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Monday, January 24, 2005

DENVER CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE WILL DISMISS REMAINING COLUMBUS DAY PROTESTOR CASES

Okay, here it is. Keep in mind that this happened because of the legal and political battle waged by the TCD members and the attorneys who volunteered their services for free. This didn't happen because of the goodwill of the City.

CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE WILL DISMISS REMAINING
COLUMBUS DAY PROTESTOR CASES

Denver, CO, January 24, 2005 - Announcing his decision to dismiss the remaining cases against individuals arrested for disrupting the 2004 Columbus Day Parade, City Attorney Cole Finegan released the following statement on Monday:

"In the past several days, different Denver County judges ruled that Denver's loitering ordinance cannot be used to prosecute the protestors that deliberately disrupted the Columbus Day parade last October. Those judges also granted the protestors' legal motions to suppress evidence that would have aided the prosecution's case. Those rulings resulted in the dismissal of several cases prior to trial.

Today, another Denver County judge ruled that the City cannot prosecute pursuant to the loitering ordinance. The judge also has agreed to allow legal motions to suppress evidence beneficial to the City's case and has scheduled trial dates at least two months into the future.

Based upon these decisions and the jury decision last Thursday to acquit eight of the defendants despite our strong belief that we proved our case, I have concluded that our office should not continue these prosecutions. After reviewing the facts and therulings 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. Accordingly, I will direct our prosecutors to dismiss the remaining
cases."

Finegan announced also that his Office began work Monday to draft ordinances, modeled upon the state laws that make it illegal to disrupt a lawful assembly and to obstruct a highway or a passageway:

"We hope that these new ordinances will better protect the First Amendment rights of both parade participants and protestors."

Below is an article from the Associated Press.

Charges dropped in Columbus Day protests

By The Associated Press
January 24, 2005

The city attorney said today he will dismiss the cases against more than 230 people charged with disrupting a Columbus Day parade last October, citing court rulings that crippled the prosecution.

A jury acquitted eight protest organizers last week on charges of disobeying a lawful order after a judge threw out loitering charges. Another judge on Monday threw out the loitering charge against other protesters.

City Attorney Cole Finegan said convictions in the other cases were unlikely because the facts are the same.

Nearly 240 people were arrested Oct. 9 for blocking the parade route in protest of Columbus' landing in America.
full article

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