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‘Outrageous’ judge had lawyer arrested in court while trying to defend Straight Pride protesters

Josh Milton September 6, 2019
Boston Police officers arrest an anti-parade demonstrator during the "Straight Pride" parade in Boston, on August 31, 2019.

Boston Police officers arrest an anti-parade demonstrator during the "Straight Pride" parade in Boston, on August 31, 2019. (JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP/Getty)

An “outrageous” judge had a lawyer arrested for reading case law in court as she defended her clients; pro-LGBT+ Straight Pride counter-protesters.

Boston, US, saw a celebration last weekend of what advocates view as America’s “oppressed majority” – heterosexuals.

The Straight Pride Parade aroused several counter-protests, leading to 36 demonstrators being arrested by local police.

Yet in the Boston Municipal Court, the judge jailed a protester’s lawyer, Susan Church, after she read case law that openly contradicted the judge’s decision not to drop charges, WGBH reported.

Defence attorney: “This was outrageous behaviour.”

Suffolk County district attorney Rachael Rollins said that prosecutors used their discretion to perform “triage” on the cases.

This means that they moved to drop certain charges – which included disorderly conduct and resisting arrest – to protect people’s First Amendment free speech rights.

But Boston Municipal Court judge Richard Sinnott rejected the move. Instead, he opted to uphold all charges on the 36 arrestees.

Parade participants marching in the Boston Straight Pride Parade and Rally organised by Super Happy Fun America on August 31, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. Paul Marotta/Getty)

Moreover, he enforced bail for some that prosecutors argued did not need bail.

The defence attorney disagreed with the judge’s call. She argued that the judge had no authority to reject the prosecution’s decision not to prosecute many of the counter-protesters.

“All I was trying to do is to read the law to the court, and I was summarily arrested, handcuffed, brought down to the holding cell, held there for hours,” Church said.

Sinnott warned the defence attorney to stop reading. She did not.

As a result, the judge held her in contempt of court. A court official then detained her for around two hours before her release.

Lawyer defending pro-LGBT+ protester left in jail cell for two hours

“This was outrageous behaviour,” Church told reporters after her release,.

She added that she was detained “unlawfully and unreasonably” because she was “simply doing my job”.

“All I was trying to do is to read the law to the court, and I was summarily arrested, handcuffed, brought down to the holding cell, held there for hours.

“[I] sat there wondering if I was going to jail that night, whether I’d be able to see my children at dinner that night, what I was going to do about my work and my clients, simply for advocating for my client.”

Although organisers of the Straight Pride parade, a group called Super Happy Fun America, deny their event was anti-LGBT+, the event certainly appeared so.

Kicking off in Copley Square, marchers held high banners that read “2020 Trump” and “Build The Wall.”

They journeyed downtown to City Hall Plaza, but protesters standing behind barricades vastly outnumbered the marchers and speakers.

More: Boston, LGBT, straight pride

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