Moral Monday March; Photo by Alex Curley
RALEIGH – With more than 900 arrests at the Moral Mondays protests, it appears that our courts will be dealing with these cases for many months to come. However, the Wake County district attorney is offering a course of action that could make the process shorter for some arrestees.
Wake County DA, Colon Willoughby, says arrested protesters can agree to a “deferred prosecution,” where one would agree to the court’s punishment without admitting guilt.
“We offered them deferred prosecution and treated the cases similar to other civil disobedience cases that we had earlier this year like Occupy Raleigh,” Willoughby says.
In agreeing to deferred prosecution, a Moral Monday arrestee would agree to 25 hours of community service and a $160 fine without having to admit guilt.
“It’s typical for nonviolent offenses to offer deferred prosecution,” Willoughby says.
With many protesters still awaiting their first court appearance, Willoughby says the DA’s offer would not cut down the legal process outright.
“It’s available for those persons when they come to court,” Willoughby says.
Among the more than 900 arrested protesters include members of the Orange County, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro governments. So far, only Michelle Johnson of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen has had a court appearance.