By Associated Press - Monday, September 15, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A Wake County Superior Court judge has dismissed a trespassing case against a protester arrested at the N.C. Legislative Building, a ruling that could have an impact on future cases.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports ( Chief Resident Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens ruled last Friday that the constitutional rights of Leonard Beeghley were violated when he was arrested in June 2013 for demonstrating against the General Assembly’s agenda.

Beeghley was among more than 900 demonstrators arrested last summer outside the legislature, where state senators and representatives were adopting new laws and policies.

The ruling was the first in Wake County Superior Court to address constitutional issues challenged by protesters at the district court level. It could affect cases on appeal and those still undecided in District Court.

In August, a judge dismissed five more cases against protesters arrested last summer at the General Assembly. Judge Anne Salisbury on Tuesday cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in her decision to drop the charges.

Five protesters arrested July 15, 2013, had been charged with second-degree trespass and violating North Carolina Legislative Building rules and had argued that their constitutional rights were violated.

Salisbury cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding abortion protests in Massachusetts. That ruling said that attempting to create spaces on public property where protesting is not allowed is unconstitutional.


Information from: The News & Observer,

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