Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mistrial for the St. Paddy's Day Seven

You may remember our post about what in my opinion amounts to a minor police riot at the St. Patrick's Day Parade earlier this year. This past Thursday, the seven parade-goers who got roughed up for wearing peace T-shirts went on trial for obstruction of the parade. After two days of testimony, a jury of four women and two men failed to reach a verdict, and the judge declared a mistrial. We don't know yet whether the city will decide to prosecute again, but as the local entertainment paper said, one prosecution is enough of a black eye on Colorado Springs' reputation. The trial has caused a lot of tension on all sides, and I worry that those of us who stand for peace and justice have let it distract us rather than using it to make us stronger. For now, however, we can breathe a little easier and get back to work. For law geeks out there, the prosecution referred in its arguments to the 1995 Supreme Court case Hurley vs Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston (94-749), 515 U.S. 557. The free speech issue didn't end up being central to this case, but it's interesting to see that decision cropping up here. Perhaps more on this later.


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