyn Ferdin had faced up to five days in jail and a $1,000 fine until Wednesday, when Superior Court Judge John Segal voided her 2008 conviction based on what a UCLA attorney called a technicality.

Segal scheduled a new trial for April 28, said Ferdin’s attorney George Seide.

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Ferdin, 50, was convicted of violating a court injunction that barred harassment of faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Last June, Ferdin demonstrated outside the home of a UCLA primate researcher and handed out fliers that included home addresses, phone numbers and photographs of some researchers, Seide said.

A previous injunction against other animal rights activists barred such activity. A judge found that Ferdin was acting “in concert” with them, even though she wasn’t named in the injunction, Seide said.

At trial, Ferdin testified she had downloaded the flier from a Web site and wasn’t aware that the information fell under the injunction.

In fighting the conviction, Seide argued that Ferdin’s constitutional rights were violated because she wasn’t informed that she had the right to counsel and of her right against self-incrimination before she took the stand.

“It is a technicality that in no way undermines the seriousness of her conduct or the fact that we proved that she violated a court order by distributing fliers that harass our researchers,” said UCLA general counsel Kevin Reed. “The order is a very important tool to protect our researchers. People are being directed to their homes while their children sleep by those who violate this order.”

Ferdin was a child actress who made appearances on many TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s, including “The Brady Bunch” and “The Odd Couple.” She was the voice of Lucy on two 1969 specials, “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” and “It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown,” and 1971’s “Play It Again, Charlie Brown.”

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