Climate Change Activists Fined for Peaceful Protest

On September 24, 2020, member of the NLG-Mass Chapter Mass Defense Committe Attorney Jeff Feuer appeared in person in Roxbury District Court to represent ten climate change activists who had been arrested for hanging a huge CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW banner over the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square during a Red Sox game this summer. 

Despite the fact that this was a peaceful protest and that there was no property damage of any kind, the District Attorney threatened to charge the activists with two felonies (breaking and entering and wanton destruction of property) and two misdemeanors (trespass and disturbing the peace) as well as holding them responsible for the costs of the response by the Boston Police Department and the Boston Fire Department.

After two previous court appearances and considerable argument, the District Attorney made a final plea offer of arraigning the activists on only the two misdemeanor charges, dropping her demand for restitution for the BPD and the BFD, and agreeing to dismiss the cases after arraignment upon payment by each defendant of a $500.00 donation to a select group of Boston non-profits, including, among others, Boston Centers for the Homeless, Boston Centers for Homeless Veterans, Horizons for Homeless Children, Rosie’s Place, Greater Boston Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club, Boston Medical Center, and Boston Centers for Youth and Families. 

Although the maximum fine that the activists would have had to pay had they been convicted on both misdemeanor counts after a trial was $250, the District Attorney would not budge from the $500 amount, arguing that she was reducing the charges, dropping her demand for restitution, not seeking any jail time for the trespass charge, and that all of the money was to be paid directly to the non-profits as a donation to help the citizens of Boston, and not to the court as a fine.  After considerable discussion among the activists and their NLG attorney, all of the activists decided to accept the plea deal and vowed to continue the fight against climate change and for climate justice.