Border Patrol protesters back in court WednesdayPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- After a year of uncertainty, the verdict is finally in. The six protesters who locked down and occupied the U.S. Border Patrol Tucson headquarters in May of 2010 were back in court facing disorderly conduct charges.
It's been a very long year for six protesters.
"It's been hanging over their head for over a year," said defense attorney Jeff Rogers.
Back in court to fight their last charge of disorderly conduct.
"It's been tough. Any kind of criminal charges are difficult for someone," said Rogers.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys wrangled with each other and their witnesses in an attempt to sway city court Judge Thomas Berning to their side.
At issue is whether the defendants did in fact commit disorderly conduct when they occupied border patrol headquarters in Tucson.
After several witnesses and video evidence, the judge came down with a verdict. Not guilty. Welcome news to the defendants.
"This just reaffirms, we're not doing anything wrong. We're just happy we can move forward with this," said defendant Alexander Soto.
Defense attorneys say it was the right ruling, largely because disorderly conduct was the wrong charge.
"Had they charged it correctly as some kind of trespass, they might have been found guilty, but this is not disorderly conduct," said Rogers.
The six protesters say their legal win is just a stepping stone.
"It was definitely shaky but I kept reminding myself this was a spiritual action," said Soto.
In the fight against border militarization.
Prosecutors tried to amend the charges before Wednesday's final hearing, but Judge Berning denied the state's request.