‘The Case Is Finally Over’: Charges Dropped Against All Remaining J20 Defendants
Above Photo: Police and demonstrators clash in downtown Washington D.C. following the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
“If you did not take a plea, your charges cannot come back,” said one former defendant. “Which shows the strength of collective defense.”
Charges against the remaining J20 protesters with no plea deals who were awaiting trial were dropped Friday with prejudice—meaning proscecutors can’t try them again for the 2017 protest.
Hundreds of anti-Trump protesters were arrested on Jan. 20, 2017, for protesting the inauguration of President Donald Trump. The prosecution of the group—using felony charges against protesters and journalists—has been criticized by rights groups and failed miserably in court. Friday’s ruling by D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin, which ordered the charges dropped with prejudice, shuts the door completely on the case.
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) March 15, 2019
In a brief interview with Common Dreams, former J20 defendant Dylan Petrohilos said that the dismissal affected every defendant save those whose cases had already gone to trial and those who took plea deals.
“If you did not take a plea, your charges cannot come back,” said Petrohilos. “Which shows the strength of collective defense.”
“#J20 charges dismissed with prejudice” was maybe the best text I’ve gotten in a long time
— Dylan Petrohilos (@dpetrohilos) March 15, 2019
“Minus pleas, trials, no one’s charges can be brought back,” Petrohilos said.
Writer Ella Fassler, another defendant, took to Twitter to celebrate the dismissal.
Judge Morin just ruled all J20 charges FULLY dropped. For those of us who were still facing charges without prejudice it’s relieving to know they’ll never be brought against us again :’) #DefendJ20
— Ella Fassler (@EllaFassler) March 15, 2019
“The case is finally over,” tweeted the DC Media Group.
— DCMediaGroup (@DCMediaGroup) March 15, 2019
In an interview with Common Dreams, Sam Menefee-Libey, member of the DC Legal Posse, said that the group welcomed the decision but there’s still work to be done.
“We’re glad the court came to their senses,” said Menefee-Libey. “We will keep pushing for accountability for both the Metropolitan Police Department and the US Attorney’s office.”