NLG Mass Defense Committee Defending Opponents of Trump’s Fascist Policies

On Saturday, June 30, 2018, hundreds of protestors (supported by several NLG Legal Observers) gathered for a protest rally against President Trump’s draconian and racist immigration policies at the South Bay House of Correction where ICE leases space to cage people they have detained for alleged immigration violations. After more than four hours of a peaceful protest, at about 8:00 p.m. on that hot summer night, 20 members and supporters of Cosecha – Boston were arrested by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s department for sitting on the outside steps of the jail. The demonstrators were not even blocking any access to the jail because there was a line of sheriff officers between them and the entrance. Despite that, all of the demonstrators were charged with trespass on state property and disorderly conduct. They were eventually released from the police stations where they were booked at about 3:30 a.m.

On Monday, July 2, 2018, the demonstrators appeared in Roxbury District Court for arraignment where they were represented by NLG attorneys (and Mass Defense Committee members) Jeff Feuer, Lee Goldstein, Carl Williams and Dan Beck. Due to several problems with the paperwork from their arrests and booking, the demonstrators were not able to get before a judge until after 2:00 p.m., some five hours after they had arrived in court. In the meantime, the NLG attorneys were negotiating with the Asst. District Attorney in charge of the Roxbury court and keeping the clients informed and involved in the negotiations. In the end, the ADA offered the equivalent of postponing the defendants’ arraignments for one month (by placing them in a non-existent pre-arraignment “diversion program”) and dismissing their cases before arraignment after three months if they didn’t get arrested again during that time. The NLG attorneys negotiated the time period down to one month and got the court to waive the defendants’ appearance at the next court date. The upshot was that the demonstrators were not arraigned at all (which means that they have no criminal record whatsoever from this arrest), they have a pre-arraignment “status date” in early August 2018 for which they do not have to appear, and all charges against them will be dismissed at that time if they have not been arrested during that one month period. This disposition may help in future negotiations with other ADA’s over the possible pre-arraignment disposition of protest cases. All in all this was a very successful day for the MDC’s representation of protestors.