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Judge Dismisses Charges Against Some NC Protesters


RALEIGH, N.C. A judge in Raleigh has dismissed five more cases against protesters arrested last summer at the General Assembly.


Multiple media outlets reported that 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.


More than 900 demonstrators were arrested outside General Assembly chambers last summer during protests that became known as "Moral Monday" rallies. The protesters clapped, prayed and sang.


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.


Two weeks ago, another judge had followed the same U.S. Supreme Court decision in dismissing charges against five protesters.


Some of the cases already handled have resulted in convictions, other people have been acquitted and some people have had their cases dismissed.


Defense attorneys say it's too soon to know if the two judges' decisions will affect other cases still pending. More cases are expected this week.


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