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What you need to know for 01/23/2017

Charges dismissed in 88 Occupy Albany cases

Charges dismissed in 88 Occupy Albany cases

A lack of time, resources and a support for nonviolent free speech have prompted the dismissal of al

A lack of time, resources and a support for nonviolent free speech have prompted the dismissal of all 88 cases that stemmed from Occupy Albany arrests in November 2011.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares announced today that a decision by Judge Thomas K. Keefe has effectively dismissed the cases, which involved the arrests of about 100 people in Academy and Lafayette parks on Nov. 111.

The demonstrators were originally charged with disorderly conduct and/or trespassing for failing to leave the state-owned Lafayette Park by the 11 p.m. curfew. But the DA’s office declined to prosecute the cases because none of the conduct was alleged to be violent or involve damage to property.

In addition, Soares said in a news release issued today that keeping those cases on the court docket would result in a “virtual clogging of an already extended court calendar” and would not be a worthwhile use of his office’s limited resources.

Keefe said in his decision that Soares is fully within the “latitude and discretion to allocate and utilize both the manpower and resources of his office in the manner believed to be most effective to the discharge of his duties.”

Charges were also dropped against 12 Occupy Albany protestors in November, after Soares indicated he wouldn’t prosecute the demonstrators just for being in the park.

“People have the right to let their voices be heard in the Capitol City,” Soares said in today’s release. “Barring violence to people or damage to property, we will continue to support our citizens in the exercise of free speech.”

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