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City attorney drops Occupy arrest charges

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The City Attorney’s office released a statement Wednesday saying charges against some of the people arrested for violating park curfew hours at Cesar Chavez Plaza will be dropped and the cases dismissed “in the interest of justice.”

City Attorney Eileen Teichet said in a press release that a limited number of cases against people charged with only one violation of the city code would be dismissed.

“After evaluating the facts of each case and criminal history of each defendant,” Teichert said in the press release, “the City Attorney’s office has determined that the arrest and jail time that each dismissed defendant served achieved the People of the State of California’s demand for substantial justice.”

Eighty-four people have been arrested since Oct. 6, when Occupy Sacramento began protesting in Cesar Chavez Plaza, and some of them have been arrested multiple times.

According to the statement, the City Attorney’s office will continue to prosecute defendants charged with multiple violations of the City Code related to violations of park curfew at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Local civil rights attorney Mark Merin filed a lawsuit Nov. 1 in federal court on behalf of Occupy Sacramento, claiming the city has violated protesters’ First Amendment rights by interfering with the group’s freedom of assembly and freedom of speech.

A Jan. 5 hearing is scheduled on the lawsuit in federal court.

In a similar court case, the New York Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that protesters’ First Amendment rights did not extend to allowing "tents, structures, generators and other installations" in Zuccotti Park while protesting.

Attorneys for Occupy Sacramento were not immediately available for comment.

Melissa Corker is a Staff Reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.

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