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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

2 articles about the dismissal and a weepy op-ed

The first is an article from the Rocky Mountain News.

Parade trials fizzle

City attorney backs off vow to prosecute Columbus protesters

By Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
January 25, 2005

Never mind.

Three days after firmly vowing to prosecute all the approximately 230 remaining cases against Columbus Day parade protesters, Denver City Attorney Cole Finegan announced Monday that he will instead dismiss them.

Finegan's announcement cited a string of recent judicial rulings in the protesters' favor, plus the acquittal of eight protest organizers who stood trial last week for blocking the Oct. 9 parade.

"After reviewing the facts and the rulings to date, and knowing that the facts will be substantially the same in each case, I do not believe that we have a reasonable likelihood of conviction" in the remaining cases, Finegan said in a prepared statement.

"Accordingly, I will direct our prosecutors to dismiss the remaining cases."

The latest blow against the city came Monday when Denver County Judge Kathleen Bowers dismissed loitering charges against about 75 defendants, following the precedent set by two other judges to whom cases had been assigned.
full article


Next is an article from the Denver Post.
Cases dropped against Columbus parade protesters
Prosecutors do an about-face after a third judge ends loitering charges against the defendants.

By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Staff Writer

The city of Denver will not prosecute the remaining 230 people who blocked the Columbus Day parade route on Oct. 9, City Attorney Cole Finegan announced Monday.

On Thursday, eight leaders of the protest were acquitted by a jury.

Finegan said as late as Friday that he planned to proceed with the cases. But Monday morning, prosecutors received another setback when County Judge Kathleen Bowers dismissed the loitering charges against the defendants who were to go on trial in her courtroom.

By doing so, Bowers joined two other county judges - Aleene Ortiz-White and Doris Burd - who had dismissed the loitering charges. The cases were divided among the three for trial.

That left the city to prosecute the protesters on a charge of failing to obey a lawful police order.
full article


The last entry comes courtesy of the Rocky Mountain News editorial page. If you hear the sound of splashing drops of moisture it's not rain outside your window-it's the bitter tears of Vincent Carroll as he snivels and throws himself a pity party.

THE SURRENDER
Denver is a tolerant, educated city, but its record in recent years of protecting free speech is about as dismal as can be because of the impunity with which self-appointed thought police are able to disrupt the local Columbus Day Parade. City attorney Cole Finegan's decision Monday to dismiss cases related to the disruption of last year's parade is merely the latest evidence of Denver's humiliating failure.

Not that we are pointing a finger at Finegan. His office tried its best to convict the anti-free speech protesters. Unfortunately, a succession of courtroom setbacks and last week's scandalous jury acquittal of protest leaders convinced him the effort was futile.

Finegan says his office will draft new ordinances to cover future disruptions, but the problem is bigger than poorly drafted law. So long as protesters find juries gullible enough to believe their absurd charge that the parade is a form of ethnic intimidation and so ignorant that they fail to see the link between Italian-Americans' right to free speech and their own, Denver officials will continue to have a hard time defending the First Amendment. Link


I guess one should have compassion for a man in so much pain and misery but please forgive me if I respond by having a good laugh at his distress.

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