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@NCCapitol

Charges dismissed against more legislative protesters

Posted August 12

— Trespassing charges were thrown out Tuesday against five people arrested last year during protests at the Legislative Building.

The decision by District Judge Anne Salisbury marked the second time in less than two weeks that charges were dismissed because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Prosecutors presented evidence saying the five protesters were trespassing in the Legislative Building on July 15, 2013, when they participated in one of the weekly "Moral Monday" demonstrations.

More than 900 people were arrested last summer during a series of protests against a legislative agenda that activists said hurt poor and disadvantaged North Carolinians.

Defense attorney Scott Holmes cited a recent ruling by District Judge Joyce Hamilton that dismissed five similar cases.

Hamilton ruled those arrests were unconstitutional because they violated the protesters right to peacefully assemble and speak, and the actions of General Assembly police weren't tailored narrowly enough to deal with any disturbance in the Legislative Building.

Her decision referred to a recent Supreme Court ruling that invalidated a buffer zone Massachusetts had set up around an abortion clinic to keep anti-abortion protesters at bay.

"These folks had every right to do exactly what they did, and the way in which they were ordered to leave was unconstitutional," Holmes told Salisbury.

"The evidence is that the General Assembly was able to do business without interruption. So, it clearly didn't disturb them," Salisbury said in dismissing the charges against the protesters.

Rulings by District Court judges aren't considered precedent in legal cases and don't have to be taken into account by other judges. Still, protester Evelyn White said she hopes the fact that two different judges have ruled the same way on cases will lead to more dismissals as the scores of pending cases go to trial.

"I hope that future cases coming up are going to be able to draw on this experience," White said.

Acting Wake County District Attorney Ned Mangum said he couldn't comment on Salisbury's ruling until he reads her written order in the cases.

More "Moral Monday" trials are scheduled for Wednesday.

39 Comments

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  • josephlawrence43 Aug 14, 7:23 p.m.

    If the courts would start to punish these "protestors" appropriately, most of this stuff would go away.

  • miseem Aug 14, 2:28 p.m.

    I do not agree with dismissing these charges. These antics are cost taxpayers thousands of... View More

    — Posted by HomeBrewDude

    Well, blame the Republicans in the Supreme Court when they decided that a 35 foot buffer zone... View More

    — Posted by miseem

    That make no sense. If an abortion protester went into an abortion clinic started a ruckus and... View More

    — Posted by jgriffith3792

    Typical conservative. And typical WRAL censors refusing to post my earlier responses. Anti-abortion protester technique is to disrupt, yell and throw accusations at anyone entering an abortion clinic. The protesters do not just stand around holding signs. Studies have shown that a significant percentage of clinic staff and patients have felt intimidated or afraid of the actions of the protesters. Don't think many of the GOP legislators feared anything from the MM people, other than bad press.

  • WASP Aug 14, 8:22 a.m.

    WISE MAN SAYS: I would think these people want the publicity.

  • goobnav Aug 13, 11:42 a.m.

    I find it strange that at the DNC in Charlotte, very few people were arrested out of thousands... View More

    — Posted by Lady Justice

    The reason they weren't arrested was because they were corralled away from the event, not standing on stage trying to stop it.

    I am an Independent and think your logic is broken and skewed to the point of that either research wasn't done about Charlotte or the information was known and was conveniently left out to justify the statement. Either is exposed.

  • Clutchnc Aug 13, 11:39 a.m.

    I do not agree with dismissing these charges. These antics are cost taxpayers thousands of... View More

    — Posted by HomeBrewDude

    Well, blame the Republicans in the Supreme Court when they decided that a 35 foot buffer zone... View More

    — Posted by miseem

    That make no sense. If an abortion protester went into an abortion clinic started a ruckus and... View More

    — Posted by jgriffith3792

    Really? "NEVER"? Never ever? Never ever ever? Never never ever? Never never ever ever? Suuuuurrrre!!!!

  • Combat MP Aug 13, 10:47 a.m.

    I guess the soup lines will start in 2017 when Hillary and Cooper take us to the cleaners... I mean take office.

  • Anita Woody Aug 13, 10:30 a.m.

    So did your rants and protesting work? Doesn't look like it....

    — Posted by shanemane1986

    Yeah they have. Amendment 1 is soon to be overturned since the Federal Court over our District has ruled. Single-sex marriage licenses will soon be issued. Teachers will be getting a raise (some of the newer ones at least). Teachers will continue to have tenure. The people will be allowed to continue to protest in the house of the people. The next win will come in November 2016 when Roy Cooper and Hillary Clinton are elected.

  • Anita Woody Aug 13, 10:27 a.m.

    So........Anita Woody would have you believe the "TEA Party" demonstrates "every day" downtown... View More

    — Posted by bukakke

    Before Governor McCrory was elected, there was a group of revolutionary period people along Blount Street daily. I also live downtown, but my condo was 7 figures, but then again, I only work 5 days per week. I welcome anyone who wants to protest the government to do so.

  • less_govt_is_better_govt Aug 13, 10:23 a.m.

    No wonder the former wake DA and good ole' boy club member jumped ship halfway through his term.

    Yes the aging hippies can protest all they want as per the constitution the biggest problem is all the attention the news media gives them to basically fan the flames (must not be much newsworthy to report on)

    People in the rest of the state are too busy trying to make ends meet. Wake county has always been the home of big and growing bigger government. Those in power knows as government grows it gives them more power and makes certain members of society more dependent upon government.

    Meanwhile in the real world the community based towns people help one another and prefer smaller government.

    A wake county Republican is nothing more than a big government liberal in all reality.

  • outdoor592000 Aug 13, 10:00 a.m.

    You know, we have ranked 45-47th in teacher pay and other issues for years. Where were all these demonstrators during the Easley/Purdue years? Just saying..........

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