A judge has found North Carolina NAACP President William Barber and 11 others guilty of second-degree trespassing and violating building rules while protesting in April at the state legislature.
Wake County District Court Judge Joy Hamilton issued her ruling Wednesday after a two-day trial during which defense lawyers argued that the protesters' actions were protected by both the U.S. and state constitutions.
The dozen defendants in court this week were among the first of more than 930 people arrested as part of weekly protests during the 2013 legislative session. The protests were organized by the NAACP against the policies of the state's Republican governor and lawmakers.
Hamilton sentenced the defendants to pay a $100 fine and court costs. The defense gave immediate notice of appeal for the two convictions.
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A judge has dismissed one of the three charges against North Carolina NAACP President William Barber and 11 others facing trial for protesting at the state legislature.
Wake County Judge Joy Hamilton ruled Wednesday the state had not presented enough evidence to support the charge that the protesters failed to disperse after an order by legislative Police Chief Jeff Weaver that they were engaging in an illegal assembly last April.
Hamilton agreed with defense lawyers that Weaver did not have evidence that the protesters were engaging in disorderly conduct.
Hamilton let the trial proceed on charges of second degree trespassing and violating the building rules at the legislature by disturbing the elected officials by singing and chanting.
Closing arguments are underway. More than 930 people were arrested this year.