Archive for Friday, February 27, 2004

Charges dropped against last Dole protester

February 27, 2004


Prosecutors' failure to get a conviction in two trials of protesters arrested at the Dole Institute of Politics dedication event has caused charges against a third protester to be dropped.

Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney said that based on the outcome of the previous two jury trials -- acquittals on charges of battering Lawrence police officers -- she didn't think her office would be successful in prosecuting the case.

On Wednesday her office dropped charges against Erika R. Ochoa, who was accused of battering Detective Lance Flachsbarth.

Ochoa, 20, Lawrence, was scheduled to stand trial this month.

"After reviewing the evidence in light of the jury decisions in the two companion cases, the Douglas County District Attorney has concluded that a different result is unlikely," a statement from Kenney's office said.

In the past two months, jurors have acquitted Wesley R. Teal, 19, Lawrence, and Leo C. Jalipa, 22, Columbia, Mo. Both were charged with shoving officers July 21 as they tried to march across McDonald Drive toward the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive, scene of a $500-per-plate V.I.P. dinner.

In a trial late last year in municipal court, six protesters were cleared of four of the five charges against them, including unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. They were convicted of walking in the roadway, a traffic infraction.

After that trial, a seventh protester charged in municipal court entered a plea to walking in the roadway and had the other four charges dropped, officials said.

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