Lawyer says half of protesters pleading not guilty

from Rocky Mountain News:

A lawyer with the People’s Law Project said about half of the 100 people in last night’s mass arrest have pleaded not guilty.

“About 50 percent, as a matter of principle, are choosing to plead not guilty and their cases are being set over to next week,” said attorney David Beller. He was one of a number of attorneys who volunteered to come to court to help the protesters.

Most have been charged with failure to obey a lawful order, obstruction of justice or throwing rocks, he said.

Although two courts set up to handle DNC related arrests stayed in session all night long, the last of the protesters wasn’t in court until 8 a.m. After bond is set and posted, Beller said, it takes about another three or four hours before a person is released.

“The length of time it took to be seen in court is a subject of complaints,” he said. “Also the lack of access to lawyers.”

Beller said attorneys who went to the detention center known as Gitmo on the Platte were turned away, as they had been told they would be.

“We have tried to go out to the temporary facility to see clients and have been turned away,” he said. “We were turned away again last night.”

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