Saturday, 36 people were arrested in connection with Boston’s “straight-pride parade.” Only two of those people were part of the parade itself. The rest were part of the Antifa counter-protest. As you can see in this arrest log, about half of the people arrested had serious charges against them including assault against police officers. Four officers were injured Saturday and, as of Wednesday, had not returned to duty. The other half were arrested for disorderly conduct and/or resisting arrest, i.e. relatively minor charges.
Tuesday, half of the arrestees were brought before Boston Judge Richard Sinnott. DA Rachel Rollins asked Sinnott to drop charges against 9 people who were arrested Saturday on lesser charges, i.e. resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Rollins, who is considered a progressive DA, has a standing commitment not to prosecute a list of 15 crimes which include disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. She wanted these counter-protesters to walk.
But Judge Sinnott only agreed to drop charges against two of the nine. That’s very unusual because a judge generally doesn’t decide who will get prosecuted. Tuesday evening DA Rollins published a statement on Facebook criticizing Judge Sinnott’s refusal to dismiss the cases:
By compelling arraignment in every case, the judge punished the exercise of individuals’ First Amendment right to protest. At my request, prosecutors used the discretion constitutionally allocated to the executive branch to triage cases and use our resources most effectively to protect public safety. Make no mistake: some people were appropriately arraigned and will be held accountable for actions that put the safety of the public and law enforcement at risk. For those people now tangled in the criminal justice system for exercising their right to free speech—many of whom had no prior criminal record—I will use the legal process to remedy the judge’s overstepping of his role.
A defense attorney named Susan Church who was representing some of the defendants tweeted her own reaction to Judge Sinnott’s refusal to dismiss: “The Judge has zero authority to do that. Zilch. A severe overstep. Although the court can deny a dismissal arguably (very thin argument) they cannot for a nol prosse. Trumps’ screw the law attitude seeping down to district court judges I see.” Church, who previously represented Occupy Boston, tried to argue this same point with the judge in person and wound up in handcuffs:
“All I was trying to do was read the law to the court,” Church said. “And I was summarily arrested, handcuffed, brought down to the holding cell, held there for hours … simply for doing my job and advocating for my client.”…
Sinnott, who declined requests from prosecutors to dismiss some of the cases the day before, pushed back against Church when she spoke out about statutes regarding case dismissals.
“This is the only warning you’re going to get. Do not try to talk over me, do not try to turn this into theater,” Sinnott said before ordering Church to be held in contempt.
Here’s Church discussing what happened after she was released:
Attorney Susan Church addresses the media after Judge Richard Sinnott releases her. Sinnott held her in contempt earlier today. pic.twitter.com/PXu9VRYK9B
— Stefan Geller (@StefanGeller) September 4, 2019
So the progressive DA, the ACLU, and the progressive defense attorney are all unhappy with Judge Sinnott. The Massachusetts Association of Defense Attorneys has called for an investigation of the judge and DA Rollins has asked the state’s Supreme Court to overrule him. Based on what I’m reading, that seems likely to happen.
Finally, I have to point out that when writing about this story, a Boston Globe columnist managed to include this idiotic defense of Antifa:
Perhaps Sinnott has a bee in his bonnet about these particular demonstrators, whom the right derisively calls “Antifa” — it is meant as a disparagement, because being antifascist is apparently a bad thing now. The judge, who comes from a family with a background in law enforcement, is certainly sympathetic to police officers, who have been accused of being too rough with those they arrested on Saturday.
It never ceases to amaze me that left-leaning journos support a group whose stated mission is political violence carried out behind masks to escape accountability. It’s not like any of this is a secret. Just a few days ago the Boston Herald quoted an Antifa member who said, “We’re covered in black so when we attack these guys we can’t be prosecuted.” So even when, as in this case, these goons are attacking and injuring the city’s police, there are still numbskulls like this Globe columnist or CNN’s Don Lemon who are eager to defend them.
And speaking of the police, the Police union was the only group who seemed happy with Judge Sinnott’s stand against giving Antifa a pass: