St Patricks case dismissed with caveat

The city has decided to drop the charges against myself and Elizabeth, which would be, roughly, about time. This is a pleasant development, made even more so by the arrogance of their official statement, a slap in the face with a policeman’s black glove to anyone who might suggest they had behaved badly. Though the City attorney’s Office is seeking a dismissal, they want us to know a “review found ample and sufficient evidence … to continue with the prosecution.”
 
Have I recounted yet my take on the first trial?

The city presented hesitant charges, and our lawyer was able to show that the police witnesses discredited each other, the parade organizer was clinging to a lie, and other melodramatic deficiencies. When the prosecution rested its case, we move for dismissal because the argument about obstruction had barely even been asserted. The judged agreed the city’s presentation had been piss poor –my words– but suggested at a minimum we could tender them a sporting chance.

My co-defendants and our friends in attendance were giddy with confidence. The city attorneys walked with progressive tentativeness and heads bowed.

The next day in presenting our defense, our lawyer excused all but a couple of our dozen witnesses and decided he needed only Elizabeth to come to the stand. There was no evidence to refute. Elizabeth hadn’t sat on the street, she was knocked down and dragged. Our lawyer purposely showed only frames of the video for fear of bludgeoning the jury with the violent imagery. Elizabeth fared well under cross examination but in its parting shots the prosecution accused her of vying for attention, and of having wanted a trial for the media coverage. Still we considered this new city strategy pretty lacking.

When the jury came back to question whether they needed to find obstruction or merely intent to obstruct, the lead prosecutor became suddenly less stooped and sat casually on his desk as reporters now had questions for him about the unforeseen turn.

We defendants looked at each other in shock. Legally you can’t be tried for a crime not committed, but the judge refused to clarify that for the jury, over the vehement objection of our lawyer.

Later it turned out the jury decided the case on the issue of pro or anti war, which was not supposed to be their purview, but there it is, that’s Colorado Springs. Four people thought we should pay for not supporting the troops, two held fast to our innocence of “obstruction” and our right to free speech.

The city ended its official statement today with this gem: “it would appear that the public has already spoken when the first trial ended in a hung jury.”

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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