Occupy defendants’ ranks thinned through pleas
6:14 pm, December 17th, 2012
By 5 p.m. Monday, the 80-plus defendants facing prosecution for their role in last year’s Occupy Atlanta protests had thinned considerably, with 28 entering pleas of guilty or no-contest to the misdemeanor ordinance citations for either staying in Woodruff Park after hours or obstructing traffic.\
In exchange, Atlanta Municipal Court Chief Judge Crystal Gaines handed down suspended sentences of $1,000 and court costs or, in many cases involving defendants under 25 with no prior records, allowed them to enter the court’s Restorative Justice program. It allows defendants to perform supervised community service rather than have a criminal sentence on their record.
In only one case was an actual fine levied: Gaines ordered one man with prior arrests to pay a fine of $500.
The remaining defendants’ trial continues Tuesday morning; the maximum sentence for the violations is six months in jail and a $1000 fine.