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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Judge Thomas K. Keefe Backs 1st Amendment Rights

Judge drops charges against 88 Occupy Albany protesters
The Albany Times-Union by Jordan Carleo-Evangelist  - March 2, 2012
With no prosecution of Occupy Albany arrests, court has no choice

ALBANY, NY — Seven dozen protesters arrested over the course of Occupy Albany's two-month downtown encampment are officially off the hook.  City Court Judge Thomas K. Keefe has formally dismissed more than 100 charges that were still technically pending against the protesters — long after District Attorney David Soares' office announced that it would not prosecute protesters arrested for nonviolent offenses that did not involve property damage while exercising their free speech rights.  Citing Soares' refusal to prosecute, Keefe wrote in a brief decision that he had no other choice — making official what had been all but a foregone conclusion.  "Absent a clear abuse of discretion, which is not indicated here, this court's only recourse is to dismiss," the judge wrote.  The vast majority of the arrests were made by State Police in Lafayette Park in November, when protesters provoked troopers into arresting them after city police had for weeks refused to do so in neighboring Academy Park, home to the protest's large encampment.  The arrests became a nightly ritual, during which the protesters — a dozen or a more a night — would gather on the state-owned land in violation of its curfew and peacefully await troopers to bind their hands with plastic ties and lead them away.  Soares' refusal to prosecute the arrests — largely for violations such as trespassing — made him an early hero of the movement and a villain to those who viewed the city's refusal to oust the occupiers and Soares' refusal to try them as weak-kneed.  To date, only one protester — 63-year-old William Preston — has pleaded guilty to anything in connection with the encampment.  Preston was charged with resisting arrest, criminal contempt and obstruction of governmental administration during the Dec. 22 confrontation with police that followed the city's dismantling of the encampment.  Preston pleaded guilty last month to disorderly conduct, a noncriminal violation that landed him a $250 fine and a court surcharge around $200.  The protesters remain locked in civil litigation with the city over its enforcement of a court order to dismantle their tents. The occupiers, who are now ensconced in a Madison Avenue storefront, maintain their right to camp in the city-owned park across the street from City Hall and the Capitol — not just protest there — is protected by the First Amendment. 


Anonymous said...

Never heard of this judge but there should be more like him! Make him Chief Administrative Judge. Make him the Chief Judge of the state. Just when I was losing all hope in our elected leaders I am comforted by this judge who choses to follow the law and do the right thing. Good for him and lucky for the folks he serves.

Kris Sergentakis said...

Don't get so excited, he is only one out of the corrupt lot.

Until there is meaningful oversight nothing will change.

Anonymous said...

As if more proof was needed that the judges are fixing cases:

In an article"

"Defense lSome cops ‘lie’ in court to avoid pay dock
Last Updated: 4:43 AM, March 4, 2012

"Lawyers say sympathetic judges even coach cops on what to say.

“They see these cops every day, and they get to know them,” said one. “If a guy’s going to get into trouble, it’s, like, ‘I don’t want to let that happen.’"

Read more:

So, the lawyers know this is going on, and do nothing about it. This is not new and has been going on for decades.

The whole system is a cesspool of corruption.

Why is it that more judges feel it is alright to do the wrong thing? Is it that those that do the right thing are punished?

Anonymous said...

It was the DA, who didn't prosecute; no credit or demerit to the judge. It's the DA/Police/NY-Court/NY-attorney Industrial Complex at work draining the public treasury. Cuomo was full of sound and fury and this signals he's a paper tiger.

Mikeifzv said...

Coops mental breakdown after his mothers divorce announcement. The fact is that by the end of year 2020, there will be a shortage of approximately 800,000 nurses. Your analytical and critical thinking skills will serve you well when integrating the delivery, documentation and workflow of patient care.

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