Occupy Argument: It’s Constitutional

Antonio Rahman was arrested in the early evening of 15 October 2012, between 7:30 and 8:00 pm, on the park-like grounds of the North Carolina state Capitol building, adjacent to a streetside sidewalk.  It was not for public intoxication, indecent behavior, loud and lascivious conduct or even vagrancy; the charges were second-degree trespass.   Rahman was sitting in a circle on the ground with 18 others who were also arrested.  That’s right, they were charged with trespass on public property.  The case is apparently not going to go away quietly.   Rahman’s attorney, Scott Holmes of Durham, NC, will argue for dismissal of charges on constitutional grounds.  The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to peaceably assemble; that is the plea for dismissal that Holmes will present on behalf of Rahman.

 
Follow up:
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Rahman and the Raleigh 18 were sitting on the state house lawn several hours after a permitted assembly of about 400 Occupy Raleigh protesters had taken place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Here is what a report by Anne Blythe stated in the Raleigh News & Observer:

When a crowd lingered hours later, Capitol police sought the assistance of Raleigh’s city police force.
By 7:15 p.m., 30 Occupiers were still on Capitol grounds, according to police reports and court documents.
A Raleigh officer advised the group to move to the sidewalk or risk being arrested for second-degree trespassing.
The protesters stayed and arrests were made.

Read more: http://econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog1.php/2012/07/15/occupy-argument-it-s-constitutional

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