Protesters' cases likely to be dismissed - Catholic Courier

Protesters’ cases likely to be dismissed

GREECE — The cases against two Catholic anti-war activists were adjourned in contemplation of dismissal during a Feb. 14 proceeding in Town Court.

Harry Murray, a Catholic Worker and professor at Nazareth College in Pittsford, and Sister of Mercy Grace Miller were slated to be tried before Judge Gino M. Nitti on charges related to their civil disobedience during President George W. Bush’s May 24, 2005, visit to Greece Athena High School. However, Monroe County Assistant District Attorney Shannon O’Keefe noted that several factors were hampering the prosecution, including the fact that one of the arresting officers had health problems that would keep him from testifying no earlier than April, if even then.

Murray faced charges of resisting arrest, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct. Sister Miller, who directs the House of Mercy, an outreach center in Rochester, faced one charge of obstructing governmental administration. Judge Nitti told both Murray and Sister Miller that as long as they had no more problems with the law for the next six months, their cases would be dismissed.

Police detained Murray and Sister Miller May 24 after the pair left and were ordered to return to an area designated for demonstrators. Carrying a sign that read, “The occupation of Iraq is a sin,” Murray knelt down in the road and refused to move. Sister Miller said she was arrested after walking across the road in which Murray had knelt.

Both Murray and Sister Miller expressed mixed emotions over the potential dismissal of their cases. Both noted that they had looked forward to a trial as a means to publicly voice their opposition to the war in Iraq. Sister Miller added that she wanted to point out how the war was diverting the nation’s resources from programs for the poor, and Murray criticized the establishment of restrictive demonstration zones by the Bush administration. Both Murray and Sister Miller added that they could not answer whether they would avoid violating the law in the next six months.

“It depends on what my conscience tells me,” Murray said.

“It’s all in God’s hands,” Sister Miller added.

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