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Trial set for "Sit/Lie" protesters


  • Nina Riggio

Four protesters charged with violating the Pedestrian Access Act are going to trial, a municipal judge decided on Sept. 7.

The controversial law prohibits sitting, kneeling, reclining or lying on sidewalks during certain hours in certain parts of town. The four were ticketed for defying police orders to stand during a nearly 200 person sit-in demonstration in April near Acacia Park. The act of civil disobedience was intended to test the ordinance.

Attorney Tom Barnes, who's representing one of the defendants, tried to get the case dismissed on U.S. Constitutional grounds, but city prosecutors retorted that court isn't the place for policy discussions — that's the job of City Council.

Judge HayDen Kane II ruled the defense can't make a First Amendment argument when they go to trial on Dec. 2. Barnes and Philip Dubois, who's representing another of the defendants, still believe their clients may be aquitted.

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