I appear this Tuesday before Judge Gallo, Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, to appeal my summary conviction. I had not been part of the protest, but had been walking from my house to a garage-workshop that I rent, and my route intersected with the confrontation between police and protesters. The police went right past me, knowing that I was not a protester, but I was arrested anyhow after making a comment about excessive force used by the police. Anyhow, I am supposed to be at the County Courthouse at 8:30 AM. The trial could be at any time thereafter. I was originally charged with three misdemeanors, but they were reduced to a summary charge. I believe the reduction was in hopes that I would not appeal, but the charges were ludicrous, and I feel like it's my duty to appeal. Also, anyone who pleads guilty to a lesser charge loses all rights to sue for wrongful arrest. The DA said he was going to dismiss the charges against most of the protester until he got word that the ACLU was looking into pressing charges against the police. Then he refused to dismiss any charges and pressed for plea bargains.
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Convictions against four G-20 protesters upheld
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
By Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
An Allegheny County judge on Monday upheld the guilty convictions of four people arrested during the G-20 summit in September.
Five people had hearings before Senior Common Pleas Judge Robert C. Gallo to appeal their convictions on summary charges of disorderly conduct.
Four of those who appealed their convictions were arrested during a mass sweep on Sept. 25 on Schenley Plaza in Oakland.
Judge Gallo affirmed convictions of:
• Peter Vankoughnett, 20, of Minneapolis, who had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and was ordered to pay $423.50.
• Anna Rasshivkina, 21, of Pittsburgh, also pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $223.50, and
• Jonathan Latourelle, 26, of Pittsburgh, was found guilty at trial and ordered to pay $223.50.
Judge Gallo did not sustain the conviction of Jason Muley. Mr. Muley, 22, of Pittsburgh, also previously pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $373.50. But the judge on Monday found that prosecutors were unable to proceed with specific testimony regarding Mr. Muley's actions on the plaza.
One other person appealed a disorderly conduct charge from the Sept. 24 afternoon protests in Lawrenceville.
Karen Switzer, 37, of Pittsburgh, was found guilty at trial of one count of disorderly conduct, and ordered to pay the court $154.50. Judge Gallo affirmed that conviction, as well.
More than 100 people were arrested the night of Sept. 25 in Oakland after, police said, a large group that had gathered failed to heed instructions to clear the area.
Many of those swept up by the hundreds of police officers who had gathered in the area in riot gear were students at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Allegheny County district attorney dropped charges in some of those cases. In dozens of others, students agreed to complete community service to have their cases dismissed by the court.
Still others who were charged agreed to plead guilty and pay fines.
More appeal hearings are scheduled today.
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com or 412-263-2620.
Read more: http://post-gazette.com/pg/10061/1039593-53.stm#ixzz0h2HwTChO