Occupy Wall Street Protesters Make Their First Court Date After September Arrests

First they took on the 1 percent. On Thursday, the Occupy Wall Street movement launched their latest fight -- this one against the legal system.

Dozens of Occupy Protestors showed up to Manhattan Criminal Court for their first court date since being arrested at one of the movement's earliest demonstrations at Union Square in September.

"It was bit chaotic, otherwise it went very, very smoothly," said Martin Stolar a defense attorney representing several protestors -- for free.

The judicial carousel was running non-stop for those who expressed their innocence after being arrested for vocally executing their first amendment right in Union Square on September 24th.

The NYPD arrested 78 protestors for blocking traffic while marching from Zuccotti Park to Union Square.

Wylie Stecco along with Stolar believe in the movement. They are also representing a number of those arrested -- for free. Stolar's usual rate is about $400 an hour, $800 for the 1 percent.

Both attorneys believe that the overwhelming amount of video evidence on YouTube and the Internet is not only compelling but also the game changer. Incidentally, the NYPD's TARU's unit has documented several hours worth of video as well. Ultimately, it may be video that will prove innocence or guilt.

"The police made unconstitutional unlawful arrests. They did not make any announcements for my client to disperse, they did not give them a chance to leave the area. They simply trapped and arrested them," said Stecco on the steps of the Criminal Court building.

Stolar added, "If I were the judge, it would be a slammed dunk. I'm not the judge, it's a pretty good case for trial, I would be shocked to have the judge convict based on the video evidence and the antidotal evidence."

Prosecutors offered a dismissal if the protestors stayed out of trouble for six months. The deal was appealing for nine protestors, 55 others passed, 14 didn't bother to show up.

One who is going to trial is, 18-year-old Ross Levin. The baby-face protest showed up with his mother Cathy and concern.

Levin told PIX 11 News he has not taken part in many demonstrations since his arrest. His primary concern is the impact a potential second arrest would have on the case involving his first.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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