The Arraignments Of The Protesters Of The 'Straight Pride' Parade, By The Numbers

Counter-protesters scream at parade participants and police as they proceed down Tremont Street during the controversial "Straight Pride" parade. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Counter-protesters scream at parade participants and police as they proceed down Tremont Street during the controversial "Straight Pride" parade. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Following this weekend's so-called "Straight Pride" parade, there's been a lot of discussion around how the aftermath of the controversial event has played out in Boston Municipal Court.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins filed an emergency petition Wednesday before the state's Supreme Judicial Court to force a lower court judge to accept her prosecutors' requests to drop disorderly conduct charges against at least one person who was arrested for protesting the parade.

Here are some numbers, according to the DA's office, that help explain what's happened:

36  Number of people arrested during the "Straight Pride" parade. The majority of those arrested attended the parade to protest it.

35 —  Number of people arrested who appeared in court between Tuesday and Wednesday.

7 — Number of people arraigned for whom prosecutors filed motions to dismiss their cases prior to arraignment, and upon the condition of community service. All of those motions were denied.

11 — Number of cases where prosecutors filed "nolle prosequi," or, in other words, sought to drop the charges. (It's Latin for "we shall no longer prosecute.")

10 — Number of cases where the judge accepted prosecutors' "nolle prosequi," or "nolle pros."

1 — The "nolle pros" case rejected by a judge that is the only known case at the center of Rollins' appeal to the SJC.

13 — Number of assault charges, according to defense lawyers.

4 -- Number of people who have arraignments scheduled for later this month, according to the Suffolk County DA's office.

Some legal experts, like former U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner, have strongly challenged whether Judge Richard Sinnott — the judge at the heart of the controversy surrounding the arraignments — had the legal authority to reject prosecutors' motions to dismiss or request for "nolle prosequi."

Suffolk University law professor Chris Dearborn told WBUR's Radio Boston that he believes, however, that Sinnott was "within his legal rights" to deny the requests for dismissal.

"Whether you agree with use of discretion or not, that is absolutely and fundamentally his right as a member of the judiciary," he said.

But, he said, "With the nolle pros, I think Rachael Rollins' office has the better argument. A judge cannot reject a nolle pros. A prosecutor has the right to end a case through that mechanism at any time in the case they want without judicial oversight."

As WBUR previously reported, Susan Church, a prominent Cambridge-based immigration lawyer representing some of the arraigned, was held in contempt of court after reading into the record case law in support of prosecutors' requests to dismiss cases of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

For the 10 nolle pros cases that were accepted, the Suffolk DA's prosecution of those individuals has officially ended.

This article was originally published on September 05, 2019.


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